During an echocardiogram of my heart subsequent to an MI, I became quite tired. I closed my eyes and then heard the words, 'we lost him'. I was told afterward that I had gone into cardiac arrest.
I found myself falling into a black abyss and I knew that I was dead. I recall thinking, 'so this is what it's like to be dead.' I felt a sense of regret that my wife would be alone and that I hadn't completed a number of tasks that I'd felt were necessary in my lifetime. Then I noticed my rate of fall slowing and then stopping. I noticed pinpoints of fuzzy light all around me, which gradually came into focus. The tiny lights were moving rapidly in all directions. It was then that I realized that a giant being dressed in a robe of brown, purple, and gold had broken my fall. I was lying in the being's arms in the fetal position and was naked and pink like a newborn. I asked the being what the tiny fast moving lights were and he replied that they were all spirits and that they were all going places. I also realized that I had left everything behind, that is all physical things, and that I was now completely pain free. An overwhelming feeling of peace and love, that cannot be described using language, enveloped me. There was no life review, no judgment, no trinity, no choirs of angels, no deceased friends or relatives, just a powerful feeling that I was loved and that I had returned to a state of spirit and that I was now 'home'. It came with a very strong sense of being welcomed back to the place from which I had come.
The being holding me turned very slowly towards what I sensed was light in my peripheral vision. I felt as if we were about to travel towards this light. It was not a bright light, just a sense of a light source in my peripheral vision.
The next thing that I can recall was being back in physical reality via the defibrillator and being told, 'Welcome back. We thought we'd lost you.' I had a strong sense of regret that I was back in the physical realm and realized I had been to the other side. I was promptly taken to surgery for an attempted angioplasty but was told that bypass surgery would be necessary as I had blockages in three arteries of 100%, 95% and 80%. The attending surgeon told my family not to expect much but that she would give it her best.
During the interval between resuscitation and surgery, my eyes were filled with tears and I cannot explain this. Surgery followed and I was taken to recovery. The surgeon noted that my heart had restarted on its own following the surgery and that no stimulation was required as if often the case. I was discharged a week later and continued my recovery at home.
Date NDE Occurred: 'July 14, 2006'
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Heart attack Clinical death (cessation of breathing or heart function or brain function)
I had an MI on July 12 with 40% damage affecting the inferior wall of the heart. It was too late for clot dissolving drugs. I was kept in hospital and then transferred to a cardiac facility in London. During the echocardiogram, I went into cardiac arrest, resulting in the NDE. I was then resuscitated via defibrillator.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Entirely pleasant
Did you feel separated from your body? No I knew that I was dead. I had on previous occasions been unconscious due to accidents or surgery but never had such an experience.
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 aware that the veil between life and the 'other side' is paper thin. The greatest awareness that came to me was that the teachings of churches which focus on guilt and the need for salvation via a savior or via some change in behavior are wrong. There is no judgment, no rating of one's life, no punishment for deeds done or not done, just an overwhelming feeling that one is loved.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? It was towards the end.
Were your thoughts speeded up? Faster than usual
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? No
Were your senses more vivid than usual? More vivid than usual
Please compare your vision during the experience to your everyday vision that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I'm not sure what you mean by this. It was more of a sense of awareness than vision and that sense was very powerful.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. My hearing was about the same.
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? I sensed their presence
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? No
The experience included: Void
The experience included: Darkness
Did you see, or feel surrounded by, a brilliant light? No
Did you see an unearthly light? No
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm The black abyss.
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? I felt love and peace and a complete lack of pain.
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
Did scenes from your past come back to you? No
Did scenes from the future come to you? No
The experience included: Boundary
Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure? 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? Slightly important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Christian- Protestant Although a church attending person, I had many questions and remained skeptical of many of Christianity's claims and teachings prior to the event. Afterward those feelings were confirmed and although I still attend, I no longer have questions, yet I realize that the teachings of the church are in many ways incorrect or simply wrong.
