NDE Accounts

Life/Death/?

Originally written 1986-87 Re-edited with addendum 6/1993 by Geraldine Berkheimer.
August 8, 1959, Paris.

I wonder if it was a sunny day?  Could it have been a cloudy day?  Certainly it wasn't a rainy day, the day I decided to take my roll of film to the Latin Quarter to have it developed.  I'd never have ventured into the rain on a Vespa—I had more sense than that.  It must have been a good day; Patrick and I would go on a picnic in the afternoon.  But the afternoon never came.  I can only deduce that I was going to the camera shop from the fact that a roll of film was found in my jacket pocket.  At least that's what someone said sometime later.

I had spent the past academic year in Paris with the Middlebury Group preparing a Master's Degree.  It had been a great year!  I had learned to speak, read, write and understand French very well.  In spite of the hard work at studies I had managed to go to the theater, travel on student tours throughout France, Spain and Italy, and enjoy a full life of experiencing the "City of Lights".  Each of these activities allowed me to make friends from all over the world and from all walks of life.  I was happier than I had ever been.  Among my closest friends were two French students, both of whom were in medical school: Christine and Patrick.  Patrick had sold a Vespa of his to Sandy, another Middlebury student, and me.  She never wanted to learn to drive it, so I had it to myself most of the time. 

I drove all over Paris (once I raced up the Champs Elysees with another scooter addict) and in the suburbs.  I was quite comfortable with it and Sandy had no qualms about riding on the back, so we decided to spend the month after classes were over traveling through Europe, visiting some of our classmates and celebrating our graduation which would officially be in August.  I asked Patrick to make sure the scooter was in top running condition for our trip.  He had it completely overhauled and promised we'd have no trouble with it.  The night before we were to leave, Sandy and I loaded our luggage and made our way across town to make sure we'd know the best route to take in the morning.  Something was wrong.  I couldn't get the scooter to go fast enough.  It was as if I were driving in second gear the whole time.  Sandy was worried so she took the metro home and I tried to find a service station open to get it fixed—without luck.  It was late at night; no garages were open.

Rather than forgo our trip we decided to start out the next day hitch-hiking through our planned itinerary.  We left the Vespa behind with a note for Patrick telling him that if he fixed it he could use it while we were gone.  On our return we all had a good laugh—the brakes had been tightened too much.  That was around mid-July.

In spite of strange, unwanted feelings that I should return (in fact, that I was being drawn back) to the United States, I wanted more than anything to spend another year in France.  Thanks to the fact that my home town, York, PA, is twinned to Arles in southern France, I was to have a job there in the fall teaching "American" in the elementary schools.  Sandy returned to the States after our trip so I had the scooter to myself for nearly a month before heading to the Midi.  There I was, virtually free in Paris, now living at the Cité Universitaire at the southern end of town and loving it!  Needless to say, I made the most of it, touring the city and the surrounding area.  Of special importance, as it turned out, was the visit from an American friend whom I had known at Middlebury, Marcia.  While in Paris she introduced me to friends of hers who were to become my friends and be of great help later.

First there was Godin.  She had a full name, but to most people she was Godin.  Marcia had spent a full year in that household years before, and I would return to Paris to live with them two years later.  Secondly, there was Ginette, who before the war had planned a career as a concert pianist.  Due to the war those plans were put aside and when I met her she was in charge of helping refugees who came to the Quaker Center and giving them concerts from time to time.  As I recall, the day I met them there was a simple "Hello.  I'm glad to know you" between us.  I was Marcia's friend and was received as such.  I doubt if at that moment either of them thought they'd see much more of me.

During the course of those events I had a nightmare which I would put out of my mind until perhaps years later.  I know it was a very long time before I connected it with what was happening in my "real" life.  In the dream I was in a casket, the lid of which was being shut; I called for my brother but he didn't answer or come.

At Easter in 1959 I toured Spain with a group of students.  Like most tourists we visited entertainment offered by gypsies in the cave homes surrounding Granada.  At intermission, a Gypsy woman read palms of the clients who were seated along the walls around the room.  I was the last one in line and was quite bewildered when, after having given reasonably long readings for everyone else, she looked at my hand, shook her head and hurried away into another room without saying a word.  I thought about it then and have often thought about it since.  Years later, I would have an equally bizarre experience with gypsies passing on a Paris Street.

But by August I was assured of my diploma from Middlebury, a happy end of summer vacation in Paris, and I was intent on getting on with my new job in southern France.  That is, until August 8, 1959.

