I went into convulsions, didn't realize I had just swallowed strychnine and was in state of panic. I was with someone who had died from electrocution and returned, he was at that time a Tibetan Buddhist who knew the Tibetan Book of the Dead and he began the ritual with me rather than taking me to the hospital.
As I lost control of my body, I felt something like an electrical heat moving along my spine, the visual field turned yellow. Then, I was suddenly in a place I can only describe as chaos: it seemed that everything that had ever happened, would ever happen, to all beings was happening at once and I was aware of all of it in detail. I wanted to find an anchor, a point of stillness.
I observed my parents making love and was drawn to them, experienced myself in my mother's womb, then my own birth and relived my life. Not so much the various experiences but what it was like to be myself at each stage of growing up, until I became an old woman and died again. At death, I again resisted with everything I could muster and was again terrified. The same experience repeated itself. This cycle happened several times until I finally surrendered at the death stage.
When that happened, I found myself in a blissful realm, of supreme love and wisdom. I remained there for an unknown period of time until I seemed to suddenly be back in my body.
I was completely disoriented. My friend, who had stayed with me, confirmed that I had died and all bodily processes had stopped. He sometimes talked with me about how both of us had crossed over and returned. The lesson I came away with was that fear and resistance take us to a lower realm of experience, whereas, surrender was an important state to be in to gain access to the realm of what could be called the ‘clear light’. I ‘knew’ that I would not permanently die until I was an old woman. The old woman I became is turning out to be very much like who I am now becoming, in appearance.
Date NDE Occurred: 1969
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Uncertain Clinical death (cessation of breathing or heart function or brain function)
Not sure I understand the question; the ingestion of strychnine would be considered a life-threatening event, I think.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Both pleasant AND distressing
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? Yes As I said, I saw all earthly events simultaneously as if they were all my own personal experiences and they were not time-bound. They were only a confirmation of what I was seeing myself as an old woman. The rest was much too involved, to separate any one specific event.
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 Even when the experience was in, what I consider the ‘lower realms’, I was intimately aware of being inside the minds/bodies/emotions of all beings and experiencing all of their experiences. The experience at the end, in the clear light, was an enlightenment, whereby, I understood everything about reality, the universe, life, as if all of the answers were downloaded so I experienced completeness.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? After several life-time reviews, when I gave up the struggle and surrendered.
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
I've already stated, everything was happening at once, I was everywhere, inside the experience of a myriad of beings, experiencing their mental and emotional and physical states as if they were my own.
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 experienced multi-dimensional vision extending through space and time vs. limited perception of the 3D material world. I didn't see with my eyes but with my whole being: which was everywhere simultaneously.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. Oddly, sound wasn't a significant feature. I wouldn't say there was silence but, for example, words weren't spoken so much as instantly known directly via a kind of clairvoyance.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? Yes, but the facts have not been checked out
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? No
Did you see any beings in your experience? No
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? Yes I was aware of all beings, as if they were alive at the time of my experience. But I also sensed that this was a timeless realm so many of them may have been dead or not yet born, at the actual time of my experience.
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 It was sky-like but not exactly that. I think of it as what Buddhism calls the ‘clear light’. There was a clarity that went beyond what we think of as light, as if it was the ultimate refinement and source of creation: pure being-ness.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm I think I've already described this as much as is possible. I was in two completely different realms: when I resisted death, a realm of chaos (could be described as hell-like), and when I surrendered, a blissful, heavenly realm.
The experience included: Hellish imagery
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? I felt terror, fear of death until later on when I surrendered and immediately felt a supreme bliss and love.
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 or purpose
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about the universe In the final stage this is what happened, in the ‘clear light’ stage I had complete gnosis.
The experience included: Life review
Did scenes from your past come back to you? No
Did scenes from the future come to you? Scenes from my personal future Seeing myself grow old.
Did you come to a border or point of no return? No
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What importance did you place on your religious/spiritual life prior to your experience? Greatly important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Buddhist avid student of several spiritual teachings but strong inclination towards buddhism
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? No
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Greatly important to me
What is your religion now? Buddhist
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 At 19 I thought I had the ability to, using the will to live, throw off death, that I was a survivor. I was surprised at how afraid I was, thought I was more "together". The way the life review occurred had no relationship to any beliefs I had at the time. If I considered that at all I would have thought it to include scenes and events. I knew about the tunnel, but there was no tunnel. I had a philosophical concept of oneness but was not prepared for how literal it turned out to be, experiencing the entire lifetimes of a seeming infinity of beings simultaneously. I had no idea I would want desperately to escape that by being born into a single consciousness.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Uncertain Given that I was already devoted to a spiritual quest and philosophical inquiry at the time of this experience, I think it merely confirmed much of what I was already learning.