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes Doctrines, creeds, confessions and the overall teachings of the Christian church in terms of the atonement role of Christ are now seen by me to be wrong. I still believe in much of the narrative of Christianity but I now see that narrative as having a much different meaning that that expounded by the church.
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Greatly important to me
What is your religion now? Christian- Protestant Still attend but now treat attendance as more of a cultural experience than a religious or spiritual experience. Many times I'd like to take over the pulpit and tell people what is really on the other side and that the guilt preached by Christian churches is completely inappropriate.
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 Consistent: Love, peace, harmony, returning to God.
Inconsistent: No judgement, no trinity, no throne, no choirs of angels, no clouds or green pastures, no angels, no harps, none of the things described by the Christian church.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes
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 I was held in the arms of the being but did not see the being's face. The being did answer my question about the rapidly moving lights.
Did you see deceased or religious spirits? I sensed their presence
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.)? Yes I was held in the arms of a being but I did not see the being's face, only the arms which held me. In size terms, I would be maybe a foot long while the being was at least 25 feet high. The sense was that the being was divine, but not of a particular id
During your experience, did you gain information about premortal existence? Yes I had a sense that I had returned to the spirit realm and that this is the place from which I had originated prior to being born in the physical realm.
During your experience, did you gain information about universal connection or oneness? Uncertain See my comments above re spirits seen as points of rapidly moving light.
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 See my comments re being held in the arms of a divine being.
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? No No, but I wish I had. One thing that still troubles me to this day is that I was sent back without being asked. However, now that I'm back, I feel as if there must have been a reason. I have yet to discover that reason. Maybe it's not for something big. I don't know but I wish I did.
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 I did receive a sense that the human pursuit of things, status, wealth, power etc were completely meaningless and that all that remains of any importance is love.
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 A sense of returning home, to the realm from which I came was present. I have now no doubt that the spirit continues after physical death.
Did you fear death prior to your experience? I slightly feared death
Do you fear death after your experience? I do not fear death
Were you fearful living your life prior to your experience? Moderately 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 possibly meaningful and significant
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant after your experience? Are not 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? No
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Slightly compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? Yes The entire experience was one of unfathomable love.
Were you compassionate after your experience? Moderately compassionate toward others
What life changes occurred in your life after your experience? Large changes in my life The major change would be the realization that the things pursued on earth by humans are for the most part pointless and without meaning. The only things that are worthwhile are those that reinforce one's connection to God. For me that is the natural world, wildlife, communing with God in whatever way I can. I now feel a sense of pity for those who chase the elusive, the things they think will make them happy. I now know that these things won't. That includes my fellow church goers who I see participating in rites and rituals, confessions and creeds and things that they believe will get them in touch with God.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes Yes I am far less tolerant of toxic relationships. I have ended friendships with people when I realized they were sucking the life energy out of me.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes I have told very few people about this and a number that I have told have exhibited fear or skepticism. The most notable point is that words fail in trying to describe the experience.
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 as accurately as other life events that occurred around the time of the experience I'll never forget it. I no longer fear death and have a strong sense that the things I once thought important such as accumulating things or wealth are completely without meaning as these things are all left behind upon death.
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 suppose the whole thing is meaningful, but if I were to pick one thing it would be the gift of awareness that what we believe is meaningful on earth is likely not at all meaningful.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? No I shared the experience after few weeks and to a very small number. Some were very interested. Others looked skeptical; especially those who held strong religious beliefs, as if what I was saying threatened their beliefs or their faith in doctrine.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Uncertain I'd read a few newspaper articles about people passing through tunnels and seeing deceased relatives and a strong white light, but that was about all. I'd also read about people hovering over hospital beds and watching what was happening to them. This never happened to me, I went straight to the 'other side'.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real I viewed it as a gift, as a special vision of life after death. I still feel blessed by the experience.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real My faith in the experience has not wavered. I do wonder however, why I don't have a sense of what I should be doing with my life. I retired after the experience, partly for medical reasons and have no desire to return to what I was doing, yet a new 'path' has not revealed itself to me.
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? Only that I had a strong realization that I was dead.