One of the most compelling scientific theories is called the holographic principle which defines the universe as a single, gigantic hologram where everything is connected to everything else including our minds. The holographic principle is supported by one of the most significant theoretical physicists of the 20th century, David Bohm, who began the holomovement in physics. Neurophysiologist Karl Pribram synchronistically arrived at a holographic model of the mind and brain at the same time as David Bohm developed the holomovement in physics. Their theory explains not only many of the unsolved puzzles of physics but also such mysterious occurrences as telepathy, out-of-body and near-death experiences, lucid dreams, and even religious and mystical experiences such as feelings of cosmic unity and miraculous healings. These holographic models are part of a new emerging paradigm called “holism” which is the opposite of reductionism. It is the paradigm where all natural systems – physical, biological, chemical, social, economic, etc. – and their properties, should be viewed as a whole and not the sum of its parts. A corresponding theory of quantum consciousness was developed by the joint work of theoretical physicist, Sir Roger Penrose, and anesthesiologist Stuart Hameroff. Like David Bohm and Karl Pribram before them, Penrose and Hameroff developed their theories synchronistically. Penrose approached the problem of consciousness from the view point of mathematics, while Hameroff approached it from his career in anesthesia which gave him an interest in brain structures. Quantum consciousness is the theory of an underlying consciousness connecting everyone and everything and is based upon quantum fields being interpreted as extending infinitely in space. Read more about how quantum theory supports NDEs.
Now featuring as foreword by Lynne McTaggart, Michael Talbot‘s The Holographic Universe is a landmark work whose exciting conclusions continue to be proven true by today’s most advanced physics, cosmology, and string theory. The following is an excerpt from Michael Talbot’s book The Holographic Universe dealing with a holographic explanation of the near-death experience.
2. A Holographic Explanation of the Near-Death Experience
By Michael Talbot
“A growing number of researchers have been gathering and evaluating the accounts of those who have had strange near-death encounters. And the preliminary results have been highly suggestive of some sort of encounter with an extra-dimensional realm of reality. Our own extensive survey is the latest in these studies and is also uncovering some trends that point toward a super parallel universe of some sort.” 
These are astounding assertions. What is even more astounding is that the scientific establishment has for the most part ignored both the conclusions of these researchers and the vast body of evidence that compels them to make such statements. The reasons for this are complex and varied. One is that it is currently not fashionable in science to consider seriously any phenomenon that seems to support the idea of a spiritual reality; and, as mentioned at the beginning of this book, beliefs are like addictions and do not surrender their grip easily. Another reason, as [Raymond] Moody mentions, is the widespread prejudice among scientists that the only ideas that have any value or significance are those that can be proven in a strict scientific sense. Yet another is the inability of our current scientific understanding of reality even to begin to explain NDEs if they are real.
This last reason, however, may not be the problem it seems. Several NDE researchers have pointed out that the holographic model offers us a way to understand these experiences. One such researcher is Dr. Kenneth Ring. a professor of psychology at the University of Connecticut and one of the first NDE researchers to use statistical analysis and standardized interviewing techniques to study the phenomenon. In his 1980 book, Life at Death, Ring spends considerable time arguing in favor of a holographic explanation of the NDE. Put bluntly, Ring believes that NDEs are also ventures into the more frequency-like aspects of reality.
Ring bases his conclusion on the numerous suggestively holographic aspects of the NDE. One is the tendency of experiences to describe the world beyond as a realm composed of “light,” “higher vibrations,” or “frequencies.” Some NDEers even refer to the celestial music that often accompanies such experiences as more combination of vibrations” than actual sounds — observations that Ring believes are evidence that the act of dying involves a shift of consciousness away from the ordinary world of appearances and into a more holographic reality of pure frequency. NDEers also frequently say that the realm is suffused with a light more brilliant than any they have ever seen on earth, but one that, despite its unfathomable intensity, does not hurt the eyes, characterizations that Ring feels are further evidence of the frequency aspects of the hereafter.