Did you seem to encounter a mystical being or presence, or hear an unidentifiable voice? No
Did you see deceased or religious spirits? No
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 with all beings but do not recall anyone standing out as a special religious figure.
During your experience, did you gain information about premortal existence? Yes I saw how I originally chose my parents and entered my mother's womb. I also experience it all again, so it wasn't like a memory or being a witness to this, it was partcipatory...like repeating your part in a role again.
During your experience, did you gain information about universal connection or oneness? Yes Only the matrix of oneness could explain how I was everywhere, everyone, all at the same time. There was no single consciousness of ego, of "I", though I seemed to want to create that because I was overwhelmed by the flood of being all things.
Did you believe in the existence of God prior to your experience? God probably exists
During your experience, did you gain information about the existence of God? Yes Direct experience and immersion in this Presence with the gift of omniscience while I was there.
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 I can't express it; it's a knowing that the special knowledge arises second by second in our lives if we'll align to the Presence. I guess you could call it guidance.
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 Yes, I had complete gnosis...sadly , I was unable to bring it back with me, it doesn't seem to fit into the human brain.
Did you believe in an afterlife prior to your experience? An afterlife probably exists
Do you believe in an afterlife after your experience? An afterlife definitely exists Yes It was as if I was being allowed to practice dying, perhaps this was due to being taken through the bardos? Several times I died, experienced an after-life which included choosing parents from which to reincarnate, experience being in the womb, being born
Did you fear death prior to your experience? I greatly feared death
Do you fear death after your experience? I moderately fear death
Were you fearful living your life prior to your experience? Not 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? No
During your experience, did you gain information about life's difficulties, challenges and hardships? Yes There seemed to be an underlying lesson that our suffering arises from our resistance to what we actually are and our will to define ourselves with boundaries and limitations. Inability to trust "the flow" and surrender to something greater living through
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Slightly compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? Yes the truth that "love is all" was revealed in an ineffable, transcending way..love isn't an emotion, but the awesome power of the life force itself.
Were you compassionate after your experience? Greatly compassionate toward others
What life changes occurred in your life after your experience? Slight changes in my life Slight changes in my life. Not many changes other than a stronger intent to remember somehow to skip the fear and resistance when I next encounter death and step right into surrender. What fear I still have is that I'll slip back into the fear and miss the opportunity to go right into the ‘clear light’.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? No No
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes
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 The impact of this experience was greater by many magnitudes than any other experience in my lifetime...it stays with me.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Uncertain I had certain gifts before this experience and can't say for certain that the experience added to that.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? Absolutely, the radical difference in what happens, depending on the state of mind we're in when we die. I was able to have two varieties of death experience. I also believe that the life review may be a ‘practice session’ to help us prepare ourselves for our transition and that it can be repeated several times if that might make a difference and allow us to ‘graduate’ to a better experience.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I shared some of it with the friend who was with me, but only in a general sense. I've shared it occasionally with a few people but don't tend to talk about it because it's far outside of any words I could use to express. You had to be there. Lately, I have a friend who teaches courses on death and dying and have shared it with her. She is interested in knowing more about it. Usually people don't have much to say if I share this, not that they disbelieve me but with death, we're all usually left wondering.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Yes I had been an avid student of reincarnation, death and dying, although there wasn't much actual reporting available at the time so I learned from spiritual texts, for the most part.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real When we experience something that is more real than anything else we've experienced, we tend to believe it real, which was true for me. It also helped that I was with someone (previously a physicist) who had died, been pronounced dead in a hospital, had a similar experience and returned. So he confirmed not only that I had physically died but that the after-life experience was something we both had in common.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real I continue to study research in NDE, have had other experiences with it, though nothing so concrete. Many people report on the afterlife these days. Experiences can differ and I think it’s because of our mental conditioning, the mind is able to construct a world for us on the other side, or not, it may just set us loose in the m'lstrom of conditioned existence.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Yes I have, at times, re-experienced the ‘clear light’. I have at times, felt like I might be dying, so I was able to practice doing a better job. I never again entered the chaotic realms of ‘oneness’.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? No.