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Peter S's Experience


My experience has some singular or unusual details to it.  I hope you will bear with me on this.  I have for years resisted sharing this account widely because it does not conform precisely to a standardized NDE (though we know that they come in many shapes and sizes).  I had returned home after my early hours working as a janitor at the college I was attending.  My wife was away at her classes.  It was between 2 or 3 in the afternoon.  I drank a 3.2 (low alcohol) beer followed by a cup of instant coffee, and then put on a new record to lull me into my afternoon nap.  The record's artist figures into my whole experience, so I note that it was 'Tales of the Great Rum Runners' by Robert Hunter.  Hunter is known as the chief lyricist for The Grateful Dead, and this record had been released relatively recently. 

I fell asleep quickly but awoke to find myself in complete and utter darkness, no where near my body.  I seemed to have kind of 'body,' but without flesh, and invisible, but I remember the sensation of having two legs and two arms, etc.  I was flat, floating slightly forward in this void.  I immediately was aware of two things: 1) That this was no dream.  My conscious state was crystal clear, perhaps more than usual, and 2) If I could not find my body, I would be lost to the world.  For a brief moment, I felt panic.  Then, off to my right in the darkness, I could make out a tiny pinpoint of light.  I realized I was headed toward that light.  Coming up close, I saw that the light was crystallized, like a diamond, into a huge bust of a man.  I was small, looking up to this face and shoulders as high as a several story building. 

I noticed the face resembled the features Robert Hunter, whose record I had been listening to.  The features of the face did not move, but I sensed a great, wise intelligence, beyond any given human being.  The Intelligence communicated to me that I was loved way and above what I considered possible, that no fault, no bad habit, no sin, no error, ever got in the way of a steady, overflowing, all-encompassing love for me as a person.  What is more, I knew that this Love is universal, as a song says, 'not just for some, but for everyone.'  And that universality did not diminish by one iota the profound love I was receiving.  I did not know what was happening, but the encounter with love caused me to lose all fears about the situation.  It was what I think is meant by the word, 'revelation.'  I understood that Love is at the heart of reality, and this knowledge superseded anything, positive or negative, I had learned previously.  Next, I found myself floating, not in darkness, but staring at the rafters on the ceiling of an auditorium.  I was a few feet from the ceiling, floating slowly. 

Suddenly I 'was veered' downward until I could see a stage below me with a band playing.  I instantly recognized them.  It was the Grateful Dead, playing to an enthusiastic crowd, but I couldn't hear a thing.  I floated upside down behind rhythm guitarist Bob Weir's back for a few seconds.  Then I was 'shown,' like a 3D movie, a band of roving musicians walking in a dry desert riverbed.  They wore robes and had walking staffs.  I was informed telepathically that this was an earlier incarnation of The Grateful Dead, and that they have been returning to Earth several times, in perhaps an assorted line-up of a larger collection of souls, and I was given the idea that I am one of those souls.  The purpose of the periodic return was to inject light upon Earth in times of turbulence.  Indeed, the lyrics of the songs of the band are full of hope, or compassion, or a kind of warning about complacency.  I had long been drawn to them, and was getting a crash course on their purpose.  Next, I entered a tunnel with striped sides.  A mostly black tunnel with lines of white (or lighter value) circling the space.  I began to speed up, go faster and faster.  Interestingly, I had read Raymond Moody's 'Life After Life' a month or two before, so I recognized that I was being sent to Heaven, and most likely I was dying or dead.  I had just married my sweetheart (both of us at the tender age of 20) and knew we planned to have children in due time. 

So I called out with all my might (whether verbally or telepathically I cannot say) 'Please send me back!  My wife and my future kids will miss me if I go.  I want a second chance!'  And the, extraordinarily (as I've come to find out), I slowed down, mid-tunnel, and was sent back the other direction, slowly at first, and faster and faster, until my speeding soul hit and entered my sleeping body causing my body to jump a bit off the futon on the floor.  I was wide awake, remembering every bit of the journey, and I was filled with love.  I could not wait to tell my wife and others.  My wife accepted it, but I was chagrined that my mother said, 'You were just dreaming.'  It felt like a slap in the face, but I soon realized I could not just openly tell anybody unless I wanted people to look at me like I'm crazy. 