Another feature Ring finds undeniably holographic is NDEers’ descriptions of time and space in the afterlife realm. One of the most commonly reported characteristics of the world beyond is that it is a dimension in which time and space cease to exist. “I found myself in a space, in a period of time, I would say, where all space and time was negated,” says one NDEer clumsily.  “It has to be out of time and space. It must be. because … it can’t be put into a time thing,” says another.  Given that time and space are collapsed and location has no meaning in the frequency domain, this is precisely what we would expect to find if NDEs take place in a holographic state of consciousness,” says Ring.
If the near-death realm is even more frequency-like than our own level of reality, why does it appear to have any structure at all? Given that both OBEs and NDEs offer ample evidence that the mind can exist independently of the brain, Ring believes it is not too far fetched to assume that it, too, functions holographically. Thus, when the mind is in the “higher” frequencies of the near-death dimension, it continues to do what it does best, translate those frequencies into a world of appearances. Or as Ring puts it, “I believe that this is a realm that is created by interacting thought structures. These structures or ‘thought-forms’ combine to form patterns. just as interference waves form patterns on a holographic plate. And just as the holographic image appears to be fully real when illuminated by a laser beam, so the images produced by interacting thought-forms appear to be real.”
Ring is not alone in his speculations. In the keynote address for the 1989 meeting of the International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS), Dr. Elizabeth W. Fenske, a clinical psychologist in private practice in Philadelphia, announced that she, too, believes that NDEs are journeys into a holographic realm of higher frequencies. She agrees with Ring’s hypothesis that the landscapes, flowers, physical structures, and so forth, of the afterlife dimension are fashioned out of interacting (or interfering) thought patterns. “I think we’ve come to the point in NDE research where it’s difficult to make a distinction between thought and light. In the near-death experience thought seems to be light,” she observes.
3. Heaven as Hologram
In addition to those mentioned by Ring and Fenske, the NDE has numerous other features that are markedly holographic. Like OBEers, after NDEers have detached from the physical they find themselves in one of two forms, either as a disembodied cloud of energy, or as a hologram-like body sculpted by thought. When the latter is the case, the mind-created nature of the body is often surprisingly obvious to the NDEer. For example, one near-death survivor says that when he first emerged from his body he looked “something like a jellyfish” and fell lightly to the floor like a soap bubble. Then he quickly expanded into a ghostly three-dimensional image of a naked man. However, the presence of two women in the room embarrassed him and to his surprise, this feeling caused him suddenly to become clothed (the women, however, never offered any indication that they were able to see any of this).
That our innermost feelings and desires are responsible for creating the form we assume in the afterlife dimension is evident in the experiences of other NDEers. People who are confined in wheelchairs in their physical existence find themselves in healthy bodies that can run and dance. Amputees invariably have their limbs back. The elderly often inhabit youthful bodies, and even stranger, children frequently see themselves as adults, a fact that may reflect every child’s fantasy to be a grown-up, or more profoundly, may be a symbolic indication that in our souls some of us are much older than we realize.
These hologram-like bodies can be remarkably detailed. In the incident involving the man who became embarrassed at his own naked-ness, for example, the clothing he materialized for himself was so meticulously wrought that he could even make out the seams in the material!”  Similarly, another man who studied his hands while in the ND state said they were “composed of light with tiny structures in them” and when he looked closely he could even see “the delicate whorls of his fingerprints and tubes of light up his arms.” 
Some of Whitton’s research is also relevant to this issue. Amazingly. when Whitton hypnotized patients and regressed them to the between-life state, they too reported all the classic features of the NDE. passage through a tunnel, encounters with deceased relatives and/or “guides.” entrance into a splendorous light-filled realm in which time and space no longer existed, encounters with luminous beings, and a life review. In fact, according to Whitton’s subjects the main purpose of the his review was to refresh their memories so they could more mindfully plan their next life, a process in which the beings of light gently and noncoercively assisted.
Like Ring, after studying the testimony of his subjects Whitton concluded that the shapes and structures one perceives in the afterlife dimension are thought-forms created by the mind. “Rene Descartes famous dictum ‘I think. therefore I am.’ is never more pertinent than in the between-life state.” says Whitton. “There is no experience of existence without thought.” 
