Experience Description

A Brightly Guided Life: How a Scientist Learned to Hear Her Inner Wisdom    Click here for more information.

Chapter 1

Falling Into Darkness

IN SEPTEMBER of 1973, when I was nearly three, I fell into a reservoir of water located on the patio of the house where I grew up in Bogota, Colombia. This cement tank, about five feet deep, was above ground and held 900 gallons of frigid water. Bogota is a high-altitude city that can be quite chilly in the morning, and the water in the reservoir might have been below forty degrees Fahrenheit. The purpose of this deep tank was to collect water for hand-washing clothes, so next to the tank there was a small flat surface for scrubbing.

Early one morning after my parents had left for work, I and my two sisters Lis and Lili, none of us over three, were left at the house in the hands of the maid. She was a young lady who didn’t pay much attention to us when my parents were not around. That morning my oldest sister and I decided to play catch across the tank. The walls of the tank were high for us, so we grabbed some stools and managed to pull ourselves up. My sister sat comfortably on the flat surface next to the tank, and I kneeled precariously on the thin edge at the other side, so I had to make an extra effort to keep my balance.

What happened next still is so vivid in my mind that I can remember every detail, like it happened yesterday. My sister and I were playing with two medium sized balls, one dark yellow and the other green. The balls had the letters of the alphabet engraved on them, next to pictures of an animal or an object. We were throwing the balls to each other when the yellow ball slipped from my hands. I tried to grab it but it rolled on the surface of the water. Then I lost my balance and fell into this dark and seemingly bottomless hole. My eyes locked onto the picture of a smiling white bunny painted on the ball as I was falling, and I can still feel the texture of the letters slipping through my fingers.

The first feeling of the plunge was a shocking coldness. My body convulsed violently, and it felt like my chest was imploding. My desperation was intense, as I couldn’t breathe. When I touched bottom I instinctively thrust upward with my feet, but I rapidly sank again and then my body became unresponsive. I could hear my sister screaming distantly from the surface, trying to reach me, but there wasn’t anything she could do; she was too little to reach me. I could feel my heart pounding in my head like a base drum; with eyes open, I stared hopelessly into the darkness.

Then suddenly came a feeling of total relief. I didn’t know why then, but I was at peace and there was no anguish. My heart stopped pounding; everything turned absolutely still; I was no longer cold and didn’t feel like fighting anymore. My body simply became insubstantial. Then I noticed that a dim light, like a candle, had somehow begun glowing, just enough to illuminate my watery surrounding. I could see little bubbles, and then behind them I noticed a body suspended in the water. I remember looking curiously at its expressionless face and seeing the eyes staring, wide open.

This was my own lifeless body, but I was neither surprised nor frightened to recognize it. Instead I felt an immense joy and freedom, and soon the image of my body was replaced by the most beautiful flowers blooming from nowhere. And before I knew it, I was somehow being lifted and carried away by the flowers.

In hindsight, it’s no wonder that I was relieved to be freed from the burden of my body, as I was a very fragile and sick baby and always felt unwell. As the mysterious flowers lifted me away, everything felt peaceful and bright; at last I was free from the aches and pain I had carried since birth. So I simply kept going away without ever looking back at that body.

I then abruptly found myself in the maid’s bedroom, looking down on her lounging on the bed. She was listening to the radio, unaware of what happened to me. Next, I was looking at my mom walking down the street several blocks away from the house, coming up on her bus stop. Time and distance had vanished for me; I could be anywhere at any time. It wasn’t until that moment that I realized that I didn’t possess a defined form. I could communicate with everything and I was part of everything. It was like the Wholeness and I were one. As I sank into an atmosphere of pure bright light I had the clear awareness that before I became human, I was a being made of pure light, just as I was now.

While I was experiencing this blissful state of being, my mom suddenly sensed an intense feeling of dread. She turned around and ran back home, as fast as she could; when she came into the house she knew exactly where to go. On the patio she found my oldest sister leaning into the tank, helplessly wailing to her, 'Ingrid is in there and I can’t reach her!'

When my mom pulled my lifeless body out of the water, several minutes had passed. My lips were blue, my body cold, my skin pale and I had no pulse. She was trained in CPR so she pushed her fingers into my little chest and blew air into my lungs until I began choking and gurgling. I don’t remember feeling anything when she was trying to revive me; by that time I was far away. Suddenly I was falling, as if I had jumped from the top of the tallest high-rise in the world, feeling as if I was being sucked back into my body like it was a vacuum. Then came the return of the intense, agonizing cold, I knew that I was back.

