Dennis M's Experience
At the time I was living on a farm in New Zealand with my parents and siblings. A mountain stream ran through our property where my brother and I would often play.
On a particularly beautiful day in the summer I decided to go and explore the river. I grabbed what I needed and remember looking at my watch and dividing the available time before supper in two, with a little extra allowance in case the way back was somehow more difficult. I knew I had to be back before supper or there would be a search party out to find me (again), but that's another story)...
And so I set out to find the source of "our" little stream. As I hopped from boulder to boulder along the water I took in the natural beauty all around me. The smell of the forest, the crystal clear water, the light that filtered through the trees, the refreshing cold of the mountain stream; it all came together to make this a special occasion. To me then it was just another fun day in the bush.
After some time I reached a fork in the stream and was faced with a dilemma. If I was to reach the source of this stream I needed a definition of what was this stream and what was another. The stream forked at several points and I decided I'd choose the biggest branch each time to define 'my' stream.
On went my quest for the source. On into the bush which had been subtly changing all the while. To me it was obvious that I was now walking in places where quite possibly no other human had ever set foot. Here and there I came across signs that deer and other animals had recently come down to the water to drink. I didn't get to see any although I remember that once I thought I saw a deer looking at me from through the trees.
For a child I wasn't making much noise. I never carried a machete in the bush, preferring to use my eyes and constantly plan a path between the shrubbery or around it if it became particularly dense. All the same, deer have very acute hearing. To them I must have sounded like a small army of just one boy...
I remember being slightly anxious about the time when I came upon an area where it was impossible to determine where the stream came from. I must have been tramping upstream for at least two hours and I had to be back before dinner or I would be in serious trouble. The whole area was formed by the crook between two ridges of the Kaimai mountain range. It was obvious the stream must have formed from rainwater that fell on the mountains from above and was gathered here before forming the first visible stream of water.
The place was lush with pristine green mosses as thick as my hand's breadth. I took a number of steps onto this lush green living carpet before lying down on my back to take it all in.
To me it felt heavenly, I was awestruck and felt honored to be there. This was a holy place to me (and it still is).
Lying on my back I remember the tree trunks arching off into the sky and forming the pillars of what reminded me of a natural Gothic cathedral. As my eyes took in the sight and I experienced the awe and the reverie of this mystical place my mind expanded. There are really no words fit to describe the feeling. It was as if I transcended the trees, the world and everything. I was flooded with love and warmth, like simultaneously experiencing every good feeling it is possible to feel, multiplied by a thousand. With the all-encompassing Love came a feeling of understanding that everything was 100% OK. Everything was in God's hands, the trees the land, the air, the animals, all people, everything. This feeling is like bathing in liquid distilled trust. In that moment I felt complete and completely loved.
Its hard to say how long the experience took, it could have happened in a single second or it may have been minutes. Unfortunately all good things come to an end and I had to force myself to sit up and reluctantly make my way back again. The experience was confusing at first. I had gone to find the source of the river, but it turned out to have had no clearly visible source. Later I realized that I had set out to find the source of 'our' stream and found the Source of everything... I even got back in time for dinner.
At the time of your experience was there an associated life-threatening event? No
Was the experience difficult to express in words?....Yes....There are really no words for this. I could keep thinking up comparisons and parallels ad infinitum and still not be able to define it.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness?....Normal consciousness and alertness Not really conscious of the material world. I was very conscious at another level. This must have peaked during the transcendent part of the experience after I felt myself 'expanding'.....I selected Normal but it does not fit!!! More and less are quantities along one scale, this was on a 'perpendicular' scale! It was "Altered consciousness or alertness".
It appeared to me that I was aware at a different level, more at the level of meaning than that of physical facts. It was very personal and hard to explain, even with what I know now.
Please compare your vision during the experience to your everyday vision that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. It was not vision, it was consciousness. I was conscious of the fact that everything was in Gods hands and that there was only love and complete trust. From this consciousness I could precipitate images but that is the same as finding fitting words. If a picture says a thousand words but no words are fitting then the picture ultimately suffers from the same shortcomings as words. I had a picture that I may have picked up during the experience, not sure after all these years. On the other hand it may well have formed shortly (seconds) after the experience. It was a picture of the whole world (planet earth) being held, cherished and loved in two huge hands. I was eleven years old but never took that image literally, its the meaning that counts.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I experienced no hearing at the time.
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? No
What emotions did you feel during the experience?....AWE
a general well-being but then expanded out of all proportions!
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 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?....No....
Did time seem to speed up or slow down?....Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning....Time was undefined for the moment.
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....
Did you have a sense of knowing special knowledge or purpose?....Yes....The interconnectedness of the whole world.
Discuss any changes that might have occurred in your life after your experience:....Large changes in my life....Growing up makes it hard to compare what would have become of me had I not had this experience. It has given me an anchor and a KNOWING that is greater than faith alone (as powerful as that is). This I am sure has saved my life, perhaps on more than one occasion.
The biggest change therefore must be the fact that I am alive.....
Did you have any changes in your values or beliefs after the experience that occurred as a result of the experience? Yes Having experienced the unbounded love and 'trustworthiness' of God I was able to select and reject dogmas for myself. I embarked on a mission to understand God more fully and this has turned me into a more liberal and ultimately universalist type of believer. This helped convince me to follow Jesus because he taught love and simplicity. It has caused me to reject the way of violence and choose the way of love and peace. I dread what I would have become if I did not choose this path.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience?....No
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes At least ten years. Mother seemed to acknowledge it back then, and she has since embarked on a path of spiritual development so she now understands it more fully. My father compared it to his own spiritual experience, but as I didn't see Jesus in person I felt rejected. People in church apparently loved the story but they each have their own thoughts and that is fine.
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 Well; it happened to me so it must be real. I was a naive child and had no concept of drugs, delusions and hallucinations etc.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience at the current time:....Experience was definitely real....I now know much more about NDEs and related phenomena. For me there is no reason at all to doubt the reality of the experience. Love is real, everyone has (hopefully) felt enough of it to know its real. Love won't power a light bulb any time soon but nobody in their right minds doubts the reality of it!
Have your relationships changed specifically as a result of your experience?....Yes....More love and trust. Lack of trust would have become a major problem without this experience.
Have your religious beliefs/spiritual practices changed specifically as a result of your experience?....Yes It has driven me toward more love and less letters. Knowing above all else that God is love and holding up all religious teachings against the light of love has exposed their flaws and helped me discern what is true and what is false.
I can tell you now that it blows most everything away but what little is left is so pure I wouldn't want it any other way! (Hint: Love and trust; all else is dust)
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience?....Yes I experienced the love again when I was visited by angels after my divorce. Distraught with pain and despair I was lifted out of my body by a group of what I believe were angels and bathed in love as a form of healing before being gently replaced. There are roughly twenty years between the two experiences. They don't compare, the first was more universal, the second was very personal. The love was the same.
Did the questions asked and information that you provided accurately and comprehensively describe your experience? Yes
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? Its all connected, I just can't pull it apart.Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience?....I consider it a Spiritually Transformative Experience because I was not near death at the time (as far as it is humanly possible to tell).