Exploring all aspects of near-death experiences (and related phenomena).
First I suppose I'll give some background to hopefully shed some light on what events led to my state of mind and my actions. Some of it may be completely irrelevant, but I'm including things that may have changed my thought processes and world view.
Growing up I was not incredibly religious, though I did attend church each week and definitely was aware of my spiritual companion. I usually seemed to find guidance through prayer, though my companion didn't always respond (I've come to believe that the lack of response was typically due to selfish requests, though I doubt my memory often these days). My church-going wavered during high school when my parents divorced for a year and I didn't again return in a major way.
After high school I began to race motocross (local pro, not national caliber) as well as progressing to freestyle mx and snowmobile videos. I was a pure adrenaline junky in the fullest sense, my adrenaline processing fully developed to the point of that feeling of freezing, shattering glass in your veins and absolutely full control during those time-slowing moments. I didn't shy away from life-threatening moments, in fact I pursued them for the intense fight or flight reaction they provoke and the awesome power you feel in the midst of them.
I had several severe crashes in this line of work starting in 1998 with a severe fracture of both ankles and my right leg, leaving my right leg 1/2" shorter than my left and both ankles surgically fused so that they now only move up and down. The lower, uneven-surface joint is what was fused. In the spring of 2000, I was attempting a backflip on my snowmobile but I hit the ramp too hard, didn't get tucked and attempted to throw the machine away from me. I was unsuccessful and it hit me in the side of the head hard enough to fracture 4 neck vertebrae, crush my helmet and give me a serious TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) that had me hallucinating and having strange balance issues for about 18 months or so. I'm not fully sure because I couldn't always tell hallucination from reality. This TBI really messed with my emotional control and seemingly erased all emotional connection I had to people and memories from my life. This loss of connection absolutely destroyed my marriage, as I had this light switch-like rage that would just appear for no reason and an unwillingness to put up with any crap (my interpretation of her actions, however incorrect it may have been) from my wife.
To give you an idea of how far out of reality I was, I nearly killed my best friend when he took some fries off my plate one day, strangling him until this look in his eyes like that of a dying deer (if you've ever been hunting) snapped me out of it. He forgave me, said that my eyes didn't even look human at that time, more like a wild animal.
In the spring of 2001, definitely not yet recovered from my brain injury, I dropped a cliff on my snowmobile and overshot the landing, breaking an elbow and stretching a bunch of tendons or muscles (I had no health insurance and didn't pursue treatment after a cat scan showed no breaks in my back, which was giving me massive pain). I knew that I had done something to my back but just assumed it was things stretched or out of place and figured I just had to suffer through it.
For the next 5 years I slipped slowly from society. I would start feeling better, get a job and stick with it until one day I'd lift something heavy or twist myself badly and the back pain would return with a vengeance, far too strongly to keep working. This time was filled with more and more alcohol, finally tiring of drinking and pursuing marijuana to numb the pain. My marijuana use finally reached a level where I was so tired of it and seemingly unable to quit that I called the cops on myself to force a quit. This worked, though I very rapidly found out why I had been so overboard. The back pain was back beyond all belief and I was in bed almost all day, every day. My parents sent me money and I went to a chiropractor who finally decided to x-ray my spine because it felt strange to him and found out that I'd been partially healing and re-breaking my back for 5 years!
I finally seemed to have an end to the pain in sight and was so hopeful. I had back surgery in the summer of 2007, fusing the L5 and S1 vertebrae in the lower back. Things seemed so much brighter than they had in years.
I moved to Southern California and was pursuing a degree in CIS when the next spring my best friend of 14 years (yes, the one I had strangled) killed himself. I was numb, I didn't know what to think but I kept on going. I felt I was doing ok but then in September of the same year one of my closest cousins killed himself as well. It was at that point when my friend's death really hit me. I felt so incredibly guilty. I'd been dodging his calls for the last month before he killed himself, as he was so enthusiastic about riding MX bikes and I just felt the need to stay away from them to avoid further injury. I kept plugging away at school, but I was slipping. In the following February, my Psychology professor evidently noticed something in my questions in class and asked me to visit the school psychologist. She kept on me and I did finally do so.
The psychologist had actually lived in Indianapolis and had worked with a number of Nascar drivers who had also had long term chronic pain. She explained to me that over time, such pain would deplete the reserve levels of neurotransmitters in the brain, leaving our tanks dry and unable to lift us up when a major event such as my friend's death hit us hard. I was prescribed an antidepressant (an SNRI) and once again things began to turn around for me, the future seemed bright once more.
