I was conscious through the entire process. I was terrified, in agony, and completely beyond endurance. I felt my heart stop beating. There was a sensation of 'letting go', it was as if I had been clinging to my body the whole time I'd been alive. It all seemed so easy; I wondered why it had never occurred to me to do it before. I felt myself moving away from the Earth, spiraling outward. There was a growing awareness. Of course, now it all makes sense! There's even a reason we all have limited knowledge. Don't ask me for secrets, because I don't remember. When we exist as the flesh, we are bound by the laws of the flesh.
During this period was the 'life review' (I use this term very loosely). There was no judgment. With increased awareness, I simply remembered all of my life. I let go of all the things I loved, all the people I loved. There was no regret. It struck me as remarkable that the most painful moments of my life were the ones I most treasured when the pain was gone. There's a reason for this too. And no, I still don't remember.
I was met by a spirit. There was no communication, and I made no identification. Thoughts of material things slipped away and I was guided into the presence I will refer to as God. There was sight without eyes to see. There were voices without words that I had no ears to hear. There were no streets of gold or peaceful green meadows, but there was *something*, and it was heaven. It was simply existing within a love beyond mortal understanding.
There was communication from God. I was shown a measure of the Plan. I witnessed the whole Earth from what I might estimate as a few thousand miles, but physical time-space doesn't have quite the same meaning to a spirit. Souls were rising and being drawn to God, others were drifting into darkness. I didn't get a sense of any competing force, they were just getting lost. I was given a glimpse of what was to come when all had come home to God. I never had any details, just a vast sense of wonder, amazement and love at what was to be. And then the vision was closed to me. I had thought I was already in heaven, but man was that something.
Then the bad(?) news. God wants me to come back down here. He doesn't share the Plan; I'm told I still have work to do. I thought to myself, 'Oh crap, that's gonna be unpleasant.' I am comforted. I have a choice. I do not have to go, and His love for me will not diminish. Well, that's a relief. What if I get lost? What of the harm I might do? I was reassured that my place with God would remain. I prayed for the passing of the cup. I surrendered my will.
Oh man, 'reality' again. I had forgotten how bad this hurts.
Date NDE Occurred: Fall 1987
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Criminal attack Drugged and tortured. Clinical death (cessation of breathing or heart function or brain function)
I had been kidnapped, drugged and tortured for (many hours).
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 Immediately after leaving my body until I was returned.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? Immediately after leaving my body until I was returned.
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
Space and time didn't have the same meaning; in fact I'd say they had no meaning to me at all.
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. It was like seeing with the mind, rather than the eyes. Information simply WAS. It didn't need to be interpreted. It wasn't really more or less, just different.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. See above.
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? Uncertain There was a sense of being guided through a 'passage', but more in the sense of a transition than a tunnel.
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 was definitely a guiding presence, but it was formless (as if it was there but not there), I didn't have any knowledge of who or what it may have been.
The experience included: Void
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? Uncertain I would definitely call it light, but not in a strictly visual form.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm I don't even know how to begin to describe what I "saw" and "heard".
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Relief, joy, peace, wonder, love - probably one of the most difficult aspects to translate into words.
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
The experience included: Life review
Did scenes from your past come back to you? My past flashed before me, out of my control It was like being able to remember all my life at once, with greater understanding and in a universal context. I learned many things, but most was forgotten upon returning to my body. I only remember that there were reasons for all the great mysteries and a purpose to our ignorance. I don't remember the answers, but the questions don't seem to matter anymore either.
The experience included: Vision of the future
Did scenes from the future come to you? Scenes from the world's future It was an awareness without much understanding, and no details that I can recall. It was more of an impression of the evolution of the universe than specific knowledge of material events. The state of existence after death seems to be just one more step on a longer journey.
The experience included: Boundary
Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure? Uncertain It wasn't a physical boundary, more of a boundary of spiritual understanding/existence. There was a sense of something more, something infinitely wonderful, but it was not yet my time to know.
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? Conservative/fundamentalist Roman Catholic
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes I still believe Jesus is the way, but I no longer believe He is the *only* way. As difficult as it is to express what happened to me, those who have shared the experience understand what I mean. In the same way all religions now speak to me of that spiritual truth so hard to capture in words, and their specific rules and regulations become insignificant.
What is your religion now? Liberal Universalist
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I still believe Jesus is the way, but I no longer believe He is the *only* way. As difficult as it is to express what happened to me, those who have shared the experience understand what I mean. In the same way all religions now speak to me of that spiritual truth so hard to capture in words, and their specific rules and regulations become insignificant.
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 See #21. I remember that we can choose to die at any time by act of will, but our survival instinct interferes with that ability. We don't know how because we're supposed to be here, and from this perspective we don't have the wisdom to make the decision to leave.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? No
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes Words are too rigid and limited to express accurately, like grasping at smoke.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? No
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? I think the most significant thing for me was that while I can't remember the reasons for why everything happens as it does, I remain with a certain knowledge that there *is* a purpose. I'm still trying to understand the universe and my place in it, but I don't *need* to know anymore.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I discussed it with my priest several years afterward, but not since then. He seemed to be quite comforted and assured of his faith.
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 I didn't think much of it; I was just trying to recover from the trauma and figuring out how to cope with living in this world of pain.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was probably real I suppose it's our nature to doubt, and given that I had been drugged I sometimes wonder if the whole thing was just some sort of hallucination, some brain process that has no meaning outside of my own awareness.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Uncertain I have used (both before and after) LSD, mescaline and peyote. I would analogize ordinary life to a game of beach volleyball. While I'm playing, I'm focused on the game and those around me. Taking psychedelics is like suddenly becoming aware of the sound of the waves, the smell of the salt and the feel of the offshore breeze. My NDE would be equivalent to diving into the surf and frolicking with the dolphins.