When all of this happened to me I was just a baby. I didn’t have any preconceived notions about a near-death experience (NDE). At the time I was too little even to understand that I had essentially died. All I knew was that I’d left my body and went to a place of indescribable well-being. However, this experience didn’t feel unfamiliar to me; somehow I comprehended that the current life that I was living was just a continuation of a very long existence.

As I grew up and remembered my drowning, I could never get away from the question, 'How could I have seen my body lifeless if I was still alive?' This experience made it clear to me that there was an existence beyond the body. Like the shell of a crab is an extension of the crab itself, our body is also but a shell, and when it is not needed it will fall away. Before I was three, I was gifted with knowing that I had existed for a very long time. In fact, I have come and gone in different realms many more times, wearing many different shells.

Chapter 2

The Beings of Light

FOR ABOUT A year after my young near-death experience, often while falling asleep, I started seeing colors, hearing sounds, and feeling motions like the ones I experienced during my drowning. Time would start to slow down, then abruptly speed up. It also felt as if for an instant I was being taken somewhere else, then I’d experience a vacuum inside my belly and chest while being pulled back in. This feeling was disturbing indeed, but it came with a glimpse of a dimension I had been part of, and wanted to go back to. I was completely unaware at the time that I was having out-of-body experiences.

Over time the length of these journeys increased, and the uncomfortable feeling of falling back into my body simply vanished. The dramatic changes in colors, sounds and movements persisted but they stopped bothering me. In fact I looked forward to them, because they opened the door into a very serene place where I felt completely calm, free and safe.

Since my NDE my health had deteriorated; I refused to eat and often felt upset. I would look at myself in the mirror, scratch my face, and pull my hair out while hysterically crying. Then I would run to my mom and scream out loud, 'You don’t understand! I am not this person, this is not me, this is not my name. I should not be here!' Patiently she would hug me, wipe away my tears and murmur, 'Don’t say things like that, you are a smart and pretty girl. God has given you this life and you should be thankful.' Since I wasn’t able to communicate my feelings in a way that people could understand, I became frustrated and increasingly isolated myself from the world. Most of the time I just wanted to be left alone. My sisters were too young to understand what was happening, and my parents were too busy working and trying to survive day to day, so they did what they could to deal with a very challenging situation.

Thankfully, the help that I needed arrived in a most unexpected way. Right after my fourth birthday, during one of my vivid journeys, I was surrounded by star like figures of pure light shining everywhere. They were of different sizes and the colors were mostly white, silver and gold. Suddenly, one of them, shining in pure gold, shaped itself into a human form and moved toward me until I sensed its touch. Feeling absolutely astonished I said, 'Wow! You are a Being of Light,' and then I snapped awake.

Afterwards I kept seeing the lights frequently while sleeping, so I became eager to go to bed. During some of the visits, many of them would be shaped as humans; others remained shapeless bright light. It was chiefly the golden ones which adopted human form; on very rare occasions blue and silver transformed. Regardless, I knew that each of them was a Being. Each time that we were together I sensed the deep feeling of joy that one can experience upon returning home after being homesick for a long time. I always felt more peaceful and healthier, and began interacting more with my family. I told them that I felt good because I was meeting Beings of Light while I slept. My parents felt relieved because I was sleeping well, feeling better and having good dreams.

For a while I could only see these beings when I went to bed, but before long they started to appear anytime, anywhere. The first time I saw one with my eyes open, I stood in the shower, relaxing as the water washed over me. Suddenly, an intense and astonishing blue light flashed on before me, staying for a few seconds before it vanished. Even at four years old, I knew it was a Being of Light.

I felt both thrilled and peaceful at the same time. They kept reappearing often, sometimes bringing with them the delightful fragrance of flowers. They didn’t say or do anything in particular, but they were so stunning — and I felt so loved in their presence — that nothing more than their presence was needed.

I first heard them talk after I threw a big temper tantrum. Since my NDE I didn’t identify with my name, and sometimes I felt bothered about people calling me Ingrid. That particular day I got very angry at the maid for calling my name repeatedly. I turned to her and said, 'Don’t you understand, that is not my name!'

