I was raised in a conservative Jewish family in Philadelphia. The culture was materialistic and judgmental. Bookish, shy and serious, I went through my teens as an atheist. Since learning of the Holocaust at age eight, I had turned angrily against any early belief in God. How could God exist and permit such a thing to occur? At age seventeen, just after graduating high school, I was devastated by a sudden, fatal heart attack that took my father's life unexpectedly. I loved him dearly and felt abandoned. To add insult to injury, I learned during the mourning period that the prayers of we three survivors, my mother, my sister and myself did not count because we were women. Furious, I turned to Eastern mysticism for comfort. My relationship with my mother, which had never been good, deteriorated to the point where I left home. During the summer of 1970, I moved to California, looking for adventure, a new life, and inner peace. I got all of this in a dramatic and unexpected way while staying in Venice Beach outside of Los Angeles in July 1970, when a motorcycle accident led to my near-death experience.
The motorcycle ride, my first, was part of a celebration of arrival. A boy I met took me to see the play 'Hair,' which celebrated the hippie counterculture and the Age of Aquarius, where 'mystic crystal revelation and the mind's true liberation' will somehow transform our society into one of 'harmony and understanding.' Riding back on a small highway where helmets were not required, we were struck by a drunken driver. I was thrown to the ground headfirst and suffered a fractured skull and numerous broken bones in my head. When the police arrived, they started to book the driver of the car on manslaughter charges since my head was so badly mangled they assumed I was dead.
This was not the case then. I spent two weeks in the hospital, where my fracture was sutured. I was given sufficient medication to handle the pain. When I was released, they told me to just take aspirin. Being too young and naive to understand what now faced me I didn't argue with them. However, when I got to my temporary apartment I was filled with such despair that I was determined that the first night would be my last. My pain threshold was very low and the contusions that had torn off half the skin from my face shattered my self-image. I had no family to speak of and nothing to live for. The pain was now unbearable and no man would ever love the grotesque creature I had become. I lay down on the bed, becoming an agnostic as many atheists do in times of trial, and prayed from the bottom of my heart for God to take me.
Somehow, an unexpected peace descended upon me. I found myself floating on the ceiling over the bed looking down at my unconscious body. I barely had time to realize the glorious strangeness of the situation - that I was me but not in my body - when I was joined by a radiant being bathed in a shimmering white glow. Like myself, this being flew but had no wings. I felt a reverent awe when I turned to him; this was no ordinary angel or spirit, but he had been sent to deliver me. Such love and gentleness emanated from his being that I felt that I was in the presence of the Messiah.
Whoever he was, his presence deepened my serenity and awakened a feeling of joy as I recognized my companion. Gently he took my hand and we flew right through the window. I felt no surprise at my ability to do this. In this wondrous presence, everything was as it should be.
Beneath us lay the beautiful Pacific Ocean, over which I had excitedly watched the sun rise and set during the few days I had been there. But a greater magnificence directed my attention upward, where a large opening lead to a circular path. Although it seemed to be deep and far to the end, a white light shone through and poured out into the gloom to the other side where the opening beckoned. It was the most brilliant light I had ever seen, although I didn't realize how much of its glory was veiled from the outside. The path was angled upward, obliquely, to the right. Now still hand in hand with the angel, I was led into the opening of the small, dark passageway.
I then remember traveling a long distance upward toward the light. I believe that I was moving very fast and through an immeasurable vastness, but this entire realm seemed to be outside of time and space. Finally, I reached my destination. It was only when I emerged from the other end that I realized that I was no longer accompanied by the being who had brought me there. But I wasn't alone. There, before me, was the living presence of the Light. Within it, I sensed an all-pervading intelligence, wisdom, compassion, love, and truth. There was neither form nor sex to this perfect Being. It, which I shall in the future call He, in keeping without our commonly accepted syntax, contained everything, as white light contains all the colors of a rainbow when penetrating a prism. And deep within me came an instant and wondrous recognition: I was actually facing God!
