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The Original NDE transcript -circa 05/2001

Below is a copy of the original description I wrote about my NDE. I wrote it as a way of beginning to explain my experience to friends and family, admittedly, 6 years after the actual event. I had posted it on a political/personal blog site, that is now long-retired (I gave up politics for golf...best move of my life).

Interestingly enough, it didn't end there. Over the course of ten years, the search engines began bringing it to the top of certain NDE Google searches, and countless strangers began to find it, contact me, and form passing relationships after their own NDEs, or after finding the words comforting during the passing of one of their own friends or loved ones.

It really represents my feelings and emotions at the time, and in a way was letting people know that I had put my quest for expanded information about life after death, quantum mechanics, etc. on hold...or "in the box" as I have come to refer this period in my life. It is not nearly complete, as you will read in other places on this site that go into more detail, but was as much as I felt comfortable sharing at the time, especially as it was being read by my children and other family memebers, who were not exactly comfortable with the fact that I had died...if only for a bried time.

I offer it here, only as a starting point of reference, as it actually opens more questions than it answers.

Is there a God...
and why is he talking to me?

I am one of those really annoying people who call themselves "Christians," but not for the reason most people do so. I call myself a Christian, because the "Sermon on the Mount" comes about as close to my belief structure as any organized religion, and it is just easier to say "Christian," when someone asks…instead of giving them the whole story…and why I don't believe in 99.9999% of what is in the Bible.

To make sense of this, you have to understand the basis for my beliefs, and the experience that created those beliefs. To better understand them- you have to begin with a couple of facts. First- I was raised Episcopalian (Catholics that golf and hold office) and I have severe chronic genetic sleep apnea.

The Episcopal part is easy- Mom and Dad made me do it- and I believed just enough to make me question almost everything about religion by the time I was 18. The sleep apnea part is a curse- and as it turned out, a blessing.

Since my earliest days, the way my throat and brain interact when I slept, caused me to stop breathing for long periods of time. At its worst, in the 90s, I was getting approximately 35% of the oxygen I needed while asleep- creating a state of narcolepsy any time after about 3 PM on any give day. After that time in the day- my body was so fatigued from oxygen depletion the night before (and the accumulative affect of months of not enough sleep or oxygen), that I would fall asleep at stop lights- or in the middle of meetings, or almost any time I sat for more than ten minutes.

My wife had complained for years about my snoring and what she called "breathing freak-outs." It was a common thing for me to take two breaths- then stop breathing for as much as 70 seconds- then thrash a bit- and gasp for air- take a few breaths and repeat the whole thing over again.

The "big event" happened one night while we were visiting the Oregon Coast. We had not planned to spend the night- but did at the last minute. The only available motel was an older place with horrible soft, old mattresses. From what I can figure out- halfway through the night, while kind of curled up against the wall, I slipped off the mattress, and got wedged between the wall and the mattress. I then had an apnea attack- and the inability to move, or breath, sent me into some state of cardiac failure. This is all conjecture, and only supported by the mild abnormality in my EKG over the past years since. Whether I "coded" or not, is really not at the heart of the issue or my experience. There are tons of debates regarding "what really happens when you die" by both medical and theological theorists worldwide. I can only relate what I experienced.

I admit that even as I write, it sounds like science fiction- but I can assure you that it happened- and I believe it to be real in every sense.

Without trying to be overly dramatic, the next events were what I have found to be in subsequent studies, a classic "Near Death Experience." I did not see myself in bed (many report floating over their bodies), as the room was too dark- but I was blasted through an amazing tunnel (plasma? lights? not sure) of brightness that brought me ever closer to an unbelievable bright light. In what seemed like minutes (regular time does not seem to apply)- I arrived in a place that was so overwhelmingly bright and swimming with fluid colors of the entire spectrum, that I did not at first realize that I was without my physical body. While I could see- or at least had a sense of the vision that I was seeing- I could not see my hands. It was about this time that my experience was significantly different than others I have read about.

