My near death experience happened in the early 1990's. I had an apnea episode while I was sleeping that went on a little too long. I know I won't be able to do justice to the experience in explaining it, because the feelings were so beyond what is normally thought of as Love, Joy, and Bliss that there really are no words to capture the intensity of the sensations. It was truly amazing, however.
While I was still in a twilight sleep, I felt my throat collapsing and closing off and I couldn't breathe. I struggled for quite a bit to begin breathing but wasn't able to open my throat. It felt the way I imagine it would feel to be drowning. One second I struggled for breath, panicked and agitated and the next second the need to breathe disappeared even though I still had not begun to breathe. I quickly realized that my consciousness was no longer tethered to my breath. I felt the 'I' part of me free-floating in what felt like the darkness of deep space.
I mentally 'turned' to look back at my life like a life review. I had an overall arching sense of what my life had been like. It was like everything was shown simultaneously and I felt apprehension. Then I began 'laughing' when I realized that 'I' was not the personality of 'Pam' anymore - in fact, I realized that the entirety of my life had just been a game, like Monopoly (guess I just passed Go and collected $200.00!!), and 'Pam' was the equivalent of one of the game's playing pieces, like the shoe or the car! All the troubles and joys, the accomplishments and limitations that made up the story of my life were revealed to be mere dust - an illusion. I realized that in truth, the 'I Am' was who I really was and ALWAYS had been and always would be. What exultant bliss!
I realized that I had a choice to recognize and rest in this truth of who I really was and stay on the 'other side' or I could continue to re-enact the 'game' of being an imaginary personality. With the dawning of that realization I mentally 'turned' around again and saw a Light that was brighter than a million suns but which didn't hurt my vision. It radiated the most all-encompassing unconditional Love I've ever experienced. The Light 'felt' sentient - it had Presence - God - and the feeling of the love it emanated was like that of the father in the Bible welcoming home his prodigal son. The light radiated a sense of great joy and bliss like it was dancing and twirling in ecstasy, now that I was finally coming home. God had been waiting for me and was overjoyed to see me. It felt like the whole universe was opening its arms to welcome me home with bubbling delight, lighthearted laughter and great joy. Then suddenly I had the thought 'It's not fair that I'm having such a wonderful experience and the rest of my family isn't' and with that I felt myself zip at warp speed back into my body.
When I 'woke up' in the next instant with a great gulp of air, I began to sob - my entire body throbbed with Love as though each cell of my body was a separate heart overflowing with Love. There was so much love pulsating in my body I felt like I was swooning. I remember I could feel overwhelming love pulsating in my thighs as I thought, 'That's where my heart was!' I can't even begin to describe what this bliss of Love felt like - it was so unlike the mundane love we experience in our mortal bodies. It was the sum and more of EVERYTHING in this world, and it felt whole, unified and satiated with its own bliss. It was the experience of Love loving Itself.
I now no longer think of myself as someone small - I am a fragment of the Whole and contains the Whole. I feel the Light always within me, and I need only to attune my full attention to it to recapture the memory of the greater bliss that awaits each of us on the other side of the veil. This experience has totally changed how I look at the world - experientially I now KNOW that Love is all there is, manifesting in the limitless forms of creation - and there is no place in which God is not. I sometimes try to move through my days as though I had just received a terminal diagnosis just to heighten my sense of awareness of God's subtle presence all around me, and I feel such gratitude and awe at the presence of God's energy, which I see scintillating in everything as the substratum of form.
Life is truly a divine gift, precious beyond measure, because it is through our lives that we learn to rest in the heart of God. God is as close to us as our own skin, bones, heart and breath. What this experience has taught me is to stop projecting a longing for God into some distant future. God is in the present moment, completely accessible, and it only requires a willingness to turn within to reveal Him as the very fabric of everything and every moment. Bliss is our natural birthright and most of the time we are like beggars who open our hands to receive but then snatch our hands away at the very instant we see the gift extended to us. We deny ourselves this great love because we can't believe that we are worthy enough or large enough to hold it. And so, we have been blessed with life in order to unlearn the limitations that our egos use to keep us actively engaged in this maddening game of hide and seek.
In our life review on the other side, we are not judged by anyone but ourselves. WE are the ones who deny our own selves the glorious ecstasy of union with God by our continued identification with our ego-based limitations and fear. 'Heaven' is the natural state that is always present as a potential within us in this very life if we learn to apprehend and stay anchored in the experience of the unfettered, unconditional love that is God within our hearts. God does not mete out 'justice' - he doesn't' have to. WE are the ones who allow ourselves to return to a heavenly state when we've learned to embrace everything in life as a manifestation of God, including our very own hearts.
Date NDE Occurred: 1993
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes prolonged apnea episode 'Life threatening event, but not clinical death'
I had an apnea episode and it woke me but I was unable to begin breathing. I struggled for air, needing desperately to breathe, and then all of a sudden I no longer felt the urge to breathe even though my throat still had not opened up.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Wonderful
Did you feel separated from your body? Yes
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 In the middle.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? In the middle.
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
Linear time was subsumed into the eternal present moment.
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. The bright light did not hurt my eyes. Extrasensory sensations of the light.
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: Darkness
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 Brighter than a million suns but it had a softness to it. The perception that all colors were in it, but they weren't separated out of it.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm The presence of God.
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Ecstasy, bliss, joy, delight, love, feeling totally taken care of.
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
The experience included: Special Knowledge
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 See description of experience above.
Did scenes from the future come to you? Scenes from the world's future
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 Deepened.
What is your religion now? Liberal
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes Deepened.
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 See ending of near death description.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes I'm more willing to let things go because I see them as part of the 'game' of life.
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 I can empathetically sense other people's emotions better.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? The realization that 'I AM' is who I really am, not my personality or body.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes Immediately. In the morning when my husband and I awoke, he asked me what I had been dreaming about. When I asked him why he asked, he said I had been convulsing on the bed. My response was 'And you couldn't have nudged me or something?!' Then I told him what had happened to me.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Yes Raymond Moody's work. Didn't affect my experience.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real It was too intense and too extraordinary to think of it as a dream. I felt like I had been given a priceless gift of knowledge.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real My feelings have not at all changed from my initial views.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No