I don't remember setting out for the Latin Quarter that morning.  There is no question that is where I was headed.  It was a familiar jaunt and the location of the accident indicates the destination.  A policeman at the scene said a taxi pulled away from the curb and ran a red light.  I was in the intersection at the time.  I have a few memories of the next few days and they are as vivid as if the events took place yesterday.  (I'm told I called for my brother, who never wrote to me at the hospital, as well as for Patrick and Christine.)

The first thing I recall is the impression I must be in "heaven".  I was above my bed looking down at my body, and I saw white clad "angels" coming and going.  Of course it was the hospital staff.  I realized this immediately.

That was the first of several out-of-body experiences related to this accident.  Sometime after that a doctor and a few other persons came in with objects for me to identify—a pencil, an apple, and what I recall as a radio or something resembling a small portable radio.  I thought to myself "How stupid do you think I am?" as I told them the names of the objects.  However, my communication was not received!  Those present apparently had no idea that I understood and responded.  I don't know how many similar incidents there may have been during the next few days.  I remember several of them.  And I realized quickly I wasn't getting through to those around me.  Due to the extent of my injuries I was transferred to a hospital better equipped to take care of this sort of trauma.  I wasn't expected to live and my family was notified.  I remember vividly the day I was put on a stretcher and wheeled down the long, barren hallway to the waiting ambulance, and the second out-of-body experience.  They had pushed my stretcher to the back of the ambulance.  I left my body and circled the vehicle from the back to the right side, around the front, stopping by the driver's window to look at the dashboard, and went back to the stretcher.  I was fascinated and intrigued.

At the second hospital I became cognizant of my situation, although no one told me immediately of my broken bones, loss of hearing, nor, as I recall, of my lack of communication skills.  Then, too, it is possible that I was told and the information didn't register.  Only later, after my release from the hospital, when I read the description of my injuries provided to me for "insurance purposes", did I encounter for the first time the name of my condition: aphasia.  And even then I didn't know what it meant.  For those who may be unfamiliar with the term, aphasia describes a condition in which the afflicted looses one, several or all of his or her abilities to communicate verbally, be it listening, speaking, reading, writing or several skills I shall not try to describe here.

It was in this second hospital that I underwent the prescribed testing, i.e.  EEG and others.  And it was here that the most unique experience of my life, other than that of being aphasic, occurred.  I do not know whether it happened the first day of my hospitalization there or a few days later. 

However, my impression is that it was the first day.  Once again I was outside my body, to my right and above my head.  I looked down at my body and then looked straight ahead of me where I saw a light, a clarity.  I was puzzled by this and I distinctly recall asking myself if I wanted to go see what it was or return to my body.  I chose to go back to my body, but part way back in I changed my mind and returned to the area above my bed.  This time I saw a tunnel leading to the clarity.  I don't remember seeing it the first time.  Somehow I knew that if I chose to go through the tunnel I would die, but, strangely, it didn't seem to matter to me.  I laughed because I wouldn't have to return to my parents' house and clean out things in the attic I had accumulated over the years.  As I look back at that I'm surprised that I'd find it amusing.  I'd always considered myself a responsible person and still do.  As I stepped into the tunnel this out-of-body experience became quite different from the others.  In the "ordinary" OBE one is immediately drawn back into the body by the slightest sound, fear or other thought from the physical world.  One is attached to the body by what some refer to as a "silver cord".  When I entered into the tunnel there was no attachment to nor memory of the physical world as we know it.  This is my experience; I don't know about "others'" experiences.  I did feel like I was swirling, at first slowly, then faster and was accompanied by "others" after I got part way through the tunnel.  As I approached the clarity at the far end I was disoriented but as soon as I exited from the tunnel I heard voices "Gerry's here. 

Gerry's here!"  Some people having had similar experiences report having seen relatives, friends or religious figures.  I did not recognize any "beings".

Several things struck me.  First of all was the feeling of joy, of euphoria.  No other word even comes close to describe what is inexpressible.  Nothing negative was evident.  I did not encounter or see any "bodies" such as our physical bodies.  What I "saw" were a few (three or four) what I can describe only as essences, clear in substance (if there was substance) shaped like inverted drops.  After 30 years I'm inclined to think "they" may have been different vibrations of light and that perhaps that is precisely what spirit is. 

Communication was not speech as we know it, but rather similar to what we call"mental telepathy'".  There was immediate recognition of the meaning of the communication.  I cannot express well enough the feelings of joy and euphoria (what some call love) that not just permeated the experience but which was its very essence.  It was an expression of total acceptance only spoken of on the physical plane.  There was a point where I said to myself" this must be where I'll see my past go by me".  If I had that experience I didn't bring it back to this plane with me.

