How My Wife’s NDE Made Me a Spiritist
By Brian Foster
My wife’s NDE and other paranormal events in her life set the stage for my conversion to Spiritism. Her NDE caused her to foretell events that had a profound effect on my previous belief that we had complete free will and control of our lives. This is the story of how I thought I lived a life of freewill and discovered I was deposited on earth with plan to navigate.
I was not a spiritual person. I had a vague notion of a higher power, but one that really didn’t care about us individually. After all, how could any power keep track of each and every one of us and determine what we had done in our lives. I had hopes of a life after death in heaven, but in reality, I expected that when we die, that is it. To me, the Bible was rather boring and ill written. I read and emulated the ancient Greeks and Romans more than our Western Civilization Christian traditions. From reading Plato, Livy, Cicero, and other ancient philosophers and writers, I believed that one should be honorable and truthful, even though I frequently failed at being so.
My Wife’s NDE
When my wife was seventeen years old, she had a bad accident, which caused her to lose a great deal of blood. She was taken to a hospital in Rio de Janeiro. She was delivered straight to the Emergency room, the doctor saw her and said, “Quickly we have to operate.”
The nurse said, “But doctor, we don’t have any anesthesia today.”
The doctor replied, “Then we have to do without.”
Ana said to herself, “God, I am ready to be taken.”
Next, Ana noticed a lady, maybe a nurse, she was all in white, but the white seemed to radiate, who held her hand and told her that everything would be alright.
Ana’s recollection was that surgery took just a moment, she heard the doctor say she would be discharged the next day. Ana did not feel any pain. She didn’t see the lady who held her hand. The next day, her sisters told her the doctor thought she was on drugs, he was amazed she didn’t cry out in pain.
When Ana arrived in her room, she saw another lady sitting down in the corner of the room, watching her, then the hospital room wall became transparent and she saw her life going by, like a movie. Ana didn’t know at this time she had fallen into a coma.
As the movie played on, the lady in the corner communicated with her by speaking directly to Ana’s mind. Eventually, Ana figured out that the movie was a movie of her life. Not only from the past, but it extended to her entire future, until her death. She saw her future marriage, building her house, scenes from a different hospital room in the future, the success of her children, everything. At the end the lady told her, “Bye, I am going back to my home.” Ana asked, “Can’t I go with you?” She replied, “Not now.”
Overtime, the full memories of her trauma receded, but certain events would trigger flashbacks and bring to life particular scenes from her life’s movie.
My Spiritual Upbringing
Let me be clear upfront, my mother tried her best. My mother took me, my sister, and my father to church every Sunday. Of course, my sister seemed to like to dress up and wear her white gloves to church. My father went, mainly because he liked playing on the Church’s baseball team. Although, he would complain that our Reverend didn’t have the commitment to win, since he always tried to find playing time for everyone, not just the best, of whom was my dad.
After the service, the young ones were taken to a Bible nursery school. I remember a group of us, this is when I was around five or six years old, we sat in a semi-circle, with the teacher and several of the mothers in front. Mine included. We read from a book, which had pictures of animals and a transparent picture of Jesus transposed over the illustrated bodies. The point of each page was to reinforce the idea that Jesus was inside all of us. At the end of each page, we would all say, “This is Jesus inside of the animal”. Which was quite simple for me to do, since they had a picture of Jesus right over and partially inside each animal. Then, we got to the last page, on the page was one of those cheap mirrors that badly reflected our image. As I was the last person in the semi-circle, I had plenty of time to figure this one out.
Suddenly, the first child yelled out, “This is Jesus inside of me!” All of the mothers looked pleased at the successful teaching of this principle. One after another, the children would say the same thing, each time re-enforcing the correctness of thought and the spirituality that existed in each of the little darlings. By this time, I was thoroughly confused. What the heck were they seeing? Evidently, my book was special. The mirror did not lie.
When it came my turn, I yelled out, “It’s me!” Was this the mark of a special destiny for me? That when others saw Jesus, I saw myself. I looked up and saw my mother put her hands on her face and bow her head down in shame, while the other mothers looked on with pity. My euphoria evaporated when I saw that all of the other books also had a mirror. My next thought was how could they have all been so wrong?
As I got older, my performance at church did not improve. I was a typical (well maybe atypical) active boy and if I got bored during the sermons, I would crawl under the pews. For some reason this did not go down well. But, the good news is that I really liked our Reverend. He was the nicest man in the world. Our two families would go to vacations at the beach together. Everyone at the church knew our families were friends.
When I was about ten or eleven, I was sitting in the pew with my mother waiting for our Reverend to walk down the aisle to start the service, I told my mom, “Look mom, God is coming!” Everyone laughed. I didn’t know why, after all, he was a great guy and a wonderful person, wasn’t he God? For reasons I have still not figured out, my mother gave up and let me stay home, with my dad, on Sundays. I will always cherish those wonderful Sundays, playing for hours with my army men.
