My parents were religious, and attended church weekly. I had a deep and abiding faith in God, and drew my strength and light from this belief when all else failed. This faith strengthened, however, when the following account, not an imagined but a real experience, occurred. It was not merely an experience that resulted because the brain was going through a "breaking down" process in death; just as one is aware of the difference between the dream state and the awake state, one is aware of the difference between the dream state and the NDE (Near Death Experience) state. It was painful to write down this NDE since the memory of it was, and continues to be, so vivid. At the time that I related the NDE to my mother and godmother Lynn Arendt, they dismissed it as being merely a dream. Accounts of NDE were not widely published at the time; as a child, I was never exposed to NDE accounts.
In October 1978, I laid down feeling light-headed; my heart had stopped. Suddenly, I felt myself being pulled very swiftly through total blackness to the entrance of a churning tunnel, its walls reflecting the neon-blue color that my non-corporeal body was emitting. I still had all of my faculties and feelings. The feeling that I had was that the ties that bound me to the earthly world were cut. A low, steady droning sound filled the narrow passageway, this sound coming not from the walls but from me. As a profoundly deaf individual, hearing this sound was beautiful, since it brought comfort as would a mother's voice for a child. Strangely enough, although I had no limbs and was flying as would a hummingbird, I was not frightened. I was merely a shimmering light.
In reminiscing, because I was in another dimension, it would logically follow that I could not be in the same form. It was as if I had shed the cumbersome earthly body, and was in the natural, free form that was not human. As I continued instinctively through the churning tunnel that moved in all directions, up, down, and side to side. The droning sound from my wings in the manner of a hummingbird being the only sound, a bright shimmering Light at the end of the churning tunnel increasingly drowned out the blackness of the tunnel, as well as the neon-blue light that the walls were reflecting back to me.
Upon the sighting of the Light, i.e., energy gestalt, which stirred instinctual feelings in me that I would be at a loss to describe with words, shimmering light beings of deceased family members and friends suddenly appeared on the side of the churning passageway to enthusiastically greet me. Their abundant personalities overflowed in their glowing neon-blue and white transparent faces; communication was by telepathy. Disembodied voices greeted me, stirring my emotions as I was hearing as would a normally hearing person, and I began to see clear floating bubbles, in the walls of the dark tunnel that was becoming increasingly bright as I came closer to the shimmering white Light at the end of the passageway. The floating bubbles that moved within the wall of the tunnel were in the fashion of three-dimensional windows, or "virtual-reality" screens, and were "snap shot" moments of my life. Even in death, I did not lose my memories and feelings.
Upon seeing the shimmering Light that is indescribably beautiful, I had a revelation. This Light is not, in the strictest sense, "God" in the traditional meaning of the bibles of various religions, including Christianity. This Light, which is an energy gestalt, is an aggregation of many multitudes of immortal souls from all walks of life, e.g., plants, mammals, fish, and is collectively a life-force. This Light is a life force from which all life is originated. It is neither a single entity, for each immortal soul is part of "God," nor multiple entities, for each immortal soul is but a part of the collective entity, i.e., this Light is in a broad sense a single "God" who sits on a throne in heaven that rewards or punishes souls. Without this life force, i.e., energy gestalt, there is no life on earth, or any inhabitable planet in the universe. It is commonly asked, "Is God dead?" Is it not egocentric to believe that man still maintains that God created him in his image and likeness, even though the universe may be brimming with life? That God handed down the Commandments for Man alone? Those on earth who are in search of "God" are in vain, because they have already found "God": themselves; people need only look into themselves to find a sense of purpose or faith from religion, and therefore find that there is a God, i.e., Light, on a throne in heaven who punishes or rewards souls.
As I continued my way nearly to the end of the churning tunnel, toward the Light which I instinctively knew to be das Heimatland. I heard a familiar, but disembodied, voice calling out my name from behind me; perhaps it was the voice of Brickie, my maternal grandmother, who was one of the glowing neon-blue and white transparent faces I had briefly seen. Very reluctantly, I stopped; as would a hummingbird maintain a stationary position in mid-flight, to determine who was calling me. No one stopped me; rather, I reluctantly acquiesced to stop. An unseen force, in the form of a shadow, very powerfully and swiftly pulled me back through blurred darkness to my body. My trip to the transcendent Light was in slow motion in comparison with the return trip. As my soul entered the earthly body, which is nothing more than a poor fitting glove, it vibrated. I was shortly in a state of confusion when I opened my eyes.
Although I do not know what the purpose of my life is, I do know that I cannot leave this life until I have completed whatever it is that I am set to do in this life. I suspect that life is a learning process, an evolutive process for the soul. My life, like those of others, is an experience of not only happiness, but also frustration, loneliness, disappointments, isolation and feelings of inferiority. I suspect that Earth may be a place of education for misguided light energy beings. Because of this NDE, I have had a greater zest for life.
I have a stronger conviction of religion. Some view religion as nothing more than a body of ancient codes of laws and social norms created by man to regulate society; however, my opinion is that the most religions of the world do have a few kernels of truth, as most religions share a common thread. I have no fear of death, since death is merely a natural phase of my passing from a physical, albeit cumbersome, body to an immortal energy gestalt, i.e., a shimmering light. I have a greater awareness of the importance of family and friends, because through altruistic endeavors our souls will evolve. It is through our own evolution, or rites of passage, that we help others to evolve.
Date NDE Occurred: October 1978
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes cessation of heart function Clinical death cessation of heart function
How do you consider the content of your experience? Positive
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? Yes I was merely a shimmering light.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? I was fully conscious and alert.
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning Since the NDE involves another dimension, there is altered space and time.
Did your hearing differ in any way from normal? As a profoundly deaf individual, I nevertheless heard a steady, droning sound, and was able to converse with others, i.e., deceased relatives.
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? Yes I passed through a dark, black churning tunnel. A neon-blue light was reflected back to me from the walls of the tunnel. Presumably, as a shimmering light, the source of this light was me.
The experience included: Presence of deceased persons
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? Yes I saw glowing neon-blue and white transparent faces of deceased family members
The experience included: Void
The experience included: Darkness
The experience included: Light
Did you see an unearthly light? Yes I saw an energy gestalt that stirred instinctual feelings in me.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm The NDE involves another dimension.
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? During the experience involved feelings of happiness.
The experience included: Special Knowledge
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about the universe Please refer to the response to Question 4, which gives a description of the NDE.
The experience included: Life review
Did you come to a border or point of no return? No
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What was your religion prior to your experience? Moderate Roman Catholic.
What is your religion now? Moderate Roman Catholic. The NDE has nevertheless affected my religious outlook.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes The NDE affected my religious outlook.
The experience included: Presence of unearthly beings
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes As I was never exposed to NDE accounts as a child, I was unable to satisfactorily explain my experience.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes I had a greater zest for life.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? The best part of the experience is witnessing the Light. The worst part, though brief, was returning to Earth.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes There were mixed reactions. Some were skeptical and unaffected, and others accepted my observations as an affirmation of their religious beliefs.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? Please refer to the response to Question 4, which gives a description of the NDE.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? The issue you wish to address is a sensitive one. Therefore, it is important that people receiving this survey understand:
(a) the purpose of the survey;
(b) who will receive the results;
(c) who is conducting the survey and who is administering it; and
(d) how the results will be used, including who will obtain results and when results will be available.
Therefore, I suggest that you expand on these considerations by including a short introductory paragraph at the beginning of the survey. These are the same sort of questions a review board for the protection of human subjects would require.