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Matthew's Experience/font>

Experience description:   

To give you a quick background on myself and my experience, I grew up in a funeral home family. Obviously growing up in this environment I became interested in life/death, the meaning of life, God, etc., very early in my life. I was raised Protestant Christian and always had a strong belief in God but as I grew up, I developed questions and explored other religions and beliefs because of unanswered questions. During my 30th year of life after exploring basically every religion and spiritual exercise I could find, eg. Christianity, Gnostic Christianity, Judaism and Kabbalah, Muslim and Sufi, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism, and, because of my native American ancestry, a lot of Shamanism, I had the most profound experience of my life. I had in my past experienced many different profound spiritual experiences including traditional native vision quests, profound dreams, and a peyote vision experience. But nothing I had experienced before came even close to the enlightenment I achieved in my 30th year. I didn't die, or even have any life threatening experience, in fact, I had a wonderful day and was extremely happy and optimistic about the way things were going in my life. I laid in my bed at night and reviewed the day in my mind, talking to God in my own casual way, thanking Him for how well things were going, and I felt a strong, pleasant energy growing up through my spine getting stronger and stronger. Then I noticed floating in front of me a candle burning with a pure white flame. Before I could even question why a candle was floating in front of me, or whether I was hallucinating, that put white flame grew and grew until it filled my entire vision.

The next thing I knew, I was floating in a dark void. I couldn't see my body but felt that my "body" was there. I knew I was complete but didn't really have a body at all. And even though I seemed to be all alone in a vast dark void, I had no fear. In fact, I felt fantastic. I knew I wasn't in my body anymore and even "knew" that I was dead, but I still existed. And this made me feel even more ecstatic. All my life growing up in the funeral business I had always worried that all the religions were wrong and we might just be gone once we die. But here I was, standing in the void, completely separate from my physical body and I was still here, still thinking and aware. I had the wonderful feeling of knowing I was still alive and would be for eternity. Then I became aware that I was in outer space and I could see the earth. As I looked at the earth it changed to the image of millions of people holding hands and feet together, almost like a soccer ball stitching, to create a globe of people. And I was filled with the knowing that we are all One, but still individuals. It's impossible to describe this knowing. We can speak of it and even somewhat understand the concept, but at this time I truly felt the strange contradictory idea of being purely individual and the piece of a whole at the same time. As I relished in this feeling, I noticed a presence coming toward me, and for some reason I knew it was God, or some authority. When I realized this I became humble and felt that I was not worthy to be in the presence of God. The moment I thought this, a chorus of what seemed like millions of voices told me, "the 'I' is never..." and they continued to list every negative, fearful trait you can think of, angry, judgmental, punishing, etc. And I began to feel this unbelievable ecstasy, this feeling of pure love, acceptance, approval, and peace that I have never experienced. I knew immediately that everything was perfect, that every single seemingly unimportant event in my life had led me to right where I was and that everything was happening exactly as it is supposed to. I was overwhelmed by the feeling of pure love, acceptance, and perfection. I bathed in this wonderful feeling as I soon realized that I understood "everything". I knew the meaning of life, the purpose of everything, and it was all so simple. There was no actual voices, it was a form of telepathy but even more powerful than that, it seemed that the instant I had a question, the knowledge was immediately in me, not just understanding, but a pure, unquestionable "knowing". I do not remember to this day what everything was about but I still remember that feeling of, "oh my God, it's sooo simple, how could we not know this", but unfortunately that's all I remember of the purpose of everything. After experiencing the knowledge of our purpose, I remember asking God, or whatever authority I was in the presence of, "what about my blah, blah, blah?" (personal behaviors I had sometimes felt guilty

about) I had the immediate answer of, "do YOU have a problem with it?" and when I answered no, it replied, "then why would I?" and I was filled with the knowing that I could do whatever I chose. That this life was my choice to experience. A beautiful gift to me, to be able to explore whatever I wanted while always having the security of a loving, eternal God to take me back home when I was finished. At this point I realized that I knew and was given more answers than anything I had ever studied before and wondered if that meant I must die and not return, but the answer I got was a choice. "do you want to be dead now?" I was asked by the Presence. I knew it was completely my choice and I chose to return with a new vibrance and love of life, since I knew it could be whatever I chose it to be. As soon as I answered I felt myself moving back towards my body, but at the last "stage" I guess you could call it, I noticed that there was this veil, this membrane that separated me from the physical, and I saw my grandfather there. I was always close to my grandfather and he had died 7 years before this experience, but I saw him there and he smiled at me and I telepathically was told by him,"I'm doing great. Im ok. I'm just here watching your grandmother and waiting for her to cross". I smiled back and crossed through that final "membrane" and felt myself pour into my body through the top of my head. Once my spirit had entered my body, I felt as if I was in an alien form. It was like it was completely new to me and as I came back to consciousness and began to move my body, it was strange and beautiful, like I was something else controlling this magnificent organism like a robot. I continued to dwell in this wonderful feeling of love and peace through the night. And for the next day I strongly felt this extraordinary power within me. It seemed like when I interacted with people the next day that I could completely understand them immediately without them saying anything. I seemed like I knew exactly what they were feeling and what they needed to hear when I interacted with them. It was mind blowing, but unfortunately did not last. I soon felt "normal" again and have yearned ever since for that feeling and that experienced. But NOTHING in my life has ever come close to this experience, nothing before, and nothing since.

