Not very much actually happened but it's still clear as a bell 50 years later and has had a very marked effect on my life.
I'd had measles and was due to go on a school excursion the next day. We had thought that I was probably going to be well enough and a decision was going to be made when I woke up. That's how I went to bed. I was in this place, not a tunnel but going towards the most glorious golden, white light. I arrived into it. It was so encompassing. It was total security and love. I didn't, and still don't, really have words for it. Everything was just perfect contentment and calm. I was totally surrounded by part of this light when my mother called me. She was sitting on the side of my bed. I remember her being quite urgent. I went back to my body and she drove me to the doctor's office.
In the waiting room, there was a picture of a boy with a dog in a boat and it was so unutterably sad to me. I couldn't look at it without crying. I couldn't quite understand why it made me cry. In later years, I decided it was probably grief at coming back but I didn't understand grief at that stage of my life. I don't think it is a construct of later life because the experience hasn't had that quality about it. It's remained unadorned and hasn't grown to be more than it was at the time. It was simple, quick and lasting. I was given strong antibiotics by an extremely worried doctor. I remember his concern very well. He looked at me and became very still.
Date NDE Occurred: probably 1962
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Illness 'Life threatening event, but not clinical death'
I had an acute kidney infection as a result of measles and it seems my body was just shutting down. I didn't understand much of this until later. I just had this experience that was very real but I didn't see as different from human experience until I was about 18 when I read about it happening in a book. I read 'Christie' by Catherine Marshall and suddenly I had a name for what had happened to me.
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? No
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 You know, I still sort of feel it. Things were just more defined and clearer. I'm quite near sighted and it was like I didn't need my glasses.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? This is an interesting question because it throws light on the above answer. I felt so alive in the light; it was so real. I was very woozy and unclear and undefined when I got back into myself.
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
I have absolutely no idea how long my Mum was sitting there. I didn't talk to her about it until I was into my 30s. It may only have been seconds; I have no idea. I felt that I'd been in the light a long time; maybe forever. Time, as in human life, just didn't really exist.
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. I wasn't aware of seeing. I just was. I was my vision.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I have no recollection of hearing anything.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? No
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? Uncertain It wasn't a tunnel. It was dark, sort of like looking at a sunrise. The light was in front of me and I moved towards it and then was completely enveloped in it. The darkness was nowhere; only the light.
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: Unearthly light
Did you see, or feel surrounded by, a brilliant light? An unusually bright light
Did you see an unearthly light? Yes
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? Some unfamiliar and strange place It's funny, it was definitely a different place but it was so totally right that it didn't seem strange or unfamiliar at all. I felt totally at home and I 'knew' the place well.
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Joy is probably the best word but even that doesn't describe how I felt because it's only a word. I felt total acceptance and rightness, lightness of being, and I floated.
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
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about the universe I have always felt that I was given all the answers to life at age 11 and I've spent the rest of my life finding the questions they answer.
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? Moderately important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Christian- Protestant I was 11 and basically did what my parents did, it markedly affected the way I developed after that.
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Uncertain I think I would have either followed my family's church ideas or completely rebelled had I not had the experience. As it is, I have developed my own understanding, which fits most religious ideas but is not any of them specifically. This is not to say that I just pick the bits I like from each religion, not at all. What I mean is that I find that they all have part of the truth.
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Greatly important to me
What is your religion now? Do not know I find that I think religion is important to a society but I don't really think it matters which. I know most about Christianity but I'm very Zen in so many ways. I find that I don't like fundamentalism of any sort.
Did your experience include features consistent with your earthly beliefs? Content that was both consistent and not consistent with the beliefs you had at the time of your experience The experience was very formative of my beliefs because I really hadn't started having beliefs of my own that I was conscious of. It wasn't so much that it was different or at odds with what I was being taught as that it was just so much more. I can remember trying to fit my experience into their words. What I did was split myself as a kid and give lip service to the religion and believe what I had experienced.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I continue to be affected by the experience. I have what I call 'waking visions' that often point me in the direction of where I next need to go. Indeed this is why I'm doing this form. I was drawn into a bookshop and found David Griffith's book, Voyage to Purpose. I've never been stirred into needing to know more than the experience in itself but I'd come to a pause in my life and this is the next step. I don't know why nor do I care. I will understand sometime maybe. All I know is that whatever the light was that I experienced when I was 11 shows me the way in life by nudging me intuitively mostly but sometimes more directly.
I am not aware of having lived my life differently.
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 I know I answered no but it was timeless. I was timeless, it was as if I just always was. There was great infinity in it.
During your experience, did you gain information about universal connection or oneness? Yes YES!!!!!!!!!! That awareness of universal connection, oneness, has been such a strong part of my life and what I have developed in my work.
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? Uncertain The light was certainly an understanding of what my church called God, but I never had a very good opinion of that church god afterwards because the light was so much more. I can definitely remember thinking 'They just don't understand'.
