It's been 16 years since my experience and for many years I wasn't able to talk about it out of fear of judgment. I'll do my best to remember as much detail as I can, athough much knowledge has faded away at this point.
I also need to state that although this NDE is associated with a psychedelic drug experience, I urge you to not discredit my story. I hold the firm believe that what I experienced was a bonafide NDE that still has a profound effect on me to this day.
I was a freshman in college and living in campus dorms with three other guys. It's safe to say that I was in my 'experimental' phase. One day, two of my friends asked if I wanted to eat psychedelic mushrooms with them. After much deliberation, I was curious about the experience. I trusted them, so I agreed.
Up to that point alcohol and cannabis were the only other 'drugs' I'd tried. I was completely ignorant about how much of a dose to take, so I asked my friends. I ended up buying a large baggy half-full of the mushrooms and proceeded to eat most of the bag. I remember my friends dumbfounded faces as I just kept popping in little mushrooms like popcorn into my mouth. I figure now that I ended up taking up to around 5-7 grams of dried psilocybin mushrooms that day. That was well over any recreational dose.
After I had eaten all of the mushrooms my friends left me with my roommates, assuring that they would return in a few minutes. My roommates did not take any drugs. As I wait for my friends to return and for the mushroom trip to begin, I sat with one of my roomates playing video games on our dorm room sofa. After about 30 to 45 minutes, I could start to feel the effects taking place. The colors on the TV became more vivid, my motor skills were slowing down, rational thought became much harder, and I started to sense and audible vibration coming from somewhere.
From this point on, I've pieced my story together with what I was experiencing and what I learned later from my roommates.
The vibration brought on a wave of extreme laughter. As I sat there on the couch laughing with a lit cigar in my hand, I starting having a seizure. My entire body straightened out. I rolled over onto my stomach and cigar, and then rolled onto my back again while shaking uncontrollably.
I don't remember the seizure.
What I do remember is a sensation of floating in the room I was in. I was having an out of body experience. The sensation was less of a physical feeling and more of an awareness that I was floating in the room. I didn't feel attached to my body. It was as if my soul was free and filling up the room. I don't recall seeing my body, but I knew it was there below me. The feeling was that I was lifting up toward the ceiling.
At that point, I remember the feeling of being transported or attracted to something. I could see that I was surrounded by darkness and being pulled into a light at the end of the tunnel.
The whole time I felt like I was on my back being lifted up.I don't recall any sounds or feeling any uncomfortable feelings like fear or anxiety. I remember feeling very calm and relaxed.
While moving toward the light, time and space seemed to slip away. But I remember the lack of time being very significant. I couldn't tell you how long it took to move into the light, but once I arrived it was as if I had always been there.
Light was everywhere, but it didn't seem to have a source. There were no other landscape details to see. It was almost as if the light was a physical thing. It was the ground and the sky all at the same time, or it was none of that.
I still felt like I was on my back.
I was greeted by three entities standing above me. They were standing side by side with the one in the middle being taller than the others. The middle one had more than a larger physical presence. It was as if it were more important in 'rank' like the leader. It had a very strong Virgin Mary vibe, so from here on, I'll refer to it as 'She'. I don't know if I believe that it was the Virgin Mary or not, but the presence was very feminine and motherly, and that's what matters to me.
All of the entities appeared to be dressed in long robes. The robes draped over their heads, like in the pictures depicting Virgin Mary in popular art. Although their forms drew fine silhouettes, no other details could be made out. I could not see faces, fabric, or anything like that. It was as if they were just energetic holograms. They had a softness to them, like a glow.
The one in the middle seemed to be reaching out her hands to me as if She was welcoming me. I think She was communicating with me, but I don't remember any of those details. I do know that the communication came through as forms of telepathy since She wasn't speaking.
Where was I? Where was I being welcomed to?
The best that I can explain it is that I was home. This awareness was primarily due to what I was feeling, which is best explained by what I wasn't feeling. I wasn't feeling anxiety, which I realized during this moment that I struggled with a lot. I was not feeling any pain, fear, or desires. All of these things seeming so trivial and small since they were only experienced during a human experience, which I was clearly not having at this moment.
I felt complete peace and acceptance. I felt all knowledge or truth. I could feel the infinite. I was infinite.
I'm struggling to find words to express this sensation, but for me this sense of awareness was profound. I believe I relived my entire life in one instance. Everything seemed to be revealed to me at once.