This was especially true when it came to the form Whitton’s patients assumed in the between-life state. Several said they didn’t even have a body unless they were thinking. “One man described it by saying that if he stopped thinking he was merely a cloud in an endless cloud. undifferentiated.” he observes. “But as soon as he started to think, he became himself”  (a state of affairs that is oddly reminiscent of the subjects in [Charles] Tart‘s mutual hypnosis experiment who discovered they didn’t have hands unless they thought them into existence). At first the bodies Whitton’s subjects assumed resembled the persons they had been in their last life. But as their experience in the between-life state continued, they gradually became a kind of hologram-like composite of all of their past lives.  This composite identity even had a name separate from any of the names they had used in their physical incarnations, although none of his subjects was able to pronounce it using their physical vocal cords.
What do NDEers look like when they have not constructed a hologram like body for themselves? Many say that they were not aware of any form and were simply “themselves” or “their mind.” Others have more specific impressions and describe themselves as “a cloud of colors,” ”a mist,” “an energy pattern,” or “an energy field.” terms that again suggest that we are all ultimately just frequency phenomena, patterns of some unknown vibratory energy enfolded in the greater matrix of the frequency domain. Some NDEers assert that in addition to being composed of colored frequencies of light, we are also constituted out of sound. “I realized that each person and thing has its own musical tone who range as well as its own color range,” says an Arizona housewife who had an NDE during childbirth, “If you can imagine yourself effortlessly moving in and out among prismatic rays of light and hearing each person’s musical notes join and harmonize with your own when you touch or pass them, you would have some idea of the unseen world.” The woman, who encountered many individuals in the afterlife realm who manifested only as clouds of colors and sound, believes the mellifluous tones each soul emanates are what people are describing when they say they hear beautiful music in the ND dimension.” 
Like [Robert] Monroe, some NDEers report being able to see in all directions at once while in the disembodied state. After wondering what he looked like, one man said he suddenly found himself staring at his own back. Robert Sullivan, an amateur NDE researcher from Pennsylvania who specializes in NDEs by soldiers during combat, interviewed a World War II veteran who temporarily retained this ability even after he returned to his physical body. “He experienced 360-degree vision while running away from a German machine-gun nest,” says Sullivan. “Not only could he see ahead as he ran, but he could see the gunners trying to draw a bead on him from behind.” 
4. Instantaneous Knowledge
Another part of the NDE that possesses many holographic features is the life review. Ring refers to it as “a holographic phenomenon par excellence.” [Stanislov] Grof and Joan Halifax. a Harvard medical anthropologist and the coauthor (with Grof) of The Human Encounter with Death, have also commented on the life review, holographic aspects. According to several NDE researchers, including Moody, even many NDEers themselves use the term “holographic” when describing the experience. 
The reason for this characterization is obvious as soon as one begins to read accounts of the life review. Again and again NDEers use the same adjectives to describe it, referring to it as an incredibly vivid, wrap-around, three-dimensional replay of their entire life. “It’s like climbing right inside a movie of your life,” says one NDEer. “Every moment from every year of your life is played back in complete sensory detail. Total, total recall. And it all happens in an instant.”  “The whole thing was really odd. I was there; I was actually seeing these flashbacks; I was actually walking through them, and it was so fast Yet, it was slow enough that I could take it all in.” says another.
During this instantaneous and panoramic remembrance NDEers reexperience all the emotions, the joys and the sorrows, that accompanied all of the events in their life. More than that, they feel all of the emotions of the people with whom they have interacted as well. They feel the happiness of all the individuals to whom they’ve been kind. If they have committed a hurtful act, they become acutely aware of the pain their victim felt as a result of their thoughtlessness. And no event seems too trivial to be exempt. While reliving a moment in her childhood, one woman suddenly experienced all the loss and powerlessness her sister had felt after she (then a child) snatched a toy away from her sister.
Whitton has uncovered evidence that thoughtless acts are not the only things that cause individuals remorse during the life review. Under hypnosis his subjects reported that failed dreams and aspirations — things they had hoped to accomplish during their life but had not — also caused them pangs of sadness.
Thoughts, too, are replayed with exacting fidelity during the life review. Reveries, faces glimpsed once but remembered for years, things that made one laugh, the joy one felt when gazing at a particular painting, childish worries, and long forgotten daydreams — all flit through one’s mind in a second. As one NDEer summarizes, “Not even your thoughts are lost… Every thought was there.” 
