The following experience description was written in 2004.
I have to begin my account by pointing out that it is not possible to convey the richness of my near death experience with words.
It's a bit like trying to depict a magnificent sunset by drawing it in the sand with a stick.
My memory of it hasn't faded much, if at all, over thirty years. Although it was probably brought about by an overdose of drugs, it was nothing like a hallucination.
I knew it had not been any sort of dream. In fact, it was far more real than normal waking consciousness. This aspect is so hard to explain.
I was left with the certainty that a much greater reality exists beyond this one. I had seen it, been in it.
What had happened to me was real, I mean really real, as if normal life is just an illusion in which we are immersed for our time here. Since the advent of virtual reality, I have found that is a good way to think of this existence. This reality is a wondrous, awesome creation, and it has purpose, but an immensely greater reality exists.
After five days of hard drugs and little food or sleep, I had made my way to bed and collapsed there, totally out of it. I did not find myself looking down on my body (as reported in some near death experiences,) but then, it was the middle of the night in a pitch-dark room.
I became aware that I was somehow apart from my body, and I remembered with surprise and wonder that I had known this feeling before.
It had been before my life began, before I was born. I could feel my real self, and I recognized that I was the same self then as now. This was joyous. Then I was looking down on my entire life and seeing how unimportant all the big hassles were. I could see life as though it were a game I had been playing. I could see how all the moves were just parts of the game.
Another way to describe this is the feeling you have when you have been engrossed in a really good book for hours, and then you put the book aside and notice the world around you. You take a deep breath and the real world imposes itself on you, even as you continue reflecting on what you have been reading. Well, life is sort of like the story in the book, and, having put it aside, I could see and reflect on life from the perspective of a higher, more real, reality. I could see every part of my life, every event and incident all at once. Although it seemed instantaneous, I knew that every moment was there. These days, I might say that I downloaded my whole hard drive. At the time, I think I tried to compare it to a replay of a cassette tape in fast forward. I came to understand that so much of what we think is important, is actually trivial, or of no consequence. We take ourselves much too seriously.
Then I was traveling down a tunnel. It didn't open up before me, or draw me into it. I was just in it, and really moving. I'm not sure how big it was. It seemed just big enough for me to travel through it. Although I felt like I was weightless, and falling, there was no sense of up or down, just ‘along.’ The tunnel was mostly dark, but I could sense the sides of it rushing past. I was facing forward the whole way through, if you can be said to ‘face’ in any particular way without a body. The practical part of me was looking ahead for obstacles. The rest of me was thrilled by this exhilarating ride. I tried to reach out to touch the sides, but I didn't have hands. Well, not hands that I could use as brakes anyway, and yet I still had the form of my body. I felt like laughing at that. Words are so inadequate!
I remember thinking that I should feel worried about hurtling along like this, and at the same time realizing that only my body could get hurt by an impact, and I had left it behind.
It was a very quick journey. A light appeared up ahead. It was the end of the tunnel, and I rushed into it and out of the tunnel. There was no sensation of slowing down or coming to a stop. I was just there. I didn't even think to look back.
I found myself in a beautiful place. In everyday terms, it was like a radiant, joyous landscape on a summer afternoon, but it was so much more! It was inexpressibly beautiful, serene, and delightful, with the most wonderful light pervading everything. Something like rolling hills with carpets of wildflowers. There were many other people there, and they were blissfully happy. I can't say how many. A multitude will have to do.
I was doing so much more than just seeing this; I was feeling it all with senses unimaginable. Although I can't say who they were, I knew these people, these souls, and they knew me. They radiated love and welcome. They were like family, and we rejoiced in our reunion. It was rapturous. Although we didn't have physical bodies, we still looked the same, because we still had the same form as bodies. We could also see our real true selves. We communicated perfectly without speech.