I realized what was happening, and I was not happy about it. Almost immediately, I started screaming, in a voice that I could hear in my head- but could not physically perceive- "No f***ing way! (except there are no asterisks in heaven) NO! I am not finished yet! I still have young children- I have not seen my life through yet! NO Damn It!" I continued with a stream of "verbal" abuse of anyone that was listening…in very profane language, until I heard another voice say, "OK…relax…it's not your time."

I knew at that moment, two very clear truths to be real. First, I was not going to die yet (or stay dead if I was). Second, there was a God and an afterlife beyond our life on earth. Then things got strange, interesting and terrifying.

Unlike other NDE experiences I have read about, I did not see anyone, or feel the presence of Jesus, or Buddha, or Allah. Nor did I see a physical presence of any of my relatives that had passed before me- although I had a feeling that they were there with me.

What I did see was a much brighter place, perhaps 30-50- feet away (I had no real clear understanding of depth or ratio) that seemed almost to pull at my heart (if I had a heart) to come closer. I was awash with a complete feeling of peace, calm and contentment whenever I looked in the direction of this "portal." And yet I knew, that moving into the portal would certainly mean that I would not be able to return to my life on earth.

Without speaking, and yet speaking and understanding what was spoken to me, a conversation ensued that changed my life.

"You are troubled…" the voice said. "Your need to know the truth about your life, is holding you back from living your life to the fullest."I agreed without speaking.

"You must understand the gift to be able to enjoy and treasure the gift that you have been given," the voice said. At this time, while the voice was neither clearly male or female (I realize that does not make a lot of sense), I knew that the communication was coming from all that is…all that was…all that ever shall be. The voice was that of what I understood to be God. And yet- even then- while thinking this, it was evident that the entity knew what I was thinking- and chastised me for doubting, or trying to figure out its very existence.

"In order to understand that which you feel you must understand to be happy, you must first know what you need to change in your life on earth," the voice said.

In an instant, I was seeing my life in review- first all of the wonderful feelings that had brought joy into my life. I saw all of the incredible events of my life when love, the most powerful positive force in existence, was most present in my life. Childhood memories, my first real loves, the births of my children, the first time I knew I loved my wife more than I loved myself- anything and everything associated with love in my life- flying past my eyes and filling my heart with a joy that felt almost overwhelming in its scope.

But, then came the "other side" of my life. To my surprise, I was not subjected to all of the lying and deceit that I would expect to see from my youth- or all of the sexual trysts and dalliances from my college days. What was presented to me was explained to be "the times that I had hurt others to such a degree, as to make them doubt their self worth, or their ability to love and be loved." Girls I had slammed and disrespected in my college days, people who had admired me, only to be disrespected or even worse, ignored when they reached out a hand in friendship. People that I could barely remember or hardly knew, who had been harmed by my "cutting sarcasm and smart-ass wit." Worst of all were the unkind comments and actions I had made to people I did care about and love. Callous remarks or actions that at the time seemed inconsequential. My heart ached with each new revelation. Knowing that my actions, seeming trite and inconsequential at the time, had affected the outcome of so many lives.

It was immediately evident to me that the healing power of unconditional love and respect, could be so easily subverted with even a single act of deceit or abuse of trust. Like virginity- once you have crossed a line- it is never yours to take back. The changes are permanent- all you can do is ask for forgiveness and move on. It is that act if contrition- forgiveness that heals the soul. I knew this, because I was not presented with the acts that I had expected to see. I had not been presented with the memories of the acts that I knew were so bad, that they required me to seek forgiveness from a higher power- even in my least repentant days of youth.

The acts that were thrown into my face were those that seemed inconsequential and trivial. The thoughtless acts of impulse, dismissed by my cocky, self-assured attitude that is was "not that big a deal…they'll get over it…"

But even with this primary evidence in front of me, the only question that remained clearly in my head was "Why? What does it all mean? What is all of this about?"