Another unforgettable thing was the lack of time and space, i.e.  the experience of timelessness and spacelessness.  I was at one and the same time in the "past" (medieval times),"present", and "what will be".  It was as if the three "time" frames were superimposed in a fashion similar to that of numerous layers of film laid one on the other.  "Space" was experienced in somewhat the same way.  When I was at the exit of the tunnel I was on a hill overlooking a city or village in the distance, and instantaneously, again almost telepathically, I was somewhere else.

As mentioned earlier, there was a pervasive sense of total acceptance and I realized that there is no such thing as sin and guilt, that these are earth-bound, man-made concepts designed to control someone or something.  This has had a lasting impression on me and changed my perspective of life considerably.

So there I was.  It has been pointed out to me by a sensitive (psychic) that I appeared to those who greeted me just as they appeared to me.  That has brought me new insight to the experience.  At any rate I was as ecstatic as the others, eager to learn whatever there was to learn.  They were about to take me "farther" when another essence appeared.  Those who had greeted me at my arrival told the newcomer that I had just arrived and that they were going to take me wherever it was they were going to introduce me.  However, a firm "NO" from the newly arrived essence put a stop to it.  Neither the essences nor I were happy with that response and I tried to insist on staying, saying I absolutely did not want to go back.  In return we got a simple "Gerry must go back because they don't know."

I don't remember saying good-bye.  I know that coming back through the tunnel was faster than going towards the clarity and that it was accompanied by a swooshing sound.  I reentered my body through my head, through what I have since learned is referred to as the crown chakra.  (Here, I must underscore the fact that before my accident and for years afterward I had never heard of the chakra system nor of the associated metaphysical concepts.)  That is where and how I found myself back in my hospital bed.  Whether the experience of having been "on the other side" lasted a few seconds or minutes or more I have no way of knowing.  No one ever mentioned to me that I had "died" but then, the French ways of keeping records and dealing with hospital patients vary somewhat from those with which we are accustomed in our country.  In any event, I had been sent back to the physical plane against my will.  Once back there was a point, a very poignant and frightening point, where I became aware of the fact that I had no strength that even to lift my little finger literally exhausted me.  I recall the impact of that realization.  Unless I took charge of myself I'd be an invalid the rest of my earth-bound existence, someone else would feed me, clothe me, speak for me, and move me from wherever I was to wherever I wanted or needed to be.  No way was I about to let that happen if I could help it so I struggled and "pained" to regain physical strength and to communicate.  One day I realized I wasn't hearing what was being said to me on my right side.  It was the first and, to my knowledge, the only time during the entire experience I am describing that I cried.  It is the only handicap other than tiring easily in noisy situations that has remained with me to this day.

My biological family was not closely knit, and although my mother did come to Paris at the request of the physician and friends, it was more harmful than helpful.  That is one of the reasons that Ginette's unexpected visit provided what I consider the key to my recovery.  Also, I asked her to send her personal physician to see if he'd tell me if I'd ever hear through my right ear again.  The doctors at the hospital wouldn't say more than that they didn't know and that didn't satisfy me.  I needed to know how and to what to adjust my life.  Ginette's doctor was to the point: "No", I would not regain my hearing.  I often wonder, though, whether I would be able to hear today if I had worked as hard at hearing as I did at learning to speak, read, write and pay attention to what people said to me.

Although it took me about five years to recover completely the early steps were exceptionally rapid.  In a week I understood English fairly well and began speaking enough to ask for my radio and a necklace, and to recognize the music from The King and I.  Within the following two weeks I began conversing in French.  The doctors had told me I'd never speak French again and possibly not English!  In less than a month, at my mother's insistence, I was released from the hospital.  The document I was given upon my release states that the aphasia had "notoriously regressed."

As I mentioned, prior to my accident I had made arrangements to teach English in the schools in Arles.  In spite of the doctor's advice I went to Arles so I wouldn't have to return to the States and stay at my parents' house.  I must add that I felt I was truly ready to reenter my profession and thought I would he able to continue my career at that time.  After one-half day on the job I knew I was mistaken.  However, the school administration suggested I stay for six weeks and then try again.  I did stay until mid-November but it became obvious I was not ready for work.  Therefore I returned "home" where I convalesced for a year before returning to teaching.  After one year I became aware I needed more time off.  Since my communication skills were again normal and my lack of strength was disguised by my enthusiasm, no one knew of my accident and experiences related to it and therefore could not understand, let alone believe, my decision at the end of the academic year to leave for where even I didn't know.  As it happened, I was able to return to France for two years where I audited courses and worked part-time.  During those years my "self" (for lack of a better word) was slower at returning to my chronological age than was my body.  One person, a friend in York, PA, was aware of this because I would indicate to her the various stages of focusing to her.  It was most interesting to observe and to go through this process at the same time.  There were specific moments where I said to myself "I feel like a first grader; I feel like I'm about a senior in high school" then in college, and finally at my then chronological age.  It was one of the most unusual experiences I've ever had.  That process lasted about four and a half or five years.

