Robert S Experience
I'm Robert S and it is the beginning of 2015. I may have finally found a place to really share the most amazing experience I've ever had in my life. The experience I've been told is a STE or a Spiritually Transformative Experience. It is related to a Near Death Experience but doesn't have an altered state of consciousness involved. It's been almost 34 years now and just as I've begun writing about it I have learned that the church that I and my daughter Christina were baptized in (Holy Trinity) is being torn down. More about the importance of that later.
I was Christened in January 1953 exactly 18 days after my birth. For the next 20 some years I was raised and educated in the beliefs and traditions of the Roman Catholic Church. I attended parochial schools until I was 18. There I learned about all the usual subjects as well as the Catholic belief system. This played an important part in my STE. Although my scholastic achievements were not as was expected of me, I in spite of my grades retained most of what I was taught.
Upon graduation from high school I embarked upon my blue collar career of auto repair. My moral compass was to be tested numerous times. I felt that my adherence to the things of faith which I was taught allowed me to be confident in the belief that I was living the life of a good Christian. On the other hand my work and social life reflected more worldly ideals. Not necessarily was I making morally wrong life decisions. But my basic goals were to chase after what the world would consider success in what I could possess in terms of family and financial things. Behind this goal I believed that the end result justified the means.
I would painfully learn later that I was fooling myself. At work I became manager of one of the more successful auto repair shops in the area. This led me to believe that I could acquire more than a lot of other people could. I then married my wonderful wife Evelyn five years after graduating from high school. Then two years later our daughter Chris was born. Next a family connection helped me to purchase property that within a year allowed us to build a house. Our second child Robert was born in 1980. Things were going great or so I thought. We had stretched our finances as well as family closeness very thin in the process.
My son Robbie's birth in 1980 was the last good thing to happen to me for a year or so. His is arrival in this world was the real beginning of my STE. His Christening started a series of events within my family that would leave me grasping for answers to fix relationships hurt by secrets, feelings of being slighted and jealousy which kept pushing me to the closer to the edge. The Recession of 1979 caused my work to slow and my finances to tank. Health problems started to also affect my wife and newborn son. Medical bills took money from house bills. Not only that but family relationships began to be stressed severely.
In 1980 the circumstances of my life were spinning increasingly out of my control. I felt though, that I could still be able to manage and fix everything. When 1981 began I still hadn't lost hope. Then Friday March 13 came around and my life would suddenly change. As I prepared to go to work my wife Evelyn and I got into a discussion about things that weren't going well for us. Finances were extremely stretched and we were on the verge of defaulting on the mortgage. Also aggravating our relationship was the upcoming wedding of my sister who my wife felt slighted her. Our family was being stressed by gossip, secrets and jealousy. The discussion became an argument the likes of which we had never had before. When I left that morning my hope of solving these and other issues eroded more and more.
On that long drive, that cloudy day, I asked myself why things were so out of control. I could only think in terms of how righteous my actions seemed to me. It felt more and more to me that I was victim of a conspiracy by all those around me. When I arrived at work I was so distraught that I assigned work to those that needed it. I then retreated to a secluded area of the building where I continued to consider my plight.
I could not see any implication that I had in creating the mess I was in. I could only see clearly (so I thought) the unwillingness of others to see my logic and do what I needed to make things work. After an hour or so of going over these things in my head I started asking myself if God had anything to do with all I was failing at. After all I did what I believed others perceived as being a good Catholic. I was at Mass every Sunday. I was seen receiving the sacraments. I even attended annual retreats with my dad. I felt justified in my belief that I was the upright person that I wanted others to believe I was. I couldn't see that I was fooling myself over and over when I bent things to get what I wanted. At that point I was past being depressed and fully in the throes of despair. I could not see any way to fix all that I was burdened with.
I wasn't a person given to emotional outbursts. The last time I had shed a tear was at my grandmother's funeral 10 years earlier. Today I could not control my feelings as I started to sob. As I cried I felt that everyone I knew was partly to blame for the state of affairs I found myself in and what was worse was that the faith that I believed that I was a model citizen for also failed me. After all I did all that was required of me and I still was on the verge of loosing everything I had worked for. I then felt that I was becoming sick with grief. I was nauseous and a feeling of coldness came over me. At that point I couldn't even control my thoughts. I was angry but that was turning into a consuming feeling of hatred towards all those I knew. And especially I began to hate the religion I was born into and the God who would allow this to happen to someone who thought that he was adhering to the faith and morals that I was taught.
With nowhere else to turn I just wanted my pain and suffering to end. I wanted to die and was feeling the deathly cold that I knew it would bring. It was then I remembered that my employer kept a gun in a drawer in the office for protection. My mind worked out that I could go into the office and get the gun, I would shoot him, as I blamed him for most of my financial woes, and then turn the gun on myself and it would be over. I was about to be one of those murder-suicide stories we hear about much too often.
