I found myself in a sort of courtyard. There were no flowers, but the grass, bushes, and tree leaves were an extraordinarily vibrant green. Over the horizon was white and gold light. I knew I was in the presence of something sacred--not God as commonly described--and I experienced true awe for the first time. I was not afraid. There was an invisible barrier separating the courtyard from the light and the landscape beyond, and I was scrambling around, trying to find a way through. I heard a female voice say, "It's not your time yet." I replied, "I've had a stroke and my left side is paralyzed. What better time could there be?" But they wouldn't let me in. I'm not sure who "they" are, but I was devastated when I realized I was being dragged back to my ruined body. I was furious and grieving for years after the event. I still feel that way sometimes, but to a lesser extent; I guess I've become reconciled to the fact that, like it or not, I'm still embodied. I want very much to make it across the barrier and return Home, but all I can do is wait for that happy day to arrive.
Was the kind of experience difficult to express in words? No I don't talk about it much, as some people think I'm just goofy from the stroke. But I have spoken and written about it at length with people I trust.
At the time of this experience, was there an associated life threatening event? Yes I had a "right-side CVA" (stroke--a bleed, not a clot).
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? I think it was when I was trying to get through the barrier.
How did your highest level of consciousness and alertness during the experience compare to your normal every day consciousness and alertness? More consciousness and alertness than normal
If your highest level of consciousness and alertness during the experience was different from your normal every day consciousness and alertness, please explain: I think it was when I was trying to get through the barrier.
Did your vision differ in any way from your normal, everyday vision (in any aspect, such as clarity, field of vision, colors, brightness, depth perception degree of solidness/transparency of objects, etc.)? Yes Extremely vivid colors, and the light was brilliant but soft.
Did your hearing differ in any way from your normal, everyday hearing (in any aspect, such as clarity, ability to recognize source of sound, pitch, loudness, etc.)? No
Did you experience a separation of your consciousness from your body? Yes
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Overjoyed at being free from my body, followed by intense despair when I had to go back.
Did you pass into or through a tunnel or enclosure? No
Did you see a light? Yes White and gold light in the distance, brilliant but soft.
Did you meet or see any other beings? Uncertain I did not see anyone. There was the brief spoken exchange with the female voice. It told me it wasn't my time yet, and I pleaded to be let in.
Did you experience a review of past events in your life? No
Did you observe or hear anything regarding people or events during your experience that could be verified later? No
Did you see or visit any beautiful or otherwise distinctive locations, levels or dimensions? Yes There was the courtyard, which seemed to be a transitional area between the physical and spiritual worlds. Over the horizon was the light and, I sensed, the real Next World.
Did you have any sense of altered space or time? Uncertain Nothing I can put my finger on, but I knew I was in an otherworldly dimension.
Did you have a sense of knowing special knowledge, universal order and/or purpose? No
Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure? Yes The invisible barrier, like a big plexi-glass wall, between the courtyard and what lay beyond.
Did you become aware of future events? No
Did you have any psychic, paranormal or other special gifts following the experience you did not have prior to the experience? Yes I now have contact with a spirit guide, for lack of a better term.
Have you shared this experience with others? No Not shared directly, although I wrote some poems about it and let two trusted friends read them.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Yes I had heard about the bright lights, the tunnel, and the clear out-of-body sensation. I don't think it affected my own experience in any way.
How did you view the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened: Experience was probably real It felt absolutely true, but the limitations imposed by being trapped in a body made me a bit doubtful.
Were there one or several parts of the experience especially meaningful or significant to you? The two things that stand out the most are the vivid colors and my dismay at not being able to cross the barrier.
How do you currently view the reality of your experience: Experience was definitely real It is more real than anything else that has happened, before or since.
Have your relationships changed specifically as a result of your experience? No
Have your religious beliefs/practices changed specifically as a result of your experience? Uncertain I no longer attend church, but I was going primarily because I loved singing in the choir. Even as a kid, I was looking for something more than conventional Christianity.
Following the experience, have you had any other events in your life, medications or substances which reproduced any part of the experience? No
Did the questions asked and information you provided so far accurately and comprehensively describe your experience? Yes I have been as accurate as possible.