For years, many years, I continued my search for what it is "they don't know".  At times I still am haunted by it.  However, I 've given up on that search for the most part confident that I am doing what I must do.  I hope, simply, that the telling of these experiences will have helped someone understand him or herself, or someone else.  It is not necessary that anyone agree with it, or even believe it.  I would like to have contributed to a better understanding of anyone with similar experiences.

Addendum

In the years immediately following the incident described above I was intent on getting my life together, of coming to grips with "reality" and making ends meet.  Struggle is an understatement.

It was not until the early 70s when someone asked me about my aphasia that I was, in essence, forced to relive my experience.  Painful as it was, it was also cathartic and since then I have been able to share what happened to me.  The same person introduced me to metaphysics and to parapsychology; both these fields have helped me understand my experience.  I have also become a neophyte astrologer.

I had tried for years to write about my NDE but it wasn't until about 1986 that I was able to do so.  Much, obviously, has happened since then.  I learned about the International Association for Near Death Studies (IANDS) and have attended one of their international congresses.  I've read all I can find on the NDE.  One author in particular, PMH Atwater, has helped me.  In her Coming back to Life she states that her research has shown that it takes a MINIMUM of seven years for an NDEr to BEGIN to assimilate the experience!  It put to rest my wondering if I had suppressed my experience for some reason.  The process of integrating the NDE with "normal" life is a continuous, daily one.  Even today, nearly 34 years later, I make adjustments due to what I experienced in the NDE.  I spoke to a 65-year-old who told me the same thing ...  his experience was in childhood!  And, the experience is as vivid as the moment(s) it occurred.

Much has been written on the subject, particularly the past ten-fifteen years and mostly by researchers: Moody, Ring, Sabom, Atwater (herself a three-time experiencer) and others.  Material by experiencers is limited though there are now an estimated 13 million of us, in the US alone.  I often try to explain to groups to whom I speak that the NDE is more intimate than sex.  Here we are dealing with the very essence of being, with the soul.  Beauty and pain go hand in hand in describing the experience unless one detaches him/herself from it and few experiencers can, or are willing to do that.

Therefore, the reader must accept that what I have written in these pages is the tip of the iceberg.  Please, ask no more at this time.

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Fugitive is shown all his happiest moments

November 9th 1989 around 10pm, cold night for the weather. I was running from several peace officers and helicopter. I hid under a pomegranate tree that had never been trimmed. I hid under leaves so well only the helicopter knew I was there. They sent in K-9 (Bronco was his name), he found me right away. I grabbed his cheeks while lying on my stomach and held him from biting my head. Officers pulled me out by my feet, while I dragged the dog with me through the underbrush. One officer broke my hold of the dog and started to handcuff me. I couldn't hold the dog anymore, then he grabbed my other hand and handcuffed me while the dog mauled my head. I kept my face down so he wouldn't rip it up. We argued back and forth both of us not letting up. So the dog continued long after that until an officer grabbed him and said I had enough.

He stood me up and blood was running unstoppable. As I waited for the ambulance my legs gave out and I fell to my knees feeling scared of the feeling I was having. Ambulance finally came and I was so cold the blood from my head kept me warm on the gurney. They rolled me fast through the E.R. and I could see all the lights passing. They wrapped my head preparing me for surgery, when my body started shaking uncontrollably. I panicked even more and then everything went black!

Don't know for how long but then the darkness was giving way to dim light. I started to see my body and the doctors working on me. I wasn't really conscious but I could see peripherally. This light that was drawing me towards it was so intense and mesmerizing. Then two film strips on the left side of me started flashing back all the happiest moments I had ever had from when I was born till that moment. I recognized every script it was showing. And made me feel indescribably joyful while the light kept intensifying from everywhere. I loved this feeling growing on me and couldn't think of nothing else. Then a phone rang and I answered hello and my friend said Junior!!!!! That's what they call me. And everything went dark again.

When the dim light started appearing again it was a doctor looking at my eyes with a light and he said, "we almost lost you there." He told me to count back from ten to zero. I got to sseevveennnn. And lights out again. When I came to, I was in recovery.