And so, the life review is holographic not only in its three-dimensionality, but in the amazing capacity for information storage the process displays. It is also holographic in a third way. Like the kabbalistic “aleph,” a mythical point in space and time that contains all other points in space and time, it is a moment that contains all other moments. Even the ability to perceive the life review seems holographic in that it is a faculty capable of experiencing something that is paradoxically at once both incredibly rapid and yet slow enough to witness in detail. As an NDEer in 1821 put it, it is the ability to “simultaneously comprehend the whole and every part.” 
In fact, the life review bares a marked resemblance to the afterlife judgment scenes described in the sacred texts of many of the world’s great religions, from the Egyptian to the Judeo-Christian, but with one crucial difference. Like Whitton’s subjects, NDEers universally report that they are never judged by the beings of light, but feel only love and acceptance in their presence. The only judgment that ever takes place is self-judgment and arises solely out of the NDEer’s own feelings of guilt and repentance. Occasionally the beings do assert themselves, but instead of behaving in an authoritarian manner, they act as guides and counselors whose only purpose is to teach.
This total lack of cosmic judgment and/or any divine system of punishment and reward has been and continues to be one of the most controversial aspects of the NDE among religious groups, but it is one of the most oft reported features of the experience. What is the explanation? Moody believes it is as simple as it is polemic. We live in a universe that is far more benevolent than we realize.
That is not to say that anything goes during the life review. Like Whitton’s hypnotic subjects, after arriving in the realm of light NDEers appear to enter a state of heightened or meta-consciousness awareness and become lucidly honest in their self-reflections.
It also does not mean that the beings of light prescribe no values. In NDE after NDE they stress two things. One is the importance of love. Over and over they repeat this message, that we must learn to replace anger with love, learn to love more, learn to forgive and love everyone unconditionally, and learn that we in tum are loved. This appears to be the only moral criterion the beings use. Even sexual activity ceases to possess the moral stigma we humans are so fond of attaching to it. One of Whitton’s subjects reported that after living several withdrawn and depressed incarnations he was urged to plan a life as an amorous and sexually active female in order to add balance to the overall development of his soul. It appears that in the minds of the beings of light, compassion is the barometer of grace, and time and time again when NDEers wonder if some act they committed was right or wrong, the beings counter their inquiries only with a question: Did you do it out of love? Was the motivation love?
That is why we have been placed here on the earth, say the beings, to learn that love is the key. They acknowledge that it is a difficult undertaking, but intimate that it is crucial to both our biological and spiritual existence in ways that we have perhaps not even begun to fathom. Even children return from the near-death realm with this message firmly impressed in their thoughts. States one little boy who after being hit by a car was guided into the world beyond by two people in “very white” robes: “What I learned there is that the most important thing is loving while you are alive.”
The second thing the beings emphasize is knowledge. Frequently NDEers comment that the beings seemed pleased whenever an incident involving knowledge or learning flickered by during their life review. Some are openly counseled to embark on a quest for knowledge after they return to their physical bodies, especially knowledge related to self-growth or that enhances one’s ability to help other people. Others are prodded with statements such as “learning is a continuous process and goes on even after death” and “knowledge is one of the few things you will be able to take with you after you have died.”
The preeminence of knowledge in the afterlife dimension is apparent in another way. Some NDEers discovered that in the presence of the light they suddenly had direct access to all knowledge. This access manifested in several ways. Sometimes it came in response to inquiries. One man said that all he had to do was ask a question, such as what would it be like to be an insect, and instantly the experience was his. Another NDEer described it by saying, “You can think of a question … and immediately know the answer to it. As simple as that. And it can be any question whatsoever. It can be on a subject that you don’t know anything about, that you are not in the proper position even to understand and the light will give you the instantaneous correct answer and make you understand it.” 
Some NDEers report that they didn’t even have to ask questions in order to access this infinite library of information. Following their life review they just suddenly knew everything, all the knowledge there was to know from the beginning of time to the end. Others came into contact with this knowledge after the being of light made some specific gesture, such as wave its hand. Still others said that instead of acquiring the knowledge, they remembered it, but forgot most of what they recalled as soon as they returned to their physical bodies (an amnesia that seems to be universal among NDEers who are privy to such visions).  Whatever the case, it appears that once we are in the world beyond, it is no longer necessary to enter an altered state of consciousness in order to have access to the transpersonal and infinitely interconnected informational realm experienced by Grof’s patients.
