I was being prepped to go in to a routine hernia repair outpatient surgery. In the past, I had undergone other surgical operations under general anesthesia, with no remarkable outcome, except that I always dreaded the nausea that can present itself upon awakening. The anesthesiologist breezed into the room and informed me that he would be giving me what they term ‘twilight sleep’ which, he said, would cause me to fall fully asleep at first, but then I would re-awaken during the operation itself. However, he told me, I would feel no pain during the remainder of the surgery.
I was alarmed, to say the least, that I would be awake for part of the surgery and started stammering that I wished they could just put me fully under, as I was really afraid of what it would be like to wake up during the middle of my operation! (I think I feared the mental aspect of it more than the possibility of feeling physical pain.) He just patted me and assured me that all would be fine. As I was wheeled into the operating room, I was feeling a huge amount of fear and tension and was not at all in a good frame of mind. I'm sure my heartbeat and vitals were quite elevated. However, putting on a brave face, I joked calmly with the staff as they settled me on the narrow bed and prepared to put me under with the ‘twilight sleep’.
I then immediately found myself, and I really mean I literally ‘found myself’ sitting in a space about the size of a large walk-in closet. There were no windows that I could see but the walls glowed and sparkled with the purest gold color that can be imagined. The walls were sloped upward at a sharp angle and met at a point about eight feet above me, and I was aware that I seemed to be sitting inside a small pyramid, or something that had the same interior shape as a small pyramid would. I was sitting in a low stone bath ‘ tub’ carved out of the solid rock, or whatever the gold material was, and was immersed in golden liquid up to about my waist. My knees were above the golden water and I was taking handfuls of it and languidly letting the soft metallic streams of glowing liquid fall like silk between my fingers.
I realized that my skin was gold, as if I were the girl who had been painted gold in the Bond film ‘Goldfinger’. None of this seemed the least bit strange to me, but rather, blissfully peaceful and making the most perfect sense. Time had no meaning whatsoever, and I could have been sitting there for three seconds or thirty years. As I scooped up handfuls of the liquefied gold and watched it sparkle, I realized that it was alive, just as I was alive – and to my utter and indescribable joy the dawning came upon me that not only was I immersed in the gold and covered with it, but that I WAS the element of gold itself!
The knowledge crept up on me with ever-mounting bliss that I could exist as a human being, but also outside of myself as an element in the universe, and that my human state was only a small part of what I really was. The happiness and joy that came with this knowledge cannot be described other than by saying I felt that I could laugh with delight and never stop laughing about the beauty and blissfulness of the true state of our existence. It was just sheer beauty, love and peace, and timeless bliss. At some point, however, I began to hear muted voices and the clinking of instruments. I slipped out of that beautiful golden world into a confusing, dreary place that I was starting to remember and was less than happy about returning there.
The operating room, with its noisy confusion, seemed way less real to me than the place where I'd just been, and a great deal less pleasant. I knew I had the ability to open my eyes at that point, but chose to keep them closed. I was awake and could feel the push-push and tug-tug as the surgeon worked to insert the hernia mesh and to close up the incision. I could feel pressure, but no pain. I had no fear, but just an overwhelming feeling of ‘Oh S#*t! THIS place again!’ I still felt the very clear memory of the joy that had just been within my grasp – and I was terribly sorry to be back in a place that was so very dull by comparison.
Date NDE Occurred: 1999 or 2000
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? No. Other: I was in excellent health except for the need for an abdominal hernia repair.
Not that I am aware of and based on conditions in the operating room.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Entirely pleasant
Did you feel separated from your body? No
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 main difference is that I had no concept of the passing of time, nor even what time was. Also, I do not think I was aware of any sound, or at least sounds were somewhat muted.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? I would say that at the time I became aware that I and the gold were actually one thing and that I could exist in my body as a human, but also outside of it if I chose to do so.
Were your thoughts speeded up? No
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning
I found myself there instantly, as if I had always been there. I could not tell any sense of how long I had been there. However, I got the feeling that I was learning something as I sat there and that what I was being taught about being the element of gold would mean that I would soon no longer be staying in my human body, but would progress on to something different if I were to continue on there.