Thanx for listening .... We don't pass away ... We continue collecting memories that equal Infinite Light to balance the Darkness we all have to experience....

Suicide is told she has no business trying to "get in"

I was 17 years old when I met my emotionally abusive boyfriend. He had a profound effect on me that lasts to this day, over 30 years later. Over the course of a year, he convinced me to join him in a suicide pact, claiming that we were "better" than the rest of society and deserved to be "somewhere else." He was a drug addict and because of the mental hold that he had over me and the desire to be high with him, I abandoned my family and friends. It was such a pivotal time in my young life and I have always fantasized about never having met him, wishing that I could’ve kept the precious friends that I had and never killed the relationship with my parents, as I was an only child.

I was at his beck and call, to go to him whenever he wanted, because he had enough drugs for us to overdose on. It could be in the middle of the night when I would miss school the next day and cause my parents to be sick over my sudden disappearance. When he moved over 4 hours away to an out-of-state school, I again went to him anytime that he asked. By the time that I arrived, the drugs either disappeared or he decided that he just wasn't ready to go.

He called one night, asking me to make another long drive to see him, and I actually refused. I can only wish that I had more time to become tired of the routine and come to my senses on my own, realizing that I was worth far more than the puppet that he made me feel I was. I couldn't reach him when I called the next morning and found out that he had finally decided to take his life. I wonder if he would have done it sooner if I never came. Perhaps the time alone that he had waiting for me and not showing up made him realize that it was more important for him to die than waiting for me to end my life, too.

My parents forbade me to make the drive to where he was because they knew how raw I was and that that environment was the last place I needed to be. I was extremely distraught over the experience. My mom lost over 10 pounds and she was already quite thin. I looked like absolute hell, judging from the few pictures taken of me after his death.

After his funeral, I was already seriously planning to kill myself. When the time was right and I found the top floor of an empty parking deck, I took an entire package of OTC sleep medicine and sat in my car waiting. I saw my fingernails turn yellow and soon could not move at all. I was already leaning back in my seat in a sleeping position when I began to focus on the sky through my car window. In a trance and without leaving my body, I felt my consciousness move to a particular set of clouds. I was still mostly aware of my surroundings and that I still couldn’t feel my body since it was numb.

What I saw after a few moments wasn’t a person, but a male presence, “looking down” at me. He was upset and annoyed that I was trying to "get in" to where he was. I could sense a few people behind him, males and females, who I felt were just there to passively accompany him until they could all return to where they had come from.

He spoke to me and I felt like I was being reprimanded. It was a mean display of emotion and I knew that he was angry. I was told not to come any further and that I had absolutely no right to come there. Even now, I feel the emotions and how sad and hurt I felt. I just kept "hearing" that I had no business there and to more or less get the hell away. Then I felt myself "pushed" back into my body. I became fully aware then of my surroundings and I willed my body to return to its normal state. I still couldn’t move, but desperately tried to sit up and look for any cars or people that I could yell for help to. I finally regained full use of my body and was able to drive home where I must’ve slept for two days.

I never tried to commit suicide after that. Over time, I developed this overwhelming knowing that I was being watched and the beings that were looking over me loved me in ways that no human could. I still feel it to this day and my belief system in the afterlife, even other dimensions, has increased exponentially. I am grateful for that experience and so grateful to know that I am so strongly loved.

I do wish, as I get older, that I could go "home." It is not a thought with intent, but more of a happy knowing that there will be a long break after I leave my already tired body before I come back again to learn new lessons.

The divine Love we share between us is all that truly matters and is measured and endures

As a young girl of 10, I became ill with strep throat and pneumonia, with a relentless high fever. I had been very sick for a couple of weeks with an increasingly sore throat, cold-like symptoms, coughing, and mounting breathing difficulty. (I had always had breathing problems and after this was formally diagnosed with asthma.) I eventually became unresponsive and was taken to hospital. There, during medical assessment, I was first stripped of all clothing and was wrapped in cold, wet sheets in an attempt to alleviate my soaring temperature. After diagnosing me, they gave me an injection of penicillin, to which I had an allergic reaction, resulting in an “anaphylactic shock-induced death.”

I found myself out of my body and floated up to the upper-right rear corner of the hospital room. As I looked down, I saw what was supposed to be me—a long, skinny body wrapped in white sheets—but the body wasn’t me. I felt a complete and total disidentification with the body, while I, the real me, was dispassionately observing the hospital staff frantically attending to it with an intense and increasing flurry of activity. The concern and attention they had for this body was interesting, yet no one noticed I was there, watching from outside of it.