At the time of your experience was there an associated life-threatening event?   No 

Was the experience difficult to express in words?  Yes     The words we use to describe this experience fall short of the actual feeling. It could never be expressed in human terms

At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness?    The entire experience

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   I have done multiple spiritual exercises from meditation, lucid dreaming, to hallucinogenic peyote vision quests, and I have never felt so clear, aware, and lucid as I did during this experience

Please compare your vision during the experience to your everyday vision that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience.
   I had always believed in a loving God, but always has doubts about my eternal existence and whether my mistakes would come to haunt me. My experience allowed me to KNOW that I was eternal and perfect, no matter what mistakes I had made

Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience.
   Hearing wasn't necessary, everything was transmitted telepathically, as soon as you asked, you knew

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?   Purest love, acceptance, perfection, and ecstatic joy  

Did you pass into or through a tunnel?   No  

Did you see an unearthly light?   Yes   Pure white light, extremely white and bright but strangely not harmful to my eyes

Did you seem to encounter a mystical being or presence, or hear an unidentifiable voice?   I encountered a definite being, or a voice clearly of mystical or unearthly origin
As I described earlier, it was a definite authority, a presence that only described itself as the "I". I understood it to be the part of us that feels as an individual, the "I" that says, I am...

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?   Yes   My deceased grandfather

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

Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world?   A clearly mystical or unearthly realm
The void, then space, then just bathed in light

Did time seem to speed up or slow down?   Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning
It felt as if I was there for hours, but when I returned I looked at the clock and it had only been minutes

Did you suddenly seem to understand everything?   Everything about the universe
I understood EVERYTHING, but unfortunately didn't bring it back, only the feeling that it was a very simple answer

Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure?   Yes
The veil, or membrane, seemed to be a clear flexible substance that separated the physical and the spiritual

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 knew I was eternal

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness that God or a supreme being either does (or does not) exist?   Yes   It does exist and loves us all "head over heels" with no requirements

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness that you either did (or did not) exist prior to this lifetime?   Yes   I understood everything, but was not allowed to take the knowledge back with me

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness that a mystical universal connection or unity/oneness either does (or does not) exist?   Yes   We are all one being, but paradoxically an individual spirit at the same time

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness regarding earthly life’s meaning or purpose?   Yes   I knew our life was our choice, what we experienced, we chose to experience

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness regarding earthly life’s difficulties, challenges, or hardships?   Yes   I knew our life was our choice, what we experienced, we chose to experience

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness regarding love?   Yes   It is the pure energy of 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?   Yes   Yes but was given the knowledge that I am in complete control of what I want in this life

What occurred during your experience included:   Content that was entirely consistent with the beliefs you had at the time of your experience  

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     

My experience directly resulted in:   Moderate 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   Just less gulit and fear

Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you?  

Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience?   Yes   After my experience I had extraordinary ability to feel others need but didn't continue past a day or two    

Have you ever shared this experience with others?  
Yes  Shared with loved ones immediately but most thought I was just a little loopy, didn't truly believe me or were afraid of what my experience meant to their rigid religious views

Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience?   Yes   I had heard of people having them but never learned a lot about it. Was actually freaked out about my experience for a while until I read Kenneth Rings book and realized that some people have these experiences without actually having a physical trauma

What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened:   Experience was definitely real   Nothing in my life was or has been so vivid since

What do you believe about the reality of your experience at the current time:   Experience was definitely real  

Have your relationships changed specifically as a result of your experience?   Yes  

Have your religious beliefs/spiritual practices changed specifically as a result of your experience?   Yes  

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   As best as words can describe an otherworldly experience

What could a national organization with an interest in near death experience (NDE) do that would be of interest to you?        Continue to publish others' experiences, it was through reading them that I knew I was not alone

Please offer any suggestions that you may have to improve this questionnaire.  Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience?                    Make it shorter, ask alot of the same questions that are answered in my experience