I don't know what those entities are or were. They didn't seem to be anyone that I had met before, like deceased relatives. But I felt very safe with them even though I didn't feel that I was one of them. They felt separate from me but not in a Earthly, judgmental kind of way because there was no judgement.
If this was Heaven, it wasn't the Heaven I was taught about in Bible school. There were no streets paved in gold or winged creatures flying around. There was only love and wisdom. And I had a feeling that it was for everyone, not just 'believers'.
At some point I slipped back into my Earthly body and back into chaos. I don't remember any goodbyes, parting thoughts, or even a choice to leave. I just opened my eyes and was back.
From this point on, the NDE was over and I was back in my body and not quite normal. I was hallucinating very, very heavily. I was very confused at this point. I couldn't even focus on the profoundness that had just happened because I was in such a state of chaos.
I remember looking around the room and seeing one of my roommates in the outside doorway to the dorm staring at me in shock and fear muttering expletives. The other roomate was already out the door and outside. I could hear him yelling, 'Call 911! Call 911!!'
At this point I was very worried, since I didn't know what had physically happened to me. I was in a state of declining fear and confusion, but I somehow was able to convince both roomates that no authorities needed to be called.
The rest of the story is significant to my life journey, but it is nonetheless just another trip story. For the purposes of this website I will end the story here. Let's just say that I had two very soul-level deep experiences happen to me that day that I've been trying to make sense of every since. Sharing this with you helps me get one step closer to understanding what happened.
Date NDE Occurred: 2001
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Uncertain Drug or medication overdose. Extremely high dose of psilocybin mushroom. Illness, trauma or other condition not considered life threatening.
I don't think it was life-threatening, but I was experiencing a seizure during my NDE. Medical assistance was not administered nor required.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Entirely pleasant
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? No
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. I felt like all knowledge was being passed through me at once, because time didn't exist. My awareness was at a level of clarity unattainable during the human experience because our emotions get in the way.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? After I had crossed over into the light and the three entities were with me.
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.
I could feel infinity. It was as if I was completely aware of how long I had been there and the absence of time all together, at the same time - if that makes sense.
I remember being surprised later when I learned I was only out for 30 seconds or less.
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. My vision during seemed unbound by a physical body and was much more tied into an intuitive sensation devoid of time and space. That said, vision before and after my experience is all about the details of time and space. Things have gravity and mass in the human realm. In my experience gravity, mass and space did not exist, but that didn't make things less real. For example, the three entities I saw. They had form, but they were devoid of any details. I can't tell you what color they were, what their clothes were made of, or even if they had faces, but they had a strong energetic presence.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. Immediately prior to the experience, I heard a loud audible buzzing of vibration. During the experience I don't recall any sounds. Other than the vibration I don't remember anything significant sound-wise about the experience.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? No
The experience included: Tunnel
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? Yes My consciousness seemed to be floating separately from the confines of my body in the room. I sensed myself as consciousness lifting upwards, like I was being attracted to something. I became aware of a bright light and there was darkness surrounding me. I got closer to the light and eventually it replaced the darkness and that's when I was in the other realm, as I know it. I don't recall any sounds or negative feelings while in the 'tunnel'.
Did you see any beings in your experience? I actually saw them
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? No
The experience included: Unearthly light
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? Yes The light at the end of the tunnel that eventually surrounded me, was bright and white but not blinding. It didn't seem to have a source, like a sun or other point of origin.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm. The place was bright light, and I was surround by it. If there were any other details to this world, I cannot recall.
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? I felt a complete absence of pain, fear, sadness, loneliness, anxiety, or desires. I felt an overwhelming sense of acceptance, joy, peace, lightness, and love. I remember contrasting these feelings during my experience with those of the human experience and thinking, 'Wow, I exist without any pain? I didn't even know I was in pain, but now I know that I have been.'
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 or purpose
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about the universe. It was as if the veil to truth had been lifted. It was understanding about myself and of everything at once.
The experience included: Life review
Did scenes from your past come back to you? My past flashed before me, out of my control. Unfortunately, I don't remember any of the details of this. I feel that at the time everything was happening at once and forever at the same time, and nothing really stuck. I do remember a sensation of some kind of life review, though.
