I am a hiker. But up until that point in my life, I had only really hiked at altitude in the north. I had just moved to Oklahoma and set out to keep up my normal hiking routine. Being stubborn, I pushed myself hard. On the day in question, I decided to do a 32 mile day. I set out, and after only an hour, my water was empty. I filled it up at a gas station as I was leaving the city. The hike was to follow the highway out to the Army depot and then back. But about 30 minutes later, the water was empty again; and upon close inspection, I found that my water bladder had a sizable hole in it. It was 108 degrees Fahrenheit that day, and the entire week had been around 100 F degrees. Standing there, I decided to do the hike anyway despite the water situation. I had done as much on previous hikes and figured I could do it now. I figured I would just take a couple days off to recuperate. Unfortunately, my past experience worked against me here. As I later learned, by keeping up my standard hiking routine after moving to Oklahoma, I had been building a water deficit a little at a time. My body just wasn't use to the dry air and the heat. And to compound things, the hike was on a black-top highway. I got out to the Army depot, but no one was there. I got a drink at the water fountain, but I knew even as I turned to leave, that drink wasn't going to be enough water. I got back into town which was about 28 1/2 miles.
I was in this place with fog that wasn't fog. It was almost like the fog itself was light. It took me a while to get my bearings. No matter which way I turned, there was light. But there was a direction where the light was more intense; not brighter, per se, just more intense. I got a feeling in my chest that someone was trying to talk to me and I spent some time trying to figure out how to communicate with whatever it was. I couldn't speak like normal, and simple thought wasn't helping. Somehow I was able to project my thoughts toward the light, and thus began our communication. Please bear in mind that using words to describe this communication is inadequate, but I'll give it a go. The light wanted to know if I was ready. It didn't ask me, I simply sensed what it wanted to convey. I knew that 'ready' meant ready to move on. I felt a yearning to say goodbye to my children, and the light emanated patience. I was instantly transported to a void. Out of the void, images of my children emerged one after the other. I wasn't able to speak to them, so I hugged them and tried to send them a feeling of happiness. As soon as my youngest daughter had faded from view, I was in the light again. The light again asked if I was ready. This time I just turned to the more intense light and surrendered myself to it. With a feeling of joy, knowing that I left things in good hands, I released my mind. The last thing I remember is crossing over and passing the point of no return. Then nothing.
Some time later, it's impossible to know how long, I became conscious that I was conscious. I didn't have a body. I simply realized I was conscious. I thought it was interesting. Even then, I was sad. I had come from a place of such peace, and warmth; that I didn't really want to leave it. I kept trying to figure out what was keeping me away from that place but I couldn't. After some amount of time, I realized that the thing keeping me from peace and warmth was a body. For an instant, the body was just a hunk of meat, but even as I remembered what bodies were; I was back in mine. There was no peace and warmth. An after-effect of heat stroke is that even the hottest water is freezing on your skin. You can't stop shivering, and your joints scream with pain. All these things were further exacerbated because of where I just came from. The shock of just rejoining my body knocked my consciousness back to oblivion.
Sometime later my consciousness came too again, but this time I knew what was going to happen. The shock of the physical pain in my body knocked my consciousness back to oblivion, again. Four times that happened, then the worst (up to that point) happened; the shock was less and I stayed with my body. The pain was more intense than any other pain I had ever experience. I wept inwardly that I couldn't go back to where I came from. Eventually I accepted that I would have to deal with the pain and tried to press onward. Through waves of agony, I tried to remember. And the first thing I remembered was my kids. That happy thought lasted a millisecond before I remembered what happened to them. The crushing sense of loss extinguished my consciousness again.
More times than I can count my consciousness was destroyed by the memory of what happened to my children. It seemed to take years. Decades. More even. In and out. In and out. Constantly re-experiencing the pain for the first time. Combined with the physical agony, it was an experience that no being should have to deal with. And the worst of it was when my consciousness could tolerate the pain well enough to not be obliterated. Once that happened, I started trying to remember other things. I started piecing my life together in my mind, bit by bit. It felt like it took weeks, but eventually I felt that I had a grip on who I was. Then I opened my eyes. The medics said that I died several times. I opened my eyes 2 days after I fell on the sidewalk. But I have never lost the feeling of pain. It persists even to this day. I 'walked' into the light. I was done. I was content. I was happy. And they brought me back. Now I'm stuck with the physical pain that comes with having a body, and the mental anguish that comes with remembering my past.
