Excerpt for THE WONDER OF YOU: What the Near-Death Experience Tells You about Yourself. by , available in its entirety at Smashwords


Lynn K. Russell The Wonder of You

The Wonder of You

What Near-Death Experiences

Tell You about Yourself


Lynn K. Russell

Ivey Enterprises

Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada

©2012 by Lynn Kathleen Russell

All rights reserved. Published 2012

Printed in the United States of America

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval

system, or transmitted in any form or by any means-electronic,

mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning, or otherwise without

the express written permission of the author. Failure to

comply with these terms may expose you to legal action and damages

for copyright infringement.

Library of Congress Catalogue-in-Publication Data

Lynn Kathleen Russell

The Wonder of You: What the Near-Death Experience Tells You

About Yourself / by Lynn K. Russell

Includes bibliographical references

Editor’s note

The names, details, and circumstances are as they are reported to

the author. However, names of those individuals may be changed

or omitted to protect the privacy of those mentioned in this


ISBN: 1480094250

ISBN 13: 9781480094253 (softcover)

Contact Lynn Kathleen Russell by email at wonderofyou1@gmail.com, on

FaceBook, Twitter or through her website:


This book is dedicated to

all the amazing people who willingly shared

their story so that the rest of us could discover

and grow in love.


I wish to thank Jill Ebsworth and Jean Peiffer; you

offered caring support, editing, and valuable critiques.

Without you this book would never have been written.

Jeff Long MD, I wish to thank you for the opportunity

to do research with you and your wife, Jody. It was

during this process that I had the chance to study the

beautiful messages being brought back. In addition

you willingly offered your ongoing support and interest

—thank you. A special thanks to Barb Cook for your

work, support, and ideas and also to Carol Malinauskas

for your suggestions, assistance, and encouragement.

Shirley Wilson, without you this book would never

have gotten this far. And to the CreateSpace team

I offer my gratitude. Your excellent service, guidance,

and ongoing assistance throughout the publishing

process was very valuable.

Table of Contents

Prologue: A Spiritual Experience……………………………………………….………

1. Messages from Beyond………………………………………………………………

2. What Happens at Death….……………………………………………………….…..

3. Were They Really Dead?.………………………………………………………….....

4. Life Review………..…………………………………………………………………

5. Earth-Like Worlds……………………………………………………………………

6. Suicide…………………………………………………..……………………………

7. Evil……………………………………………………………………………………

8. Choices…………………………………………………………………….....………

9. Knowledge……………………………………………………………………...……

10. Purpose………………………………………………………………………...……

11. Reincarnation……………….………………………………………………………

12. Returning………………………………………….…………………………………

13. Time………………………………………………………………………..………..

14. The Light…………………………………………………………...……………….

15. Love…………………………………………………………………………………

16. Oneness……………………………………………………………………………...

17. Healing…………………………………………………………………………..….

18. Creation………………………………………………………………………….….

19. Illusions……………………………………………………………………...….…..

20. Our Reality………………………………………………………………….………

21. Tomorrow…………………………………………………………………….……

22. Fear-Death Experiences……………………………………………………….……

23. Doubters…………………………………………………………………………….

24. The Wonder of You…………………………………………………………………


You already are all you have dreamed of becoming. That is the message of this book. Spiritual seekers hear these words coming from many directions and still some of us wonder how this could be? THE WONDER OF YOU, What the Near-Death Experience Tells You About Yourself will guide you to the reality of those words. You are being offered a gift of truth and love with the understanding that it is meant for you.


A Spiritual Experience

The world of spirituality was for me a confusing disarray to slosh around in my search for truth. I think I was born with an overactive curiosity gene and there were so many directions presenting themselves for my investigation. As strange as it may seem, although I was raised in a home that knew no religion, my greatest interest is spirituality.

It was fortunate I was raised in a nonreligious home as there were no preconceived ideas of the truth and I was completely free to explore to my heart’s content. No one told me what not to think, and no restricting ideas of how the world should look were pushed in my direction. As each philosophy came my way I freely picked it up, turn it this way and that, and rattled it a bit to find out what was inside. I dug down to each religion’s origin and scrutinized the various components it encompassed until my unbridled curiosity was satisfied and became free to move on in another direction.

Being raised in a Judeo-Christian country, I naturally explored those disciplines first and discovered the foundations of the faiths my personal world had been built upon. Once I understood the history and development of these religions and how they had evolved as they had, I carefully put them away and looked into the Christian offshoots: Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Church of Latter-Day Saints, the Salvation Army, and Fundamentalist Baptist to name a few.

At the time, I tried bumping my head against the Eastern philosophies but my teen self could not imagine a world where personal possessions were not important. Let’s face it, I was the normal Western teenager and quite frankly thought those guys were nuts. Interestingly, years later I went back to those beliefs, and can now see the beauty and depth of the Buddhist path.