In addition to being holographic in all the ways already mentioned, this vision of total knowledge has another holographic characteristic. NDEers often say that during the vision the information arrives in “chunks” that register instantaneously in one’s thoughts. In other word, rather than being strung out in a linear fashion like words in a sentence or scenes in a movie, all the facts, details, images, and pieces of information burst as “bundles of thought.”  Monroe, who has also experienced such instantaneous explosions of information while in the OB state, calls them “thought balls.” 
Indeed, anyone who possesses any appreciable psychic ability is familiar with this experience, for this is the form in which one receives psychic information as well. For instance, sometimes when I meet a stranger (and on occasion even when I just hear a person’s name), a thought ball of information about that person will instantly flash into my awareness. This thought ball can include important facts about the person’s psychological and emotional makeup, their health, and even scenes from their past. I find that I am especially prone to getting thought balls about people who are in some kind of crisis. For example, recently I met a woman and instantly knew she was contemplating suicide. I also knew some of the reasons why. As I always do in such situations, I started talking to her and cautiously maneuvered the conversation to things psychic. After finding out that she was receptive to the subject, I confronted her with what I knew got her to talk about her problems. I got her to promise to seek some kind of professional counseling instead of the darker option she was considering.
Receiving information in this manner is similar to the way one becomes aware of information while dreaming. Virtually everyone has had a dream in which they find themselves in a situation and suddenly know all kinds of things about it without being told. For instance, you might dream you are at a party and as soon as you are there you know who it is being given for and why. Similarly, everyone has had a detailed idea or inspiration dawn upon them in a flash. Such experiences are lesser versions of the thought ball effect.
Interestingly, because these bursts of psychic information arrive in nonlinear chunks, it sometimes takes me several moments to translate them into words. Like the psychological gestalts experienced by individuals during transpersonal experiences, they are holographic in the sense that they are instantaneous “wholes” our time-oriented minds must struggle with for a moment in order to unravel and convert into a serial arrangement of parts.
What form does the knowledge contained in the thought balls experienced during NDEs take? According to NDEers all forms of communication are used, sounds, moving hologram-like images. even telepathy — a fact that Ring believes demonstrates once again that the hereafter is “a world of existence where thought is king.” 
The thoughtful reader may immediately wonder why the quest for learning is so important during life if we have access to all knowledge after we die? When asked this question NDEers replied that they weren’t certain, but felt strongly that it had something to do with the purpose of life and the ability of each individual to reach out and help others.
5. Life Plans and Parallel Time Tracks
Like Whitton, NDE researchers have also uncovered evidence that our lives are planned beforehand, at least to some extent, and we each play a role in the creation of this plan. This is apparent in several aspects of the experience. Frequently after arriving in the world of light, NDEers are told that ”it is not their time yet.” As Ring points out. this remark clearly implies the existence of some kind of “life plan.” It is also clear that NDEers play a role in the formulation of these destinies. for they are often given the choice whether to return or stay. There are even instances of NDEers being told that it is their time and still being allowed to return. Moody cites a case in which a man started to cry when he realized he was dead because he was afraid his wife wouldn’t be able to raise their nephew without him. On hearing this the being told him that since he wasn’t asking for himself he would be allowed to return.  In another case a woman argued that she hadn’t danced enough yet. Her remark caused the being of light to give a hearty laugh and she, too, was given permission to return to physical life. 
That our future is at least partially sketched out is also evident in a phenomenon Ring calls the “personal flashforward.” On occasion, during the vision of knowledge, NDEers are shown glimpses of their own future. In one particularly striking case a child NDEer was told various specifics about his future, including the fact that he would be married at age twenty-eight and would have two children. He was even shown his adult self and his future children sitting in a room of the house he would eventually be living in, and as he gazed at the room he noticed something very strange on the wall, something that his mind could not grasp. Decades later and after each of the predictions had come to pass, he found himself in the very scene he had witnessed as a child and realized that the strange object on the wall was a “forced-air heater,” a kind of heater that had not yet been invented at the time of his NDE. 