'Okay, so what is your name?' she replied exasperated.

'I don’t need one,' I answered, then got very mad and walked away crying. That night as I fell asleep the bright golden Being of Light embraced me and I heard a voice talking in a very loving and clear manner. 'It is going to take a while for anyone around you to understand.'

'Understand what?' I asked, feeling confused and astounded.

'Understand that your True Self does not need a name. As you are discovering, names are not needed in the realm of the Light.'

'You’re right!' I affirmed.

'All things that you are experiencing,' the Being continued, 'and the ones that you will experience, are all gifts given to you to help yourself and others.'

'I don’t understand; how am I helping anyone?' I asked. All I’d been hearing from people was that my behavior was not helping.

'More than you imagine,' it answered. 'But don’t worry because eventually everything will be clear to you, and you will be able to communicate with everyone in a way that they will understand. For now, just stay calm and don’t mention this conversation to anyone because they are not ready to understand. Remember we are here and you can talk to us; we are always listening.'

Still, it was hard for me to understand why nobody could understand me. Why did I feel so peaceful with the Beings of Light, but so uneasy when surrounded by humans? I couldn’t understand why this was happening to me, to which the Voice simply replied, 'Because you are special and you are beginning to know it.'

Then I said, 'What do you mean that I am special?'

'Everyone is special, but they don’t all know it yet. Just remember you are not alone and you will meet people to help you walk your path, so you do not need to worry.'

Then all was quiet. After receiving this message I felt a lot calmer, and even though things were not still clear in my mind, I didn’t need to ask any more questions. My tantrums stopped and for a while I felt at peace. But the question of 'Why me?' continued to resurface throughout the course of my life. Only when I was a little older could I understand that the Beings of Light had started to teach me faith and trust. All problems could be resolved if I’d just allow myself to rest calmly in the caring hands of Divine Guidance; but I was very resistant, and that resistance would bring a great deal of pain in my life.

Background Information:

Gender: Female

Date NDE Occurred: September 1973

NDE Elements:

At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Accident Drowning CPR given Clinical death (cessation of breathing or heart function) Yes, I drowned after falling in a tank filled with frigid water.

How do you consider the content of your experience? Entirely pleasant

The experience included: Out of body experience

Did you feel separated from your body? Yes While I was drowning, I was in the care of the maid but she was unaware that I was drowning (as I explained above in the chapter 1 of the book). Sometime after I left my body I found myself looking at the maid from above, she was lounging on her bed and clearly remember that she was listening to a soap-opera on the radio, then I saw my mom walking down the street a few blocks away from the house on the way to catch her bus to work and then I saw her turning back and running. All this was later verified by my mom. 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 could hear, see and sense everything with absolute clarity, I could be anywhere at any time and I could comprehend and know things that I had never learned before in my short three years of life. Although the tank where I fell was dark I could see light.

At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? When I was out of my body. There was a point during the experience when I reached a state where I had absolute clarity of who I was in essence, and learned that I was a being made of pure bright light. Although I was too young at the time of the experience the level of clarity I gained made it impossible for me to ever forget the experience. I was also born as a very sick and fragile baby and was sick during my infancy. During the NDE I felt such a state of well-being which caused such an impact in my mind that it made it impossible for me to forget. The contrast between being sick for three years and suddenly completely free from sickness was beyond anything I could forget.

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. At the beginning everything was very fast, I could be anywhere at anytime and then there was no place or no time.

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. Wherever I put my mind my senses went, I could see everything with absolute clarity and sharpness.

Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I experienced what silence means. It was the most amazing, quiet and peaceful silence I have ever experienced. I grew up surrounded by siblings and cousins, plus birds, dogs, cats, in a very busy and noisy city. After the experience everything was too noisy and I wanted to go back to the peaceful silence.

Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere, as if by ESP? Yes, and the facts have been checked out

The experience included: Passing into or through a tunnel

Did you pass into or through a tunnel? Yes There was not an enclosed tunnel, but at the beginning I was lifted and carried by flowers blooming from nowhere in a forward direction towards a very soft and soothing light, then suddenly I appeared at the maid's room and then saw my mom walking and running back and then I saw the streets of the city, the people and the mountains and then suddenly I was engulfed by pure bright light.

