In 1989, I had a Near Death Experience (NDE). It was a proper ‘mystical experience’. No hearing voices or seeing any dead relatives or Jesus and Mary. No whooshing down a tunnel of light and landing joyfully bemused in the Garden of Eden – though up where I found myself was so beautiful, so loving and joyous, so perfect, that I wanted to stay there.
Clearly, these many years later, my recall is hazy at best. Forcing the memory into my current consciousness at will is simply not possible and somewhat spiritually irresponsible, and so I am reliant on quick notes, made at the time – which I included in Profit From Unlimited Thinking .
Over the years there have been a few faint flickers of mystical greeting – pleasing, surprising and ultra-fleeting – as if to prove that communion with the divine is not always a deluded one-way street. How did I know? Difficult to explain if you, the reader, have never experienced anything similar. Like a gut hug of incredible love. Impossible to hang on to – but then I never seem to want to either. That brief hint of the divine seems to be enough.
Slightly Edited Excerpt from Profit From Unlimited Thinking
Many years ago, I had an unusual near-death experience. I was not hospitalised, nor was I ill. In fact, I was working on some notes of a home-study course, and felt a little tired. As soon as I lay down, I was asleep. It was about three o’clock in the afternoon. It felt like hours, yet the whole incident took barely twenty minutes.
In the NDE, I was immediately in the presence of what felt like three beings, although it looked like a very bright single mass of light. An enormous loving warmth and wisdom seemed to emanate from these three beings in one luminous form.
Much later, I started to call them lumiels (lum from the Latin lumen, meaning light, and el, meaning of God) – and that has now stuck.
They moved aside to reveal a massive, awe-inspiring darkness. In those seconds, I felt a wise fear, as if I was in the presence of an almighty power, that must be treated respectfully. Having said that, from this distance, I would now describe the fleeting scene in more science-fiction type terms: a huge, endless, pulsating, raw – yet intelligent – energy. But there was also this blessed feeling, this love and belonging that was so strong, I wanted to stay.
Resentfully, I awoke. Although I sensed that the lumiels had given me a choice, I felt mildly resentful in making it. It was a resentment borne of a complete confidence that I was totally loved, no matter what. They were completely unjudgmental. Make of that what you will. What is important is the relationship of light and darkness. Light comes from the omnipotent darkness – and that is this element of unlimited thinking.
Post-NDE Thoughts c November 2015
I well recall wondering back then whether the word ‘resentfully’ was the right one, but was in a hurry to log everything down, (and, in the spirit of honesty, I also kept it in Profit From Unlimited Thinking, which was written many years later).
It was, and is, meant to mean ‘without boundless enthusiasm’ for coming back to a distinctly challenging world, when the world or dimension I visited so briefly was altogether perfect for my soul in every way. Free from needs, wants and desires of any kind.
‘Unwillingly’ would have been a far better word but there was also an element of these beings expecting my better nature to take over, despite also knowing (both them and me) that life going forward was going to be very hard indeed. It was an ‘oh alright then, if I must’ kind of attitude.
And life sure was hellish for many years. So mild ‘resentment’ was being, from this distance, almost saintly in my book!!!
But why no Jesus?
The Spiritual Beings/Essences were certainly on a par with Jesus as I recall – and Jesus remains a part of my life since and still, though my understanding and acceptance is somewhat different from that taught as a young Catholic. Same yet different interpretation or perspective.
Why three in one – meaning I sensed three beings but actually saw one. I still do not have an answer for that. Time and God are beyond this human’s comprehension!
I most certainly felt in some kind of ‘heaven’, so no longer being a Catholic or following the Church’s teachings (or those of any religious leader for that matter) wasn’t a barrier. There again, I had been on a particularly intense spiritual journey, retaining love and compassion despite enormous challenges. Maybe the intense caritas and forgiveness were all that was needed to put me in a State of Grace?
That doesn’t mean I am anti-religion – and definitely not anti-Catholic. Indeed, if I had had children, I would have brought them up as Catholics – though I find the focus shifting from the mystical to the material deeply troubling still.
Why no relatives to greet me?
My parents were still alive but my brother had died in 1974, and we were very close. Indeed I had ‘seen’ him not long after he had died, when I lived in a bedsit in East Finchley. A year or so later, a cynical male friend took a ring of mine to a clairvoyant near his home. He had never been to my place but she described exactly where I had seen him and where his photo was.
Yet he was not there.
I do have my answers to that which are mentioned in Wise El’s Big Thoughts as well as Wise El on God (aside – these are really difficult to find on Amazon!) but they may not appeal to those who want to meet up with deceased loved ones when their time comes.
Shared Yet Different Experiences
There has been a lot written about near-death experiences – both pro and strongly against. Nearly dying is not the same thing at all, by the way. As I was not actually dying of anything, perhaps a mystical vision might be a better description. That said, there were many shared emotions and elements some of which are briefly covered.
·I did not feel light-headed. I felt a kind of lucidity and being awake to my ‘real self’. My life did not flash before me. Humans did not figure and my human reality was not at all important.
·They were definitely very loving beings, ones I seemed to know, but there were no names or angelic associations. They were simply not relevant.
·Some scientific journals mention NDEs in the same breath as mental illness – but then they say the same about creatives and mystics and people born in February (argh – that’s me, three!!!)
