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Laura H's Experiences

Experience description:   

When I was having my appendectomy at 16 years of age, I remember "waking up" in the corner of the room and watching the doctors operating on my body.  I was not conscious of darkness or light or any other "beings" but I could hear every word the doctors were saying.  They were talking about a women that both of them had gone out with and then they said something about my insides that I didn't understand.  When I came out of the anesthesia, I remembered the conversation and told my doctor.  He was quite taken aback and said, "People have funny dreams when they are anesthetized." But, he seemed very disturbed and seemed to avoid me after this.  I didn't feel I needed to defend it, because I knew it had happened. 

When I hit my "funny bone" it was like a switch was turned off.  I don't remember hitting the ground. I heard a hum or buzz and then I was in a very dark place and it was like their were many, many people there with me, all murmering.  It wasn't scary or uncomfortable.  In fact, it was very friendly and pleasant.  It was as if they were there to be with me and let me know I wasn't alone.  No one actually talked to me, but I just heard murmuring, very gently, as if from a room-full of people.  I was also very clear minded and alert in this space and not in the least bit concerned about what had happened to me.  When I came to, I remembered it and wondered about it, but didn't tell anyone.  I had the same experience, later, when I overdosed.  In fact, it was the same "group" of people.  And the sense of well-being was beyond words.

Any associated medications or substances with the potential to affect the experience?     Yes     I overdosed during my 40's on Benadryl.

Was the kind of experience difficult to express in words? Yes     Words simply do not express the degree of joy, peace and clarity that I felt, as well as the sense of being loved.  None of these words come near describing the well-being I felt.

At the time of this experience, was there an associated life threatening event?          Uncertain      I was only 16 when the first experience happened.  I was having an appendectomy.  No one ever told me whether there were any complications.  The second time, I was knocked unconscious from hitting my "funny-bone" and I'm pretty sure it wasn't life threatening, even though I was unconscious for about twenty minutes.  The third time (overdose) I don't think I was actually near death, but I'm not sure and because it was a suicide attempt, people treated me pretty rudely and didn't really talk to me.

What was your level of consciousness and alertness during the experience?           Though I wasn't "physically" conscious, I was very alert and clear minded.  I felt as if I had a broader awareness of everything.

Was the experience dream like in any way?   No, it was more real (not an adequate word) than what we consider consciousness in our every day life.

Did you experience a separation of your consciousness from your body?     Uncertain      The first time I was actually outside of my body looking at it.  The second two times, I don't remember feeling separate.

What emotions did you feel during the experience?            Words simply cannot describe the sense of well-being.  It was like I'd been livng in a cloud and the cloud had been removed and everything was clear and bright and beautiful and felt wonderful....but not in appearance...I didn't see that, I just felt it.

Did you hear any unusual sounds or noises?           The second time I heard a buzzing sound..though not annoying.  It was like a vibrational tone.

LOCATION DESCRIPTION:  Did you recognize any familiar locations or any locations from familiar religious teachings or encounter any locations inhabited by incredible or amazing creatures?    No           

Did you see a light?           No      

Did you meet or see any other beings?           Yes     It was like being surrounded by a crowd of invisible beings.  The "sound" though it was not in words, was like a room full of people mummering in a low voice, but I couldn't make out the words.  It was very benevolent.

Did you experiment while out of the body or in another, altered state?  

During surgery, I watched the doctors operating on my body.  But it never occured to me to move anywhere or do anything.  It was too interesting.  The other times, I didn't feel a sense of separation from my body.

Did you observe or hear anything regarding people or events during your experience that could be verified later?          Yes     Yes, as above, I repeated the conversation that the doctor's were having.  My doctor seemed very upset about this.

Did you notice how your 5 senses were working, and if so, how were they different?          Uncertain            Did you have any sense of altered space or time?   Yes     There was no sense of time.

Did you have a sense of knowing, special knowledge, universal order and/or purpose?    Yes            Since I was a very small child, I've always thought it was strange that people get so upset and fearful about death or about others dying.  To me it was so natural and not a bad thing at all...just a change in form.  But, after growing up around the usual conditioning and fear about death, I began to wonder if something was wrong with me to think about death in this way.  After my experiences, it was as if my sense of connection to something "larger" was validated. I knew that my sense of my body only being a "vehicle" was real and I never doubted my own inner knowing again...and it has grown and expanded over the years.  In fact, I simply don't think or talk about it, anymore.  It is just part of life.

Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure?             Uncertain      I remember that when I became physically conscious the second time (after I hit my "funny bone") I heard the buzzing as I came to.

Did you become aware of future events?       No      

Were you involved in or aware of a decision regarding your return to the body?       Uncertain      Did you have any psychic, paranormal or other special gifts following the experience that you did not have prior to the experience?     Uncertain      I have always been aware of people's thoughts and sometimes future events.  After the experience, it just seemed normal and in fact, I think it is, but most of us aren't conscious of it until something "unusual" happens and then we notice.

Did you have any changes of attitudes or beliefs following the experience?   Yes     I changed my attitude toward myself the third time.  I realized I had value and my value wasn't set by other people, but by what I thought of myself.  I also realized that happiness was up to me and came from inside of me, not from outer experience.  I guess I realized there is more to "me" than this little body in limited space and time.

How has the experience affected your relationships? Daily life? Religious practices? Career choices?       I started doing what I wanted after the last experience.  I've always loved solitude, so I started living surrounded by nature and in quiet places, away from cities.  I reached for less relationships...ones that are quality ones.  I know longer felt I "needed" others in my life to fulfill me.  I guess more than anything, I feel such a sense of wholeness all the time, and a sense of ease and contentment.  I don't worry about things. I stopped watching TV, reading or listening or watching news.  Instead, I relish in seeing the world through my eyes...and it is full of beauty.

Has your life changed specifically as a result of your experience?         Yes     I think I've stated it already.  I'm very relaxed about life and have no fear of anything, particularly "death".

Have you shared this experience with others?         Yes     Only the doctor who did my surgery, and his reaction was so (at the time it seemed angry) but now I realize it was fearful.  Since then, I've never mentioned any of this to anyone else.  It didn't seem necessary.

What emotions did you experience following your experience?  Elation, peace, well-being, self confidence and self love.  I think I also judge myself and others less.

What was the best and worst part of your experience?      There really was no "worst part".  They were each wonderful experiences.

Following the experience, have you had any other events in your life, medications or substances which reproduced any part of the experience?         No      

Did the questions asked and information you provided accurately and comprehensively describe your experience?               No       The questions were excellent, however, I don't believe there is any way in human language to describe the feelings of the experience.  It simply isn't possible.

Please offer any suggestions you may have to improve this questionnaire.    Perhaps more people have had experiences like mine while "unconscious" instead of "near-death" and would share their experiences if this was mentioned.  It is all related, but terms are expanding as we find out more and people are willing to share.