“It seemed to me that I was high up in space. Far below I saw the globe of the Earth, bathed in a gloriously blue light. I saw the deep blue sea and the continents. Far below my feet lay Ceylon, and in the distance ahead of me the subcontinent of India. My field of vision did not include the whole Earth, but its global shape was plainly distinguishable and its outlines shone with a silvery gleam through that wonderful blue light.
“In many places the globe seemed colored, or spotted dark green like oxidized silver. Far away to the left lay a broad expanse – the reddish-yellow desert of Arabia; it was as though the silver of the Earth had there assumed a reddish-gold hue. Then came the Red Sea, and far, far back – as if in the upper left of a map – I could just make out a bit of the Mediterranean. My gaze was directed chiefly toward that. Everything else appeared indistinct. I could also see the snow-covered Himalayas, but in that direction it was foggy or cloudy. I did not look to the right at all. I knew that I was on the point of departing from the Earth.
“Later I discovered how high in space one would have to be to have so extensive a view — approximately a thousand miles! The sight of the Earth from this height was the most glorious thing I had ever seen.
“After contemplating it for a while, I turned around. I had been standing with my back to the Indian Ocean, as it were, and my face to the north. Then it seemed to me that I made a turn to the south. Something new entered my field of vision. A short distance away I saw in space a tremendous dark block of stone, like a meteorite. It was about the size of my house, or even bigger. It was floating in space, and I myself was floating in space.
“I had seen similar stones on the coast of the Gulf of Bengal. They were blocks of tawny granite, and some of them had been hollowed out into temples. My stone was one such gigantic dark block. An entrance led into a small antechamber. To the right of the entrance, a black Hindu sat silently in lotus posture upon a stone bench. He wore a white gown, and I knew that he expected me.
“Two steps led up to this antechamber, and inside, on the left, was the gate to the temple. Innumerable tiny niches, each with a saucer-like concavity filled with coconut oil and small burning wicks, surrounded the door with a wreath of bright flames. I had once actually seen this when I visited the Temple of the Holy Tooth at Kandy in Ceylon; the gate had been framed by several rows of burning oil lamps of this sort.
“As I approached the steps leading up to the entrance into the rock, a strange thing happened: I had the feeling that everything was being sloughed away; everything I aimed at or wished for or thought, the whole phantasmagoria of earthly existence, fell away or was stripped from me – an extremely painful process. Nevertheless something remained; it was as if I now carried along with me everything I had ever experienced or done, everything that had happened around me. I might also say: it was with me, and I was it. I consisted of all that, so to speak. I consisted of my own history and I felt with great certainty: this is what I am. I am this bundle of what has been and what has been accomplished.
“This experience gave me a feeling of extreme poverty, but at the same time of great fullness. There was no longer anything I wanted or desired. I existed in an objective form; I was what I had been and lived. At first the sense of annihilation predominated, of having been stripped or pillaged; but suddenly that became of no consequence.
“Everything seemed to be past; what remained was a “fait accompli”, without any reference back to what had been. There was no longer any regret that something had dropped away or been taken away. On the contrary: I had everything that I was, and that was everything.
“Something else engaged my attention: as I approached the temple I had the certainty that I was about to enter an illuminated room and would meet there all those people to whom I belong in reality. There I would at last understand – this too was a certainty – what historical nexus I or my life fitted into. I would know what had been before me, why I had come into being, and where my life was flowing. My life as I lived it had often seemed to me like a story that has no beginning and end. I had the feeling that I was a historical fragment, an excerpt for which the preceding and succeeding text was missing.
“My life seemed to have been snipped out of a long chain of events, and many questions had remained unanswered. Why had it taken this course? Why had I brought these particular assumptions with me? What had I made of them? What will follow? I felt sure that I would receive an answer to all the questions as soon as I entered the rock temple. There I would meet the people who knew the answer to my question about what had been before and what would come after.
“While I was thinking over these matters, something happened that caught my attention. From below, from the direction of Europe, an image floated up. It was my doctor, or rather, his likeness -– framed by a golden chain or a golden laurel wreath. I knew at once: ‘Aha, this is my doctor, of course, the one who has been treating me. But now he is coming in his primal form. In life he was an avatar of the temporal embodiment of the primal form, which has existed from the beginning. Now he is appearing in that primal form.’
“Presumably I too was in my primal form, though this was something I did not observe but simply took for granted. As he stood before me, a mute exchange of thought took place between us. The doctor had been delegated by the Earth to deliver a message to me, to tell me that there was a protest against my going away. I had no right to leave the Earth and must return. The moment I heard that, the vision ceased.
