Memory

My Near Death Experience

Just after my wife and I got married as twenty-year-old college kids, we set up our home in a cute little upstairs at “The 26th Street House” in Minneapolis.  Her parents owned it, and the downstairs served as a communal place for musician friends, missionary kids, and her brothers.  Upstairs was just for us.  I don’t remember the precise date this happened, but I got the shock of my life when I awoke to find I had no body.  It was only a few months after our wedding. I finally decided it was time to share my experience on the NDERF web site.  I don’t know when, or of, they will share it, but I share it here.  Enjoy.

My near death account account 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 crystalized, 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. [Note: I am well aware that using Hunter’s visage could well have been a masking technique to cleverly not scare me.  I am not indicating it in any way was Robert Hunter, unless it was his oversoul, a concept in which I find value.]

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.  I remember understanding the architextural detail, but I was mystified as to why I was there. 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 (and many of my musician friends) am one of those souls. The purpose of the periodic return was to inject light upon Earth in times of turbulance. Indeed, the lyrics of the songs of the Dead 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 –and my own–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 then, 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.

 

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