Was I just curious or was I on a search for somewhere I would feel at home? It did not seem to matter and over the years I found many fascinating concepts within each expression of the spiritual as that deep place within drove me onward to find answers. Why do I exist? How does life happen? Is there a higher power? If so, what role does he/she/it play in our lives?

By 1973 I was a recently divorced, single-parent mother with three small children. I had returned to school in the hopes of getting a decent job and providing a home for us. It was spring and I had finished my second year at college and was looking forward to summer’s promise of hot sun and a time to relax, before going back to another year of study. That is when I received a gift that took me by the hand and led me into the deeper understanding I was seeking.

It was a quiet time at our house as Leah, my oldest daughter, was now in grade one, Brad, the middle child, attended afternoon kindergarten, and Wendy, the youngest, was tucked away for an afternoon nap. At the time this new adventure began my hands were stuck in hot, sudsy water as I mechanically washed dishes. Suddenly, as if my mind were taken over by a strange force, I completely lost awareness of where I was and what I was doing. From the window above the sink the crabapple tree in the backyard seemed to stretch out to me. Oddly, the tree had me in an embrace that revealed a bizarre new reality. Understanding, which was beyond questioning, overwhelmed me and I knew, deep in the core of me, that the tree out there and I were one, we were inseparable. In a way I could not comprehend I indisputably knew the tree and I had become indivisible; we were a single being.

As I flowed along on this current of experience a bottomless pool of knowledge surrounded me, I somehow knew deep in my gut the essence within the tree was the same essence as was in me. We shared a strange inexplicable bond.

Delight and understanding rushed through me and I was filled with wonder. Within that happiness a contented feeling told me everything was in its proper place and all was as it should be.

Unaware of the suds dripping on the floor from my hands, I stood mesmerized while other forms of life went through my mind. Fish and whales in the ocean, lions and elephants in the wild—all shared that same life. I actually became the bird sitting in the tree, and at the same time, I was the bug the bird was about to eat. We were one single entity expressing itself as life on this planet. The form each life took was irrelevant as I became completely enmeshed with the essence of that oneness. In that state it was impossible to define where the other forms of life ended and I began, because there were no differences, no separations.

Then, within a microsecond, I became aware of the physical world around me and the water dripping on the floor.

This happened before most of North America had heard of the term Oneness. It was also a time when baby boomers were engrossed in a search for spirituality. Many had turned away from the formal churches and were exploring the meaning of life. The Beatles visited ashrams and Friedrich Nietzsche’s claim “God is dead” became a familiar chant.

It is difficult to say how long I was caught in that alternate reality, perhaps a minute, possibly less. It is not surprising that the effects of that experience offered me a lifetime of learning. Up to that moment I had sought understanding through the established faiths. Now another route to spiritual answers opened to me. I knew the world was not a bunch of separate beings busily living life. I understood that deep in the core of us all, an amazing connection waits to be recognized. The fact I did not yet understand what had happened was not a problem and gave me fodder to chew on in my quest for the truth.

As it turned out the experience with the tree was the first of a series of parallel events. A few days later during another quiet afternoon I busily spot-washed fingerprints from the hall walls. The quiet house had lulled me into a state of peaceful contemplation of nothing in particular. Without warning, once more my awareness seemed to be taken over by a powerful force.

Seconds before I had been washing marks off the walls, suddenly I was intensely immersed in the awareness of an atom. Without trying to capture my thoughts and return them to where they had been, I allowed them to float in this curious direction. Before me was an atom with its nucleus and electrons spinning around the core. It was as though each element possessed an independent consciousness and knew exactly what it needed to do and got busy doing it. The planning and order within the atom dominated my awareness.

Once my recognition of what I was seeing entered my consciousness the image transformed as though seeing a new scene in a movie. I was looking at a representation of our solar system whirling in the darkness of space. The sun contentedly sat in a semi-stationary position while the planets busily spun around it in a perpetual game of tag. Once more my attention seemed to be directed to the deliberate order, rhythm, and intelligence behind what I was viewing. Let me clarify; it was not as though an external brain was operating our solar system, like a wizard with a wand. It was that this mental capacity was permeated within the solar system itself. Inexplicably, deep within was a part of me that realized I already knew this and was simply being reminded that none of what I was seeing was the result of a lucky accident.

Once more the scene expanded from our local solar system to the Milky Way galaxy as it spun in a golden pirouette along with sister galaxies that spun together in an amazing pattern of synchronicity. Again I knew that none of this was an error. Nothing, not a single thing, had mistakenly come to be.

As I delighted in this new understanding a realization overtook me that kept me reeling in wonder for many years. No voice spoke, yet the knowledge swept through me implanted itself in every cell of my body. The message was so powerful I was immobilized to dispute or deny its meaning. "Your being is intricately connected with the operation of the universe!" it told me.

