An afternoon in June 1985 in a bar, summer was already starting and it was very hot in Paris. I was in a bar with a friend. We were both standing there; I watched my friend playing an electronic game and was ready to play the next game, when for the first time in my life I experienced a sudden drop in blood pressure. At the time, I didn’t identify this as a drop in blood pressure, which was probably due to heat and the beer I had. Just before being unable to understand what happened to me, I struggled against this dizzy spell hoping that it would pass. But little by little I began to lose contact with my 5 senses; I don’t know the exact order in losing them, one by one. My sight blurred, and then left me blind. My touch and hearing had disappeared. I continued to struggle upright; at least this was what I thought.
Then I found myself submerged in total blackness. My sight changed to 360°. All was black; I was completely alone. It seemed that I had no body anymore. But I was still there, more aware than ever. Then I thought (it imposed on me like an evidence) that this blackness was infinite, timeless with no beginning and no end. It was as if I was submerged inside forever, in total solitude. Time, like we feel it in our body, strangely wasn’t existing anymore. Understanding this, I felt an extraordinary flash of fear/panic/anguish coming over me. I went from a feeling of fear to an indescribable panic. Never before had I felt such anguish.
Yet at this time, when I had not yet done my soul-searching, it happened to me and caused me to be very worried. In this blackness, the flash of fear was so strong. I perfectly understood that if this fear would last for a longer time I would very soon start going crazy. At this moment, the black immensity of loneliness and timelessness vanished, and immediately I was back in my body.
I woke up to a man was slapping me while I was lying on the floor. At no moment had I felt that I had fallen. At no time did know that I had lost consciousness. I simply came back and I felt like hugging this man who, without knowing it, took me out of an infinite anguish. At the time, I had no knowledge about NDEs. I kept all this with me during the years, and never dared to speak to anybody about this.
I even almost forgot this episode of my life, until the day when I understood that I was not the only one having such a painful experience. Of course, like many others, I had much difficulty to assume this experience. This explains that I managed to almost completely suppress it and to never speak about it. The negativity of this experience caused me to imagine that I was a bad person, damned, yet I’m not a bad person! I always was quite altruistic, even before the experience. Finally, I came to imagine that maybe in a previous life, I had had a bad life and deserved the fate that came back to me like a boomerang in this actual life?
I didn’t understand why I felt the exact opposite of an ecstatic feeling of love and happiness, as it happened in those other happy NDE experiences. Then by chance, I found other stories similar to my own. In twenty or so years I’m reading a lot and in many matters: philosophy, physical sciences, biology, mostly popularized sciences as unfortunately I’m unable to understand the least equation. I questioned myself a lot, mainly concerning suffering (one should read Aimé Michel). [Editor’s Note: Aimé Michel was a brilliant and eccentric French researcher qualified in psychology and philosophy.] Suffering is difficult to justify. The Christians attribute it to the original sin, while paleontologists attribute it to the birth of life itself, well before man appeared. The stronger devouring the weak since the beginning. This is the ‘anti-Decalogue’ of nature, described among others by A. Michel. [Editor’s Note: The main basic principles of Islam collectively constitute a monumental Anti-Decalogue, which is a direct repudiation of the Ten Commandments.]
My current conclusion (my present position will certainly develop further) is that out of this ‘anti-Decalogue’ good is and will be rising. That even in evil, the germs of good are listed. To understand suffering we need to have experienced it. Stéphane Hessel wrote something a priori astonishing, about his experience at the Nazi extermination camp that he survived contrary to all expectations. In some way he was glad having made this experience, as now he knew what the human horror was, when it was brought to its paroxysm. From now on, I think the same way about my experience. Then I read somewhere on the web, ‘Most of the prophets had their negative NDEs, their descent to hell’.
I would like to repeat a last time, if you lived a negative NDE, this doesn’t mean necessarily that you are a bad person, but it means maybe that you were able to live this experience, while other people could simply not be able to do it. Let me believe that from every experience, however horrible it may be that some good can come from it.
Date NDE Occurred: Juin 1985
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? No J'ai vécu cette EMI sans pour autant être dans un danger de mort.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Entirely distressing
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? No
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 Everything is in my story above.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? Very conscious from beginning to end. No dream like feeling, but of an obvious reality where time has no hold and where thought is not made of words.
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
Time doesn’t exist. This is a revelation that’s imposing as an evidence in this kind of experience.