Did you see any beings in your experience? No

Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? Uncertain I sensed that I was not alone and felt the presence of other beings but I could not see them, I sensed familiarity with these presences but I only could see light. Only later when I started to communicate with Beings of Light I realized that they were the ones I sensed during the NDE. During the NDE I had the knowing (realization) that I was also a Being of Light.

The experience included: Void

The experience included: Darkness

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 At the beginning there was Darkness since the tank was deep and very dark, and then a soft light, like the light of a candle was lit and it illuminated my whole watery surrounding, I saw bubbles surrounded by light which made me look around to find my lifeless body. Then I was carried by floating flowers in forward direction towards a soft and soothing light. Towards the end of the experience before I came back I was engulfed by an absolute pure, intense and bright light.

The experience included: An unearthly landscape or city

Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm Yes, the realm of the light, at some point I was engulfed by pure bright light where nothing else was and knowledge was available.

What emotions did you feel during the experience? After I left the body I experienced a state bliss, peace, joy, freedom, well-being, amazement, and the more I advanced into the experience I felt absolute serenity. It is hard to explain but the more I was there the less I felt anything until there were no emotions......I experienced a state of nothingness (absence of color, form, sound, feeling or meaning...) By the way I never thought about coming back.

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 I was one with everything and nothing needed to be asked or understood. I was the essence of everything. There was no need of explanations.

The experience included: Life Review

Did scenes from your past come back to you? No I learned that before I was born as Ingrid I was a Being of Light for a while and then the whole experience became very familiar to me. I became aware that this was not the first time I had been in the realm of the light. I had been there many other times and it felt like going back home. Later in my life I was able to access past lives and also had visions of the future.

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? I came to a barrier that I was not permitted to cross; or was sent back against my will

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? Christian- Catholic I was way too little, almost three, when my NDE happened. My parents were raised as Catholics, but were not very devoted. I was baptized and they went to church every other Sunday.

Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes I don't follow any religion in particular, I am open minded and love to learn about all beliefs and religions. I respect everybody's beliefs and use practices of meditation and prayers from different religions. I am compassionate and gentle and simply love to learn, give and share. I turned away from the Catholic beliefs since I was very young (age 11) because to me God was pure love and I couldn't accept the idea of sin, guilt or punishment. Only love is real.

What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Greatly important to me

What is your religion now? Other or several faiths I am a very open minded, I don't deny anything or go against anything. I like to learn, participate and study all faiths. I don't practice any religion in particular but I use the teachings from many different ones when I pray and meditate.

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 was too little to even know the meaning of death or that I had drowned. I just felt amazingly good, a sense of well-being that I had not experienced from the time I was born. I was a fragile and sick baby. So during the first part of the NDE this experience was great and new to me, as I advanced during the experience I recognized the familiarity of the what was happening. I became aware that this experience of being in the realm of the light had already happened many other times.

Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Uncertain It’s difficult for me to know what my beliefs and values were before my NDE because of my young age. But thanks to the connection with the Beings of Light and my loving family I have tried to live my life with a loving, open heart with compassion for all living beings.

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? Yes I became aware that prior to this incarnation I was a Being of Light. I became aware that I had always existed and that what was happening at that moment was normal. The whole experience was familiar to me, there was nothing to be fearful for. It was like returning home.

During your experience, did you gain information about universal connection or oneness? Yes Yes, I sensed that I was one with everything but at the same time I was still having a sense of self. I didn't have a defined form and I was part of everything. I want to add that I also experienced nothingness (the absence of everything the senses and the feelings can perceive). It is beyond words.......

Did you believe in the existence of God prior to your experience? Unknown

During your experience, did you gain information about the existence of God? Uncertain I didn't know the meaning of God before the NDE, but during the NDE I experienced absolute bliss, love and joy beyond anything I had ever experienced in my human form and that is what I recognize as God.

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

Did you believe that our earthly lives Are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Unknown

During your experience, did you gain information about the meaning of life? No

Did you believe in an afterlife prior to your experience? Unknown

Do you believe in an afterlife after your experience? An afterlife definitely exists Yes I became aware that I had always existed and that what was happening at that moment was normal. The whole experience was familiar to me, there was nothing to be fearful for. It was like returning home. At some point I became completely aware that I didn't have a defined form but I was still a being. I was completely alive. There is no death, there is only life.

