We were vacationing in Florida at the time. My dad and I were at the pool at a hotel and he was sitting on the patio with someone else. I can't remember now who it was. I wanted to get into the water and swim but it was over my head in the shallowest area. My dad seemed to express some hesitation but instructed me to stay on the steps and hold onto the handle rail that descended down into the water along the submerged steps. As a child, I always liked to test boundaries and see how far I could go. As I was swinging on the rail, putting myself at risk of coming off the last step into water that was over my head, the wet rail slipped through my fingers and I suddenly found myself under water, eyes wide open, holding my breath.
As I slipped under the water, I opened my eyes and realized I was in trouble. I remembered what my dad taught me that if I got into trouble in the water, I was to hold my breath and I did. It seemed like forever went by under the water and everything began to slow down. It was like the movement of the water and all time began to creep along as if it were coming to a halt.
Suddenly, it became dark and I was now above the scene looking down at it. The strange thing is that it seemed perfectly normal. I was probably 20 feet in the air looking down. I could see myself submerged in the water. I could see my dad and this other person sitting on the patio close by. I knew that I was underwater but this was some kind of interlude or intermission in the events. The thing that jumps out at me the most, about the interlude, was that it was completely peaceful. There was a milky, almost misty kind of view of this. There was a total absence of worry, fear, or anxiety. It was just as if 'I just was' and I was now observing this happening in front of me. I wasn't scared, nor did I fear for my life. It's difficult, actually, to describe the serenity of this state.
I've never taken drugs but I imagine this is the type of escape for which people are looking. But nothing would possibly compare to this experience in my opinion. I seemed to be aware of more things going on than normal. My view of the world was wider. It was as though I could see everything at once and even when I concentrated, with no effort at all on the actual event that also was a broader view. In that state, there's enhancement of awareness. To a degree, it's surprising, but seemed normal. I can't underscore enough how peaceful, easy going and stress- free it was.
I witnessed my dad get up and run to the edge of the pool. Although I could see this, I had no real awareness of the passage of time. The rescue seemed planned. I don't mean that in the sense that my dad had it in mind previously. He may have and that's what triggered his quick response. But there was something pre-determined about it. I'm Wesleyan in my theological views, so predestination is not necessarily as important as free will in my theology. However, in this case I have to admit to a definite plan in place or at least a sensing of that. My dad jumped into the pool and rescued me. I watched this happen and the next thing I knew, I was standing at the pool's edge with my dad on the ground.
When I was first in the water, I was initially afraid. But as soon as things slowed down the fear began to subside. That resulted in this top down view that was timeless, peaceful, serene, enhanced and stress-free.
Date NDE Occurred: 1981
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Life threatening event, but not clinical death.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Both pleasant AND distressing
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? Yes I knew my mom was nearby and wasn't aware of what was happening.
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. Again, I was more aware of things around me. My consciousness was purely at peace and comfortable. I knew what was happening to me below but I wasn’t concerned about it. I was ok. I could see and hear my dad go after me while my body was submerged. I felt fully aware of what was going on.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? There was definitely an enhanced awareness. I could see more widely or broadly. I was aware of the world and I was suddenly part of this higher level of awareness.
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.
While under water, things started to slow down. Time seemed to stop. Suddenly it became dark almost like falling asleep but waking up immediately somewhere else. In the spirit, there was a sense that it was all happening at one time. The experience defies a linear timeline. Clearly, events took place in on a linear plain. But in the spirit, there was an awareness of the entirety of the experience all at once. In fact, the memory of being in the body under water where I could look around seemed to coincide with my ability to be out of the body looking down. I've often asked myself, 'how could I have been in both places at one time. The answer is that the out of body state is timeless and seems to grab a hold of everything all at once as a combined understanding or awareness of things. So I could see myself from above, very distinctly separate from my body, but I could also feel and see what I had felt and seen in the body under water continuously and all at once.
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. Vision was enhanced. I was aware I could see everything if I wanted to or needed to. Vision in that reality is accompanied by an enhanced awareness.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I could hear speaking even though my body was submerged. Most people can hear a distorted sound under water. But I heard everything going on clearly, as though I were above the surface.
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? Yes
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? Uncertain There was a shimmery kind of framing to what I could see. It came with a sense of maturity and awareness. This happened mid-day so it was light out. But the scene was somewhat more illuminated.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm. I was in a state of being that was both present at the event and yet separate from it. That reality is / was beyond, higher and more actual and real to reality than what I witnessed.