·Despite my darling Ma having schizophrenia, I only once felt I was losing my mind – when I fell passionately in love with a real dork – and a soulmate too – but a dork nonetheless. Soulmates come in all flavours, and this was both karmic (we had ‘spiritual history’ together) as well as a prod to change direction on my spiritual journey.
·I must admit, if I had known in advance the lengthy years of pain and hardship and poverty (yes, real actual poverty) I went through due to that soulmate, I’d have found some way to not get involved. Indeed I often feel the sting continues hence being alone for much of my life since; not quite trusting that the next soulmate love could actually be rewarding and a joy forever.
·Some months after the NDE, I met some Christian Scientists who told me mine was most unusual – something about being a higher spiritual evolution. Not sure I’d fit that great description much these days!
·The lumiels were not God, but of God, as indeed was I. The God I saw was not some Paternal Extra-terrestrial, but something far more awesome, and yes, terrifying in its vastness and power. So any ‘fear’ would have been very sensible, erring on caution and respect.
·Scientists would have a field day pulling apart my extremely shaky science. But then I have never said I was knowledgeable in scientific matters. My sphere of interest is in the spiritual unseen. Over the years, I noticed some correlations with science.
·Did I die? Clearly not as I am still here to tell the tale. In addition, I was not ill or suffering from any physical ailment. My niece asked me if I had died what would be the cause. I replied along the lines of heart giving out due to delayed emotional trauma (from the preceding months).
·Does it prove life after death? Probably not to non-believers – but I am a believer in the continuance of both soul and matter.
·Sam Parnia grouped NDE memories into seven categories: fear, seeing animals or plants, bright light, violence and persecution, deja-vu, seeing family, recalling events post-cardiac arrest
·Peaceful? Definitely – a warm huggy feeling like a comfort blanket
·So why is it called Near-Death? Probably because the human element – for me at any rate – ceased to matter. I could sense my human self and yet I was not a human body per se.
·Science is still open on where other dimensions exist. Mystics have always believed in different levels of reality. My contemporary art tries to express my ‘visions’.
·Have I had an OBE (out of body experience) – no. My physical body has never really been that important in my mystical quest so I guess flying up and seeing it would simply not be relevant.
·Oxygen deprivation? How, in my case?
·Being clinically dead? I was alone and studying. No way of telling at all. After the NDE, I simply went back to my studies.
And yes, the painting in the corner is the nearest I could get to capturing the essence of the NDE. Somehow, it would have been wrong to humanise it in any way.
Though given to ‘big thoughts’, ‘deep thoughts’ even, I am what many people would call a smiley kind of person. Even those who dislike me would be hard pressed to call me a depressive. Yet I first wrote of suicide as an 18 year old. Just a couple of lines in my school diary.
Then I got on with living – practically every photo from then on testament to finding something to be happy about, even if just the absurdity of aspects of life.
Yet, while I never gave it another – conscious – thought for many years, the suicidal tendencies of others reverberated across my life with painful regularity. Most of them were recorded as open verdicts.
Some, like J, were temporary trials in my lengthy spiritual journey.
I invited her to live in my rented flat in West Kensington at the request of her sister, who I worked and was friendly with. Almost immediately, she started to take advantage, stealing from me, and then threatening suicide; being in a bad mood at various times of the day and night – and then threatening suicide.
She would make me leave the flat until she calmed down – even in the early hours – all under the threat of committing suicide. Eventually, my inner protective mechanisms kicked in and I signed over the lease to her and left. My parting shot was along the lines of if you are going to do it, just do it and stop threatening it all the time.
Some months later, she did indeed throw herself from a first floor window and insisted I came and visit her in hospital. Yes, that too was some kind of a threat as her first words were ‘I knew you’d come to see me.’
In 1974, my brother died – an open verdict. At 3am on the 11th April, he had taken tablets to stop the physical pain of an incurable illness. At exactly the same time, by some ghastly coincidence, I too was taking painkillers – for the excruciating pain post wisdom teeth removal. He took 12 tablets, I emptied my medicine drawer – in excess of 30 tablets. (Aside: the physical pain only subsided for an hour at most.)
Had I too died then, it would not have been suicide any more than his passing. Just a desire to stop appalling physical pain. Mental pain though is a whole other ball game.
I could just about cope with huge (and I mean huge) financial pressures, but linked with the emotional trauma of loving the wrong men and a miscarriage, my mind became overburdened with grief and pain and my God was letting it drag on and on.
Meditating daily – and nagging God daily about what I should do to free myself from such torment – I opened Marcus Aurelius and read: “It is possible to live on earth as you mean to live here after. But if men will not let you, then quit the house of life; though not with any feeling of ill-usage.” Ah, a message from above, I believed.
Slitting wrists in the bath did absolutely nothing – not even the smallest scar. In fact, I remember being intrigued at how the skin kept healing, rather like in those sci-fi films. I then tried an overdose of paracetemol but woke in the early hours puking everywhere. And, being a clean kind of person, I also got out soapy water and brush and scrubbed away till no marks remained.
Gave up on trying to ‘quit the house of life’ thereafter.
Later, when my sense of humour returned, I checked Aurelius again and wondered if God had meant me to read the passage above: “Do unsavoury armpits and bad breath make you angry? What good will it do you?… but you yourself are endowed with reason; so apply your reasonableness; … you will have worked a cure, and there will be no need for passion; …”.