I was so upset that I had to take a few minutes to compose myself. I didn't want anyone to suspect what I was about to do. I then made my way through the shop fully committed to carrying out my plan. As I approached the office I could see a customer through a window. I didn't know how this would affect what I was about to do so I chose to wait a moment and see if they would leave. As I waited the coldness gripped me even more. I was sure that I was about to take 2 lives and end my suffering.
That's when an astonishing thing happened. As I waited for maybe a minute or so the shop radio which was tuned to the local rock station began playing a song. The song that started playing was a song I played often. If I played it once I played it a thousand times. I loved the sounds and the melody. The lyrics were hard to understand and there were only a few lines I thought I knew and understood. But this time as I listened I heard most of the words and began to understand what the whole song was about. The song was by the British rock group 'The Who' and the song was 'WON'T GET FOOLED AGAIN '. It began with prophetic lines that have been used by major television networks news magazines describing Road Rage years after the song came out. It began with 'We'll be fighting in the streets. With our children at our feet. And the morals that they worshiped will be gone'.!! Next they referenced the last judgment written about in the Bibles book of Revelation 'And the Man who spurred us on (Jesus) sits in judgment of our wrong singing the shotgun sings the song'(He will come in power and glory). Next they take small credit for this happening. 'I tip my hat to the New Constitution (New Testament) I take a bow for the new Revolution(New Age Thinking).this next part is really awesome about what they do next, I smile and scream at the change all around(similar to how John the Baptist was perceived and being unbalanced?)I pick up my guitar and play just like yesterday but then I get on my knees and pray -- WE DON'T GET FOOLED AGAIN !!!!!'
The second verse goes like this.' A change it had to come. We knew it all along. We were liberated from the foe, (Satan) that's all. And the world looks the just same. And history isn't changed but the manor they all go in the last war'.(Chorus).
Third verse: I move myself and my family aside, if we happen to be left at the line. I get all my papers and I smile at the sky. Knowing I've been hypnotized(reference to either NDE OR STE which is possible because illicit drug use?), never lied'[(Rev 14 no deceit on their lips)] .Then after another verse and the last 'Chorus '. Then instrumental signifying maybe struggle or conflict . Then they cheer the victory 'Yaaay' 'Meet the New Boss same as the old BOSS(GOD)'.
One of the ideas the song presented to me that day was an answer to some profound questions one of which is: Why does a loving God or Creator allow so much pain and suffering to happen in our world. The answer is simple, because we were Fooled into asking for an existence apart from His love and influence. We are allowed to participate in the Procreation of others so we could learn a little about how a parent loves their child, as God loves us, sometimes so much that the parent allows the child to hurt or injure themselves or others to learn lessons about how we should live. We also asked for the free will to decide if each of us would help or hurt one another. And we are the ones interpreting discipline for judgment and punishment. The song tells us that we've asked for independence from our Creator. But no Creator or parent would give up on an erring child after a mistake or two. We don't remember because of His forgiveness. We've been Fooled many times in the past even before the loss of the Garden of Eden. And God has forgotten all our errors in judgment and knows that we could not live remembering as well. We have been given all that we asked for even when we have 'accused' our brothers and sisters and our God of many things. We are here to learn that is not acceptable. Only love and understanding for one another is.
The sounds of struggle between good and evil can be heard in the instrumentals in the song that in the longest one at the end(which now may be playing out here on earth) the end result is 'good will be victorious over evil.'
While the song played the cold sick feeling I had turned into the warmest most loving feeling that I have ever felt. I was feeling the love, an almost indescribable ecstasy that I believe that our God has for us. At the same time my feelings of despair over the circumstances of my life that were beyond my control were gone. They were replaced by the Holy Spirit imparting the knowledge of how my life and it's events might change if I surrender to God's will for me even though there would be difficult times, I would be given the strength to survive them. The song also answered questions I had no answers to before. I now began a spiritual journey which continues today. Finding answers to questions like: Where is our Creator / God in this world to show us that He has not abandoned us?
In the years following my STE, instead of sharing just that song, I used the gift I received that day to search out other music and found Hundreds of artists and Thousands of songs from the 60s to the present in which the lyrics referenced the Bible as well as faith and morals of most of the major Religions, prophetic warnings and songs about who we are and why we are here, that we all would be wise to listen to. But I couldn't share this until I could show a connection of God's input. Then I was led to the Bible and Revelation Ch.14 which I believe is a description of ROCK AND ROLL which is to be sung in Paradise by a select few who understand the veiled lyrics of the songs. The groups that sing about this includes 'STYX- Rocking the Paradise' and 'THE MOODY BLUES - Night's in White Satin'. Another Moody Blues song 'The Voice' tells of the Holy Spirit's involvement in their and our lives. Another couple of groups of the many out there is 'KANSAS singing Dust in the Wind' they along with 'JANICE JOPLIN in Lord Won't You Buy Me A Mercedes Benz' warn of seeking this world's perishable riches. While 'Madonna' offends many by wearing undergarments on top of her outer clothing or being scantily clad. I believe she does this to show her belief in a teaching of parochial schools of my time, 'that we should be ready to meet our Maker at any time and be judged for the life we lived. The Judgments will expose all of your life as if you stood naked before God. In her song 'Like A Prayer' she is praying and confessing that she believes in the mystery of life and that we all answer for our actions. STEVIE NICKS sings about her encounter with Jesus in 'Stand Back'. After her tour bus crashed almost killing GLORIA ESTEFFAN she switched from inviting listeners to do the 'Conga' to inviting listeners to 'Come out of the Darkness and Into the Light'. And PAT BENATAR taunts Satan in 'Hit Me With Your Best Shot'. There are so many others that use veiled lyrics to convey a message that is Divinely Inspired it would be impossible to list here .