Through the wall, I could see my distraught mother down in the hallway. On some level, I sensed and felt her angst, and I wanted her to know that I was all right, that she needn’t worry or be upset.

Her upset was no doubt heightened by the fact that, prior to my being in this room, the doctor had sternly and angrily chastised her. Why had she not brought me for medical attention far sooner? We had been at my great aunt’s cottage. It was summer. My illness progressed to the point where my fever remained high and constant—at least 104 degrees for two days—and my body would shiver uncontrollably. Though hot to the touch, I kept saying how cold and freezing I felt.

So my mother heeded my great aunt’s advice and covered me in blankets and put a woolen hat on my head. In addition, my aunt slathered me with Vicks VapoRub and wrapped a sock around my neck. All this naturally raised my fever, which is how I became unresponsive. The doctor was angry with my mother for bringing me into the hospital in blankets and a woolen hat, with a sock around my neck. He made a comment that she was cooking me to death and sternly sent her away to wait elsewhere. (My mother would tell me this many years later.)

As I continued to disinterestedly watch all the activity, a light began to fill the room, enveloping everything in sight, making its way to me, wrapping itself around me. I no longer saw anything else but this light. The physical scene below had now faded and disappeared. The light grew brighter and brighter. It was gorgeous, magnificent. Brilliant white silvery light swirled and glided, forming and melding around me.

Exquisitely soothing and flowing, it invited and welcomed me into itself. It was as though I looked into a corridor of light. The light pulled and drew me into itself and enveloped me. I had no resistance, as it felt so inviting and completely natural. I merged with the light, and became it. It was me, and I was it, without differentiation.

As the light now, I/we moved along this shining tunnel. The light was so intensified that’s there’s nothing to compare it to on earth. It was like when you look up and see shafts of sunlight shining onto you through the leaves of trees, only magnified in brightness thousands of millions of times.

In this pulsing brilliance, there was such a soft gentleness. I felt profound, exquisite LOVE. A joining and remembrance of being this Love, this true and perfect essence. I was and am that. All was perfect and whole. It felt unceasing and limitless. The indescribable, effulgent Love was what I was. And I was at peace. Complete peace. There were no thoughts, only blissful, peaceful silence and contentment beyond words. Only oneness prevailed.

At some point, there was what seemed to be a soft hum in the background and a gentle sound of whooshing air or wind all around. Yet it was not distracting nor disturbing. It was beautiful. I was part of it too.

Before me appeared a magnificent being radiating forth pure Divine Love. This being was formless and was softly and ethereally pulsating, yet somehow it seemed to have a hint of form, liked a blended, ever-so-faint outline that was even more radiantly brilliant (though, paradoxically, of the same brilliance as all else around it).

There seemed to be a recognition of this being as an entity “other” than myself. And yet at the same time, it was also an aspect of who I was, and therefore, in essence, was ultimately also me. There was thus no sense of separation.

On each side of this magnificent being was another form. These two additional beings felt equally powerful, yet slightly smaller and a half-step back, even though their edges (and their entirety) intermingled with the central being. They also seemed to be more in observation. (I almost don’t want to say “they” here, because all three beings felt like one.)

We all shared this intense feeling of LOVE. Our communication was silent, absent of words, telepathic. This form of communication was all-knowing, like windows into the heart of the soul, through which the communication expanded both outward and inward. We read one another’s thoughts instantaneously. There was no room for even a smidgen of miscommunication. The whole picture of each expression was perfect. The three beings and I expressed everything so clearly, succinctly, and eloquently. The thought-forms flowed back and forth simultaneously, all at once. We all heard one another.

I had a sense that the being in the center was God, the Creator, and the thought-forms of the other beings were expressed to me through this one central consciousness. All was perfect. I felt that I was at home, basking, enfolded, and cradled in the heart of the source of all Love. Home in the heart of God.

Even though there was no sense of time or sequence, I then recall an ever-so-slight discomfort, a reluctance to agree to that which was next asked of me. This was to consider taking a look at my life, to review it, and then decide whether to remain in this loving embrace of divine perfection or to return to my body.

The idea of returning to the physical was definitely a highly unpleasant one, to say the least, and I attempted to refuse entirely. Patiently and with loving understanding, I was informed that indeed I could remain and not return to the physical if that’s what I chose. Yet I was gently encouraged to first take a look at my life prior to making that decision. I felt an increasingly strong sense of resistance to this, and yet in the same instant, a knowingness that I needed to.

I wasn’t forced in any way. The decision came from a deep internal knowing that it was the right and necessary thing to do. And so I agreed, however reluctantly, to take a look, and as a result experienced a very vivid life recall.