Then a radiant Being of pure light appeared in the distance, and I watched as it moved slowly among us. As it came closer, I remember thinking that I would not have been able to look at it with my physical eyes. It was such an intense, beautiful white light. The light was a hundred times, a thousand times brighter than the sun. I was drawn irresistibly towards this being. I don't mean unwillingly. I wanted nothing else but to go to it, fall into it, and be embraced by it. As I came closer, I was overwhelmed by the feeling of pure love, understanding and compassion, which emanated from this wondrous entity. This was by far the most wonderful and powerful feeling of my experience. Nothing can truly describe it.
This glorious, wonderful entity recognized me, understood perfectly every minute aspect about me, and poured love into me. The love was real, as much a force as a feeling, and immeasurable. Knowing every little thing about me and my life and viewing it along with me, there was a lot of real amusement. This being has a personality. It is fun to be with, delightful, and it has a sense of humor. I never wanted to leave this divine Presence, but somehow, without explanation, but with perfect understanding, I knew that I had to go back, and I understood that this was good and right. I woke up in my bed, in the dark, thoroughly blown away by what had just happened to me. I walked around the house declaring, ‘That was no dream!’ It had been so real, that waking life that seemed like a dream for quite a while.
About two years later, I read about Near Death Experiences for the first time. I marveled at the accounts I read (I think in a Reader's Digest.) Other people had had the same experience as me, and they were saying it was a ‘near death’ thing.
That made sense, considering the drugs I had taken at the time, but I had never realized that perhaps I had nearly died. It had been the most joyful experience for me, with no negative aspects whatsoever.
Date NDE Occurred: 1975
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Drug or medication overdose Other: I was alone and recovered alone. I remember coming out of it with a big deep breath and feeling quite cold.
I was alone and recovered alone. I remember coming out of it with a big deep breath and feeling quite cold. I had taken large amounts of narcotics and amphetamines continuously over five days without proper sleep.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Entirely pleasant
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? No
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 The difference was like that between reading a boring book on your own to suddenly being at a lively party. It was like waking up, it was just more real and my awareness of that was intense and unquestionable. My conscious awareness expanded into a greater realm and with greater perception. It was not limited to the usual senses or the brain. I knew I had left my body behind and had become my true self.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? When in the presence of the Light entity.
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
Time, as we perceive it here, has no meaning when you are not here. It is an aspect of this reality, this created illusion that we spend our lives in.
I can recall the sense of eternity that was there, but it was not ‘time until infinity,’ not a sense of ‘past, present, and future.’ It just isn't happening that way. My human brain can't comprehend what I sensed.
Were your senses more vivid than usual? Incredibly more vivid
Please compare your vision during the experience to your everyday vision that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I enjoyed perfect vision before the near death experience, but during the experience I didn't have to rely on physical eyes that only focus on one thing at a time. I could see everywhere with perfect clarity and at any distance. It's a different kind of ‘seeing.’ For one thing, your brain is not having to interpret. And I knew I wasn't using eyes when the Light entity appeared, it was so bright that physical eyes could not have looked at It, but I was.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I didn't hear anything in the usual way. I don't mean it was silent, but conversations were instantaneous and came with feelings. Sometimes a complete understanding was shared without the need for words.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? No
The experience included: Tunnel
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? Yes It just was there and I was falling through it. Weightless, but not falling down it, just along it. I seemed just the right size, and I felt that if I reached out my arms I could touch the sides. I tried to because I was going really fast and didn't know how it would end. That's when I realized I was without my body, and that made me want to laugh. It took a long turn or two. It was mostly dark but the sides had some form about them. I was very lucid throughout my experience and exceptionally aware. A light appeared way up ahead. At first just like a star, but I was going so fast it got bigger in an instant. As I exited it, the tunnel really was about the size of my outstretched arms and the light was not a point but was ambient light, flooding the vista at its 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 There were many spirits. I knew them all like close family, but I can't say who they were by name or relationship in this life. I now think they were my spirit family.
