The Near-Death Experience
by Rev. Juliet Nightingale
The Near-Death Experience (NDE)—of which I’ve had a few—mainly occurred at a time when NDEs were rarely documented, much less talked about. It was something I could only share with certain individuals, who were already spiritually aware, open-minded…or, at least, receptive. Yet, it still happened that, on occasion, one would accuse me of having had a hallucination, or being in need of ‘psychiatric evaluation’, because ignorance was still so prevalent at that time. The good news is that, in recent years, the NDE has not only been talked about, it has also been documented and has received widespread media interest–both in broadcast and print media. A good example of this is my having seen articles in the US, Canada, the UK and Australia in recent past…including a column in which I appeared. Scientists, physicians, psychologists, ministers, mystics and others, have all congregated together to obtain a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of the NDE. It is something that many people—such as myself—have been through; and we have been called back to teach and to share our experiences with others. By all rights, one might wonder why so many of us have been brought back…while others remain on the Other Side. This is mainly due to the fact that we were needed to fulfil and complete something significant in our own lives…as well as to honour a special mission to help humanity finally come to the realisation that there is indeed no death. We simply ‘move on’ and continue to evolve in our journey back toward the Light.
Since people are always inquiring, “What happened?” and “What’s it like?” I will try to convey what happened to me that led to one of my NDEs…as well as what I experienced from the Other Side. Please excuse me if this doesn’t fit into a tidy chronological sequence, as there is no such thing as linear time on the Other Side. Everything is always experienced in the now—including past and future.
Herein, I will attempt to explain and recapture my experiences on the Other Side and how it effected me. I will humbly attempt to grasp the proper words for describing this most lofty experience that had a profound impact on me…and has changed my life forever.
In the mid-70’s, I was dealing with a terminal disease, colon cancer, where my life was ebbing away. I was bedridden for the most part, but could sometimes manage to sit up for short periods. Being the contemplative that I was, I was always listening and observing—taking things in and trying to understand the deeper wisdom behind what was happening to me and where all of this was leading. As a result, I became more withdrawn and detached…as I observed everything round me starting to change. Solid matter became more translucent and fluid-like; colours became more vivid and vibrant; sound was more clear and acute…and so on. I could no longer comprehend anything printed on a page, because it no longer meant anything to me in my changed state of consciousness. It was like trying to read and understand a foreign language! I had already departed from the third-dimensional realm for the most part…and my awareness enveloped other things.
I was entering into what I later came to refer to as the ‘twilight’ stage. In this state, everything was altered. I got to a point where my consciousness was already making the transition from one realm to the other—being more aware of other realities on other dimensions. I was seeing and perceiving things and other beings inter-dimensionally—even though I was still somewhat conscious on the physical plane. I’ve, since, realised that this is what a lot of dying people go through…(such as those in hospitals, nursing homes or others in hospice care), while an observer might think that they’re hallucinating or seeing someone or something that ‘isn’t really there’. In truth, this is a state where one, such as myself, is experiencing other dimensions simultaneously while still on the physical plane, because, in reality, we are multidimensional beings
I finally lapsed into a coma on Boxing Day, 26 December, and, ironically, declared ‘dead’ on my birthday, 2 February! (Now I’ve got two natal charts!) As others observed that I was in a coma—which lasted over five weeks—I was having a completely different experience! One would look at my body and think that I was unconscious…asleep…with no awareness of what was going on…or anything. Yet, I was very conscious and profoundly aware, because, in truth, we never really sleep; only our bodies do. We are always aware…and active…on one level of consciousness or another. Just the fact that we dream while asleep is an indication of our consciousness always being active. And, indeed, our bodies need to rest, so that we can tap into…and experience other aspects of our consciousness and being!
The best way I can describe the transition from being ‘alive’ on the physical plane and the passage to the Other Side is like passing from one ‘room’ to another. You do not cease to be or lose consciousness; your consciousness simply shifts from one vantage point to another. The experience changes; your outlook changes; your feelings change. And the feelings I experienced were profound. For me, it most certainly became that peace that surpasses all understanding…
My transition was gradual as a result of having a terminal disease—as opposed to a sudden one incurred from accidents, heart attacks, etc. I became aware of a ‘Being of Light’ enveloping me. Everything was stunningly beautiful–so vibrant and luminous…and so full of life—yes, life! –in ways that one would never see or experience on the physical plane. I was totally and completely enveloped in divine Love. It was unconditional love…in the truest sense of the word. I was in constant communion with this Light and always aware of its loving presence with me at all times. Consequently, there was no sense of fear whatsoever…and I was never alone. This was a special opportunity to experience being at one with the ALL—never separate…and never at a loss.
The colours were so beautiful–watching the Light whirl all round me, pulsating and dancing…making whooshing sounds…and being ever so playful at times…then very serious at other times. Many things would take on a luminous glow–a sort of soft peach colour. Everything was so vibrant–even when I saw deep space! I was constantly in a state of awe… There were always beautiful beings round me as well–helping me…guiding me…reassuring me…and also pouring love into me. I was never alone.
