Oh i've been there and done it, here's good advice - don't get anethetised before you tell them you're a smoker - nasty buisness. Also get sleep paralysis now and then and have a really good technique for lucid dreaming so im more than aware of the strange and unusual states our minds can drift into. Ive had oobe and i didn't think this is my soul leaving my body - i though wow what a freaky hallucination.
From my experience of life it seems that conciousness is a product of the brain. It's where all the processes occur that create the sensation of "being". As all our memories and who we are is stored within the electro/chemical make up of our brain. a good aproach to the afterlife question would be to answer how these physically stored details about self are transfered to a non-physical form of suitable complexity to continue these processes. Also the exact make up of this form would also be of considerable interest.
edit - notice the word "seems" !! it's relevant
edit on 8-10-2011 by Hopeforeveryone because: (no reason given)