The experience took place during the summer of 2002 while I was in Afghanistan as a reporter covering stories for media outlets that I worked for. After the invasion of Afghanistan by the Americans, I was sent to Kabul as a correspondent from my country. I stayed for three months. One afternoon toward the end of August, while I traveled with a journalist friend from New Zealand to one of the encampments of the International Peacekeeping Forces (ISAF) to buy some beer and celebrate the birthday of my companion, we had a very serious accident that involved several vehicles. Our vehicle, an all-terrain vehicle, turned over several times (I remember two). My companion was killed in the accident. Miraculously, the driver and I survived. Among other things, I fractured my skull and was placed in observation for several days because of internal bleeding.
Regarding the experience, I must say that my memory of it has returned little by little and I am not sure whether my recollections are real or the result of my imagination. Beforehand I was very well-read in NDE studies and was aware of Doctor Raymond Moody's work. What I remember for sure is that I was not in any tunnel. More than any memories, I have vague feelings that I would like to relive in order to clear up in my mind. I do remember feeling good, accompanied by someone who looked to me like Jesus although I didn't see his face at any time. He was a calming being who accompanied me flying above the accident scene while explaining things to me. I remember flying above the accident scene and seeing myself lying on the ground. During that time, feelings of total incomprehension come over me although I was guided through the experience wrapped in a secure, warm feeling. The first thing I thought about was what will happen to my family when they find out about the accident without having the opportunity of seeing me and prove to themselves that I am really okay. These thoughts seem to be read by my 'imaginary' companion who tells me, 'Look, there you are down there, but don't worry. You will return and will be okay.' Or something of the sort. These are calming assurances with an archetypal power.
I am immediately overcome by feelings of guilt because I see my reporter friend and fear that he will not return. My 'imaginary' companion responds by saying, 'Don't worry about him. He has decided to remain here. You will return but he will stay.' By his words, I understand the message that there is no conflict with death. There is no reason to grieve.
Afterwards, my memories become mixed up because I regain consciousness and I see myself in an ambulance surrounded by doctors and cables. One of them notices I have become conscious and tells the others. He bends over me and while shining a light in my eye asks absurd questions, like if I know where I am, do I know what happened to me. What's curious is that I reply in perfect English (the doctor and medics were German soldiers from the peacekeeping forces ISAF) despite the blow to my head, the confusion, the sedative and the fact that my native language is Spanish and I am not perfectly bilingual. I remember that my first obsession was to see if I could move my fingers and toes. Once I proved that I could move them, I gave myself over to the situation with complete calm. At no time during my return to consciousness did I lose control. I had the absolute assurance that nothing bad was going to happen to me. Not because of something that was said, but as a feeling that wasn't even conscious. It was like living in a state of tranquility. With the passage of time, I have understood that this was surely because of the effects of the morphine. I also understood why soldiers always make sure to carry morphine with them into combat; it is a perfect artificial paradise in the midst of war.
Many things don't make sense to me about what happened. I think the experience can be seen as a modification of the effects of the tranquilizers. I also want to express that when someone spends two months in a war situation, this changes ones mental workings and perceptions very much. It's a form of temporary insanity. Life isn't the same in hindsight or at a distance. Even if you don't experience combat on the front lines (something also difficult to do in the computerized wars of this new century) your consciousness of necessity changes to assimilate certain things.
What I would like after relating this is for someone to who has had a similar experience to answer all the unanswered questions I have - so many I don't know where to begin.
What's certain is that I am no longer the same since having this experience, nor do I believe I would exchange my present life for my past although my life now is much more difficult and challenging - but also much more real.
Certainly, I am grateful for having survived, but since that time I am more lost than ever and no longer have the illusions of life that I had before. It's as if I have had to completely change the direction of my whole life and I resist doing so.
Date NDE Occurred: 23 agosto 2002
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? No Accident Other no podría especificar ninguna. Sufrí un traumatismo craneoencefálico, pero no he tenido posibilidad de cotejar con los militares que me atendieron lo que sucedió durante mi asistencia.