The experience included: Darkness
The experience included: Unearthly 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 The entire landscape was bathed in a beautiful, almost golden glow that came from everywhere and suffused everything. Then there was the entity of light that appeared. It was pure white light, as bright as a thousand suns, but so much more than just a light. It was radiating life, compassion, and love as a power and a force of good.
The experience included: A landscape or city
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm I was in a beautiful place. In everyday terms, it was like a radiant, joyous landscape on a summer afternoon, but it was so much more inexpressibly beautiful, serene, and delightful, with the most wonderful light pervading everything. Something like rolling hills with carpets of wildflowers, and yet those words can't capture it. There were many other people there, and they were blissfully happy. I can't say how many precisely. A ‘multitude’ will have to do.
I was doing so much more than just seeing this; I was feeling it all with senses unimaginable. Although I can't say who they were, I knew all these souls, and they knew me. They radiated love and welcome. They were like family, and we rejoiced in our reunion. It was rapturous. Although we didn't have physical bodies, we still looked the same. We still had the same form as our bodies, but we could also see our real true selves. We communicated perfectly without speech.
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Surprise, serenity, exhilaration, relief, joy, love, acceptance, and ecstasy.
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 no longer in conflict with nature
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? No
The experience included: Life review
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? No
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 I did not want to leave the embrace of the light entity, but without going into explanations or discussions, I was just given a complete understanding, and with that I knew it was right and good for me to go back.
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What importance did you place on your religious/spiritual life prior to your experience? Slightly important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Christian- Protestant My background was Christian but at the time I thought I was an atheist
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes I know whom I am praying to and how to conduct that dialogue. My prayers are always answered. Often I share much of my daily experience in a sort of ongoing connection with Heaven. I share what I am seeing and feeling, especially moments of beauty and joy, and there is feedback when I do that.
Someone asked me a while ago how often I pray, and I immediately replied, ‘I'm doing it now,’ because I had been, most of that afternoon.
I suppose I may have become a bit mystical, but with two feet on the ground.
We are meant to live this life while we are here.
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Greatly important to me
What is your religion now? Other or several faiths I am deeply spiritual and believe in a creative and active God, but do not accept any religions' set of beliefs.
Did your experience include features consistent with your earthly beliefs? Content that was both consistent and not consistent with the beliefs you had at the time of your experience I thought I was an athiest, but I still believed in a higher power. I had rejected the Christian Church dogma, but didn't realize that I was throwing the Deity out with the bathwater.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I gained, with absolute certainty, knowledge that there is much more to life after death than what we have here. I know that this reality is not the main one. I know there is a loving Deity; I know that forgiveness can be unconditional. I know that material aspirations are meaningless, that humility is paramount, and that love and compassion are important virtues.
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 There were many joyful beings, human spirits, where I went. We all knew and loved each other and it was like a joyous reunion. It was as if they surrounded me the moment I emerged from the tunnel. But they didn't have to surround me by being close to me. They all turned their welcoming attention to me, which was like being surrounded and in close touch. I knew this was home.
Then there was the Entity of light, which was incomparably bright, alive, powerful, loving and understanding. This glorious, wonderful entity recognized me, understood perfectly every minute aspect about me, and poured love into me. The love was real, tangible, as much a force as a feeling, and immeasurable. Knowing every little thing about me and my life and looking at it with me, there was a lot of real amusement. This being has a personality. It is fun to be with, delightful, and it has a sense of humor.
Did you see deceased or religious spirits? I actually saw them
Did you encounter or become aware of any beings who previously lived on earth who are described by name in religions (for example: Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, etc.)? Uncertain I was not given names of any of the spirits I encountered. The Entity of light was certainly Divine. So much of what I experienced accords with the teachings of Jesus, that his words clearly resonate with divine wisdom. The Being I encountered is so much
During your experience, did you gain information about premortal existence? Yes I had a full awareness that there is existence before and after earthly life as soon as I arrived. I was back home, I was amongst many spirits who I had been with before. I knew this was the real me, always had been, no body necessary. We all knew that.
