My name is Mich'l. I was nine when this happened. I had all the usual preoccupations of an average child this age. None of it was religious, even though I was raised Catholic. Religion wasn't discussed, as my parents felt we were too young to comprehend.
In 1976, there was greater freedom allowed in public schools concerning children. My school took ALL the children to the giant, indoor pool for swimming lessons. I don't even remember if I had to provide a 'permission slip'. For about forty-five minutes, there were lessons, which exhausted us to no end, but the last fifteen minutes were for us to play, freely.
I was with my friend, Alfred, in the twelve-foot end, jumping from the low diving board. The children lined up, we all took turns throwing ourselves, and with the lack of swim instruction, we'd dog paddle back to the rails so we could repeat our jump. By the second attempt, I was so tired; I leapt into the pool, regardless, and found Alfred throwing himself on top of me, creating disorientation. That, mixed with my exhaustion, began the drowning.
I was spinning in circles, gasping, and eventually gave up. I sank and gulped water, seeing my limbs suspended in blue murk. At this point, I passed out. Immediately, I snapped awake, but the blue murk was gone. Instead, the pool was empty, yet I was suspended above the tiled floor. My arms and legs were out before me. Then my 'life review' began. It was like watching a film in fast-forward. Everything, I saw. Going to the bathroom, eating, sleeping, school, playing, climbing trees - anything. It flashed so quickly, yet it was all me, and I comprehended it.
Instead of soaring through tunnels, it was as if someone pulled a veil off my head - as if I blinked - and I was no longer suspended above the pool. I was in the middle of the sky. My arms and legs were no longer in front of me, and I recall, perfectly, looking below me for my legs. They were gone. The sky bent around me, like a globe. It was above me, below me, and on both sides.
Then I saw this large, golden orb in front of me, suspended in the blue. It was close enough to touch, but I didn't. Its surface undulated, like the sea - rising and falling. Immediately, I thought, 'This is the sun,' but then remember saying, 'I am so sorry.' Instantly, without word, I was corrected. This 'orb' in front of me was no 'thing,' it was a personality. I don't know what it was. It didn't speak to me. It just was so beautiful to look at and be with, I didn't want to leave its presence.
Moments later, I'm vomiting water and in complete shock as some teenage boy was giving me mouth-to-mouth.
We were thrown on the school bus, with our wet swimming suits beneath our clothing, as it was done in such hysterics because of what happened, and we were forbidden to speak to each other.
The funny thing is this. I didn't tell my parents until I was forty. I would answer the phone, as a child, BEFORE it rang, long before 'caller-id', and knew who it was. It would disturb my mom, so it stopped. I didn't think it odd, but it created in me a fascination with religious life, so I became a Catholic Benedictine Monk for many years.
Date NDE Occurred: 03/1976
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Accident Clinical death (cessation of breathing or heart function or brain function)
I was drowning in a public pool.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Wonderful
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 After this started happening.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? After this started happening.
Were your thoughts speeded up? Incredibly fast
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning
Were your senses more vivid than usual? Incredibly more vivid
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? Yes, and the facts have been checked out
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? No
Did you see any beings in your experience? I actually saw them
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? No
The experience included: 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 Instead of a 'light-source,' it was a golden orb.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Bliss. I didn't want to leave. I was actually angry I had to go back.
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
The experience included: Life review
Did scenes from your past come back to you? My past flashed before me, out of my control All I know is this - one day, I will be back there.
Did scenes from the future come to you? Scenes from the world's future
The experience included: Boundary
Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure? Yes This golden orb thing that was in front of me wasn't 'Jesus.' It never addressed me. It never spoke to me. I assume it was my guardian angel. It is there to comfort me, but isn't allowed to converse with me, unless directly told something by God.
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 was your religion prior to your experience? Liberal
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes I'm WAY more liberal. I didn't think I would be, but I am SO liberal, it's like I don't know 'who' God is. Buddha? Jesus? Everything? Nothing?
Sure! It is whatever you call it.
What is your religion now? Liberal
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I'm WAY more liberal. I didn't think I would be, but I am SO liberal, it's like I don't know 'who' God is. Buddha? Jesus? Everything? Nothing?
Sure! It is whatever you call it.
The experience included: Presence of unearthly beings
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
Did you see deceased or religious spirits? I actually saw them
Concerning our Earthly lives other than Religion:
During your experience, did you gain special knowledge or information about your purpose? Yes I realized, without turning this into a novel, that 'life' isn't the most precious gift. We all think it is, but it isn't. Life is given to EVERYTHING - plants, bugs, animals, humans, bacteria.
Free Will is only given to us. That is our greatest gift. To 'love' or not to love.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes They are SO meaningful, that most can't 'hide' from me. I desire truth. Without it, I am not interested.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? No
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes But, again, they passed away in my childhood.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes My parents, but it happened in 1976. It is now 2010. I told them in 2009.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Yes In college, as I was a psychology major and a monk.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real THEN, I was certain it was real.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was probably real Now, I don't know. It might have been lack of oxygen to my brain, as I was drowning. I don't know, but then again, something life altering happened.
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? It has straightened my resolve in life. I think about heaven every day. I sometimes think it's a waste of time, but I talk to God every damn day. There have been times in the seminary I swore off God with all the crap that happens in the world, but I find myself coming back to a harmonizing point, and realizing that we are given a CHOICE. Everything is chosen.