Do you believe in the existence of God after your experience? God probably exists
Concerning our Earthly lives other than Religion:
During your experience, did you gain special knowledge or information about your purpose? Yes Once again, that is a difficult question. Where I went was so normal, so right. It wasn't until I came back that I realized what was different in my understanding. The picture that made me cry was a special understanding gained. It's as if I was given those things to help me with unpacking what I'd learned as I grew up.
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? Uncertain This is hard. I know I turned back because my mother called me. I know I didn't wish to come back. I know that for life to be joy and to bring joy to others was very important for me afterwards. I think it came from the joy I remembered but I can't te
Did you believe in an afterlife prior to your experience? An afterlife definitely exists
Do you believe in an afterlife after your experience? I am uncertain if an afterlife exists Uncertain The only way I can describe this is to say that I was in the real place and life is like a pocket of it. Where I went was my 'home'.
Did you fear death prior to your experience? Unknown
Do you fear death after your experience? I do not fear death
Were you fearful living your life prior to your experience? Moderately 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? 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 I don't know that I could have put it in words but I have always known that our human idea of love isn't really love because you have to please. This light was total and all encompassing, I'm sure I saw it as love for I did know that word.
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 think that lack of fear would be the single most important change. I come from a church background that had a lot of fear in it. I look at the different way I developed from my siblings to realize that. Other than that, I can't split my life into before and after. The experience is my life. My whole life since the age of 11 is a bonus. You don't live conservatively if you never expect to exist beyond something.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Uncertain Uncertain I don't know who I would have been without the experience. I do feel that I am aware of something. I call it people's soul, for want of a better word that lets me know them for what they are rather than what they wish to be seen to be.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes
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 One of the funny things about the experience is that I have no need to embellish it, nor do I believe I have. it was a simple experience of huge impact. It still gives me goose bumps when I revisit it like now. I remember very little about my life then. I know I was disappointed I didn't get to go on the school excursion, but that had far less impact than the experience.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes Again, I can't speak for before my experience, but certainly since the experience I have lived my life with this awareness. When I ignore a 'nudge', I know I have missed something. I have to remain in contact with the light. I learned how to cross that threshold some years back, for the intuition to work. I learned very early in life that I couldn't use the gift of knowing for myself, it could only be used for the purpose that it existed for.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? I have not always understood just what a difference it made to me. It took me a long time to realize that it was not just what people experienced in life. I didn't see my outlook as being so different. It only gradually dawned on me as I grew up and experienced more of life.
I married a man who never allowed my experience to be talked about because he said it was just a figment of imagination; so I didn't talk. In the end, he left and I'm sure it is in part because he couldn't or didn't wish to try to understand something that was such a part of my whole being. I can't single out special. It was a simple; a small but totally revolutionizing event.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? No I had the experience when I was 11. I would have been 32 when I first shared it with my mother and father, who were on a visit to Australia where I had moved when I was 22.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real I came back to my body with it. I felt it was more real than life, I think. I don't think I thought of it as separate from life.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real It has been a constant in my life. It was real and it remains real. I live by it. It gives me strength, hope, understanding, compassion, and a conviction that for all things that sometimes look black and they are not. It gets more real the older I get. I now see it as a wonderful mystery and adventure. It has given me so much in life. Surely that is what a reality is.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Yes I used to have what I called 'blizzard' experiences. I came from Minnesota and blizzards had the intensity of the experience for me. I used to always go out for walks in them.
In 1993, my son had major surgery on a tumor behind his nose. I spent the time of his operation, some 9 hours, in the hospital chapel. It had that same timeless quality and much light about it but wasn't exactly the same, just sort of related.
In 1994, I was meditating with a friend who chanted. I didn't realize he meditated until this experience. He asked if I'd mind if he chanted. I said, 'No, that was fine.' What happened was that I was able to 'surf' his chanting into what I called my blizzard experience. I have developed that more and visit the light most days.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? I am answering this questionnaire because the need to further explore this experience has come up. I've learned what I can from it, from my own experience, and suddenly I felt that it's beckoning me further. I don't know what that means really, but I've always followed the energy of this experience and it has only lead to a wonderful life and great depth of humanity.
It is so hard to put any of this into words for me, not because I don't understand it but because I'm hampered by being a human being in this life and the experience is of me, still in me, but not of this human zone of life.
I can't talk about afterlife or God. These things are human constructs and come with predetermined meanings. So often they are not allowed to change but I find this experience allows me to change; demands I change regularly. The thing I experienced came without words. It came to me in feelings and understandings. It still comes to me like that. I conduct an orchestra. Often, if I just sit with the music, I hear the notes but also have the understanding of its essence and how to put that across to my orchestra, it just comes to me. How I work with my students and how they learn, comes to me if I am still (quiet) with the person in my mind. I just know how to deal with it, or what needs to be done next. This quits working if I lose contact with the light and myself or if I'm trying to do something my way. It's as if I'm a catalyst. Things happen but only if I'm in the right place, the energy doesn't flow if I'm wrong.
Sorry, just words again but it is so beautifully elegant of the universe and I can't describe it. Thanks for listening.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? Thank you for the opportunity of doing this. Thank you for the work you do.