I'm unsure of the exact timeline here, but at some point within the next year my mother requested my help taking care of my paternal Grandfather, who was suffering severe dementia. At some point while helping her, he fought extremely hard one night and I once again injured my back, though it was somewhere in the upper back where it let go. I was again fighting pain of a very high level, bad enough to affect my vision most days. I slowly gave up hope.
Finally, in September of 2011 I began to plan an end to my life. I dropped out of my classes, cleaned up my belongings so as to leave as little mess as I could, and began praying. I had absolute faith in something after death, I'd had experiences that proved to me beyond any doubt the existence of something further. I'll relay one here:
I'm not sure what year, it was in the mid 90's, my brother and one of his friends were involved in some heavy drug use. He can't even remember exactly what they were on, but my brother and his friend decided that these bodies were nothing more than a limitation and decided to move on to the true existence. They drove out to a railroad crossing to find a train to jump in front of. Well, after a couple of hours and no train, my brother changed his mind. He came home and when I saw him crying I knew something was way off. I pressed him and he told me that his friend was going to kill himself. I told him that we were driving out there and immediately got on my knees to pray. This is the only time in my life that I've had someone talk to me during prayer. His friend told me, clear as day, that he was going to be fine, that he was not going to die. At that time I didn't think about what it meant that he was able to talk to me. We got in my truck and began driving out to that railroad crossing. About 5 miles away, an ambulance went past us heading back into town, driving incredibly fast. He had done it, but he'd jumped in front of a big rig at the highway crossing since there was still no train that morning. Incredibly, though he was dead when the medical crews reached him, he was resucitated and life flighted to a major hospital where he did recover. My brother's friend told me in the hospital that 'they' told him on the other side that he was being stupid and they were sending him back.
That experience is why I was not afraid to kill myself, but I did want to pray and make sure I wouldn't be damned. Well, my response from the spirit was loving. I took it to mean that I would not be damned by killing myself and so I planned it out.
This story has become pretty long so I won't go too much into my planning, but I decided to use car exhaust. I did this because I've always been proud of my ability to conquer fear and thought that this should be the most exquisite fear reaction I'd ever faced. I wanted the option to quit to be there, so that I would have to remain strong and prove myself worthy. I think that this mindset may have been why the spirit seemingly ok'd my suicide attempt, that or the fact that I did have love for others in my heart. I was not the person I'd been pre-brain injury, though only after this suicide attempt have I come to realize how different I'd become.
Well, I'll jump to the actual event. I was sitting in my car, exhaust fumes growing stronger when finally my vision began to narrow. It seemed like some geometric shapes spiraled in from the outside of my vision, closing it off. I began to get excited. Finally! The greatest mystery was about to be revealed! Well, it has not been revealed to me. I don't think it needed to be revealed to turn me back. I was suddenly in the void. This place was nothingness. No light, no dark, no sound and no access to memory or any visual cue. I can't describe the color of the place/not place because I don't know if it even was a color, though I can still see it to this day. All I know is that I was existing where nothing existed, and it was terrifying. I expected a tunnel, or a light. My sanity hung by a thread, but I was resolute. This was a necessary step, I was sure. I cried out my love for my parents and each sibling. I don't know what it means that I was able to remember their names though I didn't seem able to access my memories, it probably means nothing. I stayed strong, though it was not easy. Then something else happened. Three points of emanation formed in the void. I understood them to be my closest brother and both of my parents. These 3 points were broadcasting what seemed to me to be the full amount of love they had felt for me, and I for them, for my entire life. However, they also were broadcasting the full amount of pain and grief that they were going to feel for my suicide for the rest of their lives. This pain and grief was of a level beyond belief, an overpowering wall of emotion that was beyond resisting. I didn't feel that I even made a choice, I was driven from that place instantly. My vision returned and I fumbled for the door lock, throwing myself out of the vehicle and staring up at the stars as my chest heaved violently and struggled for air. I didn't know what to do. I'd been so ready to go, it still seemed like the right thing to do, but the consequences far too high. I still feel lost, I have damaged my body so greatly that living just doesn't seem very bright. But, I cannot consider suicide any longer. The cost is just too great.
There is something else that I carried out of that place, a seed within my heart that I think must be the path I need to take, though I don't know how to accomplish it. Each time I think of this seed, which is love, the spirit lights up within me and affirms it. The love I speak of is unconditional, love for all. Even love for people who do terrible things. I understand that sometimes violence must be visited on those who would cause greater harm, but it has to be the very last resort.