“I was profoundly disappointed, for now it all seemed to have been for nothing. The painful process of defoliation had been in vain, and I was not to be allowed to enter the temple, to join the people in whose company I belonged.”
“Dr. Eben Alexander has been a member of the American Medical Association, a neurosurgeon and has taught at the Harvard school of medical sciences. He has spent a lot of time among scientists believing that there is always a scientific explanation for everything. But, one day, he experienced something that defied all scientific explanation. Turns out, there isn’t a scientific explanation for everything. Later he went on to write a number one New York Times bestselling book — Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife.
“The story: In the year 2008, Eben was affected by a severe case of bacterial Meningitis and fell into a coma for 6 days. His Neocortex showed no signs of activity. When he got cured miraculously (with just 2% survival chance) and returned from coma, he had experienced something out of this world. According to him, during the coma, he had experienced a vivid journey into the afterlife — kind of a near death experience.
“The experience: When he fell into coma, he found himself in a dark and suffocating place for a very long time. Later a spinning bright light with a beautiful melody came in slowly and ‘rescued’ him out of this agony. It took him to a fertile green land. Some points that he makes about this mysterious land:
“There was no need for a spoken word to communicate there. Every communication was telepathic.
“The instant you asked questions, you knew the detailed answers for those questions. (Something similar to the experience of Zen)
“The experience was more real than real-life. In comparison, real-life seemed like an illusion.”
“Tommy Clark was injured in Vietnam in 1969 during a firefight. He had lost both legs and an arm in an explosion. He recalls hovering over his body watching medics put a canvas over his lifeless body. What’s most interesting is others who had died that day he remembers watching them all walking down a path towards a bright light.”
“Dr. Rodonaia underwent one of the most extended cases of a ‘clinical near death experience’ ever recorded. Pronounced dead immediately after he was hit by a car in 1976, he was left for three days in a [freezer in a] morgue. He did not ‘return to life’ until a doctor began to make an incision in his abdomen as part of an autopsy.
“‘The first thing I remember about my near death experience is that I discovered myself in a realm of total darkness. I had no physical pain; I was still somehow aware of my existence as George, and all about me there was darkness, utter and complete darkness — the greatest darkness ever, darker than any dark, blacker than any black. This was what surrounded me and pressed upon me. I was horrified! I wasn’t prepared for this at all. I was shocked to find that I still existed, but I didn’t know where I was. The one thought that kept rolling through my mind was, “How can I be when I’m not?” That is what troubled me.
“‘Slowly, I got a grip on myself and began to think about what had happened, what was going on. But nothing refreshing or relaxing came to me. Why am I in this darkness? What am I to do? Then I remembered Descartes’ famous line: “I think, therefore, I am.” And that took a huge burden off me, for it was then I knew for certain I was still alive, although obviously in a very different dimension. Then I thought, “If I am, why shouldn’t I be positive?” That is what came to me. I am George and I’m in darkness, but I know I am. I am what I am. I must not be negative.
“‘Then I thought, “How can I define what is positive in darkness?” Well, positive is light. Then, suddenly, I was in light; bright, white, shiny and strong; a very bright light. It was like the flash of a camera, but not flickering –– that bright. Constant brightness. At first I found the brilliance of the light painful. I couldn’t look directly at it. But little by little, I began to feel safe and warm, and everything suddenly seemed fine.
“‘The next thing that happened was that I saw all these molecules flying around, atoms, protons, neutrons, just flying everywhere. On the one hand, it was totally chaotic, yet what brought me such great joy was that this chaos also had its own symmetry. This symmetry was beautiful and unified and whole, and it flooded me with tremendous joy. I saw the universal form of life and nature laid out before my eyes. It was at this point that any concern I had for my body just slipped away, because it was clear to me that I didn’t need it anymore — that it was actually a limitation.
“‘Everything in this experience merged together, so it is difficult for me to put an exact sequence to events. Time as I had known it came to a halt; past, present and future were somehow fused together for me in the timeless unity of life.
“‘At some point, I underwent what has been called the “life-review process,” for I saw my life from beginning to end all at once. I participated in the real life dramas of my life, almost like a holographic image of my life going on before me – no sense of past, present or future, just now and the reality of my life. It wasn’t as though it started with birth and ran along to my life at the University of Moscow. It all appeared at once. There I was. This was my life. I didn’t experience any sense of guilt or remorse for things I’d done. I didn’t feel one way or another about my failures, faults or achievements. All I felt was my life for what it is. And I was content with that. I accepted my life for what it is.