It was both painful and exquisitely beautiful. It was like viewing a film, filled with precise detail. Every single thought, word, deed, decision, and action was brought forth and re-experienced and re-examined. It was self-evaluation, with total transparency and honesty. Throughout, I was never judged by any of these divine beings. They simply held me in Love, with complete compassion and acceptance.

In this review, I realized that I was every single person I’d ever encountered or thought of. As I merged with and became them, I felt exactly what they experienced as a result of my loving or unloving thoughts and actions. I saw it all from their point of view, not only how my actions affected them, but then through them affected others they encountered, as the effects kept on going.

I saw that the love we express ripples out, creating an everlasting beauty that is often unbeknownst to us at the time. I saw this happen when I spoke a heartfelt word, thought a truly kind thought or gave undivided attention to someone. I recall simple gestures having the most impact, like a spontaneous and genuine smile. For example, I smiled at a woman I passed on the street and it turned her day around. She had been feeling disheartened about life, and my smile changed her interactions later that day with her children and others. On some level, I heard her thanking me.

In our essence, we are powerful and loving beings, and we are given countless opportunities to act from that love, endless chances to learn and grow by offering and receiving love. It felt as if we are living inside a grand game, which is perfectly designed to always give us another opportunity to get it right this time.

For instance, I saw a disheveled man. It was as though in the “game” he’d been dressed in this disguise to give others an opportunity to respond with kindness. But when I and others judged him—actually believed him to be “disheveled”—I felt his profound sadness and regret. On a higher level, I earnestly apologized to him and then immediately felt his forgiveness bestowed on me.

I saw that everything we do makes a difference. The impact we have on one another is profound. And all of it is registered telepathically somewhere in our minds, so that we carry within ourselves the consequences for our thoughts, words, and deeds. We have a responsibility, and we hold ourselves accountable for all of it. I could see that the effects we impose on others by our unlovingness become our personal hell. Hell is not a place we’re banished to as punishment. There is no punitive God. Hell is the self-judgment that keeps us imprisoned. We do it to ourselves.

Yet none of that is real. In the end, only the Love is real. The divine Love we share between us is all that truly matters, and is measured, and endures.

In this process of ruthlessly honest self-reflection, nothing went unnoticed. Nothing was able to be hidden. Nothing. Not one single thing. This life review was like going through everything with a fine-tooth comb, looking under every rock, leaving no stone unturned, seeing into each crevice with a Divine Light that revealed every hidden place. And through the entire process, it was all looked at and discerned through the lens of Love. Love prevailed. And I remembered.

In the life review, there was an interlude in which I was taken by the hand and led into another realm. It resembled earth because there were trees, sparkling sand, and aquamarine water. There were fruit-laden trees, lush foliage, and vibrantly colored birds. Everything was alive—each flower and every glistening grain of sand. Floral fragrances filled the air. (Even now, when I smell lilies and freesia, I’m transported back to that memory.) It was all soft and ethereal and vivid at same time.

I was not in a solid body, nor were the others. Rather, we were in these shimmering, flowing, ethereal garments. Everyone floated and glided, just inches above the ground. We could pass right through one another, and when we did, we felt a ripple of heightened intensity above our already sustained joy. As I glided slowly along, my “hand” would pass through the flowers and meld with and become them, and there would be that same ripple of joy. As I passed another, our thoughts communicated instantly. We had a sense of seeing into and becoming each other. We knew we were all one another. We felt an ecstatic joy that never stopped. It would build and intensify, ebb, and flow, yet it never stopped. I want to use the word “orgasmic,” but not in the sense we experience on earth. It was simple; it was Love, completely pure and unceasing Love.

I was nearing more readiness to agree to return to the body, but was still reluctant and leaning towards saying no. Then I was asked, still without words, would I look at a few more things? And I agreed. I was then given glimpses of life ahead still to be lived. Those included the seeming challenges I would face, along with all the precious beauty that was inherent within them.

I was shown the children that I would birth into the world. I felt my love for them and theirs for me, along with the love between me and many others yet to come into my life.

I saw how my mother would be devastated if I “died,” never forgiving herself, thinking that she was responsible for my death. One of the beings I met there, who felt like my older brother (my mother had not yet informed me that she had given birth to a stillborn boy before me), told me how my (our) mother would be very, very sad.

After what I was shown of the life ahead, I was informed that if I chose to return, I would temporarily forget it all and that it would gradually come back to me in the living of my life.