During your experience, did you gain information about universal connection or oneness? No
Did you believe in the existence of God prior to your experience? God probably does not exist
During your experience, did you gain information about the existence of God? Yes I was fully aware that Being of light is supreme. It wasn't a belief, it was shown to me.
Do you believe in the existence of God after your experience? God definitely exists
Concerning our Earthly lives other than Religion:
During your experience, did you gain special knowledge or information about your purpose? Yes But that came later.
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are probably meaningful and significant
During your experience, did you gain information about the meaning of life? Yes It is an opportunity to test your spirit's free will.
Did you believe in an afterlife prior to your experience? I was uncertain if an afterlife exists
Do you believe in an afterlife after your experience? An afterlife definitely exists Yes I had a full awareness that there is existence before and after earthly life as soon as I arrived. I was back home, I was amongst many spirits who I had been with before. I knew this was the real me, always had been, no body necessary. We all knew that. A
Did you fear death prior to your experience? I moderately feared death
Do you fear death after your experience? I do not fear death
Were you fearful living your life prior to your experience? Slightly fearful in living my earthly life
Were you fearful living your life after your experience? Not fearful in living my earthly life
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are probably meaningful and significant
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant after your experience? Are meaningful and significant
Did you gain information about how to live our lives? Uncertain That came later, because the experience is still with me
During your experience, did you gain information about life's difficulties, challenges and hardships? No
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Not compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? Yes Love flows from the Entity of light. It is a force. In earthly life it is something we can invite then allow to flow through us into the world. It makes miracles happen everyday. It is a force for good and it can let us see that heaven is all around us.
Were you compassionate after your experience? Greatly compassionate toward others
What life changes occurred in your life after your experience? Large changes in my life I have become enlightened.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? No No
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? No
How accurately do you remember the experience in comparison to other life events that occurred around the time of the experience? I remember the experience more accurately than other life events that occurred around the time of the experience For thirty years my experience felt as though it could have been yesterday, but oddly, since sharing it more widely over the last ten years it has gradually faded to more of a normal clear memory.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes I prefer not to share that information, but to quote Jesus, ‘Nothing is hidden,’ ‘Faith can move mountains,’ and ‘Heaven is all around you.’
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? The existence of a greater reality and a loving, caring Deity.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes At first I rarely mentioned it to anyone. After a couple of dismissive responses and my sister saying it was Satan, I learned to sense the rare times when I should relate it. In 2004, I came across a near death experience group on the internet, and wrote the account that is included here, and posted it. That led to my meeting someone who lived very close to me. She had a terrible phobia about death and really needed some positive input. My experience and conviction have been helpful to her. We are now best of friends and share all things spiritual. I recently felt compelled to share it with a stranger. She had just read Jeffrey Long's wonderful book ‘Evidence of the Afterlife,’ and went out of her way to lend it me. That's how I came to be writing all this here tonight.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Yes I did not know it was a near death experience until two years later, when I read about Near Death Experiences for the first time. I marveled at the accounts I read (I think in a Readers' Digest.) Other people had the same experience as me, and they were saying it was a ‘near death’ thing. That made sense, considering the drugs I had taken at the time, but I had never known that perhaps I had nearly died. It was the most joyful experience for me, with no negative aspects whatsoever.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real It wasn't just ‘real,’ it was much more real than this reality, perceived, as it is, through human senses, and interpreted by our clever brains. It's impossible by any terms or conceptions that we have in this reality to describe it.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real My experience was of a realm more real than this. I now believe this is an illusion. Life is a simulation, or a virtual reality. Sure, it's as real as we think it is, right down to the constituents of atoms and laws of physics. It's amazing. But the picture on our TV seems real; we just understand how the pixels come to be there.
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? No, because this has taken all night. The sun is coming up.