I came across your website the other day and laughed at myself for not having thought of looking for a site like yours before this. As rare as these so called near death experiences may be, there seems to be many people who have had them. You would think that over a thirty-six year period, I would have at least encountered one other individual that I could relate to, but unfortunately, I have not. Perhaps if you accept my account and publish it on your site I will finally have the opportunity to talk to some of these other people. I have wanted to communicate the things I have understood for a very long time, and have related my experiences to many people but it has become obvious that it's something that many people simply cannot relate to completely. Some find it interesting but you can tell many, by the looks on their faces, find me a little odd.
I've had three experiences in my life, but first I'd like to point out that whoever coined the phrase 'near death experience' probably never had one. I can assure you there is nothing half way or 'near' about dying, even if you are fortunate enough to come back from such an experience, dying is quite absolute. It would be like telling a woman who had a spontaneous miscarriage at eight and half months that she was never actually pregnant but merely had a 'near pregnant experience'.
The first time I died was in the summer of 1968 when I was four years old. I drowned. People seem quite surprised that I remember something from that age. I would have to agree. There isn't much else I could say, but a traumatic event like drowning tends to burn itself into your mind. I can recall every detail as if it had just happened. As you would probably expect, it is not a pleasant experience.
As soon as I had difficulty reaching the surface to get a breath, I panicked. And as soon as I failed to reach the surface at all, that panic escalated almost instantaneously to absolute terror. Simply being aware that I could not take a breath of water, I held off doing so for as long as possible; but the pain I felt shot up so fast, like fire going from blue to yellow the white. It became white hot so quickly that I couldn't distinguish whether it was white hot, white cold, or simply white. Before I took that breath of water, I simply abandoned my life, psychologically, and in that letting go, was immediately embraced with the most profound sense of peace and calm. I always thought it must be like being in your mother's womb, the sense of weightlessness, floating in this perfect fluid that had no sense of temperature; it simply matched that of my whole being. And a comforting, quiet, dull white hum of a noise. Every sense felt this perfect comfort of an absolute love and belonging. I simply became this perfect white light.
That was where that experience ended. The neighbor had apparently seen me standing out on the dock and the next time he looked up I was gone. I heard later that he almost took the door to his cottage off its hinges when he bust through it, covered a significant stretch of beach in a matter of strides and managed to locate me under water quick enough for me to be typing these words today. He knows who he is, and thank you again. The next thing I recall was the unpleasant vomiting up water, where, because you have fluid in your lungs, each time you cough some out, you have that automatic response of gasping for air so quickly that you inhale some of the water you just tried to expel. That part is not pleasant at all, which is somewhat of a drag, seeing as a moment ago you were in the most blissful state.
The second death experience I had was when I was nineteen. Now this is where I fully expect to lose many people, since it was an overdose of magic mushrooms that led to this experience. I accept the fact that many may presume that I simply had a hallucination, which I probably would have thought myself, had I not had the previous experience. It wasn't an intentional overdose; it was just idiotic, juvenile exuberance since I had never seen an entire platter heaped with magic mushrooms before. About an hour later I didn't feel well at all and went to the bathroom to see if I could wait this out. I realized I was in serious trouble when, while sitting on the toilet, I began to lose all function of my body, and I could not have gotten up or called for help even if I wanted to.
All of a sudden, I was on the ceiling looking back at my body. I didn't spend much time even contemplating this because I was no longer in that body, that wasn't me, I was up here on the ceiling, so it was easy to leave that shell behind. I turned away from my body and simply went through the ceiling, quickly flew above the city, and was immediately hurling through space. I remember at the very beginning passing planets in our solar system like Saturn and Jupiter and thinking it odd that I could see such vivid detail. (Years later I was watching the news and they were announcing the discovery of other moons around one of the planets and I had already seen what they were talking about.) I seemed to have lots of time to observe what I was going by, but at the same time was aware I was going too fast to have time to do this. It just revealed that I wasn't in normal space/time; I was somehow outside of it yet able to observe and experience things simultaneously at differing levels of space and time. Right away, I was rocketing through what seemed to be just empty space, heading towards a distant point of light. It quickly grew in size as I approached it, and realized that this was the same pure white light I had experienced at four. It is the most absolute, pure light that never hurts to look at, probably because you're not actually looking at it with physical eyes, even though the sensation is that of seeing, it's simply a sight of the mind. It was like a sun or a planet of light until I got close enough to see more detail. It was at that moment, where seeing this detail, that what could only be described as 'all' was revealed, and even that is a poor description of what is conveyed to you. The detail I can only describe as billions and billions of 'bit's' of light both spiraling back to and away from this 'body of light', which is simply a more visual description of what we call God. We quite simply are God in as much as this whole body of light cannot be that whole without all its parts or 'bit's' of light.