I immediately lashed out at Him with all the questions I had ever wondered about; all the injustices I had seen in the physical world. I don't know if I did this deliberately, but I discovered that God knows all your thoughts immediately and responds telepathically. My mind was naked; in fact, I became pure mind. The ethereal body, which I had traveled in through the tunnel, seemed to be no more; it was just my personal intelligence confronting that Universal Mind, which clothed itself in a glorious, living light that was more felt that seen, since no eye could absorb its splendor.
I don't recall the exact content of our discussion; in the process of return, the insights that came so clearly and fully in Heaven were not brought back with me to Earth. I'm sure that I asked the question that had been plaguing me since childhood about the sufferings of my people. I was deeply disturbed by first-hand reports I heard at my job in Philadelphia from shell-shocked boys no older than I was about the horrors of the war going on in Vietnam. I do remember this: there was a reason for EVERYTHING that happened, no matter how awful it appeared in the physical realm. And within myself, as I was given the answer, my own awakening mind now responded in the same manner: 'Of course,' I would think, 'I already know that. How could I ever have forgotten!' Indeed, it appears that all that happens is for a purpose, and our eternal self already knows that purpose.
In time, the questions ceased, because I suddenly was filled with all the Being's wisdom. I was given more than just the answers to my questions; all knowledge unfolded to me, like the instant blossoming of an infinite number of flowers all at once. I was filled with God's knowledge and suddenly saw how the universe worked. It was so simple and beautiful, over there. The feeling I brought back was one of interconnectedness of all things and the continuing unfolding of the unconditional love I had first rejected upon meeting this ineffable Ground of life.
What I'll never forget also was the feeling of being Home, to the heart's forgotten longing, the center of the circle of infinity, the fulfillment of all our unspoken dreams. Yes, I was alive there, unimaginably so. The contrast is so great that I cannot even make a mathematical comparison. An imperfect analogy would be to compare our body's life essence on earth to the flicker of a single candle, and the Life coursing through the separated soul or spirit as the blazing forth of a sun.
But my journey of discovery was just beginning. Now I was treated to an extraordinary voyage through the universe. Instantly, at the speed of thought, we traveled to the center of stars being born, supernovas exploding, stars dying, visions from the outside of galaxies majestically swirling through radiant space, including our own Milky Way. The impression I have now of this trip is that it felt like the universe is all one grand object woven from the same fabric. Space and time are illusions that hold us to our plane; out there, all is present simultaneously. I was a passenger on a Divine spaceship in which the Creator showed me the fullness and beauty of all of his Creation. There was no darkness there, or between any of the objects. Every object was clothed in light and was alive, aware, and loving.
The last thing that I saw before all external vision ended was a glorious fire - the core and center of a marvelous star. Perhaps this was a symbol for the blessing that was now to come to me. Everything faded except for a richly full void in which That and I encompassed All that is. Here, I experienced, in ineffable magnificence, communion with the Light Being. Now, I was filled with not just all knowledge, but also with all love. It was as if the Light were poured in and through me. I was God's object of adoration; and from His/our love I drew life and joy beyond imagining. My being was transformed; my delusions, sins, and guilt were forgiven and purged without asking; and now I was Love, primal Being, and bliss. And, in some sense, I remain there, for Eternity. Such a union cannot be broken. It always was, is, and shall be.
Suddenly, not knowing how or why, I returned to my broken body. But miraculously, I brought back the love and the joy. I was filled with an ecstasy beyond my wildest dreams. Here, in my body, the pain had all been removed. I was still enthralled by a boundless delight. For the next two months, I remained in this state, oblivious to any pain.
I felt now as if I had been made anew. I saw wondrous meanings everywhere; everything was alive and full of energy and intelligence. The light and love filled every object, whether natural or man-made. Although in time this precious gift faded, I understand now that that's all that exists. In our fundamental nature, we ARE love and we are each loved and forgiven in each moment.