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 lost awareness of my body
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 It's the sensation of possessing a complete understanding of all things, to comprehend any scientific theory only by thinking of it. But more than understanding it, to feel it inside. It's like 'being' the theory of relativity, not just to understand it, but to be it.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? I don't remember for sure, perhaps before waking up in the ambulance. But since it is an experience that I have begun remembering with the passage of time - I don't know how to answer that. Some nights the scene returns to me with great force and perfect clarity and I have the habit of taking notes. They are vivid dreams that I return from with different sensations. Although the most common is to adjust a part of the dream to conform more to the puzzle I am putting together in my mind.
Were your thoughts speeded up? Faster than usual
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning Indescribable. The whole experience itself develops within a non-existent place where time and space don't exist as our minds normally conceive them to be.
Were your senses more vivid than usual? Incredibly more vivid
Did your vision differ in any way from normal? I'm not accustomed to seeing myself from above myself - he he.
Did your hearing differ in any way from normal? It's more than having the capacity to hear. It's having the capacity to hear without ears, to hear internally.
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 I don't remember.
Did you see any beings in your experience? I actually saw them
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? Uncertain I have vague memories that could well belong to my imagination which is why I haven't written about them in detail. I think they are part of what I have added to the story in my mind over time, but I don't have the certainty of having seen any family member or friend.
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? No
The experience included: A landscape or city
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Speed, calm, the warmth of my mother's home, perhaps that of the womb.
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Relief or calmness
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 With all of these questions I have the sensation that part of the information is blocked; as if it were inside me but I lack the ability to find it.
Did scenes from the future come to you? Scenes from the world's future What happens to me now is that I am able to know events before they occur, not that an airplane is going to crash or the numbers of the lottery, but things closer to my life and the people who are part of my life. They are usually in the form of thoughts that later come true. It's as if I have been given the perception of how things in this life are organized, why something happens instead of something else. It's like a lesson that no matter what happens it's all okay, although when I'm emotionally down keeping this feeling requires effort.
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? 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? Liberal creo en Dios, pero muy a mi manera.
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes Before, I believed in God but not much in the Catholic Church. Now I prefer to say that I understand better what God is and what certain aspects of life are about, although at times it is hard to remember what they are.
What is your religion now? Liberal
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes Before, I believed in God but not much in the Catholic Church. Now I prefer to say that I understand better what God is and what certain aspects of life are about, although at times it is hard to remember what they are.
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? Uncertain Perhaps I learned the reason for my own existence as well as that of all other beings here on earth. Not as something personal, but rather as something general.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes I definitely tend to be more isolated. I internalize things more and I enjoy being silent for what seems an eternity. Many times, I feel completely alone when being surrounded by people at the same time - 'alone together.' I no longer see tragedies as such and things don't affect me the way they used to. My susceptibility to being impressed has lowered or changed.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes There are great unanswered questions in my mind about what happened.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Uncertain I don't consider it a gift. Nor does it seem extraordinary. I don't want to convey the impression by what I have said above that I have received an extraordinary gift. I simply have the ability to see beyond many situations and that my intuition has awakened like crazy since my experience; but I am sure that it is something we all have hidden and undeveloped within ourselves and that anybody can exercise it or activate it at any time.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? I wouldn't know what to say about this.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes After several weeks, perhaps months had passed. Before, I had to recount the experience to myself, which wasn't easy although I am someone who is very open minded about many things. The reactions of those I have told were to listen with respect, but nobody had any questions - which is why I have contacted you.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Yes I explained that above. The phenomenon always interested me, but nothing like living through it in person.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was probably real.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was probably real. In some ways it is now more mature and complete, although as I said before, I would like to finish putting all the pieces of the puzzle together in some way.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Yes Psilocybin mushrooms. I have had certain experiences with these mushrooms, in low doses and controlled by a friend - not in a clearly defined way, but more as an internalized experience. The experiences have been an expansion of consciousness. I have again felt on occasion under the influence of these mushrooms, the emotional warmth, more or less, that I felt during the accident.