There was a perfect harmony to this process, and it was as if all understanding was conveyed upon seeing this. The very next thought I had was that there was a harmony and a time when I was to come and rejoin this 'body of light', it just wasn't now -- WHAM!!! -- The instant I had that thought, I was hurled all the way back and slammed back into my body, and my eyes snapped open. I knew exactly where I was, why I was there, and still had this experience completely alive within me. 'Oh my God, I know the answer to life and the universe.' I thought to myself, 'If I could just get off the toilet and tell someone.' But I couldn't move, I was back in my body but my body was still dead. I must have sat there for at least a minute or more before I realized I wasn't breathing. Oh, that's not good. Breathing would be a really good idea right about now. Breathe!! Come on, breathe!! I was starting to panic a bit, and somehow gave myself some kind of mental shock, you know, 'Charge to twenty -- clear -- whuuump!! Just enough it seemed to allow me slam my body into the wall a couple of times to bang the life back into my limbs.
I finally recovered enough, after sitting there for another twenty minutes or so, to get up and leave the bathroom stall. When I saw myself in the mirror, I still looked somewhat dead, in that my coloring was a real sickly grey, and I was covered in sweat. It was then that I became quite physically conscious of the fact that my heart probably did stop, even if only for a moment or two. As I said you step out of normal space and time, so that even an experience that seemed to involve a great deal of time could actually occur in a fraction of a second. As I opened the bathroom door, a rather jovial, quite wasted co-worker of mine took one look at me and said, 'Holy s--t, you don't look to hot man, you should probably go home -- cause you're, like -- grey man!!' 'Sounds like a plan,' I manage to say, and realized that explaining life and the universe is going to have to wait.
Now, the third experience happened just before Christmas of last year, 2003, and is still somewhat unfolding even now. Looking back, it seems that the events of 9/11 set something in motion. That seems to be when I really started to notice a pain in my chest, right where the rib cage parts, where the solar plexus is. Someone told me that's one of your chakras, or you're center. Between September 11 and last Christmas, that pain just steadily grew; brought on by a number of very stressful personal events that really aren't important to detail. I finally found myself in way too much pain, all in this one spot. It was simply too much pain for me to logically accept as being all mine. Even if every single day of my life had been some torturous hell, it wouldn't add up to this much pain. It simply couldn't be my pain; it could only be the pain I was seeing in the world. I had simply lost the ability to tune any of it out anymore. I believe we are all exposed to the same pain of the world every day; we just have our own unique way of tempering it somehow -- drugs, alcohol, work, relationships, religion -- whatever. I simply couldn't shut any of it out any more and it was killing me.
I couldn't distinguish anxiety from stress from nausea or hunger. It all felt the same, all in the same spot in my chest. I spent month's every day feeling like I was about to have a heart attack. No! No such luck. And the pain just kept growing. Every day I thought I simply can't withstand any greater pain, it can't possibly get any worse -- but it did.
Then one day, around the 12th of December of last year, I had this third experience. It wasn't so much a physical death but rather a psychological collapse of the mind. I couldn't help but relate it to the collapsing of a universe. I had seen this show with physicist Steven Hawking explaining the nature and origin of the universe, and I could relate to the way he, by working backwards and collapsing it, was able to mathematically quantify the entire universe back to its origins in what he referred to as the 'Unified Singularity'. This collapse of the mind started with trying to make sense of this profound pain I felt. I wasn't trying to do anything specific but as I started to work backwards, taking an existing situation and examining all the components that made it up, and then taking each component and examining what it was that made that thing true, very quickly my mind started to just go - on its own. I sat there more like a spectator than the participant and just noticed all the things that my mind was working through. Each time I moved further back the faster this process became. Then it got to a state where, like the flying back to the 'body of light', I was at first bewildered by the fact that I could comprehend everything that was occurring and then it got so fast that I started to become quite afraid. The further back I went the faster it got and the more simple it became, until it reached the end with one word. And it didn't matter which word I chose, I could go around in circles with any one word.
I sat there waiting to die. I was sure that my mind had just completely collapsed, and that this must be what happens to someone right before they have a brain aneurism or spontaneously combust. The inside of my head, my brain, whatever, was just buzzing. It felt like the back of my brain had just swollen to twice its size and the back of my head had swollen as well. And I waited, and waited, and waited. But I didn't die.
I really don't know how I felt about that. Part of me was relieved, sure. But the more predominant feeling was almost like regret. What had come with this collapse was too much understanding of too many things. Things that I knew I had no reason to be able to comprehend or understand but just simply did, and couldn't ignore it. I felt completely screwed, knowing that people would not accept this about me and yet I felt almost a sense of desperation to share what I knew.