Which brings me back to the beginning of my story. My Church Holy Trinity is being torn down. Around the same time that 'Won't Get Fooled Again' was out another song was #1 for many weeks, it was 'American Pie' by Don McLean. The second verse had the words 'Did you write the book of love and do you have faith in God above? If the Bible tells you so. Now do believe in Rock and Roll? Can music save your mortal soul? Refers to the Bible and Revelation 14. But the last verse hit home for me, 'I met a girl who sang the blues and I asked her for some happy news. She just smiled and turned away. I went down to the sacred store where I'd heard the music years before but the man there said the music wouldn't play. And in the streets the children screamed, the lovers cried, and the poets dreamed, but not a word was spoken -'The Church Bells All Were Broken, And the three men I admire most: The Father, Son, and The Holy. Ghost, they caught the last train for the coast the day the music died.' Well for me it is certainly prophetic saying church bells are broken because Father, Son and Holy Ghost is the HOLY TRINITY. How did he know that these things would begin to happen(we aren't there yet but with traditional churches closing it has begun) 40 years ago? And how many record stores do you know of now because of CDs and MP3 music? Is there more evil and terror that we fear for our families in the streets or abroad today? The question I was asked on that Luckiest day in my life is the same one I'm asking you now. Will you believe what is in some modern music enough to explorer it and then embrace it to save yourself ?
As for me I no longer chase earthly wealth that doesn't last. My wife and I will celebrate our 40th anniversary this year. We don't have a lot of money and live paycheck to paycheck. Now I seek out every opportunity to help anyone who is in need of the comfort that is in music that they can use to survive the difficulties in their lives every day so they never get close to the despair I felt that day. I have found real wealth in our family and friends and have had both good as well as sad times in the years that have followed and we still live in the same house accomplishing sometimes impossible things and working for the day that others see all that too and in turn 'CHANGE THE WORLD'!
Any associated medications or substances with the potential to affect the experience? No
Was the kind of experience difficult to express in words? Yes Wanting to commit suicide in our culture is taboo. Wanting to discuss it makes most people uncomfortable. The agent that aborted it ( Hard Rock Music) is perceived to be more likely to cause someone to commit suicide rather than prevent it.
At the time of this experience, was there an associated life threatening event? No
What was your level of consciousness and alertness during the experience? I was totally conscious as well as aware of everything happening.
Was the experience dream like in any way? No. Not at all
Did you experience a separation of your consciousness from your body? No
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Sadness, Envy, Anger, Fear, Hate, Despair
Did you hear any unusual sounds or noises? No
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? No
Did you observe or hear anything regarding people or events during your experience that could be verified later? Yes Heard in the song Won't Get Fooled Again things that would happen in the future like Road Rage
Did you notice how your 5 senses were working, and if so, how were they different? Yes They were working normally
Did you have any sense of altered space or time? No
Did you have a sense of knowing, special knowledge, universal order and/or purpose? No Again the song and Spirit imparted in me things which happened in the past as well as the future
Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure? No
Did you become aware of future events? Yes It seems to be coming true although everything has not happened yet. The things I heard seem to be very accurate.
Were you involved in or aware of a decision regarding your return to the body? No response Did you have any psychic, paranormal or other special gifts following the experience that you did not have prior to the experience? No
Did you have any changes of attitudes or beliefs following the experience? Yes I no longer seek worldly riches that are perishable. Now I look to help others who are in need like I was then. And try to show them how to use the music they like daily for strength and comfort.
How has the experience affected your relationships? Daily life? Religious practices? Career choices? I look for Devine guidance to help with all choices I am called to make. Over the years I have found that the little things we sometimes observe can be connected in a way that can make decisions easy. I have experienced decisions that made me feel like I am fighting an immense current and have found that the decision I made was not the best one.
Has your life changed specifically as a result of your experience? Yes
Have you shared this experience with others? Yes Most times they showed interest in the beginning. If the people were friends or just saw me frequently and the had little interest they would later avoid contact with me. Others patronized me and then I lost contact with them. A few family and friends occasionally talk about it.
What emotions did you experience following your experience? Calmness, Joy, Love, Bliss, Peace
What was the best and worst part of your experience? The best part is still happening and that is the Joy I gained from the knowledge imparted on. me that day that we truly loved by God and it is us that has to forgive as God forgives to be truly happy.