When I think of this love, I see our world covered by a vast, dense web. The web is the emotional connections that exist between each person on Earth, I've taken it to calling it social cohesion as it seems to bind us together, but I'm not sure that's the right term for it. In places where there is conflict and war, this web is damaged terribly. The damage extends far from the battlefield, into every family touched by death or injury of anyone caught up in the events of destruction. This collateral damage dwarfs the pain caused by the fighting itself by such a great amount that I just can't justify war any longer, except as the very, very last resort, when fighting would extinguish the light of hope for entire populations.
I still have no idea how to implement and spread this message of univeral love, no idea how to break this divide in our nation and our world. I have just a spark of hope for life and it barely seems to be alight within me. My attempts to communicate it so far have been ridiculed and rebuffed by most. I fear that this world is doomed, I hope not but I see a thousand paths to overwhelming destruction for every faint, fragile path to peace.
The only thing that matters in this entire world is love. I've read many NDE experiences in the last few days and it resonates with what I came to believe, that each of us can improve the world around us through friendly, worthy actions toward others, ESPECIALLY those who treat us ill. Most of those people want friendship and love, though they may not even understand it themselves.
This story turned into an essay and I apologize for the length. I've never written about this before and words just started flowing as I began going back through the tenuous memories of my damaged brain. I hope that this explanation of my experiences helps someone. Please just remember, the pain doesn't end when you end upon this earth. It spreads out from you on this emotional web and affects more people than you can imagine. Please reconsider, or if you must try it please pick a way that you can reverse. I can't imagine the horror of those who came to the same realization I did as the bullet fired, or the noose tightened. Please think of all those who are left behind.
It's comforting and peaceful to know when the time is right to do something and when the time is right to not do something. Sounds like you know yourself! That one took me a long time!!
My favorite NDE book lately is Pin van Lommel's Consciousness Beyond Life--The Science of the NDE. It took me a very long time to read it because I really wanted to get what he was explaining. He took brain research and quantum physics and explained our "ability" to move into another dimension or dimensions. I can't really explain his model. I probably will go back and read it again someday.
I do know one thing right now. And that is that public acceptance has become open and ready to hear us. And whether we tell one person looking into our eyes as we look back into theirs -- or we teach a group -- or go on global TV as in the Bio Channel -- what ever is put in front of us -- that's who we need to tell ---- when we are ready and comfortable.
Those people you told when you worked at the hospital were lucky to have met you. It's all perfect!!
Thank you, Barbara, and others for your comments. I have an apology to make to you all, though. On reflection, I seem to be repeating myself in what I relate. This can be viewed as 'plugging my own agenda' or just 'hijacking' the intended thread; either way, I must apologise for this. It was never my intention. I do hope you'll all forgive me for that.
Those of us here who have NDE's remember that unconditional Love that is so fulfilling, beyond anything we've felt on Earth in the current lower density. When we all remember this in our interactions now, there is nothing else but Love. We're moving out of lower density judgement, fear, greed... and into Love/Light only. Simon, I remember only Love/Light that has always been within you, nothing else.
My sense of who you are is very different from what, evidently, yours is of yourself. To me, you seem to be the opposite of an intrusive human being. Either that or I must want folks to "intrude." I'd like to hear/read more about you and your experiences. To me, you are speaking from your heart as are all others who comment here (not "plugging" an agenda and certainly not "hijacking" anything).
I'm sorry to have missed chatting with you, by the way.
Thanks for your message Simon :D. We'll connect with chat soon!
Yes, I may get round to reading other books on the subject of nde's one day. Like many of us, the first book on this subject I read was Raymond Moody's Life after Life. Although published in 1975, I actually read it mid to late eightees, although my interest in this profound subject was evident many years before.
As I have said previously, I have just finished reading Mark Fox's book, 'Religion, Spirituality and the Near-Death Experience'. If you get a chance, this is a very interesting book which deserves to be read. I had to renew the book six times in order to finish it, my condition would only allow me to read a few pages at a time. It would have helped if I'd taken notes as I went, but that would have made the progress even slower! If you, or anyone else for that matter, would care to read and comment on it - I would be glad to hear your views.
I do that too sometimes.
I bet we all do!
We're human! It's the weekend!
Let's have some fun!
Thanks for this reply. I hadn't thought much lately about my experience, it's good to have a reminder not to forget things. I'm in a strange place right now due to medication changes but I'll consider what you said and try to grow from it. Thanks again, Steve