In another equally astonishing personal flashforward a female NDEer was shown a photograph of Moody, told his full name, and told that when the time was right she would tell him about her experience. The year was 1971 and Moody had not yet published Life after Life, so his name and picture meant nothing to the woman. However, the time became “right” four years later when Moody and his family unwittingly moved to the very street on which the woman lived. That Halloween Moody’s son was out trick-or-treating and knocked on the woman’s door. After hearing the boy’s name, the woman told him to tell his father she had to talk to him, and when Moody obliged she related her remarkable story. 
Some NDEs even support Loye’s proposal that several holographic parallel universes, or time tracks, exist. On occasion NDEers are shown personal flashforwards and told that the future they have witnessed will come to pass only if they continue on their current path. In one unique instance an NDEer was shown a completely different history of the earth, a history that would have developed if “certain events” had not taken place around the time of the Greek philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras three thousand years ago. The vision revealed that if these events, the precise nature of which the woman does not disclose, had failed to take place, we would now be living in a world of peace and harmony marked “by the absence of religious wars and of a Christ figure.” Such experiences suggest that the laws of time and space operative in a holographic universe may be very strange indeed.
Even NDEers who do not experience direct evidence of the role they play in their own destiny often come back with a firm understanding of the holographic interconnectedness of all things. As a sixty-two-year-old businessman who had an NDE during a cardiac arrest puts it “One thing I learned was that we are all part of one big, living universe. If we think we can hurt another person or another living thing without hutting ourselves we are sadly mistaken. I look at a forest or a flower or a bird now, and say, ‘That is me, part of me.’ We are connected with all things and if we send love along those connections. then we are happy.”
 George Gallup, Jr., with William Proctor, Adventures in Immortality (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1982), p. 31.
 Ring, Life at Death, p. 98.
 Ring, Life at Death, pp. 97-98.
 Ring, Life at Death, p. 247.
 Private communication with author, May 24, 1990.
 F. W. H. Myers, Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death (London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1904), pp. 315-21.
 F. W. H. Myers, Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death (London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1904).
 Moody and Perry, The Light Beyond, p. 8.
 Joel L. Whitton and Joe Fisher, Life Between Life (New York: Double-day, 1986), p. 32.
 Michael Talbot, “Lives between Lives: An Interview with Joel Whitton,” Omni WholeMind Newsletter 1, no. 6 (May 1988), p. 4.
 Private communication with author, November 9, 1987.
 Whitton and Fisher, Life Between Life, p. 35.
 Myra Ka Lange, “To the Top of the Universe,” Venture Inward 4, no. 3 (May/June 1988), p. 42.
 F. W. H. Myers, Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death.
 Moody and Perry, The Light Beyond, p. 129.
 Raymond A. Moody, Jr., Reflections on Life After Life (New York: Bantam Books, 1978), p. 38.
 Whitton and Fisher, Life Between Life, p. 39.
 Raymond A. Moody, Jr., Life After Life (New York: Bantam Books, 1976), p. 68.
 Moody, Reflections on Life After Life, p. 35.
 The 1821 NDEer was the mother of the English writer Thomas De Quincey and the incident is described in his Confessions of an English Opium Eater with Its Sequels Suspiria De Profundis and The English Mail-Coach, ed. Malcolm Elwin (London: Macdonald & Co., 1956), pp. 511-12.
 Whitton and Fisher., Life Between Life, pp. 42-43.
 Moody and Perry, The Light Beyond, p. 50.
 Moody and Perry, The Light Beyond, p. 35.
 Kenneth Ring, Heading toward Omega (New York: William Morrow, 1985), pp. 58-59.
 See Ring, Heading toward Omega, p. 199; Moody, Reflections on Life after Life, pp. 9-14; and Moody and Perry, Light, p. 35.
 Moody and Perry, The Light Beyond, p. 35.
 Monroe, Far Journeys, p. 73.
 Ring, Life at Death, p. 248.
 Ring, Life at Death, p. 242.
 Moody, Life After Life, p. 75.
 Moody and Perry, The Light Beyond, p. 13.
 Ring, Heading toward Omega, pp. 186-87.
 Moody and Perry, The Light Beyond, p. 22.
 Ring, Heading toward Omega, pp. 217-18.
 Moody and Perry, The Light Beyond, p. 34.