Those who have experienced an NDE (near-death experience) have said that their consciousness expands at the point of separation from the physical body.
It's like a butterfly. As soon as it leaves the chrysalis it stretches it's wings and prepares to fly.
Imagine what it must feel like to be set free from a cage that you thought you were . . .
. . . and for you to remain the same as you were when you were in the cage.
Self observation is the key.