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Peace, serenity, calm; there was some surprise and a surreal feeling, yet the total calm and lack of worry were remarkable.
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Incredible peace or pleasantness
Did you have a feeling of joy? Happiness
Did you feel a sense of harmony or unity with the universe? I felt united or one with the world
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about myself or others. I can't say I knew all the mysteries of the universe! I definitely did not feel equipped to handle any mathematical or philosophical arguments. I didn't have all the answers but I didn't need any either. I didn't have any questions. The state of being that it was seemed complete enough that I didn't need to wonder about anything. What I was experiencing was brief but completely free of questions. I was only about 4 or 5 years old at the time so I didn't really have many deep questions to answer anyway. But there was a sense contentment about 'knowing' that was complete and unhindered.
Did scenes from your past come back to you? No Actually, no. The best I can say is I understood my life as a small total of what it had been at the time. There were no specific events replayed, just the awareness of being me.
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? Greatly important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Christian- Protestant I was a Pastors son and grew up in the church.
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? No
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Greatly important to me
What is your religion now? Christian- Protestant. Currently a minister
Did your experience include features consistent with your earthly beliefs? Content that was entirely consistent with the beliefs you had at the time of your experience. I had a strong sense of God's presence in early life. So I was a young believer of God and God's love for me. The experience was consistent with what I had learned and been taught.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? No
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? No
During your experience, did you gain information about universal connection or oneness? Yes To a degree, I felt a part of a larger whole. That's definitely a higher sense of awareness than in the body.
Did you believe in the existence of God prior to your experience? God definitely exists
During your experience, did you gain information about the existence of God? Yes I was absolutely aware that God was watching and close. I didn't see God but I'd say I was calm in God's presence. God definitely exists.
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? Are meaningful and significant
During your experience, did you gain information about the meaning of life? No
Did you believe in an afterlife prior to your experience? An afterlife definitely exists
Do you believe in an afterlife after your experience? An afterlife definitely exists No
Did you fear death prior to your experience? Unknown
Do you fear death after your experience? I slightly fear death
Were you fearful living your life prior to your experience? Not 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 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? 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 I felt love and compassion for myself as I viewed myself from above; I felt love for my dad and I felt a peace and calm that could be defined as love.
Were you compassionate after your experience? Greatly compassionate toward others
What life changes occurred in your life after your experience? No changes in my life
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? No
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes It's very hard to describe in total. It's clearly an otherworldly kind of state. The transition between states was seamless and instantaneous. If it were possible to split yourself into two people and both parts could be physically present at the event, one in the pool and the other on dry ground watching, the part of you on the ground would have been more anxious, nervous and scared about what you are viewing than this experience was. Outside the body, there was clarity, a non-anxious 'being' or a trauma-free state. The word 'state' is almost an insult to this. It wasn't a 'state' of being as much as it was 'who you are' and that seems flawless, perfect and complete. It wasn't overwhelming either. It was natural and normal. It was definitely a new experience. But it wasn't so overwhelming that it seemed out of the ordinary. I was aware that I could see everything. I was also aware of a far more mature sense of self than what I was in the body. The idea of drowning would be terrifying to anyone especially a kid. But I never really felt any fear. I was concerned about myself. But I wasn't worried or afraid. I think you could say my concern for myself was more of a love for myself. I felt compassion for myself. Again, it wasn't fear. It was love.
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 th I don't remember many things from when I was just 4 years old. But this experience was absolutely clear in my memory of that time.
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? The high level of peace. The awareness of being and self that exist outside the body. The sense of love and compassion.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? No
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. I don't remember thinking about it very much. It didn't occur to me to be outside of the norm. I wasn’t that old so I didn't have a lot of life experience to which to compare it. So it seemed natural. In that state of being, it was absolutely natural, normal and OK. So it didn't necessarily stand out to me. But as I've aged, I remember it. As I've sought out information about what this was, I discovered common ground with others who have had similar experiences. Additionally, I remember the detail. I don’t remember a lot of detail about anything else from that time in life. But that event I can remember with vivid memory. When researching and reading about people's experiences the first time I became aware that my suspicion was correct that I'd been outside the body.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real. Again, it's vivid and memorable when other events and detail from that time in life are more vague and cloudy. This event is a crystal clear memory of events that took place.
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? Certainly, a real event took place, suddenly and without time. It was peaceful, stress-free and I felt love and compassion.