Did you fear death prior to your experience? I did not fear death

Do you fear death after your experience? I do not fear death

Were you fearful living your life prior to your experience? Unknown

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? Unknown

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? No

Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Unknown

During your experience, did you gain information about love? Yes There was nothing that was not love. It is not the love that we know on earth. It doesn't have to do anything with feelings. It is like when you cannot breath and now everything is air. It is the essence of everything. It is what we are. I don't know if I would call it love, or bliss, or peace, or oneness, it is simply an indescribable sense of belonging to everything, of being everything, of being at home.

Were you compassionate after your experience? Greatly compassionate toward others

What life changes occurred in your life after your experience? Large changes in my life I wrote a whole book about experiences following my NDE. The door that allowed me to communicate with Beings of Light was opened. Although I was too little and I didn't have a defined personality when it happened my NDE changed everything. It gave me the first glimpses of a life of conscious awareness. I have had experiences where I demonstrated superhuman strength and fearlessness, as well as experiences where I was protected in miraculous ways by the beings of the non-physical realm. I have incredible abilities to learn quickly and to resolve complex mathematical and mechanical problems. I have had some experiences in other dimensions of time in which my being and my surroundings dissolved into nothingness. I have been given psychic abilities with access to past lives and future events, I can sense spirits and I also have extrasensory abilities to see, hear, smell, taste, and know beyond the normal of the things I am allowed to know. I can see auroras and I have been able to manifest energy coming from my hands. I can communicate with plants and animals.

Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes After the NDE I couldn't relate with people, I felt detached from my body and I didn't want to be here. I wanted to go back there. I didn't want to be called my name and in fact after all these years (43) I am still feeling detached. Growing up I felt different from everybody else, until I started to meet people with similar experiences then my life took a better turn.

After the NDE:

Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes I was too little to even comprehend what had happened or even express it. Only through time I learned from my mom that I had drowned. In the aftermath of the NDE I started to have out-of-body experiences which I couldn't explain either and then I started to communicate with celestial beings which I called "Beings of Light". At the time when I mentioned it to my parents they thought that I was dreaming, but as the time passed they realized that I could see auras, energy and even spirits. Through the Beings of Light, my mother and other people I started to learn and understand years later what had happened the day of the drowning.

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. My memory is remarkable. I have clear memories that go all the way back to my infancy; however, from all the memories this one of my NDE is still absolutely vivid in my mind, as if it just happened.

Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes As I mentioned above I started to communicate with Beings of Light, and later I became aware that I could see auras, energy and even spirits. I had access to past lives and visions of the future. I had psychic and extrasensory abilities.

Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? All of it, it is absolutely amazing to know that we are eternal, that death doesn't exist and that we are made of light. We are always surrounded by celestial beings and we are the pure essence of God. We are God.

Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I started to talk about it more open with my grandma, mom and some friends during my teenage years, but then I went silent for a few years until my late thirties. My experiences have changed drastically the lives of many people around me and I just wrote and published a book called: A Brightly Guided Life: How a Scientist Learned to Hear Her Inner Wisdom.

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 At such a young age I don’t really know what I thought. I didn’t even understand I had died.

What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real It always has been real, even today. It is absolutely clear in my mind, and all the experiences that followed the NDE made it even more real. Not long after my NDE and throughout the course of my life I have had many Out of body experiences and mystical experiences that resembled my NDE making it impossible for me to forget it. During the Out of body experiences I had the same vacuum feeling of returning to my body as I did in the NDE.

At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Yes After the NDE I had many out-of-body and mystical experiences with similar feelings.

Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? My NDE definitely changed the course of my life. I am so grateful for it because it brought me to a life of awareness. The path has not been easy at all, but it had been absolutely worth it. I became a scientist which I chose to be since I was four years old and I have been able to bring many spiritual teachings into the life of people that otherwise never would have had direct access. It has been a blessing. I also want to add that during my NDE I didn't experience any boundaries nor anybody told me to comeback. While I was in the realm of the light there was not contrast whatsoever, so there was nothing to judge, or compare with, or to choose from, or the resist. There was only serenity, peace, gentleness and the knowing that what was happening to me was normal and would continue to happen. There was no resistance I just was there being. After I became aware that I had been a Being of Light before and that everything was perfectly fine I remained there merged in blissfulness until suddenly I was sucked back into my body like it was a vacuum. Then came the return of the intense, agonizing cold, the contrast was so intense that I knew that I was back.

Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? I think the questionnaire was good, a little repetitive at times, but sometime more is better than less.