“‘During this time, the light just radiated a sense of peace and joy to me. It was very positive. I was so happy to be in the light. And I understood what the light meant. I learned that all the physical rules for human life were nothing when compared to this universal reality. I also came to see that a black hole is only another part of that infinity which is light. I came to see that reality is everywhere. This is not simply the earthly life but the infinite life. Everything is not only connected together, everything is also one. So I felt a wholeness with the light, a sense that all is right with me and the universe.
“‘So there I was, flooded with all these good things and this wonderful experience, when someone begins to cut into my stomach. Can you imagine? What had happened was that I was taken to the morgue. I was pronounced dead and left there for three days. An investigation into the cause of my death was set up, so they sent someone out to do an autopsy on me. As they began to cut into my stomach, I felt as though some great power took hold of my neck and pushed me down. And it was so powerful that I opened my eyes and had this huge sense of pain. My body was cold and I began to shiver. They immediately stopped the autopsy and took me to the hospital where I remained for the following nine months, most of which I spent under a respirator.
“‘Slowly, I regained my health. But I would never be the same again, because all I wanted to do for the rest of my life was study wisdom.'”
From Near-Death Experience Stories: “In 1982, I died from terminal cancer. My condition was non-operable. I chose not to have chemotherapy. I was given six to eight months to live. Before this time, I had become increasingly despondent over the nuclear crisis, the ecology crisis, and so forth. I came to believe that nature had made a mistake — that we were probably a cancerous organism on the planet. And that is what eventually killed me.
“Before my near-death experience, I tried all sorts of alternative healing methods. None helped. So I determined that this was between me and God. I had never really considered God. Neither was I into any kind of spirituality. But my approaching death sent me on a quest for more information about spirituality and alternative healing. I read various religions and philosophies. They gave hope that there was something on the other side.
“I had no medical insurance, so my life savings went overnight on tests. Unwilling to drag my family into this, I determined to handle this myself. I ended up in hospice care and was blessed with an angel for my hospice caretaker, whom I will call “Anne.” She stayed with me through all that was to follow.
“Into the Light: I woke up about 4:30 am and I knew that this was it. I was going to die. I called a few friends and said good-bye. I woke up Anne and made her promise that my dead body would remain undisturbed for six hours, since I had read that all kinds of interesting things happen when you die. I went back to sleep. The next thing I remember, I was fully aware and standing up. Yet my body was lying in the bed. I seemed to be surrounded by darkness, yet I could see every room in the house, and the roof, and even under the house.
“A Light shone. I turned toward it, and was aware of its similarity to what others have described in near-death experiences. It was magnificent and tangible, alluring. I wanted to go towards that Light like I might want to go into my ideal mother’s or father’s arms. As I moved towards the Light, I knew that if I went into the Light, I would be dead. So I said/felt, ‘Please wait. I would like to talk to you before I go.’
“The entire experience halted. I discovered that I was in control of the experience. My request was honored. I had conversations with the Light. That’s the best way I can describe it. The Light changed into different figures, like Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, archetypal images and signs. I asked in a kind of telepathy, ‘What is going on here?’
“The information transmitted was that our beliefs shape the kind of feedback we receive. If you are a Buddhist or Catholic or Fundamentalist, you get a feedback loop of your own images. I became aware of a Higher Self matrix, a conduit to the Source. We all have a Higher Self, or an oversoul part of our being, a conduit. All Higher Selves are connected as one being. All humans are connected as one being.
“It was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. It was like all the love you’ve ever wanted, and it was the kind of love that cures, heals, regenerates. I was ready to go at that time. I said ‘I am ready, take me.’ Then the Light turned into the most beautiful thing that I have ever seen: a mandala of human souls on this planet. I saw that we are the most beautiful creations – elegant, exotic … everything.
“I just cannot say enough about how it changed my opinion of human beings in an instant. I said/thought/felt, ‘Oh, God, I didn’t realize.’ I was astonished to find that there was no evil in any soul. People may do terrible things out of ignorance and lack, but no soul is evil. ‘What all people seek — what sustains them — is love,’ the Light told me. ‘What distorts people is a lack of love.’
“The revelations went on and on. I asked, ‘Does this mean that Humankind will be saved?’ Like a trumpet blast with a shower of spiraling lights, the Light ‘spoke,’ saying, ‘You save, redeem and heal yourself. You always have and always will. You were created with the power to do so from before the beginning of the world.’ In that instant I realized that we have already been saved.
“I thanked the Light of God with all my heart. The best thing I could come up with was: ‘Oh dear God, dear Universe, dear Great Self, I love my Life.’ The Light seemed to breathe me in even more deeply, absorbing me. I entered into another realm more profound than the last, and was aware of an enormous stream of Light, vast and full, deep. I asked what it was. The Light answered, ‘This is the River of Life. Drink of this manna water to your heart’s content.’ I drank deeply, in ecstasy.