Did scenes from the future come to you? No
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 importance did you place on your religious/spiritual life prior to your experience? Slightly important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Christian- Protestant Not extremely religious, but growing up in the Bible Belt Christianity was very much a part of my psyche. A year or so prior to my NDE I had been baptized at a Baptist church.
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes Though it took me awhile to break myself from my Christian upbringing, my believes now are very much shaped by what happened in my NDE. My spiritual truths start with that experience and everything else I try to build around that.
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Moderately important to me
What is your religion now? Other faiths- New age. I no longer consider myself Christian, but am very spiritual. Primarily a mix of New Age, Pagan, and Eastern-derived religions, like Buddhism and Taoism.
Did your experience include features consistent with your earthly beliefs? Content that was both consistent and not consistent with the beliefs you had at the time of your experience. Though I was raised under Christian beliefs I never fully thought that was the whole truth. It felt way too complicated and wrapped up in earthly desires and fears. Ever since I was a little boy, though, I felt connected to a greater whole. I've always been very in tune with nature and have always had great empathy for other people.
My NDE seemed to confirm the beauty and oneness that we all are to everything and everyone. It seemed to confirm the simplicity of it all.
It confirmed my Christian beliefs that there was some kind of afterlife with heavenly beings waiting for us, maybe the Virgin Mary Herself.
It challenged what I thought would happen about being judged and feeling fear of being judged. I didn't feel that there was any form of Hell on the other side, which might have been the biggest challenger to my faith at the time.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I felt confirmation that we're all spiritual beings and that there is nothing to fear about the afterlife. There's nothing to do to get to heaven. There's no special invitation. We're all invited and will eventually get there. That was very confusing to me at the time and still is.
The experience included: Presence of unearthly beings
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. I saw three beings standing over me as I felt like I was lying on my back. They stood side by side, and the one in the middle was taller and had a larger energetic presence. They all looked alike, other than the size difference. They each wore matching shrouds, or cloaks, that covered their bodies and heads, although it did not cover their faces. I couldn't make out any visual details. They didn't seemed to be physical bodies, but rather made up of energy. Their energies were female. I sensed a strong motherly presence.
The one in the middle seemed to be communicating with me via telepathy. I think she was welcoming me and passing on some sort of universal knowledge, though I cannot recall any specifics. I just remember feeling very loved by these beings and a strong sense that I was home. I was at, or near, the source.
I really wish I could remember if there were any tasks given to me.
Did you see deceased or religious spirits? I actually saw them
Did you encounter or become aware of any beings who previously lived on earth who are described by name in religions (for example: Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, etc.)? Uncertain As I stated above, the being in the middle had a Virgin Mary vibe, but I'm not certain that I was actually seeing Her. It's funny, even though I was raised Christian I wasn't Catholic. The Protestants don't worship the Virgin Mary like Catholics do. There's very little emphasis on Mary in those theologies. I thought it odd that I was seeing a being resembling Her and not Jesus, for example.
During your experience, did you gain information about premortal existence? Yes I wasn't reliving any past lives or anything, but I felt that because time didn't exist in this realm that I was experiencing, and that I was from here, that I, too, was infinite. Therefore, since my present life has a clear beginning and end, there must have been something prior to my life's start.
During your experience, did you gain information about universal connection or oneness? Uncertain My experience was much more personal than universal, but I became aware of oneness. It's hard to explain how, I just felt it.
Did you believe in the existence of God prior to your experience? I was uncertain if God exists
During your experience, did you gain information about the existence of God? Uncertain In my experience, there was no God or singular supreme being. I did not feel any other spiritual force or awareness of that. I won't go as far as to say that there is no God. But if I were to base my answer to the question, 'Is there one God?' based solely on my experience alone, I would say 'no'. I say this because, during that experience it didn't seem important. I felt that I was important and not some supreme being. I feel like that idea of God is based on our earthy desires and fears and not in any kind of actual truth.
Do you believe in the existence of God after your experience? God probably exists
Concerning our Earthly lives other than Religion:
During your experience, did you gain special knowledge or information about your purpose? Yes I just felt that all of life had been revealed to me. I'm afraid I can't recall much of the specifics other than what I've already shared.
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are meaningful and significant
During your experience, did you gain information about the meaning of life? Uncertain There are so many details that I feel are missing since it's been 16 years since my experience, but I feel as though there was awareness during my experience about life's purpose/meaning. Thinking over it now, it seems that life's purpose is to just BE. I am to experience all the feelings, good and bad. It just seems that frustratingly simple.