And that my friends, is where I made a mistake that almost ruined my life. Upon "hearing" the question, "must you really know the answers to be able to enjoy your life on earth?" I replied, "Yes!"

In the next instant, I was blasted with a force of "knowledge" so powerful and so completely overwhelming, that the biblical phrase "God Smote him" became completely relevant. In a blast of light and cognition, I was suddenly faced with "All of The Answers."The answers to life, the answers to death, the answers to science and theology, and all of the amazing intricacies of the interaction between what is, what was and what always shall be. I was filled with an overwhelming wonder that was overridden by a sense of terror and inability to comprehend even the slightest nuance of this creation. And, I was filled with a feeling of such unbelievable inadequacy, as to reduce anything I thought, or felt or believed before this time, into a single point of nothingness.

In the next instant- I felt the air scream from my lungs- and I awoke, terrified in the darkness- doubting anything that had happened- and yet, suddenly full of more innate knowledge than I could ever truly conceive, all pounding at my brain- each fragment of knowledge with a life of its own, seeking to rectify itself with the larger questions of scientific existence and theology.

My wife awoke, asking what was wrong. Terrified to speak of what I had just experienced, and more afraid of the reality that I had just died (I never doubted it from the second that I breathed life again), I chose immediately not to concern her, as long as my heart seemed to beat- and that I was not feeling any physical affects (heart attack symptoms). I realize to this day, that this was not only dangerous, but created a breach of faith in our love for one another. I just felt it the right thing to do at the time. Looking back- I wish I would have woken her, told her what had happened, and tried to help her understand. As it is, even today, she seems to resent the fact that I kept the experience a secret for a few months- while I tried to work through what had happened, by myself.

In the instant that I returned from my "little trip to the other side" as I affectionately call it, I knew several things to be true. First- it was real- it happened. I knew this, because of the onslaught of information that was coursing through my mind. Facts about things I had never studied, or even had a remote interest. Physics, Quantum Mechanics, the balance between positive and negative energy, and the correlation between digital information and "Good and Bad" in the world- societal conflicts between innate knowledge of what is right and mankind's equally innate need to quantify his life with organizational structure of what cannot be quantified-all in a blast of semi-cognition.

Second- my life would not be "complete" until I made sense of it all.

Third- the very fact that the questions existed was a complete verification of both my experience, and the very existence of something beyond this life.

And then I blew it.

Consumed with the need to fit all of the pieces together, I started a quest that would last almost two years. Reading everything I could get my hands on, from Paul Davies, and his theories of time and space, to C.S. Lewis, and his wonderful books that combine theology and the basics of Relativity into a concept that is both science and God's word.

The more I read and studied, the more I realized that mankind is only on the very edge of understanding creation. More important, not only was every theory, every religion, every concept ever devised to comprehend the BIG QUESTION entirely WRONG- but that the same theories, concepts and religions were entirely RIGHT- just a small piece of the ultimate answer.

For almost two years, I was rendered almost completely without any other purpose. While I understood that being a husband and a father was important- my quest to understand "why?" actually kept me from fulfilling my roles. Instead, I tried to connect the dots. All of the dots. I was convinced that if I just connected the dots, it would all make sense, and I could enjoy and treasure my life. If only… if only…if only…

However, try to imagine connecting every grain of sand in the ocean, or every visible star in the universe. Because, this is what this quest for the "ultimate knowledge" entailed. The bits of information that I was able to connect made perfect sense, and made the "Big Picture" seem clearer.

Things like: "God" (for lack of a better term) actually being an entity of energy that is without beginning or end- that is made up of every bit of energy in the known universe and every dimension yet unknown.

That who we are is not the bodies that are the manifestation of this reality on earth, but the life force of energy that is one with all energy that is "God."

That all religions are man-made, in an effort to try and understand what cannot be understood. So we as humans feel that we are in some way in control of our destinies on earth- that we have the ability to decide between what is right and what is wrong, and act accordingly.