“The Void of Nothingness: Suddenly I seemed to be rocketing away from the planet on this stream of Life. I saw the earth fly away. The solar system whizzed by and disappeared. I flew through the center of the galaxy, absorbing more knowledge as I went. I learned that this galaxy — and the entire Universe — is bursting with many different varieties of life. I saw many worlds. We are not alone in this Universe. It seemed as if all the creations in the Universe soared past me and vanished in a speck of Light.
“Then a second Light appeared. As I passed into the second Light, I could perceive forever, beyond Infinity. I was in the Void, pre-Creation, the beginning of time, the first Word or vibration. I rested in the Eye of Creation and it seemed that I touched the Face of God. It was not a religious feeling. I was simply at One with Absolute Life and Consciousness.
“I rode the stream directly into the center of the Light. I felt embraced by the Light as it took me in with its breath again. And the truth was obvious that there is no death; that nothing is born and nothing dies; that we are immortal beings, part of a natural living system that recycles itself endlessly.
“It would take me years to assimilate the Void experience. It was less than nothing, yet greater than anything. Creation is God exploring God’s Self through every way imaginable. Through every piece of hair on your head, through every leaf on every tree, through every atom. God is exploring God’s Self. I saw everything as the Self of all. God is here. That’s what it is all about. Everything is made of light; everything is alive.
“The Light of Love: I was never told that I had to come back. I just knew that I would. It was only natural, from what I had seen. As I began my return to the life cycle, it never crossed my mind, nor was I told, that I would return to the same body. It did not matter. I had complete trust in the Light and the Life process.
“As the stream merged with the great Light, I asked never to forget the revelations and the feelings of what I had learned on the other side. I thought of myself as a human again and I was happy to be that. From what I have seen, I would be happy to be an atom in this universe. An atom. So to be the human part of God … this is the most fantastic blessing. It is a blessing beyond our wildest imagination of what a blessing can be.
“For each and every one of us to be the human part of this experience is awesome, and magnificent. Each and every one of us, no matter where we are, screwed up or not, is a blessing to the planet, right where we are. So I went through the reincarnation process expecting to be a baby somewhere.
“But I reincarnated back into this body. I was so surprised when I opened my eyes, to be back in this body, back in my room with someone looking over me, crying her eyes out. It was Anne, my hospice caretaker. She had found me dead thirty minutes before. We do not know how long I was dead, only that she found me thirty minutes before. She had honored my wish to have my newly-dead body left alone. She can verify that I really was dead.
“It was not a near-death experience. I believe I probably experienced death itself for at least an hour and a half. When I later awakened and saw the light outside, confused, I tried to get up to go to it, but I fell out of the bed. She heard a loud ‘clunk’, ran in, and found me on the floor. When I recovered, I was surprised and awed about what had happened. I had no memory at first of the experience. I kept slipping out of this world and kept asking, ‘Am I alive?’ This world seemed more like a dream than that one.
“Within three days, I was feeling normal again, clearer, yet different than ever before. My memories of the journey came back later. But from my return I could find nothing wrong with any human being I had ever seen. Previous to my death I was judgmental, believing that people were really screwed up.
“About three months later a friend said I should get tested for the cancer. So I got the scans and so forth. I felt healthy. I still remember the doctor at the clinic looking at the ‘before’ and ‘after’ scans. He said, ‘I can find no sign of cancer now.’ ‘A miracle?’ I asked. ‘No,’ he answered. ‘These things happen … spontaneous remission.’ He seemed unimpressed. But I was impressed. I knew it was a miracle.”
“Becoming suddenly and violently ill with gastro-enteritis I quickly became unable to move or phone for help. As this was occurring I noticed I had an ‘A’ and a ‘B’ consciousness. The ‘A’ was my normal awareness, and the ‘B’ was external to my body watching. From the ‘B’ self I could see not only my body, but also the house, garden and surrounds. I need only think of a friend or place and immediately I was there and was later able to find confirmation for my observations. In looking at my body, I noticed that the brain was only an end organ, like a condensing plate, upon which memory and awareness played. The mind, I saw, was not in the brain, the brain was in the mind, like a radio in the play of signals. I then observed my daughter come in and discover my condition, I saw her telephone a doctor friend, and saw the doctor also at the same time.”
