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Chris L's Experience

Experience description:   

Around the age of 13 there was a significant event associated with illness.  I had a near death experience that was to impact my life in more ways than I could have possibly understood at the time.  It arose from a long-term illness known as pertussis or whopping cough.  There was no treatment at the time except for cough medicine that was minimally effective in subduing the cough and not at all effective against the production of tenacious secretions characteristic of the disease.  These secretions one day blocked my airway so that I could take a breath in, but I could not expel it no matter the effort to do so.

In the middle of my legitimate fear that I was suffocating and needing her help, my mother sent me away.  She had had enough of my months of lingering illness and the terrible circumstances of her married life.  I felt frightened and painfully alone in a rather dangerous situation for any child my age. 

Still not able to take a breath I went to my bed and tried to recover my breathing.  Still, nothing I tried worked and I was beginning to lose consciousness.  I lay down thinking I had better do so or I would fall on the floor; a mundane thought as I was entering something from which I rightly began to fear there was no return. 

As I lay there my vision growing darker I realized I was dying.  I realized there was nothing more I could do and it felt natural in that moment to release my attachment to life.  I surrendered.  As remaining apprehensions began to fade, a peace came to me in which I was gently held, waiting.  Looking back I remember there was no concern for anything other than what was going on just then.  It was a pure, direct experience of ΓǣnowΓǥ.  I wondered if I were to be taken somewhere. There was a sense that we weren't done.   I had never been here before and could not begin to understand anything that was going on.  I knew I was being taken care of though.  It was magnificent. 

In the moment of that experience something foreign came into my awareness.  I did not immediately recognize a sound I was hearing.  It was the sound of air passing through something.  The air that had been trapped in my lungs was finally escaping and I thought I might be able to breathe again.  I waited.  When the air stopped flowing, I dared to take in a gentle breath not wanting to disrupt anything in the process.  My cautious breathing became deeper, my vision began to clear and almost as quickly as all this had begun it was over.  After some time evaluating how my breathing was really doing, I cautiously sat up on the edge of my bed.

 Where had I been and why was I given that experience?  Today the best I can do is answer both questions with I don't know.  It was beautiful, anxious and I don't know.

At the time of your experience was there an associated life-threatening event?   Yes  See #2 below for detailed account.  I am amazed at the clarity after 54 years.

Was the experience difficult to express in words?  No    

At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness?    Once I understood my life had just ended everything just settled down. I felt myself moving to somewhere. Everything was still dark grey and getting darker. I have not seen anything like it since.

How did your highest level of consciousness and alertness during the experience compare to your normal everyday consciousness and alertness?      More consciousness and alertness than normal   Once I understood my life had just ended everything just settled down. I felt myself moving to somewhere. Everything was still dark gray and getting darker. I have not seen anything like it since.

Please compare your vision during the experience to your everyday vision that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience.
   I was in a darkening gray void and saw nothing else.  I was trying to see something, anything, but there was nothing but the void.

Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience.
   I heard nothing except my thoughts

Did you see or hear any earthly events that were occurring during a time that your consciousness / awareness was apart from your physical / earthly body?   Uncertain   At some point I stopped moving toward whatever I was being drawn to.  Then I heard a sound that I did not recognize. As it continued, I realized it was air releasing from my lungs.

What emotions did you feel during the experience?   Apprehension, peace, aware that I was being cared for.  

Did you pass into or through a tunnel?   No  

Did you see an unearthly light?   No  

Did you seem to encounter a mystical being or presence, or hear an unidentifiable voice?   No

Did you encounter or become aware of any beings who previously lived on earth who are described by name in religions (for example: Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, etc.)?   No  

Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings?   No  

Did you become aware of past events in your life during your experience?   No  

Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world?   Some unfamiliar and strange place
I was present in a darkening gray void I had not experienced any time before or since.  I was apprehensive about where I was going, uncertain, but felt safe at the same time as if I was being lovingly cared for.