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. 360° sight
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. No sound, only blackness
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? 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? Some unfamiliar and strange place Alone in the eternal and infinite
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? At the beginning a worried astonishment, then a rising flash of panic.
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? No
Did you have a feeling of joy? No
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? No
Did scenes from your past come back to you? No
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? Not important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Unaffiliated- Atheist
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes Yes and no. As explained above, I don’t follow any religion, no dogma, and no rite. I’m a Jesuist without any religious affiliation (please read Nobel Prize laureate Christian de Duve).
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 Les religions sont dogmatiques et souvent contraires aux évangiles.
Je ne suis donc pas religieux mais plus simplement spriritualiste/théiste. S'il fallait me définir je citerais Monsieur Duve dans un article donné au magazine Le Point :
Christian de Duve : Ce n'est pas le Jésus qui me fut enseigné. Il n'est ni celui du catéchisme ni celui de l'histoire sainte. Les mystères de la consécration, la divinité du Christ et sa résurrection sont des notions difficilement crédibles. Je n'accepte pas toute cette mythologie. La science, à laquelle j'ai consacré ma vie, m'a permis de comprendre combien ces dogmes sont faux, car fondés sur des affirmations gratuites. La science fait des hypothèses, puis imagine des expériences qui permettent de les vérifier ou de les réfuter. On y part du principe que rien n'est connu avec certitude. Or il n'existe aucune preuve de ce que m'ont enseigné les jésuites. Jésus, disent-ils, est le fils de Dieu. Où est la preuve ? Il est ressuscité. Où est la preuve ? J'appelle aujourd'hui l'humanité à écouter un second Jésus, l'homme dépouillé de ces attributs merveilleux, l'auteur d'un message d'amour et de concorde, dont l'actualité est brûlante.
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 Avant l'expérience, j'étais athée, matérialiste, déterministe. Tout cela est terminé. Je crois que la vie est une occasion d'expérimenter dans la temporalité, que la mort des corps n'est en rien la mort de l'esprit. Je suis devenu Théiste, Jésuiste. Très loin des religions qui ne sont qu'oeuvres humaines imparfaites et trop souvent loin du bien et du bon.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I don’t care about social positions, having the latest smartphone or a beautiful car. I attach more importance to knowledge (scientific and spiritual, that I don’t oppose, on the contrary). I give my transition in this material life a secret meaning, that essentially escapes me and always will do, but that I feel is underlying it and that ‘one day’ I will understand. In the meantime I do my best to try being more tolerant towards others (even if I still too often become enraged).
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? No
Did you believe in the existence of God prior to your experience? God probably does not exist
During your experience, did you gain information about the existence of God? No
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? Yes Cogito ergo sum but no body anymore. [ Editor’s Translation: Cogito ergo sum = I think, therefore I am.] The evident conclusion is that the body is secondary.
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are not meaningful and significant
During your experience, did you gain information about the meaning of life? Yes Qu'il faut vivre avec les autres, que les autres c'est le bonheur et que la solitude absolue dans un noir absolu est une horreur.
Did you believe in an afterlife prior to your experience? An afterlife probably does not exist
Do you believe in an afterlife after your experience? An afterlife definitely exists Yes Cogito ergo sum mais plus de corps... la conclusion évidente est que le corps est accessoire.
Did you fear death prior to your experience? I did not fear death
Do you fear death after your experience? I moderately fear death
Were you fearful living your life prior to your experience? Slightly 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 not 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? Slightly compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? No
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 Large changes in my life. I changed, but only a long time after my NDE. Time was needed, reading, some distance.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? No No
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes Yes and no. Words are not completely describing the feeling, but will still do in a satisfactory way.
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 L'expérience à bientôt 30 ans et restera gravée dans ma mémoire jusqu'au dernier jour avec plus d'acuité que n'importe quel autre souvenir.
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? Before the experience, I was atheist, materialistic, determinist. All this is over. I believe that life is an occasion to experiment in temporality, that bodily death, is not at all death of the spirit. I became Theist, Jesuist. Far away from the religions that are only imperfect human works, and too often far away from good and right.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes A long time after I told the experience to some friends. Nobody ever talked again about it to me.
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 have trouble explaining this reality to myself. It imposed on my consciousness as an evidence, (same as the feeling that time didn’t exist). This is imposing without words.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real
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? The experience was almost 30 years ago, and will stay engraved in my memory until my last day, with more acuity than any other memory.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? No specific suggestion. Thank you for allowing many people to become aware that maybe this life down here is not as absurd as it seems to be.