Stanley S Possible NDE
Edited for clarity by Judy Shea 5/30/11
I found myself entering an old cathedral and I noticed that it had no electric lights, nor burning candles, to illuminate the very large space within. I would be hard pressed to say where the light came from, other than to say that it must have been daytime, when sunshine would have been coming through the windows - although I had not noticed any windows. Walking up the right hand side of the cathedral, I noticed many men and a few dozen women, all standing in the pews near the front of the church. The men wore the typical clothing of monks, and the women, the clothing of early-period religious sisters. The color of their clothing was dark, perhaps dark brown and the men wore rope around their waists. The hoods of their robes were up over their heads, which were bowed down. The atmosphere was permeated with quietness, and I had the distinct feeling that there was much sorrow in the air.
I found myself entering a pew and I, likewise, stayed standing, following what the others were doing. There was no singing, just quietness and a feeling that all present were repenting for past deeds. The occupants then turned to their right and they all began to walk single file towards the back of the cathedral. I, too, did the same, getting in line with the others, not knowing what to expect next. I recall that, although I did not look at what I was wearing, I felt that I, also, was clothed in the same monk's garb that I had observed the others wearing. If I had to guess the period I was in, I would have to guess it was the late 17th Century. As we began to walk slowly toward the back of the church, I noticed that there was a spiral staircase that all the people were ascending. This staircase went upwards from left to right, clockwise. I, too, ascended the staircase and, as I took the last step before finding myself on the floor above the church's main area, I became aware that we were all proceeding into a confessional. As I had been born into a Roman Catholic family, I knew I needed to confess my transgressions, or sins, while in the confessional. So I began searching my mind for things to say. My turn arrived, and, having entered the confessional, I knelt down and began with, "Bless me, Father, for I have sinned..." Before I was able to go any further, the screen window opened and a man's arm and hand extended toward me. I knew that I was to place my hand into his. I seemed to know that this arm, although it was covered with cloth, was of light olive-toned skin with dark, perhaps black, hair.
As I placed my hand into His, I immediately found myself in a world of unconditional Love. Today, I feel that the hand was the hand of Jesus the Christ, Son of God. While my hand was in His, I discovered, felt, or believed that I was inside the mind of God. Although there was complete darkness, I felt that there was never a need for forgiveness here, that only unconditional Love existed. At that moment, it seemed to me that I was in the presence of all existing eternity. I believe to this day that what was communicated to me was simply this: "Don't lie to yourself, nor to anyone." Then, suddenly , I found myself back in my sleeping bag, gasping for air and fighting to get out of that self-imposed prison. After I did get out, I found myself completely wet, - my entire long johns, and everything I had been surrounded with, were soaking wet. I cried that entire day. As I cried, I said out loud over and over, "I want to go Home." And what I meant by "Home" was where I had just been, which was, I believed, inside the mind of God - where there existed only unconditional Love. It was Sunday morning November 18, 1973, and I cried on and on that day, pouring forth my desire to return to where I had just been - my true Home.
Was the kind of experience difficult to express in words? Uncertain. After having recovered from this awe-inspiring experience, I wrote it down. Years and decades later, I still have trouble with understanding whether or not I was really inside the mind of God, where I experienced complete, unconditional Love. (To this date I often say 'I am in love with Love' - for that Love, for me, IS God.)
At the time of this experience, was there an associated life threatening event? Yes. I would have to say yes. And, let me say that I was totally responsible for this "life threatening event." I was a US soldier stationed in Nuremberg, and at the time, which was during the 1973 oil shortage crisis, we were very limited as to how much oil we could use to heat our apartments. (Also, because of that, there was a curfew limiting the hours that we could use our automobiles.) That evening, which I recall was Saturday, November 17, 1973, it was very cold with a prediction of snow forecast for the next morning. Since I did not want to start the old pot-belly oil-burning stove that was in my apartment, I decided that in order to stay warm, I would take my woolen Army blankets, place them into my Army sleeping bag, and, once inside, (wearing my cotton long-johns) I would cover myself up completely, including my head, zipping up the sleeping bag to the point that only my nose was exposed to the air. And I do believe to this very day, some 37 years later, that I either died for a very short period of time, or was about to die, from asphyxiation.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? I believe that I was at my highest state of consciousness in the confessional, while placing my hand into the hand of Jesus. That experience was of oneness and unconditional Love.
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: When I placed my hand into the hand of Jesus in the confessional, I experienced oneness and unconditional Love.