Everything I was shown in the past review and the future preview was vibrant and vivid, with intensely amplified feelings. I felt reassured that all would be well; more than that—all would be and is perfect. (I don’t recall specifics of the future view. I don’t recall details of an eventual physical death. I can remember none of that.)

Toward the end of the life review and future glimpses, there was an event that seemed like a finale of sorts. One last gift to be shared and shown to me.

It was as though I walked into an enormous, open, ethereal space, not on earth. In this place, absolutely everyone I had ever encountered, even including people I had just passed on the street—literally everyone—was there before me. It was a vast sea of people, and I was awestruck.

As I looked around, there were faces of people who had been more prominent in my life: family, close friends, ancestors. These were more in the forefront. But also present were all those I had interacted with in passing on the street, in a park—everywhere I ever went in my life.

Once I got over the initial amazement of what felt like a grand surprise, I looked over the sea of faces, and the message that came from all of them together was, “Welcome home. Welcome, we’ve been waiting for you.” (My God, the profoundness of this brings tears to my eyes, tears of overwhelming gratitude and joy.)

This experience forever instilled in me a deep, knowing sense that no one is or will be left behind. We wait for one another. We wait for everyone. We wait for however long it takes to walk one another back home. It’s as though we play an unconditionally loving witness to one another’s lives. There was so much Love infused that it is indescribable and brings me to my knees in remembrance. It was like a reunion.

We then went on to excitedly reminisce in a way, in mind-to-mind communication: “Oh yes, I remember, when I said (or did or thought) that to you, you said (or did or thought) that to me.” “And then I felt and did…,” etc., etc. It’s as if the divine in us is always supporting one another toward our eventual union with our Creator. What a revelation this part was. It was like a grandly orchestrated event on every level.

A most wonderful aspect of this was how, above the surface interactions, there is a whole completely perfect other level of communication going on at all times. Even when the interaction might appear to be hurtful, when seen from that other, higher level, it is only and always from Love and always in the highest good for both people. It’s as though I saw behind the scenes, behind the curtain of physical interactions, to what is always really going on. There’s a divine intelligence at work all the time. It was incredibly funny as well to see how I had often taken things so seriously. What a tremendous relief this was to see insights into what was really going on. That is what was revealed to me in our excited reminiscing. The whole thing felt like a celebratory party.

Once this “reunion” felt complete and I understood what I was meant to fulfill going forward, I then chose to return to the physical. I felt I had been given a great assignment of responsibility, and I vowed to fulfill it. It was not one big, important task. Rather, it was inherent in all that I had experienced: to be truly kind and express love at all times. Quite simply, I had fallen short and could do better this time. Going back into human life to play out this earthly “game” was still tinged with reluctance, though this was tempered by the magnificent Love I’d just experienced and the knowledge that we’d all meet again.

This entire experience must have happened within a few moments, but where I was, there was no time, and it seemed to have gone on forever.

Perhaps my point of decision was when the doctor had counteracted the penicillin, which had stopped my heart, with adrenaline to get my heart beating again. In my experience, though, as soon as I said yes to the choice to return, I had a sensation of falling backwards into the light, like it all happened in reverse, but faster now, as if I was being pulled, sucked back through it all, falling backwards.

As this falling sensation began, I asked one last question: “Will I—and when will I—have the opportunity to return to the love and light of this my home and remain?” The answer was a resounding “Yes. Yes, my child.” And as to when, I heard (as I continued to fall backwards), “Yes in…when…bring” and then I heard numbers. It was either 1,000, 10,000, 100,000 or all of those. (Whether these referred to years, days, people, situations, lifetimes, or something else, I don’t know, and perhaps don’t need to know). I couldn’t hear clearly, and I don’t fully remember the details. I was falling backwards so fast that the communication became fainter. I heard the voice still (telepathically) speaking, but it became fainter and fainter, and I was straining to hear and gather it all.

And then I was back in the body.

I felt I understood it all. There was so much information, but it was all inside of me. The experience was about Love, an unconditional Love that transcends words. A Love so magnificent and perfect. And that grand Love resides within us all, equally. One human body could not carry nor sustain the magnitude of its unlimited power. We all share it equally. Love of this magnitude is truly indescribable in words. It is an otherworldly realm of indescribable radiance. Our purpose is to remember this Love, and help one another remember. And the opportunities are always right there, in front of us.

This experience has remained a touchstone for me my entire life. It has walked beside me the whole way. In particular, it has given me a sense of the preciousness of every interaction and the opportunity for divine love to pass between us in the smallest of exchanges.

Since the experience, I've become more intuitive/knowing and had several experiences that are considered mystical, visions, including spontaneous healing many years later.

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