“Following a pastor’s conference in January 1989, Don Piper was driving over a bridge when a Texas Department of Corrections tractor-trailer truck crossed the center line and ran into him head-on. He said he was ‘instantly transported to Heaven,’ where he found himself surrounded by dead relatives and friends, and a large pearl gate.
“‘The gate of heaven was a magnificent edifice, the one that I saw. It looked no less like a giant gate that had been sculpted from mother-of-pearl,’ he said. ‘Behind that portal was such a light that I don’t conceive of how you could see it in an earthly body. It could only be envisioned in a heavenly body because it was too bright.’
“As he lay there crushed in his vehicle on the bridge, a pastor came by, who prayed over him. The EMS staff had told him that Don was deceased. After the pastor prayed, he instantly found himself back in his vehicle, staring up at a tarp that had been draped over him. At the hospital, it was revealed that, although he suffered no major head trauma, nearly every bone in his body had been broken or shattered. Don wrote a book called 90 Minutes In Heaven after his recovery.”
Mother Who Died During Childbirth
From Account of a Birthing Mother’s Death and Rebirth: “…Seeing that I had no strength left, the nurse turned to the doctor and said, ‘She can’t push anymore.’ At that point, there was a sudden change in the room. The previous sense of alarm seemed to turn to crisis. Everything happened very fast. I had no idea what had gone wrong; only that it seemed to be an emergency. My last hold on myself started to go, and I could hear urgency in the doctor’s voice. This was followed by an acute wrenching sensation, as if I had been split in half, and then I went unconscious. The light went out and I slipped away.
“There was a moment of darkness. Then part of me rose and floated up to the corner of the room. I hovered there briefly, observing the scene below. I saw my body lying on the delivery table, surrounded by people in white coats who seemed to be in great commotion.
“Then slowly, I floated upward out of the room and building, above the trees, and up into a black, star-filled sky. In this studded darkness, I was carried gently into the distance like a petal drifting on the surface of a stream. Eventually I came to rest in a dense, velvet-black space that enveloped me in tranquility. In this peaceful place, I had no fear. I became aware that there was no time. There was no yesterday or tomorrow. There were no boundaries. There was no pain.
“While I floated in the darkness, the Earth appeared far below me and gradually came into my vision. Suddenly I knew without a shadow of doubt that I had entered another existence that was neither a dream nor a hallucination. I knew it was real: as true, as palpable, and as certain as had been my life on Earth. I became aware that although I had left my body behind, whatever constituted ‘I’ was still alive and remained unchanged.
“I sensed that this other form in which I now existed was like a transparent encasing for my soul, for the consciousness that was the essence of myself. In this body-less state, I was suddenly struck by the realization that I had been here before my life on Earth. I was remembering something I had forgotten, something that had been erased from memory when I was born.
“This was where I had originally come from. I had come home. Some invisible, silent source of infinite knowledge seemed to surround me, with answers to things like ‘where do we go when we die?’, ‘how was life and the world created?’, and so on. It was never clear to me why I became separated from this source and its infinite knowledge at birth.
“Earth Pangs: Looking down, the Earth came clearly into my vision as if I had telescopic sight. I saw a dark vision of suffering and entrapment that was like a distillation of the human condition over millennia. It seemed this condition led history to repeat itself in an endless cycle of war, bloodshed, torture, deprivation, insanity, illness, and alienation. It seemed as if all the pain mankind had suffered through the ages had been distilled to its essence and funneled into one collective cry to be released from this prison.
“From the chaos of destructiveness, faces advanced into the darkness, then receded back into their private hells, calling, ‘Help me!’ I felt like I was looking directly into peoples’ souls to the raw fear beneath their protective shells. I felt great compassion for all those in pain. I wanted some miracle to release them all from their misery, but I perceived that nothing could deliver them from it as long as they remained there, separated, through ignorance and fear, from their source.
“I sensed that the only thing that would release them from that condition was to break through the shield of separateness that divided them from themselves, from others, and from the infinite creative power behind this vast universe of space in which I now found myself floating.
“I was deeply troubled by this dark vision, for it appeared that humans were destined to remain imprisoned in their suffering as long as they inhabited the Earth, and that only death would release them from this condition. Yet a thought passed through my mind: ‘If they could break through their sense of separation, look, and see this other realm here that exists beyond them, they would be released from bondage.’
“Slowly the voices faded, the faces receded, the Earth fell away, and again there was only soothing darkness. Then I felt myself drifting again, farther away into the beyond, gently lifted towards a light in the far distance. I seemed to be carried further and further out into the universe at the speed of light, as if swept by a gentle, yet rapid current. I was drawn to the magnetic force of the light like a river is drawn toward the sea.