Were your senses more vivid than usual? No
Please compare your vision during the experience to your everyday vision that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. It must have been more vivid because I could see the light glowing and sparkling from within the stone around me and the water as it slipped through my fingers. It was as much ‘feeling’ as seeing.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I was not aware of hearing anything during the experience, which did not seem strange to me at the time.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? No
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? No
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 I would say that everything in the ‘place’ I found myself in was lit from within with a glowing golden light. I did not see a tunnel or a point of light such as some describe.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm Yes, I felt that this golden place was unlike anything I have experienced other than the shape of the room and the shape of the bathtub, if you could call it that, were obviously shapes that were familiar to me from my life here. But it sure didn't feel like I was anywhere on Earth that I've ever been before.
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Joy, happiness, the urge to laugh, peace, bliss, sensuality in feeling the liquid gold slip through my fingers, a feeling that everything was right, existence and awareness in the true form beyond our everyday senses.
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? No I was slowly starting to understand that ‘I’ was not just the physical me. However, maybe I'm a little slow or something because I think the knowledge was being imparted to me in a gentle, gradual fashion, the way you would teach a little kid –maybe so I would not be scared or alarmed. I'm glad I didn't find the experience frightening.
Did scenes from your past come back to you? No
Did scenes from the future come to you? No
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? Not important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Unaffiliated- Agnostic At the time of the experience I was not attending any church, nor had I given particular thought to religious matters. I was raised in the midwest and had attended Bible School and various Christian churches as a young woman, without any of them having made much of an impression on me.
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes Well, I think I am more in tune to the Creator who runs this whole wonderful show. However, I don't subscribe to any particular religion. My relationship with the universe and whoever runs it is very personal. I do pray all the time though, like a constant conversation, almost.
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Greatly important to me
What is your religion now? Other faiths- Unitarian and other liberal faiths I feel that most religions are right and wrong at the same time. Man-made rules and dogma do not interest me, although I'm very interested in the history and impact of the various religions worldwide.
Did your experience include features consistent with your earthly beliefs? Content that was entirely not consistent with the beliefs you had at the time of your experience I don't think I had any real belief system at the time of the experience. Overly pious or Bible thumping people have always gotten on my nerves. I don't want someone else telling me how to think about God, but growing up in the Bible Belt section of the midwest it was sort of crammed down my throat. But this experience was nothing like anything I was ever taught. Sitting in gold water in a pyramid? Huh?
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes The element of gold is alive and is aware of love, just like everything else is. Everything is all tied together and love seems to be the glue. That was my impression. I began to give more thought to the idea that we are more than just the temporary human shell we inhabit, and that we should do our best to use love and compassion to the best of our ability. I still fail at that sometimes.
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.)? No
During your experience, did you gain information about premortal existence? Uncertain I can't really say, but my feeling was that I had always been there, if not in human form then in some other form.
During your experience, did you gain information about universal connection or oneness? Yes Yes, the information I took away from my visit to the Golden Pyramid (silly as it sounds) is that we exist in a grid of life, all connected. You can have a human form or not a human form...it's all good.
Did you believe in the existence of God prior to your experience? I was uncertain if God exists
During your experience, did you gain information about the existence of God? Yes Yes, for me the experience made me feel that the universe is alive, aware and intelligent. Do I think there is a big guy sitting on a throne up in the sky all angry because some Old Testament tribe didn't sacrifice the right kind of goat? Definitely not. But I do think that we are part of this huge web of love, intelligence, awareness and bliss all tied together by...well, what can you call it but the Creator? And I just thank the Creator that He She or It gave me this beautiful lesson about the nature of life.
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 just had the thought of ‘Oh! I get it, I am more than the person sitting here in this golden bath is, and I think I understand, everything around me is gold. The gold is alive just like I am, it is me and I am it. Oh wait, I AM THE GOLD!’ Then joyful laughter (in my mind) as though I had just passed the biggest exam and was going to get a huge prize. For me the experience made me feel that the universe is alive, aware and intelligent. Do I think there is a big guy sitting on a throne up in the sky all angry because some Old Testament tribe didn't sacrifice the right kind of goat? Definitely not! But I do think that we are part of this huge web of love, intelligence, awareness and bliss all tied together by – well, what can you call it but the ‘Creator?’ I just thank the Creator that He, She, or It gave me this beautiful lesson about the nature of life.