Returning to work the next day, I remember waiting for the elevator to take me up to wash windows and my body felt for a second like it was rising and falling like the elevators.  For two weeks I felt like I was walking on air.  I lost all fear of death (My aunt ran the family funeral home in a distant city, but we had visited many times and I had some fairly morbid thoughts from the experience and I went through a phase where I was convinced I would die at age 14.  I sailed through that age with no difficulties.)  I felt a much enhanced compassion for people and animals, and I became a bit less straight-laced.  I loosened up a bit, knowing All Will Be well.  Over the years, I realize that because of that NDE, I will no longer tolerate working in conditions that are inhumane toward me or other workers.  I always find a way out.  Also, I know I have been passed over for promotion or laid off because I am known as 'nice,' and I have no killer instinct, nor wish to be competitive.  Being laid off at age 60, I turned to art modeling to supplement my income.  I think that I am able to radiate God to the best of my abilities to the students in the colleges and workshops I work for.  After my NDE, my life has been filled with various kinds of psychic incidents: precognitive dreams, out-of-body-experiences, awareness of spirits, religious miracles, UFO encounters (some happened before my NDE), and meaningful conicidence.  I have shared my experience before, once to a local IANDS group, and, through them, on the 'extra features' portion on the DVD of the movie, 'Stay.'  I come to this NDERF site and read accounts of others whenever the events of the world get me down.  Thank you for reading this.

At the time of your experience was there an associated life-threatening event?   Uncertain  I had returned home after my early hours working as a janitor at the college I was attending.  My wife was away at her classes.  It was between 2 or 3 in the afternoon.  I drank a 3.2 (low alcohol) beer followed by a cup of instant coffee, and went to sleep.  Since I now know I suffer from sleep apnea, my best guess is that I stopped breathing in my sleep, but nobody was there to confirm that.

Was the experience difficult to express in words?  Yes     The part where the crystalized bust emanated or radiated Love is difficult because the intensity of that Love is so beyond what we usually can feel.

At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness?    It was uniform throughout.

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 felt that 'this is the real consciousness,' not blurry, not hungover, not daydreaming like we often get day to day while awake.  It was very much NOT like dream consciousness, nor like the out of body experiences I've had.

Please compare your vision during the experience to your everyday vision that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience.   What I saw, except for the concert part, was like a hyper-real painting.  Detail was exceptionally sharp.  Even the initial blackness was so black, it is beyond my description.

Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience.   I had no hearing, even during the concert scene.  Communication was telepathic.

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?   Yes   The performance or rehearsal of a Grateful Dead concert in an auditorium or gymnasium.  I could not hear, but was 'brought there' for some reason.

What emotions did you feel during the experience?   After initial brief panic, I felt fascination.  During my meeting with the crystalized light, I felt intense, profound Love that passes all understanding.  During my time in the tunnel I felt supplication, desire to be given a chance to fill out the years of my new marriage and be father to our children.  

Did you pass into or through a tunnel?   Yes   I passed into the tunnel but did not make it all the way through.  Once I found myself speeding up, I asked God to dend me back, and God (or Whomever) did.

Did you see an unearthly light?   Yes   Light that was crystallized into a form that would not scare me, one of my favorite songwriters, Robert Hunter.  I think there was meaning to that.  It was a 'bust' of Hunter, not a complete body, and the bust did not move, but communicated with me.

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
When looking at the bust of crystallized light, I thought that either it was the oversoul of Hunter (who is still alive at the time of this writing) or an angel or aincient wise being who is beyond life and death.  I am a Christian, but I did not identify the voice as being from Jesus or God.

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   The band members of The Grateful Dead, but they were performing or rehearsing on Earth.  Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Donna Jean and Keith Godchaux.  Their main lyricist, Robert Hunter, may or may not have been behind the crystallized bust of him I saw appear in in the initial darkness.

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?   No

Did you suddenly seem to understand everything?   Everything about the universe
The centrality of Love was evident and obvious.

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   Because I was shown an early incarnation of the musicians who at that time were The Grateful Dead, it was self-evident that they survived death and returned.  Also, the fact I was not in my body but still could think and feel made it apparent that we live on without our bodies.