“Then I came again to a resting place. I became aware of a compassionate presence that held me as I saw my life of 27 years on Earth unfold. I had lived and traveled extensively in India amid conditions of poverty, disease, destitution, and death that were all-pervasive and inescapable. As a result of my exposure to these conditions, I had become seriously ill. I had also struggled with my own personal demons from a troubled childhood. As negative thoughts and emotions arose, they were simply acknowledged and held by the presence, without judgment, with complete forgiveness.
“Divine Light: Then I heard a voice. It was so gentle and tender, so full of love and compassion; I realized I had never experienced these qualities in my lifetime. The voice said: “If you had only known I was here, you never would have had to go through this.” Hearing this, I felt suddenly free of all that had held me chained like a stone to a condition of human bondage. While the negative states of my earthly life played out before this presence, it surrounded me with total acceptance and loving-kindness.
“The next thing I experienced was being drawn into the Light itself. Now the Earth was so far away that it seemed to disappear from my consciousness. The intensity of this light and my direct experience of it transcends expression in words. It was a brilliant, white gold transparency, radiating warm and pure luminescence. It seemed to be a nucleus of energy that was the essence of life itself; that charged all matter, animating it with its life-giving power.
“Cradled in this Light, I was suffused with a sense of joy, calm, peace, and beauty that were, until then, unknown to me. Unlike the beauty I had experienced on Earth, this beauty was eternally renewing and all-encompassing. It seemed to synthesize all opposing elements, dissolving them into the whole of itself. I perceived this light as the essence of divine love.
“Inside this presence, I felt an indescribable sense of freedom, a release from all the burdens associated with human life. I was like an invisible, permeable membrane through which the Light passed and flowed, transforming me into the Light itself. It seemed to possess a universal spirit that was the consciousness and creative force behind human life. Bathed in its luminous warmth, I felt no longer separate but enveloped by a feeling of unconditional love. Here there was no desire, no pain, no fear. This was the final liberation, an experience of pure bliss.
“On Earth, I had feared death. Now I saw that death was not an end but a beginning. It was a return to the home from which I had come. My soul had entered the divine consciousness of eternal life, where all wisdom and knowledge resided. As I lay cradled in this loving light, a phrase came to me: ‘Now I know.’ This was where my true self belonged. I knew I had come to my final resting place, back to the source from which I had come, and to the end of all suffering.
“Then the light communicated again. The ensuing communication was like a sonic energy penetrating directly into my soul. Thoughts were transmitted without words, silently and directly as if an extension of the Light itself, passing through me by osmosis. The Light was both inside and around me. I was aware that I was both a separate, individual entity while being simultaneously subsumed by the presence of this other entity. Its voice was distinctly its own, separate from me, yet I heard my own unspoken thoughts expressed by it, as if it were inside my mind. A conversation ensued, transmitted like air passing through my cells.
“Held within this Light, I saw the essence of my life experience in a flash. It had become dominated by a deepening depression: nightmares, guilt, shame, fear, self-recrimination, and illness. I had been conditioned by the concept of ‘original sin’ to expect recrimination, judgment, and punishment for my sins. As a result, I had anticipated the same response from this spirit of Light.
“But there was no judgment. There was only unqualified acceptance and forgiveness. This came as a shock to me. It seemed impossible that I could be loved and accepted just as I was in that moment. Released from the burden of self-punishment, embraced in the wholeness of this forgiving presence, I was enveloped in joy. I seemed to become transparent, the light of divine love flowing through me.
“Then I heard the sound of soft, benevolent laughter, which felt like the wise and gentle smile of the Buddha. Again, I was surprised and perplexed. I had not expected to hear laughter from a divine force. It rained over me like soft petals. Then it said: ‘My child, you mustn’t take things so seriously. You are just part of an evolutionary chain, in which all life evolves at different stages of development. You are only human. You need not judge yourself so harshly. Be gentle with yourself.’
“I had gotten only the slightest glimpse of the limitless realms beyond the finite boundaries of the world we inhabit. I was eager to learn more. At the same time, I was content to float in the peace and joy of the Light, where I had come to know the certainty of love. This yearning of humans to be connected, to love and be loved, was so clear and profoundly felt that I could not face the thought of a return to a world in which this simple truth remained, to so many, unknown, unrealized, or buried. I wanted to stay forever in the presence of Light.
“Rebirth: The Light knew my thoughts and said simply, ‘You must return.’ Upon being told I must return, I feared being sent back to the same world I had observed from afar, steeped in its suffering, sent back to my human form, where once again I would be bound by the same conditions and limitations I had left behind.