Did time seem to speed up or slow down?   Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning
I was not aware of time or the earth or my body, nothing except what was going on in my awareness.

Did you suddenly seem to understand everything?   No

Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure?   No

Did you come to a border or point of no return?   No

Did scenes from the future come to you?  No 

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness suggesting that there either is (or is not) continued existence after earthly life (life after death)?   Yes   I was surprised that I was still thinking!  I knew my body had suffocated and I was fine with that once I understood accepted my life had just ended.  I was aware of this other space or presence.  I have no doubt what I saw I will see again when I die for the last time-at least for the last time in this lifetime.

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness that God or a supreme being either does (or does not) exist?   Uncertain   The closest I think I came to seeing that was when I knew I was being cared for.

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness that you either did (or did not) exist prior to this lifetime?   No  

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness that a mystical universal connection or unity/oneness either does (or does not) exist?   No  

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness regarding earthly lifes meaning or purpose?   No   I was just glad to be free of it all. My life was full of emotional or physical abuse on a daily basis.

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness regarding earthly lifes difficulties, challenges, or hardships?   Uncertain   I was just glad to be free of it all. My life was full of emotional or physical abuse on a daily basis.

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness regarding love?   Uncertain   I was so damaged by then, I wouldn't know love if I fell over it, but I felt I was much safer than I had felt most of my young life.

During your experience, did you encounter any other specific information / awareness that you have not shared in other questions that is relevant to living our earthly lives?   No  

Did you have a sense of knowing special knowledge or purpose?   No  

What occurred during your experience included:   Content that was entirely not consistent with the beliefs you had at the time of your experience   As I mentioned above, I felt more safe and cared for than I had known for a very long time.

How accurately do you remember the experience in comparison to other life events that occurred around the time of the experience?   I remember the experience more accurately than other life events that occurred around the time of the experience   This was a once in a lifetime experience to die and for some reason be sent back.  In some ways I resent it and look forward to returning.

Discuss any changes that might have occurred in your life after your experience:   I became a Physician Assistant, I am an energy medicine healer, I earned a masters degree in Spiritual Psychology and I am now working on a PhD in Integral Psychology that looks at a possible connection between energy thought forms established in association with adverse childhood events.  I have a relentless commitment to ease suffering wherever or whenever I can.  I am certain my experience led me to these choices.

My experience directly resulted in:   Large changes in my life

Did you have any changes in your values or beliefs after the experience that occurred as a result of the experience?  
Yes   From "life is a waste, full of pain and suffering and I couldn't give a shit how it turns out for them" to "people do suffer and I would like to help."

Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience?   Uncertain   I have the ability to sense the emotions and thoughts others are having when I am working with them as a healer.

Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you?    
I discovered to my surprise there is something going on outside of life in this body.  I am aware that I am not this body.  I did not once think about my body during the experience.

Have you ever shared this experience with others?  
Yes  To my recollection, I shared it some 40 years after it occurred and have done so sparingly since then.

Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience?   No  

What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened:   Experience was definitely real  

What do you believe about the reality of your experience at the current time:   Experience was definitely real   There is no doubt it was real.  One doesn't stop breathing and not notice that death is imminent if there is no other breath.  Once I embraced the death I was experiencing, I was apprehensive, but not fearful.

Have your relationships changed specifically as a result of your experience?   Uncertain   I really am not sure.

Have your religious beliefs/spiritual practices changed specifically as a result of your experience?   Yes   See above question 49.

At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience?   No     

Did the questions asked and information that you provided accurately and comprehensively describe your experience?   Yes   Yes, as well as I have ever stated it.  Some of the questions opened the opportunity to see my experience in ways I had not before.

What could a national organization with an interest in near death experience (NDE) do that would be of interest to you?       I want to have a place to belong, to know other people have been through what I went through and understand, hopefully better than me.  Perhaps I can learn more about being after I die.