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My first "near miss" experience...

Today let’s talk about the process of my first “near death” experiences. It is true that I was not very receptive to the exploration of what happens after death earlier in my previous life.

As John, our philosophical framework was limited to that which fit with the Catholic church’s teaching, and as you know, the Catholic Church doesn’t have too much to say about the process of near death experiences. From the Catholic’s perspective you either die, go to heaven, or go to hell. Not much else available on what the process may be like to what may happen as you transition from physical to eternal. Certainly the Catholic Church doesn’t have information or support for past life experience, or reincarnation. Those teachings were available in the past, long, long ago, but have been stripped from the teachings over the years.

Regardless, my experiences were very interesting. The most profound experience occurred when John’s physical body experienced an extreme event, a ruptured aortic aneurysm. For John, this was a life defying and life defining moment followed by many life defining and affirming moments. During the actual experience, John felt extreme fear as he first realized that something major was happening and he lost consciousness. He was initially unconscious as the paramedics arrived and tried to revive him and transport him to the hospital. During that first experience, John left his body, observed the paramedics working over him, saw your mother frantically trying to determine how to help, but from a place of shock and stunned reaction.

There was much activity, with the emergency medical team, the hotel staff, and the hospital staff as they tried to assess the situation and determine if John’s physical body could be treated effectively in the small town hospital or whether he needed to be transported to a larger facility more equipped to handle such an emergency. When the decision was made to have the local surgeon perform this most complex surgery, even without a lot of experience, as John, I had complete faith.

I was very aware of this young man, his confidence, yet his consternation about whether he was the right person to perform this procedure. Interestingly enough, he was very aware of his own capabilities, but recognized the complexity of the situation. I was fully aware of what was transpiring, even though my body was unconscious. My consciousness was very much clinging to the intention to stay alive, to stay physically present in the physical body. I was aware of the desire to return to the body and finish whatever unfinished business I had, recognizing that there was still much that I felt I needed to accomplish in the physical world.

During this period of time, which seemed like a very long time, but was in reality, merely a matter of about 30 minutes to 1 hour, everything was moving very fast in the physical realm, but seemed like it was in slow motion from my perspective in consciousness. Everything seemed very slow, we were seeing it from this objective, removed, interested, but detached perspective. Although the medical team was reacting from the perspective of crisis, with great speed and dexterity, my consciousness was interested, detached, observant, and yet simultaneously, wanting to stay connected, to stay attached to the physical body.

I felt a strong connection to this young doctor, this young surgeon who was so dedicated to his craft, so committed to saving lives, so clear about his role. I had a strong sense that this surgeon was a very spiritual person, with great faith in God, who recognized that his skill was often supported by his faith in God. He had had some cases in which he felt that he could experience the hand of God reaching down and helping him save someone that technically should not have been able to survive. This was one of those cases in which he knew that, if I were to be saved, God would have to intervene. He actually said a prayer to God just before he started the surgery asking for help to assist him in the surgery. During the surgery, which took several hours, I was aware of the team working skillfully, tirelessly, calmly addressing each critical moment as it occurred.

Painstakingly, the surgeon addressed each crisis moment, with great skill, clarity, and resolve. Even though it was touch and go many times throughout the procedure, he stayed very calm, very clear, very much in control. Throughout the procedure, I was feeling extremely peaceful, alive, aware of everything that was transpiring. Even though I was in such a peaceful, loving energy, I was aware of my desire to return to the physical body, to continue to live in the physical world. I asked God to let me stay, even though I was aware that recovery might be difficult.

I really did not feel like it was my time yet. I didn’t experience seeing anyone, other dead relatives, or seeing God, at that time. But I was aware of being in communication with a higher power, such as when you are in prayer and ask God for assistance. I felt like I was asking God to let me continue to live. I didn’t hear his voice or see him then, but I did feel like I was aware of a “knowingness” that I would return, that it wasn’t yet my time, that I had more to learn, more to accomplish in my life.

At some point during the surgery, I was suddenly back in my body, unconscious, unaware of what was happening, and “blacked out” again until I awoke in the recovery room. When I awoke in recovery, I felt really groggy, like I had been gone a very long time. I felt like I had been “out” a very long time. My physical body was in a lot of pain, and I was extremely weak.

I didn’t remember anything that had occurred, although I had a faint recollection of having been in a dreamlike state and that I had been in communication with God. But when you asked me, at the time, whether I had seen the white light or other dead relatives, I said no, because I didn’t remember anything that specifically reflected that. I believed that what I had experienced was merely a dream state rather than a consciousness state outside my physical body.

In truth, I had been in communion with God. I had experienced, witnessed the activities that were taking place to save my physical life. I had reached out to God to save me, save my life, and I felt profoundly grateful that he had heard my prayer and allowed me to continue to live. That was the most prevalent feeling that I had as soon as I began the long round to recovery…. profound gratitude to God for allowing me the opportunity to continue to live, to continue to experience everything that the world held for me. I was profoundly grateful to God, profoundly grateful to my family for being a strong support system for me, and felt an overwhelming amount of love for the people in my life.

As an engineer, of course, this was unfamiliar territory for me. I had much difficulty expressing this depth of emotion in my life until this point, and this was the very beginning of my attempts to try to put into words what I had experienced, what I was feeling, and the magnitude of emotions that were flooding my senses. Every fiber of my being was overwhelmed with feelings that were foreign and uncomfortable.

In addition, my very independent nature was given a true test of flexibility or fortitude when I was forced to rely on others for everything during my recovery. I spent weeks in the ICU, was airlifted back to a local hospital by air ambulance and spent several weeks recovering in the hospital.

This experience forever changed me, as John, as I gained a perceptive that I had never had before, but also a perspective that took some time to adjust to since it was so foreign to who I was or had been before this event. For a straight-laced engineer, uncomfortable with expressing emotions, sharing the feelings of love, gratitude, and happiness that were happening for me now, was actually a bit challenging for me.

To go from this near death experience to living fully again, made me realize how much I wanted to do, how much I wanted to change, how much I wanted to experience, how much I wanted to express in my life that had not yet been experienced or expressed.

This first glimpse of leaving the physical body…..or I should say, having an expanded awareness beyond the boundaries of the physical body, was life changing and life transforming for me, as John. I can reiterate, that for me at that time, it was less a feeling of leaving the physical body and hovering above the body as it was more an experience of my consciousness being expanded beyond the confines of the body, being larger than the body. Being aware of what was happening even though the body looked like it was unconscious.

Although the medical professionals believed I was unconscious, I was aware of what was happening, aware of what they were doing, aware of what was being said. So that is how I would describe it…..more of an expanded consciousness…..beyond the confines of the physical body. An awareness greater than the body….a “knowingness”, if you will.

I definitely “knew” I was going to be okay, that I was going to come out of this crisis. I can’t tell you how I “knew” at that point, but I simply “knew”. There was no doubt in my mind. And I felt that I was getting confirmation….sort of a “yes” in response to my question about what would happen next. So although I didn’t have the experience of “talking directly with God at that point,”, I was aware of a knowingness that I would be okay.

The best analogy would be that of the spiritual practice of prayer. When you pray to God and have a strong feeling that God is acknowledging that your prayer is heard…..that is what I would say best described this first “near death” experience. Over time, as subsequent experiences occurred over and over and OVER again…..I had more opportunities to experience different variations on this “knowingness”.

And I will be happy to share some of those experiences with you as we continue on this journey together.

With much love,


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