One of the first things I remember experiencing was the life review–which included everything that I’d experienced in my physical incarnation up to that point. It was like being at the cinema–watching a movie of my life and everything happening simultaneously. I think most NDErs will agree that, the life review is one of the most difficult aspects of the NDE. Viewing your entire life before you–with every thought, word, action, etc.–can be most unsettling, indeed. Yet, what happened was the fact that no one passed judgement on me! I only felt the constant enveloping of divine love from the Being of Light that was always with me. What I came to realise, then, is that we judge ourselves! There was no ‘he-god’ sitting on some throne, passing judgement on me, (not that I even expected to see such a being in the first place). I never subscribed to such religious myths anyway. I seemed to be the only one who was uncomfortable and most critical of myself. Yet, having stated that, I also realised that I wasn’t coming from a vantagepoint of the ‘ego self’ but, rather, from my soul self that was much more detached and having no feelings of being emotionally charged, etc. I was no longer identifying with the personality of the physical self. Therefore, what I felt was very different—coming from a completely different perspective as the soul self–my True Identity.
Even though I was no longer in my physical body, I did have form–a body of sorts. The best way I can describe this is that I felt like a bubble–floating and moving about effortlessly–sometimes very fast…or gently drifting about. I felt hollow inside and so clear–even having a sensation of a breeze blowing inside of me. There was never any sense of hunger, thirst, weariness or pain. Such things never entered my mind, in fact! Alas, I was pure consciousness, embodied in a light and ethereal form, travelling about…or being still and observing intently…and always in a state of awe. It was such a glorious sensation where I experienced such calm and a profound sense of peace and constant trust. I also experienced no blindness, (as I do with my physical eyes being legally blind), and what a sense of awe and wonder—to be able to see!
At one point, I perceived myself as being on a guided tour, as it were–visiting and observing different places, beings and situations–some very pleasant and some very painful. The best way I can describe this ‘tour’ was like being in a circular enclosure of windows—each pane revealing something different…but when I’d focus on one particular pane, I’d suddenly see the pane become full size (much like a ‘window’ on your computer monitor becoming full screen) and I stood still—just watching…
One pane revealed a scene that one might interpret as a ‘hell’ or ‘purgatory’ where faceless, grey coloured entities moved about aimlessly and moaned. They were clearly suffering and in great agony and anguish. I saw these souls as damaged souls–ones who had committed unspeakable atrocities during their previous incarnations. I have used the analogy of a soul being ‘retrograde’–much in the way a planet will have the appearance of going backwards. The prevailing feeling that I had whilst observing these souls was one of deep compassion and a yearning to comfort them. I wanted so much to see them relieved of their horrible suffering. But, alas, as painful as this scene was, I was reassured that these souls were here only temporarily and that they, too, would heal and move back in a forward direction and ultimately return to the Light. All souls, without exception, eventually return to the Light…according to what was revealed to me.
The above scene led to another scene where I saw images of people I knew in my present life–obviously those still incarnate on the physical plane, but my viewing them from the Other Side in a scene that would take place in future. (Again, everything experienced on the Other Side is always in the ‘Now’–even ‘past’ and ‘future’.) These were individuals who’d also committed atrocities in one form or another –individuals who had severely violated me, or people I love. But the scene I beheld was one where they were being made to suffer…as a result of what they’d done–that, most likely being the karmic result of their decisions and actions, etc. Again, I felt a deep sense of compassion for them…and feeling sad that they had to endure such suffering, yet realising that it was also unavoidable. Never once did I feel any sense of anger or hostility towards these individuals…but only wanting to see them healed…so that they, too, would come to know love.
Another scene I remember was that of finding myself observing a realm that constituted water. I beheld all its beauty and splendour and it was teaming with life. Then, before I knew it, I found myself under water and not having to worry about breathing! I was moving about effortlessly and mingling with everything that I’d first observed from without. The same thing happened to me when I moved through space…and danced and flowed with all the heavenly bodies and lights. There were lots of times for play and buzzing about with all the light beings–moving all round me like comets. This was an opportunity to experience great joy and feeling so light and completely void of worry or fear. I could move effortlessly…and adapt to any environment I happened to be in at any given moment. I would simply think about something and it would instantly manifest…or I’d think about a place and there I’d be! Oh, what a sensation to experience such power—to be anywhere I wanted to be and to create anything I wanted to…and to feel so totally free!