However, during the experience there was a sense of meaning and importance, like something big was going on but I just couldn't see the whole picture. Maybe I wasn't ready yet.
Did you believe in an afterlife prior to your experience? An afterlife probably exists
Do you believe in an afterlife after your experience? An afterlife definitely exists Yes I'm not sure how specific it is, but I have a deep awareness that there is 'life after death'. Just my being there, in this other realm, and in the presence of unearthly beings was information enough.
It seemed important that I was there and not feeling judged. I just felt unconditional love. I always thought that the afterlife would be a fearful thing, like a test, but there didn't seem to be any of that.
As a direct result of this experience my understanding of the afterlife is now much richer and simpler than I thought previously.
I felt aware of some importance to my life, both on earth and in the other realm(s).
Did you fear death prior to your experience? I greatly feared death
Do you fear death after your experience? I slightly fear death
Were you fearful living your life prior to your experience? Moderately fearful in living my earthly life
Were you fearful living your life after your experience? Slightly fearful in living my earthly life
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are meaningful and significant
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant after your experience? Are meaningful and significant
Did you gain information about how to live our lives? No I can't really remember all of the specifics, but
During your experience, did you gain information about life's difficulties, challenges and hardships? Yes I felt that all of life's difficulties were tiny compared to the reality of the whole soul experience. All of the difficulties seemed unimportant, like none of it really matters. All of life, at that point, seemed so temporary and short.
This seemed to be a lesson of comfort to not get too wrapped up in the human experience. Because, on the other side it will seem so unimportant.
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Greatly compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? Yes I learned that I was loved so infinitely much, that we all are, no matter what we believe or what we do.
Were you compassionate after your experience? Moderately compassionate toward others
What life changes occurred in your life after your experience? Moderate changes in my life The changes as a result of my NDE have been slow, but have increased significantly in the last four years. As I grow older and experience life, the more I think about my NDE.
Because my NDE was also attached to a profound psychedelic experience I, for many years following, felt ashamed of it, or dismissed it in someway. I think because I was also young, age 18 when it happened, I didn't have the tools to integrate the learnings into my life.
For a long time I felt isolated and depressed. I didn't have anyone to talk to about it. But, two years later, when my dad suddenly died, the experience became much more helpful in dealing with his death and how to proceed afterwards in my own life.
Religiously, I'm still the skeptic that I've always been. I feel that most, if not all, major religions get it wrong about the afterlife and life's purpose. That said, I'm confirmed that we are all spiritual beings and that there is a higher purpose now.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Uncertain It's hard to have an experience like that and everything about your life not change in some way. That said, how much of it is a result of the NDE is unclear and impossible to know.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes Though some of my experience was associated with visual sensation, which is easier to explain, the majority of it had to do with intuition and just a knowing. That's very hard to explain to someone who's never experienced a state where time or space doesn't exist.
How accurately do you remember the experience in comparison to other life events that occurred around the time of the experience? I remember the experience more accurately than other life events that occurred around the time of the experience. This experience has always been in the back of my mind. I tried to dismiss it at first, but it kept coming back. Knowing of it's significance, I've tried to hold on to it as much as I can. Other experiences around that time just don't even come close to the NDE.
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? It was all very meaningful, so it's really hard to single out one or another. But, I'd say that the unconditional love part is most significant.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I remember telling my friends about it a day or so afterwards. I think they thought I was crazy or it was just a result of the drug, but I knew what I experienced. I don't remember them being at all influenced by any of it. We were so young. I didn't tell any adults because of the drug part.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Yes I knew enough to understand that what had happened to me was probably an NDE. I think it was the light at the end of the tunnel thing that set it off. It just seemed so cliché; almost humorous. I couldn't tell you for certain if my previous knowledge of that created that experience or not. It's a chicken or the egg thing. That said, I don't believe that it did.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was probably real. Part of me knew that it was real, but my rational mind was trying to playing devil's advocate. I was so shaken by the whole experience of the NDE and the mushroom trip that it took awhile to process it.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real. I'm aware of confirmation bias, and I've certainly researched other NDEs and have been validated that we share similar experiences. However, I have a deep understanding without any of that that what I experienced was real. I don't need to convince anyone of that.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No
© 2014 NDERF, Jody Long & Jeffrey Long, MD. All Rights Reserved.