I was in a film class in college. We were studying a documentary about a hospital. When they showed a close up of a small wound bleeding, being extremely squeamish at the time, I fainted.
When I fainted, I did not have an out of body experience in the sense of hovering above the scene. I think that first I went to a place that most people might describe as 'heaven' where I felt I was in the presence of a divine power. I did not see a specific religious personage such as Christ or Buddha, etc. even though I have a Christian background. Then I went to the beginning, by that I mean to a place before the universe existed. It's difficult to describe as nothing physical existed. There was an overwhelming sense of serenity where all the souls that exist are in a sea of souls and where the boundaries between individual souls was not defined, much like waves in an ocean. I was individual yet part of a larger whole. I was there for more than an eternity, sort of a timeless time, since time did not exist yet.
Then 'God' who seemed to be apart from or at a higher level than the seas of souls, created the physical universe. One by one, the souls were pulled into the physical universe but there seemed to be a voluntary nature to the participation. This was an extremely interesting experience since I witnessed everything from the beginning, formation of stars, etc. But as the physical universe evolved and as my soul was pulled into the universe I seemed to focus on just the Earth, but saw and experienced it on a micro level, having simultaneous, complete knowledge of every bit of earth especially of any living thing, including the smallest microbes in the soil or ocean.
It's difficult now to remember the feeling of being simultaneously aware of every living thing. Along with the total history of the earth, I saw and experienced my little part in it, thus seeing my own life and death. After I died in the experience, my soul floated in space above the earth. Even though I was back to being a soul, it seemed to have the form of my naked body. As earlier in the experience, my soul had the godlike quality of omniscience and I think therefore omnipresence. However, as I floated in space I slowly became aware that I was gripping something in my hand.
At first, I tried to ignore it but eventually I found I couldn't open my hand to see what I was holding. At that point, I was 'informed' by 'God' that I was still tied to the physical world and had to go back. My soul fell back through a dark tunnel except for a thin shower of individual photons that smarted like sand in a wind. It was almost like a birth canal for a soul. I fought hard to keep from going back to the physical world but was unable to prevent it.
I slowly became conscious, one of the girls in the class was running her hand through my hair and they were all crouched around me. Before I opened my eyes, I could feel I was holding something. I opened my eyes and saw the wooden beams in the old classroom and the first thing I said was something like 'How can this still be here after all that time?' I opened my hand to find a set of keys. I asked whose they were and a friend of mine from India said they were his and he took them. The class instructor took me into his office and asked if I had taken drugs. I was amused but I was not a drug user at all. He wanted to send me to the school clinic but I went home and slept for a long time.
Later I talked to my Indian friend, and without first describing what happened when I fainted, I asked why he put his keys in my hand and he said that in his area of India the custom is that when someone faints or goes unconscious they put something brass in the hand to keep the soul in the body. Also, as mentioned earlier, when I talked to the vet in the class he told me that he definitely thought I was dead. The girl who was rubbing her fingers through my hair told me I was only out for about a minute. That's what amazed me - how could I seem to experience multiple eternities in real time during that short of a period?
Date NDE Occurred: November 1970
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Uncertain At the time I was extremely squeamish and fainted at the sight of blood in a film. 'Illness, trauma or other condition not considered life threatening'
As mentioned earlier, I fainted. This was in a college class. However, one of the other students was a veteran just returned from service in Vietnam and he later told me that through his combat experiences he'd learned to recognize the difference between an unconscious person and a dead person and when he saw me faint he said he definitely thought I was dead.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Wonderful
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 As above.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? Probably at the point after my death and I was floating above the earth. I was definitely omniscient then. However, the experience of being a soul before the physical universe was formed was sublimely serene.
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
Although I saw every minute event that ever happened on Earth, the overall impression was of sped up time. The Earth was revolving fast and had a sparkling effect from all the lightning strikes, fires, bomb blasts, etc.
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? Yes Coming back into my body I went through a dark tunnel and seemed to be blasted with a thin stream of photons that stung. It was a painful 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 I felt in the presence of God, though never saw a physical representation. I never saw Jesus or any other religious figure. I may have seen relatives or individuals that I know but am now not certain. One of the qualities of the experience seemed to be a restriction on what I was able to later remember or recall.
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 I don't remember seeing a bright light as others have described.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm I was in the time before the physical universe was formed. It was perfect, joyful and serene.
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Overwhelming joy, happiness and serenity. And deep sadness that I had to return to Earth.
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 During my experience of seeing the evolution of the physical universe I saw the Earth from beginning to end, including my own life. I saw everything and event in minute detail, but afterwards was not able to recall any future events. What I learned most was not to be afraid of death since what comes later is much better than life.
The experience included: Vision of the future
Did scenes from the future come to you? Scenes from the world's future I was not able to retain this knowledge outside of the experience.
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 no longer believe in a specific religion, but remain religious in my own way. I believe, based on my experience, that all our earthly religions are the products of mankind and not true to the nature of anything from the real spiritual realm. This is self-evident in all the harm, violence, bigotry, anger and hate bound up in our religions.
What is your religion now? Liberal
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I no longer believe in a specific religion, but remain religious in my own way. I believe, based on my experience, that all our earthly religions are the products of mankind and not true to the nature of anything from the real spiritual realm. This is self-evident in all the harm, violence, bigotry, anger and hate bound up in our religions.
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 When I first went to the 'heaven' area of the experience, I learned that God is complete, absolute and unconditional forgiveness for everyone. This is perhaps hard for us to grasp, since it's difficult to imagine someone like Hitler being forgiven, but that's what I experienced. Much like the slogan 'What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,' what happens on Earth is all forgiven in the afterlife. What we do here has no importance other than to ourselves. This is still hard for me to understand, but we still need to voluntarily be good. What we are able to know in life is very limited. Coming back into life after the experience I lost most of what I knew during the experience.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? No
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes In most ways the experience was too sublime to adequately describe and also during the event I experienced omniscience, which of course I didn't retain when the experience ended. Also the time span is difficult to fully describe as it seemed to contain multiple eternities.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? No
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? The time before the physical universe was absolutely sublime. It seems boring to describe, since absolutely nothing was going on, but it was beautiful. The fact that all the evil in the world is forgiven is still difficult for me to understand but I accept it.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I told my Indian friend about it perhaps a couple of weeks later. He seemed to readily accept the experience without any questioning as if it was normal.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Uncertain I don't remember hearing of any, but am not sure.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real Despite its extraordinary and otherworldly nature, I was sure that what I experienced was real. It had a very different quality to it than do normal dreams. It was super detailed and concrete. For the first few days I was actually a little frightened because I had not wanted to come back to the physical world and realized that only the keys had kept me tied here.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was probably real As time goes on, the vividness of the experience is fading a little. Also in recent years, I've become aware of studies on artificial means to create a similar experience, which has led me to occasionally doubt the reality of my experience. I guess I'm waffling a little now.
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's impossible to fully describe the experience since our world is limited. It'd be like a two dimensional world trying to understand a three dimensional world.