Date NDE Occurred: 22 August, 2008
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes CPR given. Clinical death (cessation of breathing or heart function)
How do you consider the content of your experience? Both pleasant AND distressing
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? Normal consciousness and alertness I'm not really sure what you mean by 'highest' level, but I never felt like I had super-human powers of perception.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? During the beginning? Once I actually died, I didn't have any consciousness or alertness. After I came back, my consciousness and alertness returned step-by- step.
Were your thoughts speeded up? No
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning
Time lost all meaning.
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. I'm not entirely sure I had eyes. I know I didn't have a mouth, but I did have arms and a torso. I don't know if I had legs because I was floating. The whole time, I know I didn't blink. The light was pervasive and constant, but I'm not convinced I 'saw' it as much as 'felt' it.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. There was no noise. All speaking was done in my head, and I was conscious of that fact.
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
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 It being an 'unearthly' light makes describing it, a practice in futility. The best I could do is to say that it was like fog without the fog. Like the light WAS the fog.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Peace, warmth, confidence, surrender
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? No
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
The experience included: Boundary
Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure? Yes There was definitely a boundary that I crossed, but it wasn't physical. There was nothing 'beyond' the boundary. Not 'there was a void filled with darkness.' There was nothing. No darkness. No light. No time. No consciousness. Literally nothing. I didn't cross the boundary into another place; I crossed into nothingness.
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? Unaffiliated- Atheist
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Same
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Not important to me
What is your religion now? Unaffiliated- Atheist
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 As my brain was shutting down, it produced a dream-state. Then there was release. The content is irrelevant. The most important things were the feeling of contentment, the nothingness, and the difficulty in returning.
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? I encountered a definite being, or a voice clearly of mystical or unearthly origin The light WAS the being. 'Voice' is a bit of a misnomer. I would liken my understanding of its intention to 'hearing,' but it wasn't.
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? Uncertain Similar to answer 32. The light was simply my brain shutting down; it was the crossing into nothingness where I died. Though nothingness seems to indicate nothing greater, I cannot discount the possibility that I am prevented from remembering.
Do you believe in the existence of God after your experience? God probably does not exist
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 possibly 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 probably does not exist
Do you believe in an afterlife after your experience? An afterlife probably does not exist Uncertain When I went into the light, when I crossed the boundary, I didn't go to another place. I went into nothingness. Now this seems to indicate that there is nothing beyond, but I cannot discount the possibility that something could be there and I am prevented from remembering it. Either due to a mental block, I created to survive coming back, or due to a being on the other side preventing it.
Did you fear death prior to your experience? I moderately feared death
Do you fear death after your experience? I do not 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? Greatly fearful in living my earthly life
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are possibly meaningful and significant
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant after your experience? Are not 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? I have lost virtually all ability to tolerate discomfort and pain; and I have no passion anymore.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? but I don't think that makes the experience less real. Experience was definitely real
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes If I absolutely had to explain, I would say that the light was a conscious entity of some sort (in the context of the experience). The light wasn't shining from some specific point, but it was wrapped around me. The light was asking questions and I could answer.
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. e experience
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? No
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes 5 years. They don't believe me.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Yes Passing knowledge. I didn't know that they were called NDEs, but I had heard stories of people having out of body experiences and whatnot.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real 'Real' is very loaded. I believe that
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definately not real Not a thing; reality can take place in the mind. I don't believe I physically went into nothingness
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Uncertain
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? Precisely reproduced . . . no. But I dream about it a few times a week. It's not exact, but it brings up the old feelings.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? Be cautious when asking questions about subjective experiences. For instance, 'reality,' isn't necessarily restricted to experiences that can be confirmed by a third party. When talking about whether a THING is real, sure. But experiences are all about how an individual perceives something, and as such can be real even if they are imagined.