For example, going back to Steven Hawking and the 'Unified Singularity' theory, he says that he can take the universe all the way back to the instant after the 'Big Bang', but he can't figure out what it was that caused the bang itself. I really wish I couldn't either, but I can. Scientists, years ago, believed that the atom was the smallest thing in existence. Now the smallest thing they have discovered, with the advent of the tunneling electron microscope, is something they've dubbed a 'quark'. The smallest thing in existence, in fact, the only thing that does exist and makes up the entire universe is a sub-atomic particle of light. Professor Hawking has actually gone just a little too far with his mathematics and doesn't realize that by choosing the term 'singularity', he's contradicting another accepted rule in physics. That being, that no two particles of matter can occupy the same space at (or in) the same time, and that when the collapsing universe reaches the end of it's collapse, and the last two sub-atomic particles of light try to occupy the same space at the same time, they cannot, and so they annihilate one another in a 'Big Bang', thus beginning another universe. Hence the infinite nature of the universe -- expanding, collapsing, expanding, etc.
That was just one of the things I was suddenly aware of. And as I sat there waiting to die, I thought about these things and how they applied to things like religion, and how accurate much of the language was, when properly applied. Even though these sentiments come from long ago and were not English words originally, they've somehow managed to survive both time and translation. Language was much more metaphoric and representational back then. Now language is very specific and literal, and there are very specific meanings to the words used in religion, as they are used today. But we need to remember that they weren't meant to be taken literally, but applied more metaphorically. One way I saw this, sitting there running out of words, was with the simple and familiar phrase, 'I think, therefore, I' am. I think, therefore I am. I think, therefore, I think, therefore, I think, therefore, I think I think I think I think I think... ', and like the two remaining sub atomic particles of light fighting, colliding with one another in a battle to occupy that space that would only allow one to remain, like God, in the beginning, as the last two particles of light, simply self aware and nothing more.
What do you think?
I think I think.
And who's doing the thinking?
And who are you?
The one who's thinking.
And what is it your thinking?
That I am something that thinks it's -- uh -- thinking.
So are you a thought or a thing that thinks it's thinking?
I don't know. I can't tell. I can't see anything. It's dark and I'm afraid. I feel so alone and I am afraid I'm going to think myself into oblivion.
Why don't you turn on the lights?
There's lights, well where's the switch? Just kidding, there's nothing here but you thinking you're here.
Well who are you?
I would imagine you're talking to yourself!
Here, I have an idea, or you have an idea. Why not simply ask for light and perhaps in asking you will create that which you need first of all. I mean how could you know if there is anything without the light to see it with, right?
Good point! O.K., 'LET THERE BE LIGHT'
And with that, at the very last second God sees that he is just two remaining particles of light and God is annihilated. He sacrifices himself to become the medium, which is set free (free will, made in God's image) to find its own form of expression in this random chaotic expansion. Everything began as light and cooled and swirled and collided and settled and freely found its own expression. It's still just light. All of it, cooled light, in its various states. God then, truly would be the ultimate judge, in that he cannot become any one thing. As all, as the medium, as light - God can only ever bear witness to all that comes to be. Everything that comes to be requires the light to reveal its existence, and that which becomes revealed or enlightened, reveals the existence of the ever present light. (The Father and The Son). And since physics already understands that every sub atomic particle of matter in this space and in this time has its twin of anti-matter, which does not exist in space or time at all. Unlike a cell dividing in two pieces, side by side, the anti-matter mate of each sub-atomic particle of light, exists right where that particle exists, requiring no space at all. This is where the mind exists. (Holy Ghost.) Even though it looks like there is plenty of empty space in the universe, the truth is, you couldn't squeeze so much as a single particle of light into the universe. No room! And so, like an unbroken electrical connection, the universe is connected to itself as one thing only. That is why light can travel so fast, it's traveling through an unbroken chain of light itself. As well, the anti-matter would also be one unbroken connection.
So in truth, there actually is only one physical thing, as the universe, with only one mind. You get occasional glimpses of this connection with things like psychic abilities or within people like idiot savants, and other things that baffle science. For whatever reason, they are simply tied into this connection. For example, think of a place quite far away, you can instantly be there in your mind, needing no time to get there. Thought is the one thing that can travel faster than light since it doesn't exist in space or time.