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are possibly meaningful and significant
During your experience, did you gain information about the meaning of life? Uncertain Don't really know what it means but it sure is beautiful, beautiful, and beautiful!
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 probably exists Uncertain I just had the thought of "Oh! I get it...I am more than the person sitting here in this golden bath...I think I understand...everything around me is gold. The gold is alive just like I am...it is me and I am it...oh wait...I AM THE GOLD!" Then joyful l
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? Greatly fearful in living my earthly life
Were you fearful living your life after your experience? Slightly fearful in living my earthly life
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are possibly 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 Don't really know how to answer that because my experience was a really personal one that I think was meant to teach me a lesson in a way I could understand it. I don't know that my experience would mean anything to anyone else. I think each of us gets a customized lesson in understanding the nature of the universe around us. My family just laughed about it in a good natured way. Which is fine with me.
During your experience, did you gain information about life's difficulties, challenges and hardships? No No, nothing negative ever entered my mind.
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Slightly compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? Yes Yes, the element of gold is alive and is aware of love, just like everything else is...everything is all tied together and love seems to be the glue. That was my impression.
Were you compassionate after your experience? Moderately compassionate toward others
What life changes occurred in your life after your experience? Moderate changes in my life I am trying to become a more caring and compassionate person. I have done a great deal of reading about the history of the human race in order to try to understand it. I hope and believe that our life energy goes on in some form when we leave this body and I hope and believe that this same principle applies to animals and other living things as well.
The information I took away from my visit to the Golden Pyramid (silly as it sounds) is that we exist in a grid of life, all connected. You can have a human form or not a human form. It's all good.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? No No
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? No It wasn't difficult for me to explain. I told family and friends about it right away. I was very excited about it, although to this day I don't know for sure what it all means. My son and other family members still make jokes about it. To them it's just a nutty story that Mom tells once in a while.
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 It made a huge impression on me. I never told the doctor about it, nor any other medical professional. I don't think I was in any danger of dying, as when I came to everyone in the operation room seemed to be doing things in a very routine way.
So I can't say I know what it was. But I never forgot it, and think about it all the time and am happy that I got to experience such bliss. I have never heard of anyone having an experience like this during twilight sleep.
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? Don't really know how to answer that because my experience was a really personal one that I think was meant to teach me a lesson in a way I could understand it. I don't know that my experience would mean anything to anyone else. I think each of us gets a customized lesson in understanding the nature of the universe around us. My family just laughed about it in a good-natured way, which is fine with me.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes Gosh, I think I started talking about it the day of the surgery. Of course, I'm sure everyone thought I was doped up on the painkillers. No one to this day has seemed to care much about it but me.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Yes I had read Dr. Moody's books and other books about NDE experiences. However, I don't think I was influenced at all by anything I had read because ‘POOF’ I just found myself there in that golden place, and it certainly didn't resemble any NDE I had ever read about. No tunnel, no dead relatives, nothing like that.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real I felt it was very real to me, more real than any dream I had ever had. However, I'm not a brain doctor so I can't say with finality that it was real in the sense of what medical professionals consider real. It was real enough for me to think in a completely new way about the nature of our existence in the universe. I fear death a little less than I did. I still fear it, but not as much.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real . I don't really know what it was, but to me the experience was real because I never got the sense of being in anything but a real, concrete place. It was certainly happier and more beautiful than anything in what we call the ‘real’ world here. But again, I'm not a doctor or a chemist so I could not say what the effects of twilight sleep might do to the brain. Maybe chemicals are the bridge to the other world, which is just as real as this one, who knows.
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? I would be interested to know if anyone else out there has had anything similar happen to them during twilight sleep anesthesia. I've had numerous surgeries with general anesthesia, and there was nothing but blackness and then ‘time to wake up’ so those were uneventful.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? I can't think of how to improve the questionnaire, which is already very good. It's a great way for people to come forward and describe the events that they have experienced. I'm not sure if mine was an actual NDE, but I wanted to submit it because it did contain a few of the elements of an NDE and could possibly be helpful to those who make a scientific study of them.