After the accident, my actions showed this transformation. In the past, I had been painfully shy and felt myself unworthy of being loved. I went out with my head swathed in bandages and landed a job in one week, made many friends, and got involved in my first real romance. After the Sylmar earthquake in 1971, I moved back East and went home to my mother, with whom I became reconciled. I have been a vegetarian for most of my adult life because I know the love and light dwell in animals and the natural world as deeply as it is within us. I started college at twenty-three and graduated Phi Beta Kappa. Since then I have married and become a mother, which I understand to be part of my mission.
When I discovered The International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS) in 1989, I finally broke the seal open on this hidden mystery and decided to share the gift whenever I have the opportunity. Like many others, I have become more spiritual than religious. Many religions have lost the golden key to understanding - that God is immanent and transcendent - here and everywhere, all at the same time. Those of us called to the spiritual quest have discovered that the door is already open and the mythical new cycle is here. We are all facets of the brilliant diamond heart of our Creator and of each other. What a wonderful time to be alive, to be able to talk about the Truth and connect with the forgotten wisdom in other souls!
Although it's been thirty-six years since my heavenly voyage, I have never forgotten it. Nor have I, in the face of ridicule and disbelief, ever doubted its reality. Nothing that intense and life-changing could possibly have been a dream or hallucination. To the contrary, I consider the rest of my life to be a passing fantasy, a brief dream that will end when I again awaken in the permanent presence of that Giver of life and bliss.
For anyone who grieves or fears annihilation in death, I assure you of this: there is no death; nor does love ever end. Modern physics assures us that matter does not die, but is instead transformed into energy. I see the body as a coat housing the immortal consciousness within. When our mission is complete, we remove the coat and take on our glorious form, complete with the full spiritual understanding we vainly seek during our earth days. Then, having graduated this temporary school, we get our report card in the life review, with extra credit for love, forgiveness, and service to others. Now we can continue on our journey unencumbered, free, and truly alive. Someday you who are reading this and I will be together in this realm of love, light, and unending bliss.
Date NDE Occurred: July 17, 1970
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Uncertain Accident. Direct head injury 'Life threatening event, but not clinical death' . I was out of the hospital, in terrible pain, and prayed for God to take me.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Wonderful
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? Yes I clearly left my body and existed outside it
How did your highest level of consciousness and alertness during the experience compare to your normal everyday consciousness and alertness? More consciousness and alertness than normal I was at the highest consciousness after finishing my questions and receiving the perfect knowledge.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? I was at the highest consciousness after finishing my questions and receiving the perfect knowledge.
Were your thoughts speeded up? Incredibly fast
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning There were no apparent distances between objects that are light years apart. Also, there was no time.
Were your senses more vivid than usual? Incredibly more vivid
Did your vision differ in any way from normal? I was declared legally blind without my glasses at age seventeen when I got my first Government job; yet I could see perfectly in my spiritual body.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? Yes, and the facts have been checked out
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? No I passed through an upward angled funnel with a small pinpoint of brilliant light at the end.
Did you see any beings in your experience? I actually saw them
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? Yes I saw a radiant angel or archangel on the ceiling of my room. He glowed from within and was dressed in flowing white robes. I knew him, and he took my hand and let me out of the room, flying straight through the window, into the tunnel. Nothing was communicated except a sense of peace, trust, and familiarity.
The experience included: Void
The experience included: Darkness
The experience included: Light
Did you see, or feel surrounded by, a brilliant light? A light clearly of mystical or other-worldly origin
Did you see an unearthly light? Yes See my description - it was an almost indescribable Being that loved me unconditionally.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm I was taken on a tour of a radiant universe, which had no dark matter or space. I was able to see stars, planets, and galactic objects from the outside and also enter into them, guided by the Being of Light
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Initially I felt relieved to be rid of that damaged ugly body and face. When I realized that I was facing God, I got really angry and challenged Him. When I got all the answers, I was thrilled, in a state of wonder and joy. During the tour of the universe, I felt awe. Finally, while merged into the primal, uncreated Oneness, I felt orgasmic bliss and ecstasy of my entire being with God and the whole Universe yet to be.