After experiencing the tour, adventures and times of play and creation, etc., things became more serious…and I was again in direct communion with the Being of Light. I was now being asked to ‘help’ or ‘assist’ in some way…in creating and determining the outcome of certain events, situations or even things affecting others! Me? Just little me? Oh my, I thought. That’s a grave and serious responsibility. I felt so honoured…and so humble…being asked to participate in such a feat…but what if I failed to do my part as needed, I wondered. Then, I was assured that everything would work out exactly as it should–even if I couldn’t complete things as desired. It seemed that the point in all this was the fact that we co-create with the Light…and we are also part of the Light. Furthermore, no matter what happens…the Light Source will always be in control…and be there to see things through…despite any shortcomings on our part as souls. How auspicious it is, then, to realise that, as souls, we are a part of all creation and take part in the actual creative process thereof!
This very thought of being asked to help–to co-create with the Light–made me feel profoundly special and important in the greater scheme of things, but by no means from an egotistical point of view. As stated above, I felt so deeply humble and a serious sense of responsibility for every thought and action I made. My only thought was that I wanted to do what was right. How important it was that I be very loving and creative…and never damaging in any way…and that’s the gift. I realised at that point, how totally connected with all life…through all the universes…I am. I felt one with the All–never separate, never apart. Still, there was no fear. Still, there was only love. Forever and for always I could never be alone…because I would never be alone. It’s impossible to be alone, because life is everywhere; love is everywhere…and this is what carried me and has stayed with me.
I so cherished this communion with the Light. Everything was communicated telepathically–whether with the Light or other beings, friends or loved ones. It didn’t matter. It was always honest, open and real…and it was always done with love. There’s no such thing as ‘putting on airs’ and no need to hide on the Other Side. No one is there to hurt you in any way–not in the least–because there is no sense of lack…or the need to ‘steal’ someone else’s power or energy. You are operating as a soul, not centred in ego or personality. It’s nice to realise that you will have whatever you need, because you’ve got the capacity and power to create it instantly!
As the mood seemed to shift…I felt as if there was something serious that was just about to befall me. I was now being told that I was going to have to return to the alien (physical) world I’d left behind–that I was needed there for something very special and significant. I needed to go back to share what had just happened to me…and to let others know that life is, indeed, eternal and that death is an illusion. On a personal level, I was told that I needed to experience great love and joy in that world…and finally I would be able to return Home. I was, then, assured that I was real…and that I could believe in what I’d come to know in this glorious realm–not only about myself…but also about all life. I was also told, however, that the world I was returning to was an illusion and that I wasn’t to identify with it or be involved–to be in it but not of it–and that I was only passing through…
To say that my heart sank would be an understatement. This was the first time that I had the true experience of a broken heart while on the Other Side. The very thought of leaving this sacred realm where I was in constant communion with the Light and other beings…crushed me in ways I could never describe. I knew how dark and foreboding that strange, illusory world that I was being asked to return to was…and it is, indeed, a world I’ve never identified with! However, I was, once again, reassured that the Light and other loving beings would be with me at all times…and to remember that I’d never be alone. Gratefully, there was still no sense of fear–only sorrow now, but realising that I had to honour the divine will, making this request of me.
As I reluctantly accepted this mission, I suddenly beheld before me, a most beautiful being who appeared in front of me–pouring tremendous love into me and filling me to overflowing. It was as if this was my gift…for accepting the painful request to leave my home on the Other Side and return to a world so alien to me. This being loved me very deeply and stayed with me, continuing to radiate love and sound…and it was made clear that he’d be with me always.
I started moving back into this world in much the same way that I had left it. It was a very gradual transition. I was, now, more aware of my body laying in hospital intensive care, hooked up to a life-support system, but it was still so separate from me and the vantage point I was experiencing, from the Other Side. It was like being a newborn baby when I finally regained consciousness on this plane. Everything was so strange and new! I had just come from another world–literally–and this world appeared so much darker and void of colour by comparison. Everything was drab and appeared flat to me. I didn’t feel the life-force I experienced on the Other Side…but I was resolved to honour the will of the Light I’d been sent back to fulfil. I had a mission…and there was a special promise that was made to me in return.
Even in hospital, I was aware of the Being of Light still with me…and communicating with me. I was also still aware of other beings with me–beings that I came to realise, later, only I could see and hear. Finally, one day, the Being of Light disappeared from view of my mortal awareness…and I knew, now, that I was fully back in this world. Again, I was broken-hearted, but still free of all fear…and believing and trusting in the promise that I’d never be alone…and so it was…
This near-death experience (or what I prefer to call an Eternal Life Experience) left me feeling such a profound sense of triumph and awe. Something else I learned, too, is that fear is an acquired state, not a natural one. It is something that you learn…but having no connection with the soul self. Love is the prevailing force at all times…no matter how things may appear in this world of duality and illusion. It’s merely a hologram—created by the collective consciousness—for the sake of growth and evolution. Therefore, what occurred on the Other Side, for me, was a special opportunity to experience…and know—with total certainty—that everything was evolving exactly the way it should…and that the ultimate destiny for every living being is to return to the Source, The Light…Pure Love.
© Juliet Nightingale