“‘Please,’ I begged. ‘Please let me stay. Don’t send me back.’ A hand appeared in the Light, with beautiful, slender white fingers. ‘My child,’ I heard it say with a tenderness that would haunt me forever, ‘I have given you the gift of love.’ I tried to hold on to the hand, but with a wrenching in my heart, I felt it slip away forever, as it said, ‘Your life is not completed.’
“The next thing I knew I was back in my body. Unlike the long journey into reaches beyond, my return to earth was abrupt, like the shock of birth. I had taken a trip to another galaxy light years away, so far away I could not imagine ever coming back; and then, by some feat of physics, been instantly repossessed by my body. No time had been granted to make the adjustment of having traversed a span of time and space so immense it would affect me for the rest of my life.
“Having passed through stars, beyond planets and galaxies, into the far reaches of a universe in which time as we know it did not exist, my soul was not prepared to return to the limited confines of my body. It felt constrained and bereft of the freedom it had known, like a prisoner returned to a cell. I wanted desperately to hold on to what I had left behind, to remember clearly every sacred moment before I lost it. But the world drew me back into its countless challenges….”
Brian Johnson: Heart Failure at Home. “My story started when I was having dinner at home. I live by myself with my 2 cats and one evening when I was having dinner all alone, I then suddenly started to feel very light headed, dizzy and short of breath, so I decided to try and make it to my bedroom so I could lay down and hope it would subside, but I never made it to the bedroom, as I passed out on the way, and unbeknownst to me I was suffering from a heart problem which I did not know I had.
“Well there was a dresser in my spare bedroom which had no dresser drawers in it and I had collapsed and fell inside of the empty dresser. Now suddenly at this time I could see myself laying inside of the dresser and for some reason I was way up in the corner of my spare bedroom and it seemed like I was about 50 to 75 feet up in the air, and could see that I was all curled up in a ball (fetal position) inside this empty dresser and I could see one of my cats whose name is Compass walking up to me and lying down next to me.
“Suddenly, I could see this tunnel or whatever it was, and the sides of this tunnel thing looked like a blinding bright corrugated metal, and a kind of very bright bluish/white pulsating light, and this light was like a strobe light on high power, but this light was about a 100 times faster than a strobe light, it was pulsating so fast that it was almost a steady light. Next, I could hear people were calling my name, when I found myself traveling to a place that was beyond my comprehension, also I was no longer feeling the pain that I was feeling before this wonderful experience started.
“At this place there was a very strange and powerful feeling of love towards me, unlike any feelings of love I have ever felt before, and I knew that somebody or something was guiding me through this very strange but very loving journey and this person or thing also loved me very much and it felt like this energy was hugging me very tight, even though I could not tell who or what it was.
“Then in a split second there were people surrounding me and they were people whom I had never seen before but for some reason I knew that these people were long time past away family members whom I had never known, seen or met before in my life, and that they had died way long before I was even born, but I knew that all of these people were there just for me and I could feel all this love from these people like no other love that I had ever felt before and I did not want to leave this place.
“While I was in this place, I was totally pain free and surrounded by strange people who loved me so very much. Then, I could hear this lady’s voice keep saying, ‘Brian get up, You have to get up Brian, Brian get up.’
“Her voice got louder and louder every time she said it, I really wanted to stay, but they would not let me as they said I still have important things in my life that I have to do, so I agreed to go.
“When suddenly, I woke up gasping for air and laying inside this empty dresser were I had seen myself lying before, and I was also laying in a big pool of sweat and blood from the scrapes and gouges in my back from when I fell inside the empty dresser and my cat Compass was laying next to me just like I had watched him do earlier.”
Lillian Oaktree: An Asthma Attack in Hospital. “‘On my fourth night in hospital, breathing with the help of oxygen, I woke with a searing pain in my chest. It felt as if someone was thrusting a red hot poker deep inside me. As the pain grew worse I began to struggle for breath. It was terrifying. Then suddenly I was surrounded by a thick white mist. I remember feeling wide awake and the pain had gone. I thought I’d died but I wasn’t scared. A sense of calm had descended upon me and I was just relieved that the pain had gone. When the mist cleared I was standing by my hospital bed looking at my body lying motionless. I could see that I wasn’t breathing and I started to panic. I didn’t want to die.’ Lillian, who could hear doctors and nurses hurriedly treating a man who’d had a heart attack, tried to scream – but no sound came out.
“‘In a flash I was transported into a dark tunnel, travelling fast towards a bright, golden light. There was something warm and appealing about the light, I wasn’t scared any more. Within seconds I was out of the tunnel and in a lush, green countryside. There wasn’t a single cloud and the whole place bathed in a warm golden sun. There were no fences or hedges, just an endless sea of fields. All down the side were poplar trees. In the blink of an eye, the fields were filled with people, all smiling at me. It was like one big greeting party, all waiting for me.’