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Incredible peace or pleasantness
Did you have a feeling of joy? incredible joy
Did you feel a sense of harmony or unity with the universe? I felt united or one with the world
The experience included: Special Knowledge
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about the universe
Did scenes from your past come back to you? My past flashed before me, out of my control
Did scenes from the future come to you? Scenes from the world's future
Did you come to a border or point of no return? I came to a barrier that I was not permitted to cross; or was sent back against my will
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What was your religion prior to your experience? Liberal Jewish
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes Absolutely. I was an atheist/agnostic at the time, and now I believe in a pantheistic reality - in which God both indwells and transcends all the manifested universe(s).
What is your religion now? Liberal Jewish/Religious Science
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes Absolutely. I was an atheist/agnostic at the time, and now I believe in a pantheistic reality - in which God both indwells and transcends all the manifested universe(s).
The experience included: Presence of unearthly beings
Did you seem to encounter a mystical being or presence, or hear an unidentifiable voice? I encountered a definite being, or a voice clearly of mystical or unearthly origin
Did you see deceased or religious spirits? I actually saw them
Concerning our Earthly lives other than Religion:
During your experience, did you gain special knowledge or information about your purpose? Yes I knew much more at the time, but what I bring back is that everything in the Universe is connected, that life is purposeful, not random, that we are loved beyond our imagining, that there is a God, and that life continues.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes I feel I have become more loving and tolerant to others. I wound up moving across the country afterwards, reconciling with my mother as best I could, going to college in my later twenties, and even marrying and having a child, something I swore I would never do before my NDE (I even tried to have myself sterilized at seventeen). I also lived a more responsible life.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes The knowledge was a holographic experience, which I don't remember. The nature of this realm defies logic and violates our sense of reality.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes I was highly intuitive, and able to 'read' people perfectly well. I loved everyone and everything for a period of six months. I could 'talk' to the trees. I saw an inner light in everything - in the human heart, even individuals with the darkest auras and life energy. I later shut much of this down because I got hurt being too open, childlike, and loving. However, I retained precognition, telepathy with some animals, and intuitive senses about many things, including world events, the economy, people's life paths, etc.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? It was all so wonderful. Knowing that our lives have meaning, that we are essentially spiritual beings on a human stage, that everything is alive, that the universe is filled with love and consciousness, and finally that we are all one with each other and with God, gives me great peace, joy, and hope.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes The first person I shared this with laughed at me. This was within hours, as soon as it was light outside and people were awake. This was very painful. The boy driving the motorcycle was the only person who believed me, because he had had his own mystical experience as a soldier in Vietnam. My sister thought I was on hallucinogenic drugs. I didn't dare tell mental health people, because at the time you could be locked up for saying such things. The belittling and materialistic explanations (that it was a hallucination from my head injury, etc.) were so painful that I didn't talk about it for the next eighteen years.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? No
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real. It changed everything I believed about the nature of reality, God and man. I realized that the people who raised and educated me were fundamentally wrong in their presumptions about life, because nobody had ever told me about this Being of Light and all the love on the other side. This was not the angry Old Testament God or the exclusive Father who only loves those who accept Jesus as their personal Savior. The love was unconditional, true and perfect. My vision of the physical world afterwards showed me that there was a substance to it aligned with the original Divine Plan, however thwarted its execution is on Earth.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real. It is the touchstone by which I judge everything else - other belief systems, teachers, sacred writings, etc.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Uncertain I have felt the presence of the Being of Light in some meditations and prayers, though not in an out-of-body state or with as much intense joy and bliss.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? We don't die! Our lives matter! A benevolent Being watches over everything and loves us anyway.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? This was terrific.