As one can detect, my spiritual IQ was low to non-existent. I believed in facts and in what I could see. As I progressed in life, I did not change my outlook. I considered people who believed in spirits and ghosts to be mistaken and those who were very religious, to be people who needed a crutch to survive daily life.
My Wife’s Earlier Experience
Before my wife had her Near Death Experience, she had had a different type of revelation. When she was a young girl of 14, she went to her godmother’s house to bring her some food, as she did on many occasions. This day was different, she told Ana to come close to her. Ana’s godmother held her hands and began to tell of certain events that will happen in the future. She told her that she would marry a foreigner, meaning in this case a man who was not a Brazilian. After hearing about so many wondrous things that would happen to her, my future wife was very excited. After all, to a 14-year-old girl everything must happen rather quickly.
All through her twenties my wife waited for these foretold events to occur. She had worked for other people, even while she finished high school. She led a modest life in her small apartment. Gradually, the rhythm of daily life and the numerous encounters that gave rise to great hopes, which always led to failed expectations, allowed her to forget, or at least to suppress her memories of her godmother’s talk and her time in a coma.
I met Ana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, when she was 31. I had already been married once and had no wish to marry again. Little did I know that I was not in control of events, somehow, after meeting, we were married within eight months.
Remembrances of the Future Foretold
When we got married, Ana spoke to me about her past experiences with her godmother and in the hospital. When I heard that Ana was told that she was destined to marry a foreigner, I just smiled and said to myself, “yes, right.” I was condescending, I didn’t believe a word, thinking these were just the product of superstition and wishful thinking.
But then, little hints would occur that there was more to this than pure fantasy. We went looking for a house, trudging through home after home as if trying to walk in a swamp. I was getting very bored with all of this, when we came to one house.
My wife said, “This is it!” I answered, “This is what?”
She told me this is the house where we were going to live. We called the real estate agent and made an offer, we were told that there were two offers on the table. I explained to my wife that we had a small to zero chance of getting that house.
“But”, she said, “That house had three trees in the front! Just like my godmother told me.”
“Ah”, I replied very smugly, “The house actually has four trees in front.”
“Nevertheless, we are going to buy that house.” She retorted, with an air of superiority.
Somehow, the other two offers fell through and we purchased the house. As we moved in, I again pointed out the four trees in front. She merely looked at me, with that loving but slightly exasperated expression.
A month later, a wind storm blew through and knocked over one of the trees. I thought about it for a minute, but put it down to coincidence.
Other events would occur and afterward she would say, “Now I remember, my godmother told me that would happen.” Again, I would always smile and say, “Of course, dear.”
Years past, and life went on. I was working for a bank, when the great recession started to form in 2006. The stock price of the bank started to drop. But I knew, the bank was financially healthy, after all, the entire senior management told us so. I had a conversation with Ana about the sub-prime business and how if many people couldn’t pay their mortgages, other banks could be in trouble, but that we would be ok.
“Oh, now I remember,” she said, “my godmother said you were going to work for a bank that would go bankrupt, but don’t worry because you will still work for that bank, it will just change names.”
What the heck was that! Impossible I said to myself. I dismissed what she said completely.
A month later, a well-connected firm took a part ownership in our financial institution. I thought that if they invested in us, with their association with the power brokers in DC and in Wall Street, we must be in a good position. I was so smart, I invested in more stock, hoping to make a large profit when we pulled through these troubles.
Four months later, the FDIC closed us, and I had lost everything. Or so I thought.
I came home and explained to my wife what happened. She said, “Don’t worry, they will hire you back.”
But, they didn’t. I was given some months extra work to help transfer knowledge. At the end of that period I would be looking for a job in the worst financial crisis to hit the United States since the Great Depression.
At the end of my extension, I stated to look for a job. Again, my wife said, “Don’t waste time looking for other jobs, they will hire you back.”
What did she know? She didn’t realize the extent of the catastrophe, I and millions others were all looking for those few positions.
I feverishly sought out work, after numerous fruitless interviews, in the end, after only being out of work for four months, I was hired back by the same bank, but with a different name.
Quest for an Answer
I, who had always believed in free will, that I was a person who made my own destiny via my hard work, good choices and bad choices. For whatever happened to me, was caused by my actions or coincidence. Coincidence being the random events that may affect your life, while your life intersects with other people’s lives. Plus, the randomness of natural occurrences, which may shape your life at times.
The improbably of an old women, who lived in practically a hut, with a thatched roof and earthen floors with chicks running around the floor inside the house (for I visited her once, when I first married Ana), could tell my wife thirty years ago, that the bank I worked for would go broke, change its’ name and rehire me, was for all accounts an impossibility.