That prayer is real, not because you ask for "God" to change things- but because in a state of meditative prayer, especially with the power of others directing their energy on the same thought, you tap into the ultimate power of all that is, to change the physical manifestation of things (people, outcomes, events) here on earth.

That everything on earth is created from the same sub-atomic particles, all with a connection to the same energy that is the cognitive knowledge of all that is, and that these particles can change with the determination of the energy that makes up everything.

That everything exists, in a continual balance between the light and the dark, good and evil, positive and negative, on and off…even being reduced to a kind of "digital code," of zeros and ones, in constant flux and balance. The matter that we DON'T see, being as important to this delicate illusion as the matter that we can see…

On, and on, and on, and on… until I thought I would go mad, trying to understand the "gift" I had been given. It was killing me from within…muddying up the clear, cool waters of life, in such as way as to render everything I did as being inconsequential and without meaning.

Then, I was saved by a child.

One bright and sunny Saturday morning, while sitting and reading a book about the correlation between time, space and religion, my daughters (11-9-7 at the time) asked me if I would take them to the park. When I snapped at them, telling them that I was busy, and had things to do before I could think about it- they replied, "it's OK…we still love you! We'll wait for you!"

I'm sure it was meant half in jest and half in taunt. Their way of letting me know that the matter was not closed- and ultimately, they would wait me out until I relented. However, as I looked at their smiling little faces, filled with genuine love and understanding for the gruff, impatient man before them, my heart melted. In that moment, their simple display of love for me stripped away any feelings of confusion or doubt about my role in this world.

In that moment, my heart was so filled with emotion and love, every cosmic lock turned, and I finally understood the REAL answer to life.The answers to everything were right there in front of me, embodied in the faith, love and hope of a child.

In that instant, I recalled the wonder of their births- each life the moment before, living in a liquid environment like all early life forms in the sea- then finally entering our world and gasping for their first breath of our life here on earth. How their lives were conceived by the life force of their mother and I, coming together in creation's most wonderful gift, the act of procreation (sex, the big "O", whatever you choose to call it). How every part of who they are, is made up of the parts of millions before them, to be the single unique creature that shares their gift with you, to make your gift of life all the more valid and fulfilling.

With the force of a moment that stops time- like birth, death and the overwhelming realization of true love for another being, I realized the folly of my quest for "the answers." I realized that the answer to everything good, everything that really mattered- truth, happiness, love, honesty- were all in the simple phrase, "with the faith of a child."

A child is born innocent, without sin, or even the knowledge of sin. They are born with an innate knowledge of right and wrong. Through life, we learn to "shade" the clear reality of what is right and wrong, what is good and bad, what is love and what is evil. We learn to justify what we know to be true, against what we know will be exposed. We learn to put our own lives in front of the lives of others in the name of self-gratification and pride. We allow the man-made distractions of every day life to replace and confuse the things that matter most…love, compassion, and sacrifice for those you love.

The answer is so simple, that it escapes all of us. The answer is so basic, that it defies the human mind- and so we convolute its message, compromise its meaning, and subvert its power with our need to explain and control it for our perceived happiness. The answer is nothing more than a simplification of the Golden Rule: "Do the right thing- because it is the right thing to do."

As humans- we innately know when we are doing right or wrong. We know that cheating to win, although the outcome may give instant gratification, is wrong- even if you don't get caught. We know that lying and deceit will exact a toll on you, far greater than the ones we deceive, even if we are never caught. We know innately that the acts of kindness are rewarded by feelings of contentment and happiness that far outshadows even the greatest monetary or material reward. But, we do not understand why these things are true.

The answer to that question is complex and simple. The complex answer revolves around the nature of the balance between positive and negative energy. For every action, there is a reaction. In simplistic form- for every negative act, there is a release of energy within the "life-force" that makes up who we are, that diminishes the amount of positive energy that IS who we are.

