Some time after I went 'under' for the surgery, 'I' experienced a focused perception of being both just above and out of my body. At first it was simply a feeling of hovering and watching. My body lay on the surgical table, but the 'I' that I was, was not in the body. I could not even identify myself as 'that' body, or even be aware of an identity as 'I'. This perception remained in focus for what seemed a very long time and then rapidly shifted away from all familiar objects, into a zone beyond boundaries. I became aware of figures in a light with me, but not comparable to 'light' as we would know it, sun or otherwise. I've later identified these figures as my future daughter and son in their unborn states as souls, for lack of a better word. There was a sense of communication but not words, within the communication. Another figure of light who I later felt was Jesus, communicated the following distillation that I was able to formulate fairly soon after my existence in this world resumed. The gist of it was that I could 'leave my present level of experience if I wanted to, but there were still things left undone that I had come to the earth to do'. I next experienced a kind of 'asking' from my future children to return and not let death take me. In brief, the experience was beatific, extraordinarily peaceful and beyond pain and pleasure of any describable kind.
After coming to consciousness in the recovery room, my wife said that I had been in surgery for over four hours, and that I looked 'ash grey' upon coming out. She said that she had thought I was dead or was about to die, and she was very, very frightened.
The next three years, culminating in 1979, were extraordinary. I found I could switch 'levels' with my mind. I could move from the very specific things of this world to the highly abstract, non-specific experience I tried to describe above. Some of these experiences I would term as 'revelatory' in contexts that have since informed my written work. There was a price for this, however. That price involved a high degree of confusion and uncertainty, in terms of my functioning in this world. A profound sense of meaninglessness overtook me, about the senselessness of the world as it was. This remains with me to this day. Sometimes I just wish the whole thing would just get itself over with, so that I can return to that sense of limitless space and peace I experienced. It is not that I have had the desire to commit suicide, although the thought has come up, but that I totally realize suicide doesn't solve a thing. From the experience, a total Otherness has from time to time dimly, and not so dimly, occupied my waking and sleeping existence. I am not particularly religious, and I don't wear any of this on my sleeve, nor have I tried to found a new religion because of it. I intensely dislike any discussions about God, because I don't feel that any human being on this planet knows what God is, or is not. The Experience revealed to me that there are levels of Experience beyond this existence that we are just not in touch with. All I can say is, the NDE totally screwed me up, but my wife is still with me, despite my failures and shortcomings since.
Date NDE Occurred: October 1976
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes IllnessSurgery-related 'Life threatening event, but not clinical death' . I was in surgery to repair over thirteen years of damage from ulcerations in my stomach and pyloric valve.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Wonderful
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? Yes 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 I was immediately aware of hovering above my body, my mind in a state which was without any sense of 'I', or body, or self. I was clearly experiencing part of the mind I had not been entirely in touch with before, or have since. This was total. There was no split, or dichotomy, or duality of subject and object perception, as there is in normal consciousness.
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 There was no sense of time, or passage of time. I sensed space as being endless and having no sense of distance, up or down, or boundaries.
Were your senses more vivid than usual? Incredibly more vivid
Did your vision differ in any way from normal? Again, the dissolving of all objects as sense-perception disappeared. Vision was an inner quality of something beyond sight altogether. I saw no objects until I 'woke up' in the recovery room, with my wife sitting beside me.
Did your hearing differ in any way from normal? A clear discernment, a Voice without words, an Inner Ear, so to speak, that was 'speaking' without language, or sense of loudness, or softness. It was exactly what it needed to be for me to hear It, without emphasizing the sense of hearing in any way or form.
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 There was no tunnel or tunneling experience.
Did you see any beings in your experience? I actually saw them
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? Yes Two were clearly my future daughter and son, but they were not in their discernible forms of today. The Other being of light I have since identified as the figure of Jesus.
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
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No No sense of "location"--just Otherness
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Beatific, calmness, a kind of gentle wafting, as of ripples from a calm ocean of water, of being immersed in the water but not drowning. It was a feeling/emotion devoid of ordinary feeling/emotion.
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Relief or calmness
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
Did scenes from your past come back to you? My past flashed before me, out of my control
Did scenes from the future come to you? Scenes from the world's future There was sometimes a certain kind of despair following, because I 'knew' wars would continue and people would continue to be nasty to each other. It didn't matter what form those conflicts took place in, or where, they still were and are going on.
The experience included: Boundary
Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure? Yes It was as if all boundaries dissolved at once. There was no sense of fear of 'going beyond' either. It just happened all at once.
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 wasn't particularly religious or a 'believer', either before, or after. I can only say now that I KNOW rather than believe, because a 'belief' implies that 'unbelief' is also possible.
What is your religion now? Liberal
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I wasn't particularly religious or a 'believer', either before, or after. I can only say now that I KNOW rather than believe, because a 'belief' implies that 'unbelief' is also possible.
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 What came out of it mostly, was the profound sense of meaninglessness here, coupled with revelatory experiences that have since formed the basis of my written work.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes My wife nearly left me. I turned into a traveler, a vagabond. Jobs wouldn't work out, or as soon as I found a good one, like teaching, it would fold or not work out, for one reason or another. Today I am still with my wife, but it took a lot of repair work, and the good job I do now to sustain it.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes It was an experience, not a verbal description or discussion with something or someone. It was not in any way connected to existence as we know it on earth; i.e., with consciousness, with feelings, with sensations or even with thinking.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes I've worked as a psychic, but I tell the truth, not a fancied up version of a story line the person I'm working with wants to hear. So my work there was limited to some extent. A poetic gift, which I already had was amplified and expanded. I have the first book published, which starts off with an NDE and extends into the idea of dreams and dreaming, entering prophetic and spiritual contexts.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? Yes. The confirming of my son and daughter. Plus, the fact that the experience itself expanded to include other areas of my life that I didn't think mattered.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I talked with my wife about it fairly quickly, but it blew a big hole in my life here. I've not had much self-confidence since then, but I am able to work as a teacher to earn my living.
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 was in awe of it at first, as I could only dwell on its content. I hadn't formed a verbal way of dealing with it. I could say I only coped with it. Sometimes I wondered why I didn't go ahead and die, given what happened since in my life. Very little of it, except my love of my family, has made any sense.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real. It has never left the contours of my mind. I find I often want to go back there. I daydream about it, but it is never exactly the way it was when it happened. I have had a few experiences with a Voice, which I have since said was a Voice for God, not 'of' God, because to me, very clearly, God is NOT involved in this world in the least. If He were, He would be as insane as this world always is and always will be. That's how I know.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Yes Marijuana, actually. Though hardly a substitute for the Experiences and subsequent experiences since the first NDE, it does lift repressive areas of the mind to allow a different kind of experience in. I don't use it to get 'high'. I use it creatively and in a controlled sustained environment, usually out in nature, to maximize my time in a creative flow, if I give myself over to it.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? There is no way to communicate to anyone what I actually experienced. It's like you could write a book about it, but it still wouldn't fit in the book.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? I think you have an excellent format for the questionnaire!