I am writing a book about it. I can't possibly write it all here. Overall, it was an incredible, transformational, inspirational, spiritual experience resulting in a quickening of my awareness/consciousness, a loss of fear, a loss of the fear of death, a strong sense of greater meaning, remarkable insight into the human condition and the dire importance of relationships, an unshakable conviction that there is nothing to fear concerning death or the afterlife, a strengthening of my intuitive abilities and a profound sense of inner peace, all of which led to a greater appreciation of life, and a sincere desire to live my life to the fullest, and the conviction I should do something constructive with my second chance. And more!
Date NDE Occurred: December 2003
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Heart attack Clinical death (cessation of breathing or heart function or brain function)
How do you consider the content of your experience? Wonderful
Did you feel separated from your body? Uncertain
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 As above.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? Afterwards - I was in the intensive care unit and later a private room recovering - insights flooded my consciousness, and I felt incredibly close to something beyond. I was preoccupied with revelations about how life should be lived. A powerful sense of forgiveness and love permeated my thoughts (and being) and I felt as if I were experiencing a kind of cosmic consciousness. Also, I had a recollection of being in a lovely, ineffably beautiful environment or mental landscape, which left me permanently changed.
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
My sense and concept of time was blown apart.
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 can't say my vision changed, but my internal vision certainly did. Upon leaving the hospital, after a two-week stay, I felt as though, almost in an impressionistic way, that the physical environment was much more beautiful that I remembered it being. I continue to feel that, perhaps to a lesser degree.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. You know, I can't objectively quantify my answer, yet I feel something did happen with my hearing, that it was more sensitive. However, that has not continued afterwards.
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? Uncertain I do not recall going through the classic tunnel with light at the end. But it does seem like I went through an enclosure of some kind. But this is very fuzzy.
Did you see any beings in your experience? I actually saw them
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? Uncertain I feel as though I met with someone, but not a God or a typical guide. I just can't recall. I seem to have been left with a sense of contacting a powerful entity or personality - or something. Again, I'm fuzzy on the recall. SO, I don't know how to answer the next question. I'll put 'neither.'
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? Uncertain Seems like it, an incredible light, which seemed more than a light. Maybe another reality or world. But again, I am very fuzzy on this.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm I had a complete sense of awe and beauty stamped upon my mind, as I lie in my hospital bed. I wanted to listen to beautiful music and immerse myself in other worldly light and joy. yet I don't recall having visited another realm.
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? While I cannot remember leaving my body, I have had many out of the body experiences in my life, and it would not seem unusual to me to have had another. I think I probably did become dissociated from my body, but honestly can't recall it. As far as emotions, I never felt fear (that I can recall) and I always felt it would be all right in the end. Although I experienced what the medical staff referred to as the 'widow maker', and I was told almost no one survives a heart attack like mine (in fact, they had never seen anyone survive one), I felt a remarkable sense of calm and peacefulness. Somehow, even before I left the hospital, I felt this was the greatest experience of my life, and I had the distinct impression I had been given a wonderful gift. And yet my days in the hospital were certainly not blissful - there were many trying and painful moments and hours.
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
Did scenes from your past come back to you? My past flashed before me, out of my control Not to my knowledge, but I made a conscious review of my life (took spiritual inventory) while in the hospital. I wanted to understand how to improve my life. And I had plenty of ideas. Yet, my life before the event was quite good, and I was quite happy and content.
The experience included: Vision of the future
Did scenes from the future come to you? Scenes from the world's future My intuitive abilities seemed to grow overnight! And today I have a terrific ability to feel what's going to happen and to see and understand beyond my perceived cognitive limits.
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 Perhaps, I don't have much interest in religion. I am deeply interested in spirituality, though. I felt that way before, but now it is much bigger and more consuming. It seems religion attempts to explain in juvenile terms that which it can't fathom.
What is your religion now? Liberal
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes Perhaps, I don't have much interest in religion. I am deeply interested in spirituality, though. I felt that way before, but now it is much bigger and more consuming. It seems religion attempts to explain in juvenile terms that which it can't fathom.
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 saw many, many things, and many things made sense to me then. I felt I had a twofold purpose: one, to live in a new, courageous way, honoring my relationships and living a deeper life; two, I had a conviction that I had a special work to do, which involved educating people or doing research about life after death, consciousness or whatever! I wanted to tell the world about what I had found, learned and discovered. I felt an unshakable sense that mankind's theories about life and death were wrong, that the truth is so much bigger so as to escape logic.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes Oh, yes. And I am writing about this in a big way. It's the relationships that can transform any of us. Even though I have been a therapist for twenty-nine years, I didn't see the shimmering significance, beauty and power of our relationships. Now I give much more to my relationships. I still make mistakes, but I correct them and move on. There is no point in arguing and fighting. We are all the same. We are in essence one. That is a realization the experience has given me.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes All my psychic capacities seem enhanced.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? The power of my family as they gathered around my bed in the intensive care unit, and how I felt totally energized by them. Somehow, I felt my family had healed me, in part, and that may include deceased family members. A few family members, with whom I had never been close, were suddenly close to me, and I felt a new kinship with them. I realized whatever had kept us apart was of no consequence. Our relationships were so much more important than we had realized. Petty differences were of no consequence.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I shared with a few trustworthy friends right away - I had to! I was overwhelmed by the experience. But as time went by, I began to curtail my sharing because people either could not handle it or didn't believe it. I feel that my sense of discovery created tension or conflict with some people's belief systems. They might have questioned my experience, because it just couldn't be that way. But many were influenced in a positive way. I developed a professional development workshop, not long after I got back to work (three months later) for therapists and professional helpers, which I presented at work. It brought rave reviews, many tears and many positive comments. People were open to it and touched by it. Some said I should take the show on the road, that hardworking helpers everywhere would be inspired and rejuvenated. By the way, there were nurses who took care of me in the hospital who said they thought I was going to do something really important in my life, that I would use my second chance for a higher purpose.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Yes I had always found the topic fascinating and had read Moody's books, and other articles in journals on the subject, over the years. I had always been interested in consciousness studies, but had not read anything or studied the subject in many years.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real I am a good observer of others and myself. I am scientific in my approach to everything, thus I am not prone to fantasies. I KNEW this was real. It happened in every cell of my being.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real It remains, five years later, an incredible, life-altering experience that has made me a much better person and infused my life with greater joy, purpose and meaning. I still have my struggles and problems, but I keep a potent sense of gratitude about me at all time. How incredibly blessed I am. How impossibly fortunate!
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No But a clear sense of the experience is with me at all times. And will always be. I have a more psychic, for lack of a better word, life now. Amazing surprises and discoveries are happening all the time. My daily life is informed in a new way.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? I doubt I'll ever shake the deep-seated conviction that all earthly philosophical and ontological belief systems are simply misguided. It's just not the way people think, theorize or imagine it to be 'over there'. People are meaning makers, so it's understandable how thousands of different ideas have emerged over the millennia. There may be elements of truth in all or many of them. But I NOW believe the big picture cannot be grasped, except as through a NDE or some unusual mystical experience or extra-ordinary phenomenon. And even then, it can only be surmised or grasped in part.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? I'd like to know more about how people explain their own NDEs to themselves, and what kind of internal conflicts a NDE sets up. And what questions do they carry with them now that they have survived a skirmish with death. What aspects can they not communicate to others? I'm sure I can think of many more. I'd love to have a copy of this completed form - just for my own records.