Again, no sense of time involved here. Then, as I was entering this indescribable ball of light, another "gong" or loud noise was sounded, while my awareness, or consciousness, was turned around, and anything that I can possibly call "myself" was rejected by the light. I have no other way to describe it.
In what seemed like a second or less, I was dropped into a dark abyss, sans light, sans anything, save for my consciousness, my consciousness and that alone. Picture a stone in an utterly dark void, with nothing but that stone. Timeless, ageless, and aware of absolutely nothing but itself, assuming such were possible. There was no time, absolutely zero time as we know it in our daily lives, but simply eternity, and I promptly add "the ultimate hell,"me and me alone, with nothing to be aware of but myself, in that utterly unforgettable void, as real for me now, half a century later, as it was then.
I would have been ecstatic to have a rock or grain of sand even to look at, but there was none such available, just the eternal void, in a most literal sense.
Again, there was no sense of what my "real time" may have been in that condition, except to say that this experience was more real than my sitting in front of my computer right now typing about it. There was no time, simply eternity.
Then, to my astonishment and delight, I was pulled back into my body, upon which I launched myself from the couch, ran into the bathroom and slapped water on my face, to see if I was "still real."
There was a long chain of events, as in dozens of them over two weeks or so, leading up to this experience, many of which I recall but seem unnecessary for this story. What followed shortly thereafter was another visitor to the apartment, a woman about my age who was a friend of the couple. There was some conversation between them, which I don't recall or even think I heard, except that this woman was going to the airport and was happy to take me with her and talk to me on the way.
Turned out, ironically, she was studying to be a nun, but also a warm and sensitive person who could easily tell I had been through a traumatic experience. She held my hand while walking through the airport, and my main recollection then was how everyone we walked by was all from the same source, or I might well say Source. The actual sun was setting in a beautiful orange-yellow light, a more beautiful sunset than I could remember ever seeing.
Also, during this walk (to who knows where or for what), I shrank down to the size of a molecule, then instantaneously expanded to the size of what seemed to be the universe. I was experiencing God, or whatever one might wish to call it, such as "all there is." One of my most vivid recollections was how the vast masses of people seemed to have no idea of our inter-connectedness as humans, or of the force that animates all of us. To say "we are all one" seemed then and to this day, a profound understatement.
For many days thereafter, I had great trouble sleeping, for fear of returning to "the void." I recall from that time another Beatle song that ran through my head, with contained the lyrics, "I can't sleep at night" click here
I did promptly realize that the message from this experience was that my life was hardly over, and I had much left to do. I took a flight shortly thereafter back to New York, where I recall two things. One was that one of the four engines went out and the plane was flying at a steep angle, with everyone looking around at each other, considerable fear in their eyes, and soon thereafter the pilot coming on to talk of engine trouble and that we were making a landing in Toledo, to switch planes.
The other memorable incident was when I went to sit down in my plane seat, there was a business card already sitting there, which read, "Acid indigestion?"
I picked up the card, turned it over, and found this on the back, to my considerable astonishment: "Check your source."
Yes, I would say both that the universe is a personal place and evidently has a sense of humor. More incidents over the next five decades have hammered this point home more times than I can possibly recall. I ended up marrying the woman I had left behind and also quickly found myself in a teaching career, after finishing school that summer and working on a Masters during the next two years, whilst teaching.
Do I expect anyone to believe me? No, I certainly don't, and would even add that a large part of me frowns on anyone who might. If you happen to have read the fairly recent best-seller, "Proof of Heaven," by a practicing brain surgeon, I would say that was a pale shadow of my own experience, and certainly not what the title proclaims.
OTOH, it was some years after "my epidode" that I came upon "Life After Life," by Raymond Moody click here. This was sometime in the early seventies. Much research has been done in this area since then, and I suggest the website click here, where you'll find 4,600 near death experiences (NDEs) in 23 languages. I recall in Moody's book, which covered I believe 150 interviews with people claiming to have had similar experiences, and it was extrapolated that one out of six Americans have had such life-changing episodes, all with many similar elements out of a total of I think 15 (I had about 10 of them). Most folks, including myself, have been reluctant to talk about these events, both because they are so personal, and because by trying to explain it, you're likely to be thought of as belonging in a mental institution. For myself, this experience broke all bounds of my religious upbringing, while at the same time furthering me along what I can only call a road of "spiritual development."
Do I have any idea what any of this truly means? No, I ultimately don't, except to say there is "much more to life" than meets the eye. Given the astounding breakthroughs in cosmology, astrophysics, and studies on consciousness, that I've read many of, watched videos on and regularly do, I might compare the depth of "my trip" to becoming a veritable black hole. I have also come to appreciate more fully the yin-yang symbol, developed so long ago, and which my friend happened to have hanging in his Chicago apartment, along with many other posters of the day.
(Article changed on April 18, 2019 at 00:54)
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