All I was left with, was the facts. If someone could perfectly forecast the future, then the future must be known by some power. My well-packaged belief system had been utterly destroyed. Stepped on by events.
I searched “destiny”, “pre-destination”, “fate”, and everything related on the internet. I read many theories. One, which was interesting, is that all events our foretold, the Universe is like a grand DVD, in that you are able to select any moment and replay the scenes. This may be true, but the theory couldn’t explain why or who caused this. From there, I researched the idea of the Universe being a giant hologram. Again, yes, it could be true, but why?
Then one day, I was watching the Brazilian channel Globo on cable TV, there was a program called “Fantastico”, similar to our “60 Minutes”. It was about Chico Xavier and his aptitude to communicate with the spirits. His ability to write down what the spirits told him, the smallest details of deceased people’s lives, all for the benefit of surviving family members. The facts he wrote down were investigated and found to be completely accurate. This was startling. I decided to read about him.
At an early age he communicated with his departed mother. In later life, a spirit, Emmanuel, told him that he would be used by the Spirit world to communicate with humanity. Chico was told to use the doctrine of Allan Kardec as his guide, and never stray off that path. Many people had tried to expose Chico as a fraud, but he said, “I will never fall down, because I never stood up.”, meaning that of all the people he helped, plus the over 400 books he psychographed (written with his hand, but the spirits dictating), he gave all to charity, and he lived a very simple life.
I decided to read about Spiritism and Allan Kardec. I found out that Spiritism was presented to us by the Spirit world so we here on earth may perfect ourselves and prepare the earth to reach a higher plane of existence. Using Spiritism, we are expected to improve our collective behavior. Spiritism was brought to us via the work of Allan Kardec.
In 1857, in response to the growing interest in spirits and mediums, Allan Kardec (pen name of the French teacher and educator Hippolyte Léon Denizard Rivail) organized a series of questions designed to discern the exact nature and wishes of the spirits. He did not accept information from just one medium, but verified the response to a question from multiple mediums throughout Europe. Allan Kardec wrote a total of five books documenting the answers to his questions. The basic tenants of Spiritism are:
1. Love God.
2. Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.
3. Practice justice.
4. Forgive all who offend you.
5. Make amends for our own wrong doing.
The spirits revealed to us the basic facts of our existence:
1. Your soul is immortal.
2. You travel through multiple lives as a process to learn to love, be fraternal, and be selfless.
3. The goal of God is for every spirit to one day be pure.
4. There is no eternal hell, it is a station for souls who are materialistic and have an excessive love of self. Eventually, each spirit will learn selflessness and ascend.
5. There are many levels of heaven. Heaven is not a place where we have eternal leisure, but one of on-going work to help others.
6. Life on earth is like a school. You are assigned events in your life and how you react and behave will determine your spiritual progress.
The last point struck me like a lightning bolt. The series of trials in our lives are proscribed, we must march on through our assigned tribulations. In that our life is pre-destined, but we do have free will in the choices and our attitudes during those trials. Oh, I wish I had learned these truths earlier, I wouldn’t have been so full of self-pity. I wished I could have met my adversities like a true gentleman, but of course I failed.
While many other precepts of Spiritism coincide with other religions, the principle of karma and multiple lives, but nothing else explained the entire process of the injustice and seemingly incomprehensible tragedies that befall innocent people. The maimed, those born with disabilities, gentle and wonderful lives cut short, all apparently without true cause. But, there is a true cause, and in many cases the people so afflicted asked for their right to pay their redemption, seeking a path to learn to be better spirits.
My Life as a Spiritist
I am reading and re-reading Allan Kardec’s books and I am slowly absorbing the books that have been translated into English, which were psychographed by Chico Xavier. The novels dictated to Chico by the Spirit Emmanuel are full of fresh insights into our behavior and the subtle manipulations on our lives by the Spirit world. While the books inspired by Andre Luiz directly open a portal into the process and the amount of assistance given to us by the Spirit world.
I wish I could say my life now is one full of bliss and understanding. It is not, but I am learning, slowly to control my temper and my baser instincts. I am still trying to not judge people at a glance, not to dismiss those I deem unimportant. I desire to see all of humanity as my fraternity, I am trying, and alas the old habits are hard to break. I shall not give up. I shall continue to pray for guidance and the power to correct myself.
Brian Foster has a BSCS degree and a MBA. He has worked in R&D for medical device corporations and in IT for large financial institutions. Brian Foster has a blog at www.nwspiritism.com.
Wikipedia. (2014, March 7). Allan Kardec. Retrieved from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allan_Kardec
Wikipedia. (2014, March 7). Chico Xavier. Retrieved from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chico_Xavier