“Then Lillian says she saw her dead parents, Abe and Jacqueline, standing at the front of the crowd, motioning her to come with them. ‘Mum had died five years before,’ says Lillian, ‘She was 74 and died from kidney failure. But here she was standing before me looking like a young woman. She was radiant and healthy and her hair was a shimmering blonde. She was wearing a blue top and blue trousers. There was a glow all around her and I could feel her sending me massive waves of love. It felt amazing.’
“Beside her mum stood her dad who’d died after a heart attack when Lillian was just 12. ‘I’d been devastated and never quite forgiven him for leaving me, but all I felt for him now was love,’ she says. ‘He was a chef and I couldn’t help smiling because he was wearing his chef whites – the white starched shirt with the double buttons and checked trousers. His hair was jet black, too. I’d only ever seen him with grey hair, but he looked like he did in photos taken in his late 20’s. Mum said to me, telepathically, “There is something after all”, which made me laugh out loud.’
“It was funny to Lillian because she had always believed in an afterlife — not her mother. ‘Now here I was, standing in this beautiful place, and Mum confirmed everything I always believed in. She never opened her mouth — she didn’t have to.’
“Next, Lillian saw her childhood friend Chris standing beside her parents. He’d died in a car crash at the age of 18. ‘I was 16 when he passed away,’ she says. ‘He suffered horrendous burns in the crash and died at the scene. It may have happened years ago but not a week went by without me thinking about him. It was amazing to see him so full of life and with no hideous burns. He looked exactly how I’d remembered him. He didn’t speak but just smiled along with everybody else. It felt like they were all sending me unconditional love. I’d never felt so good'”
“It wasn’t just humans who’d come to see Lillian. She was also reunited with her old dogs, Fluke, Random and Joule. Then Lillian says things took an even more extraordinary turn.
“‘I suddenly became aware of two, what can only be described as beings, standing on my right,’ she says. ‘They were 6ft tall, wearing bright cloaks and totally transparent. Where their faces should have been were balls of golden light. I remember asking what was happening and one of them said in a gentle voice, “This is the closest you’ve ever been to God”. I’d never felt so humbled but I was suddenly bathed in a bright light and every bit of my body was pulsating with energy.’
“Seconds later, Lillian woke up in hospital. ‘I just sat there with a renewed inner calm,’ she recalls. ‘I’d never felt so good in my entire life. It was like I’d been given a new insight into life – and death. Up to then I’d worried about everything from paying bills to upsetting people. I was one of life’s natural worriers. I’d always been like that, even as a kid. I blame my mother for telling me her worries. And the older I got, the more I worried. I had this tense feeling hanging over me, like a black cloud. I found it impossible to relax, which I’m sure contributed to me developing asthma. But it had lifted; it truly was a life-changing experience. My personality altered overnight. It’s like someone had sucked all the tension out of me. At last I felt at peace.’
“On a physical level there were more big changes for Lillian. For 20 years she’d used two high dose inhalers, one of them steroids. But after her near death experience she no longer needed to rely on drugs to control her asthma.”
“One of the best known of these corroborated veridical NDE perceptions — perceptions that can be proven to coincide with reality — is the experience of a woman named Maria, whose case was first documented by her critical care social worker, Kimberly Clark.
“Maria was a migrant worker who had a severe heart attack while visiting friends in Seattle. She was rushed to Harborview Hospital and placed in the coronary care unit. A few days later, she had a cardiac arrest but was rapidly resuscitated. The following day, Clark visited her. Maria told Clark that during her cardiac arrest she was able to look down from the ceiling and watch the medical team at work on her body. At one point in this experience, said Maria, she found herself outside the hospital and spotted a tennis shoe on the ledge of the north side of the third floor of the building. She was able to provide several details regarding its appearance, including the observations that one of its laces was stuck underneath the heel and that the little toe area was worn. Maria wanted to know for sure whether she had ‘really’ seen that shoe, and she begged Clark to try to locate it.
“Quite skeptical, Clark went to the location described by Maria — and found the tennis shoe. From the window of her hospital room, the details that Maria had recounted could not be discerned. But upon retrieval of the shoe, Clark confirmed Maria’s observations. ‘The only way she could have had such a perspective,’ said Clark, ‘was if she had been floating right outside and at very close range to the tennis shoe. I retrieved the shoe and brought it back to Maria; it was very concrete evidence for me.'”