It has occurred to me that this is probably a fairly ordinary experience and I feel pretty sure that many people have gone through something like it; but as time goes by, I am more and more convinced that what I experienced is of great importance to me.
Here is what was going on in my life at the time it happened. I had broken up with my fiancée with whom I had been planning a wedding, there were difficult professional changes, and I was feeling very unhappy, viewing myself as 'a failure'. Parisian life was impersonal and exhausting and I was not used to it. My new job paid less than the previous one had, and that job's psychological pressures were quite strong. While at work, I often withdrew to have a good 'cry', in private. I felt like such a failure that I wanted to hide my pain from others.
Then a truck came to our work premises so people could donate blood, and I volunteered. I warned them that I could get unsteady giving blood, but I felt that it was important. I got through the donation process just fine, and then left to get the usual snack. Then, suddenly I fell.
The experience: Total stillness - I have no body anymore; I am just consciousness. I'm very alert indeed - but completely shut in a kind of darkroom where I seem to glimpse metal bolts!!!! I feel very well, and I am far from being scared. I feel big, powerful - and I am not referring to having an oversized ego. I feel profoundly virtuous and kind - I cannot describe this feeling any other way. The strangest thing is my feeling that this kind of consciousness has always been within me. (The word 'forever' does not seem to fit.) Indeed, not only do I have no body, but I am not experiencing time, either. The life-problems I mentioned are now coming back into my awareness, but their scope seems ridiculously small; suddenly I understand clearly that they have practically no importance at all. Under normal circumstances, try telling this to somebody who just stopped a love affair he thought indestructible! For me, now, the minor nature of those problems becomes obvious. What I understand now is that I am experiencing something profoundly interesting - that's all that is important! When I am woken up by being slapped by the nurse, I hear a deafening roar in my ears. At first, I don't understand what's happening. 'Why are you waking me up?' I say, 'I was more myself there than I am here!'
End of story. I decided to keep it to myself. I feel I have to analyze it privately, alone - and not let the reactions of others influence me.
Date NDE Occurred: 1992
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? No don du sang 'Illness, trauma or other condition not considered life threatening' don de sang
I was just donating blood.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Wonderful
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? More consciousness and alertness than normal
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? In what I cannot describe any other way than 'a darkroom with bolted metal plates.'
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
It felt like there was no time. It seemed that I was manifesting that which is timeless within myself.
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 seemed to be confined to a darkroom where (I know this may seem inconsistent, because it was so dark, and maybe it was based on something perceived with my peripheral vision) I could glimpse bolts on the wall.
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: Void
The experience included: Darkness
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? No
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Kindness, something like love, acceptance.
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Relief or calmness
Did you have a feeling of joy? Happiness
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
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
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? Uncertain At forty-six, I am currently completing a Master's Degree in Philosophy. If I have been an idealist for a long time without knowing it, I must also admit that idealistic philosophy has always been a problem for me. I consider myself as morally responsible and because of that, any transcendental truth has been a problem for me, anyway. However, questions related to consciousness remain good questions for me. I do have mixed feelings about religion. To tell the truth, I still have metaphysical doubts, and I have been unable to come to any definite conclusions about my experience.
What is your religion now? Liberal
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Uncertain At forty-six, I am currently completing a Master's Degree in Philosophy. If I have been an idealist for a long time without knowing it, I must also admit that idealistic philosophy has always been a problem for me. I consider myself as morally responsible and because of that, any transcendental truth has been a problem for me, anyway. However, questions related to consciousness remain good questions for me. I do have mixed feelings about religion. To tell the truth, I still have metaphysical doubts, and I have been unable to come to any definite conclusions about my experience.
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? Uncertain I realized that I needed to maintain a more realistic perspective on the importance of what I had thought was a series of vital failures - and I needed to be realistic all the more so because I was starting my professional career.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Uncertain I think I am more selective in my relationships than I used to be. I've always been selective; it has always been a problem for me to accept people who try to control me or others. More and more I avoid people who are strongly rigid, dogmatic, or domineering.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes In my experience, I feel like pure consciousness with no body limitations and no time limit. I feel that this part of me has always existed, even though the part of me that has been living this life hasn't consciously known about it. I also feel profoundly that the problems I've been having are nothing. Like an iceberg, the greatest part of me, (the 'underwater' part) is this newly felt consciousness. The consciousness that has been experiencing all the pain about my life-problems is the emerged part - the part that you can see above the water. I feel an intense quietness I have never felt before, indicating the presence of a power in me that is vast, compared to my usual consciousness. At a personal level, this has been a very enriching experience.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Uncertain I think I have become more intuitive.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? Indeed, in Evelyne Sara Mercier's book, (The International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS), France), I read an account of an NDE experiencer who said that as soon as he had been anesthetized during surgery, he had suddenly found himself in what he could not describe otherwise than a 'death waiting room'. When I read these words, it was a shock to me. This experiencer went much further into the death experience than I did, but I felt TOTALLY in tune with this wording. Due to the intensity I had felt in this small experience, I gradually came to the conclusion that for me this experience was something unique and important, although not profoundly mystical.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I shared it several years later. I did insist on telling people that the phrase 'lose consciousness' does not mean much when seen in this context. I got mixed reactions, but basically, people told me I was right. I don't know whether I influenced some of the people I told or not. I was never blamed or misunderstood when I shared. Only once, an elderly gentleman cast doubt upon what I was saying. He told me that people who experience that kind of thing do not share their experience with others, and he said that surely I must have been 'dreaming while awake'. I did not try to discuss it with him further. This was the only problem I had with sharing it, and it was really nothing serious.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Yes I had read a lot about them. I must confess that I have always been interested in the topic of death.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was probably real Shortly after it happened, I saw the experience as 'probably real.' And because of the emotional intensity I experienced, I felt I was more 'myself' in that state than I usually am!
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was probably real Currently, I see the experience as 'probably real.' I believe that accepting the way it happened without judging it, has allowed me to accept its reality.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No