Now the words can make much more sense instead of being so detached from reality. It's not all this magical, mysterious, 'and the Lord said unto thee...' mumbo jumbo. The truth is much more profound and all encompassing. If there was a Supreme Being that was some kind of directional force behind all that is, and he was like a man, he wouldn't be able to create a peanut butter sandwich let alone a universe. To simply look up in the sky and see how much is there and think that some God created it all for man would be arrogance so far above that God, he would have completely lost sight of man. The 'Original Sin' for example, is not really a sin as we think of sins. It was the unavoidable condition of man as a creature that had evolved to the point of having a self aware cognition. This would have been long before man had the ability to communicate. Once man became aware, he needed to understand and quantify his world. It would have been a long time before the words were ever written or even the sentiments expressed like, 'Do not try to name that which cannot be named.' And we think that means naming God 'God' or 'Allah,' or 'Buddha,' etc. It relates to the garden of Eden tale and Adam and Eve. The name of the tree the forbidden fruit grows on is the Tree of Knowledge. The sin of needing to name everything and understand everything in order not to fear it, is simply an infinite, never ending process, that has created our own hell and cast us out of Eden, or separated us from nature and every other thing in existence that simply lives in this perfect harmony with nature.
Bizarre eh? Can you imagine having this kind of knowledge and understanding just dropped on you? Not fun, at all!! I really didn't want this. I'm just a simple man who barely got his grade twelve. Oh, guess what? I'm a carpenter and cabinetmaker. Oh, the irony!! I mean I can't have this information and not share it. And at the same time, I don't see this as being readily accepted by everyone. And yet it has a great potential, if accepted, to do something quite wonderful. The world is so full of pain and fear and there's really nothing to be afraid of. It's like the whole planet is full of children who are afraid of the dark. I can relate. I was terrified of the dark as a child.
The truth is, however, there is no such thing as evil, there is no such thing as sin, there is no such thing as hell, except for the hell we create ourselves in our fearful, ignorant minds. Don't be offended by the word ignorant. Look it up! It simply means lacking an understanding. I mean relatively speaking we humans lack an enormous amount of understanding about our planet, let alone the universe.
Ever since that drowning experience at four, I've looked at the world in somewhat of a different way than most people. I've never sought to become more intelligent, I've sought to become less ignorant. It's a subtle difference that seems to have a significant effect. It's a great deal easier to lose or let go of something you already possess (ignorance), than it is to acquire something you do not (intelligence). I've always known that I can and do learn from everyone I meet, not just those who believe they are the ones who have something to teach me.
Finally, there is no such thing as the dark. It's a physical impossibility. Yes, it does look dark out at night, but look at the moon. You see it because it is illuminated and in turn reveals the presence of the light. There is only light, nothing more. Even you are simply light in your unique form. Only each individual can create darkness in their own mind, with a fear, born of ignorance that effectively turns one away from that light, and creates the shadow or darkness the mind believes is there. Turn back towards the light and let yourself be revealed and become enlightened. There is a God-like beauty waiting to be illuminated. And there is a light waiting to bear witness to that beauty.
Too many very well educated people I have been speaking to, since having this latest experience, have been telling me the oddest things, like I'm the most Christ like person they've ever met, quite possibly the most intelligent person they've ever met, that I might be one of the great philosophers, or that I should take philosophy, because people would love to hear what I have to say. The only problem with taking philosophy is that it's probably one of my most fundamental philosophies, that I shouldn't have to pay to have my own thoughts, or to share them with others. So while others pay some university ten's of thousands of dollars to give them the ability to think with some form of legitimacy -- uh -- I'll be across the street at the coffee shop if they'd like to talk. Please understand, the things I've just said, could very easily make me sound quite egotistical, but it's not me that say's these things. It's other people. I would not use words like that to describe myself. I prefer 'simple' and 'ignorant, they're way more accurate.
Life was never meant to be this much of a struggle. It's become a lot like trying to swim upstream, against a really strong current. It's exhausting. Every stroke requires an enormous amount of energy and after just about killing yourself trying to make some forward progress; you look at the shore and realize you haven't really gone anywhere at all. At best, you've managed to stay in the same spot, or more likely, you've actually lost ground. And yes, it is terrifying to let go and let the current sweep you away. It's so powerful you're sure it will destroy you.
Besides, everyone knows they have to move forward in life, right? Not really! If you look at every pursuit man engages in, as a pursuit of the truth: Science, mathematics, medicine, physics, music, art, and whatever. We are all seeking some truth. Take music for example, two musical notes played together will be one of two things, harmonic (true), or discordant (false). The truth is revealed in the beauty and conversely, the beauty is what reveals the truth. There is only that which is true, much like mathematics, which surely is one of the purest languages, in that all of the other pursuits can be reduced to math. And math, no matter how complicated the equation may be, is actually only that - the equation. The equals sign (=), that is what math fundamentally is, the truth. Something is true (equal), or false (not equal). The truth is simply that which is. Man never made any truths or actually invented anything for that matter. He merely uncovered that which was always there. We always have to go backwards to find the truth. Let go! Don't be afraid! Let the current carry you back to your truth.
I really hope these words can be of some use to someone.