Again- all that exists in our reality, and other realities that we cannot perceive, is made up of this balance of positive and negative energy, "Good and Evil" if you are using theological terms. If a person is "evil enough," the negative energy wins out- and in a sense, the life form ceases to exist (strange anomalies like black holes are a perfect metaphor of this balance…negative energy out of control). It is why we can often sense a "bad person" in the room. When someone gives off that "vibe," they are in fact creating a negative balance within your "reception area," so to speak. But, this is all "woo-woo" stuff that really does not matter.

What does matter is the simple answer. Our happiness is dependent upon the amount of positive energy in our lives- "good = light = positive" in simplistic terms. The "Light of the World" may have been personified by Jesus, or Buddha, or Gandhi, or any other number of people who understood the power of doing the right thing at all times. But the simple fact is, we all possess the power to do great works in this life, to repay the gift of the life we have been given.

The only way you can begin to start living your life in a way that will bring you boundless happiness and joy, is to stop seeking the answer to the "why?" and simply have the faith that it IS a gift, and should be treasured as such.

Science and theology can, and do exist side by side, very nicely. If you can get away from MAN'S literal translation of what we are meant to do on this earth (the Bible, the Koran, etc.), and simply live by the basic message that all religions ask of us, we will not only be free to enjoy the gift, but will only add to the positive existence of all that is around us.

So what are we called to do?

I think it can all be reduced down to three things- or three commandments if you need to call them that:

1. Do the right thing, because it is the right thing to do.

2. Leave every person and place in a better state than how you found them/it.

3. Use all of your talents to their fullest capacity. Not doing so is to defile your very existence.

All of these are simple- but complex challenges.

The first is the easiest- yet the most abused. Do what you know to be the right thing- innately. No person, no law of man, no political party and no leader of any religion (conceived by man) should be able to get you to do something that you know is innately wrong. Only you can ignore that "little voice in your head" and do something that you know to be wrong. Only you can ultimately seek forgiveness and rectify a wrong.

The second sounds like a Boy Scout motto- but is actually a difficult one. We are called to be stewards of the world in which we live. Not only the environment, but also all of mankind. If you see a wrong, it is our calling to try and correct it. If you know of an act of injustice, or destruction against another human being, or our environment (which affects all life on earth), we are called to correct it.

The last one is the hardest one- it does not allow for slackers. We are all created as geniuses and savants. We all have the power to achieve almost anything that our minds allow us to achieve. And, there is the rub. It is our own doubts, laziness and greed that keep us from doing all we can do in the world, or sharing our talents and knowledge with others. You only receive what you give.

These are all such simple truths, that they are very easily ignored, subverted and transmuted into actions that are counter to their basic truths. They are all-important, because they are the actions that bring about the most wonderful aspect of this wonderful gift called life, the reward of love.

The ultimate truth about this life, is that whether it is merely an illusion of particles, moving through such fleeting concepts as time and space (neither of which actually exist in the long run), or whether it is the manifestation of a cosmic battle between positive and negative energy (could "God" and the "Devil" really be playing out their battle on this plane of reality through us?)- it doesn't matter.

The miracle of this life is evident in everything that exists, from the smallest sub-atomic particle, to the complex makeup of a human being. We can't conceive the answer to why one subatomic particle, made up of the same "star stuff" becomes a leaf or a rock, and another, made up of the same "star stuff" becomes part of a human artery. Perhaps some day we will. But, I quite frankly, hope we don't.

As I learned first-hand, understanding the "Big Questions About Life" could very easily destroy your ability to enjoy the real answer. In the end, love is the reward. In the end, this life and everything that is offers, is a gift of such overwhelming complexity that we can easily forget the ultimate power of its simplicity. In the end, "we still love you" is all the answer that I will ever need again.

So… to answer the "Big Questions- is there a God and what is reality?" - "God" (if you need to have a name for everything that is) has always been there- because there is no time or space- there is only energy, and energy is eternal. The cycle of life is the gift that we have received. The gift is to experience the miracle of creation- all that is, all that ever shall be- and to revel in its very existence.

What is the secret to happiness?

Don't keep questioning what "makes it go." Just enjoy the ride.