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.)? Uncertain
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.)? Yes. I suffer from tinnitus, but I had no hearing problems in this "NDE." My communication was via telepathy. There didn't seem to be much to hear in this experience. And the only real telepathic communication was when I placed my hand into the hand of Jesus.
Did you experience a separation of your consciousness from your body? Uncertain
What emotions did you feel during the experience? While in the cathedral, I felt sorrowful, remorseful - as if I were responsible for spreading the lie about the Church - the Holy Roman Catholic Church - which is that the Catholic Church, and ONLY the Catholic Church, is the way to God. I came to realize that this was not true when I had my hand in the hand of Jesus. There was total unconditional love, the likes of which I have never, ever felt in this earthly life....not even after having been married to the most awesome women for 37 years....and counting!!!
Did you pass into or through a tunnel or enclosure? No
Did you see a light? No
Did you meet or see any other beings? No
Did you experience a review of past events in your life? Uncertain. Because my NDE began in a cathedral, I believe it had something to do with my being a member of the Roman Catholic Church - that institution which had caused so much sorrow in the world - maybe to give me a message about finding God.
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? Uncertain. I believe I was in a Roman Catholic cathedral. And I did not experience it as a pleasant or loving atmosphere.
Did you have any sense of altered space or time? Yes. It was definitely mystical, surreal but, nevertheless, I felt at home. If I may add - to this day, 37 years after this blessed experience, I feel that all there really is, is this love.
Did you have a sense of knowing special knowledge, universal order and/or purpose? Yes. We live in an illusion of this earthly life, inside our bodies - while our spirits, our souls, are trapped within us. There is definitely more to our lives within ourselves than without. I look within, for therein I find my peace - the Love that I am in love with.
Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure? Uncertain
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? Uncertain. I do not know why, but those in need seem to find me, or I find them. It seems like a coincidence when we meet; it just seems to happen that I am there at that certain time and place and I seem to know what to say to them. I can help them because I know we are both from that One Source.
Have you shared this experience with others? Yes. After that experience - that NDE (?) - I so much wanted to share Love with someone. I met my wife by accident, or coincidence, and we knew almost the very hour that we met that we would be husband and wife (a story in itself.) It took me perhaps 10 years before I came out of my shell and started to let others know about my experience. Now, after all these years, I am anxious to spread the word of Love to everyone.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? No
How did you view the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened: I knew right away that the experience was definitely real. It was not a dream - for, ever since then, I have had a persistent longing to "go Home." I catch myself saying it to myself to this very day. I was dumfounded after having experienced this "NDE." It was absolutely real, but I tried to block it out of my mind, because I feared I might not be normal. Please understand that as a young US Army soldier, my life had been very worldly. I had been to Vietnam (1967-68 and 1971-72), had been involved in collecting information on the racial riots of 1968-69 back in the United States, and then I had lived in the Federal Republic of Germany (now Germany) protecting the West from the so-called evils of Communism. I was far from seeing the world in a spiritual light. I was not prepared to understand that the entire world was created by God and that creation was based on His thoughts of Love - that very Love that I had just experienced.
Were there one or several parts of the experience especially meaningful or significant to you? I think I met Jesus, though I did not see anything other than His arm and hand. I just felt (knew) that it was Jesus. Secondly, after placing my hand into His, I was blessed by being made aware of God's unconditional Love for us all - for that IS who we are - creations of His Love.
How do you currently view the reality of your experience: I still am definitely sure that that this experience was real. I have, over the past thirty-some years, read countless books on spirituality, NDEs and the like. I can only believe that we indeed become "dead" when we are born into this world and take our first breath, and that we begin to live again when we take our last breath - and return to our real Home.
Have your relationships changed specifically as a result of your experience? Yes. I have to be mindful about with whom I share my NDE experience and my growing knowledge about the afterlife. Too many people find the idea of an afterlife unacceptable, so much so that even my wife demands that I do not discuss it with her.
Have your religious beliefs/practices changed specifically as a result of your experience? Yes. I do not believe that Jesus, who did walk this Earth as a human being, wanted to start a church. The true church, if there is one, is within us all - in our hearts, and in our souls. Therein is everlasting life.
Following the experience, have you had any other events in your life, medications or substances which reproduced any part of the experience? No
Is there anything else you would like to add concerning the experience? I hug many people, for it is through this act of unconditional caring for my fellow human beings that I can best express that which I feel inside.
Did the questions asked and information you provided so far accurately and comprehensively describe your experience? Yes
Are there any other questions we could ask to help you communicate your experience? Thank you for being there for us all...I love you, and love what you have done, and are doing, to bring this message to all of us!