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness that God or a supreme being either does (or does not) exist?   Uncertain   The Love I received from the crystallized light seemed to indicate that there is a Something or Someone behind this Love.  And when I called out to God to send me back, I was sent back.

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness that you either did (or did not) exist prior to this lifetime?   Yes   I was telepathically told that I was part of a reincarnating group of musicians who bring light to Earth from time to time.

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   Yes, during the information the crystallized light gave me.

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness regarding earthly life’s meaning or purpose?   Yes  

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness regarding earthly life’s difficulties, challenges, or hardships?   No  

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness regarding love?   Yes   Love is for all of us.  It is unconditional, profound, and all-encompassing, but we cannot feel it on Earth usually.  We are to do our best to love each other like that.

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   I received telepathic information of my being part of an extended group of musicians who reincarnate to bring light to the world.

What occurred during your experience included:   Content that was both consistent and not consistent with the beliefs you had at the time of your experience   I had not believed myself to be as lovable as I was told I am by the crystallized light.  But I had already regarded reincarnation and life after death as real.

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 common memory is pretty good but nothing like my memory of this.  The only other memory as clear is a Jesus visitation that took place a few years later.

Discuss any changes that might have occurred in your life after your experience:   My psychic life blossomed.  Precognitive dreams, mystical dreams, meaningful coincidence, sensing spirits, religious miracles and visitation, some UFO activity (though that had started earlier).  I also experience depression.  The comparison and contrast between there and Earth is so large.  I have been passed up for promotion because I am considered 'too nice' for competitive jobs.  It really does not bother me.  I have learned equanimity.

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   Little actions we take toward each other are more important than ideology, religion, profession, or intention.  Small kindness is huge in reality.  Fame an fortune means nothing.

Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience?   Yes   Precognitive dreams, sensing spirits, the ability to spread peace and joy just by entering a room.

Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you?    
Knowing I am loved beyond all else -- and that we all are.

Have you ever shared this experience with others?  
Yes  I shared it the same day with my wife.  She accepted it but did not understand the rapturous state I was in.  I shared it with my mother that week and she said it was only a dream, which felt like a slap on the face.  But this was mid-70s.  Few people knew about NDEs then.  I have shared with several others, including an IANDS group and on a movie DVD extra features.  My friend, Robert, saw that, and I like to think it helped him when he recently died.

Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience?   Yes   A month or two before, I had read Raymond Moody's Life After Life, and it was a relief to read.

What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened:   Experience was definitely real   I have never felt it was anything but real.

What do you believe about the reality of your experience at the current time:   Experience was definitely real   I have never wavered in my belief it was certainly real.

Have your relationships changed specifically as a result of your experience?   Yes   I became more patient, less goal-directed, more loving and understanding.  I'm willing to try new things.  I try to bring kindness everywhere I go.  I make eye contact.  People at work come to me and talk about themselves for some reason.  I'm not perfect, but I have improved, and still work to see how I can be a better husband, father, friend, acquaintance, or person on the street.

Have your religious beliefs/spiritual practices changed specifically as a result of your experience?   Yes   I began to visit other churches or spiritual centers.  I stopped church for awhile.  I visited ann ashram in India.  I'm now singing in an Episcopal choir for the sheer joy of it.  I can take or leave the ritual or sermons.  The prayers go on too long.  I prefer to pray at night and do healing work.

At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience?   Yes   A few years after the NDE, I had a Jesus visitation, wherein Jesus imparted the very same message of profound Love that the crystalized light did.  More recently a holy man, a student in the lineage of Rama Maharshi, was able to bring me very close to the ecstasy I felt from the crystalized light.

Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience?   The use of Grateful Dead visage seems very different from most NDEs.  I think there is a message in the name of the group and that somehow I am part of it.  But Robert Hunter's face being what I saw the crystallized light to be was probably a way that 'they' comforted me when I was panicking.  Either that, or Hunter has one amazingly wise oversoul (but maybe we all do!).

Did the questions asked and information that you provided accurately and comprehensively describe your experience?   Yes   All is good.

What could a national organization with an interest in near death experience (NDE) do that would be of interest to you?      No opinion.

Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience?                        No.