I could not deny the truth of what I had just learned. It was as real as the Earth I stood on, as real as my children, or my own name. Yet a part of me instantly wanted to reject the message and I was caught in a struggle where disagreement was not possible. The message rang too true to debate but it scared me with its implications.

Confusion dominated as the experience faded and left me standing in the hall with a wet rag in my hand. But, I argued, I don’t have delusions of grandeur. I was completely convinced that when it came to the universe I was smaller than a speck of dust, smaller even than a photon. So how could my being have anything to do with the operation of the universe?

If this information had come to me in a dream or as one of my own thoughts, I would have been free to dismiss it. Yet the manner in which it came seemed to deny me that option. I think it was the realization of the truth of what I had been told that scared me most. If I accepted this universal connection what would be expected of me? Would I be responsible to do something I was sure to mess up? I had lived my life as a retarded person, and had only recently discovered I did not belong to that assessment. Still, the experience and accompanying information, seemed to come from a source beyond disagreement.

A few more days passed before I had the third and last of these strange events. In contrast to the confusion and fear of the last communication, this final experience brought with it great serenity and joy and deeper understanding. 

Even now I do not fully understand what happened as I was led into a world of mystery and incredible joy. As I stood in the middle of the living room on a quiet afternoon, my arms filled with retrieved toys, I became acutely aware I was not alone. I could actually feel a palpable, literal presence in the room with me. My eyes saw nothing more than the room and furnishings, yet I knew deep in my gut there was “someone” there. I hesitate to call the presence sharing the room a being or person because no being I knew could cause what happened next.

I felt engulfed in an enormous blanket of love, peace, and joy that was beamed at and into me from every direction by this mysterious force. It felt so good that I simply allowed the experience to wash over me in the hope that it would last forever.

Then, as though an umbilical cord were situated in the center of my being, I felt a direct connection to the invisible presence. Somehow I was intricately connected with it in a way I did not understand. Happily, I basked in the pleasure of the never-ending love and peace. And it was then I heard actual words.

Unlike the information I had received earlier where impressions and thoughts were poured into the center of me, this time the words were clear and as open as a sweet child’s face. They were spoken directly into my right ear with unmistakable clarity: "This is where you came from and this is where you will return."

Then as ripples in water calm to nothing the experience was over and I stood alone in the room with no presence, no voices, and no blanket of love and joy. Yet the feelings that remained kept me in a state of bliss for months. I could have walked through a meat grinder and come out smiling at the other end. Nothing bothered me. The children’s high-pitched noises usually set my nerves on edge. Not during those months. They could make silly noises all they wanted, and I simply existed in a world of pure serenity.

Before this final experience I had been terrified of dying. My mom believed that once a person died he or she simply disappeared. There was no confusion or theology to confound the situation we were nothing more than biological beings, and when that gave out, so did we.

That was exactly what I was terrified of I did not want to vanish into nothingness. I wanted to have meaning and purpose and the idea of being nothing more than a piece of quivering biology sent a shudder down my spine. With the last of these amazing and mysterious experiences a new piece fit into the picture and I stopped being concerned about death. I may not have fully understood how it worked but I knew with complete surety that when I died I would continue to exist.

A secondary change happened after my spiritual experiences. All my life I had been a serious nail biter. My nails were gnawed back so far that my teeth couldn’t get a hold on what was left. When I ran out of nail I moved on to chewing the skin around the nails. They were definitely ugly and often bleeding. After these beautiful experiences, one day I looked down at my hands and realized I had nails. Without being aware of it I had stopped biting them and it just seemed to happen on its own.

It took many years for me to put these spiritual events together and make coherent sense of them. Gradually a picture of the Oneness became clear and I began to understand a new reality. Books on spirituality began to make sense. Two that stood out and gave me guidance were A Course in Miracles,1 which talked about forgiveness, letting go of the ego, and seeing ourselves as beautiful beings. Joel Goldsmith’s Parenthesis in Eternity2 talked about our connectedness with all that exists. Since then additional studies have verified and strengthened what I had learned from my personal experience.


Messages From Beyond

As far back as humans first stood wondering at the rising of the sun filling them with its power, we have been driven to know the answers to our deepest questions. In our quest to know throughout history, and right up until today, we have pulled apart everything in our path to learn how it does what it does. We are driven with an insatiable longing to discover the secrets of the universe and the role, if any, it has for us, or we have within it. Our search has instigated us to tinker in one direction. If we find we are heading the wrong way we drop what we are doing and eagerly dash off on another path. Our searches have led to the construction of giant pyramids, powerful organizations, and numerous holy places scattered throughout the world. Yet our questions continue to stream into the cosmos in our insatiable craving for answers.

While we humans love a mystery and dig our fingers deep into the unknown to find the secrets within, once an enigma’s underbelly is revealed, and no mystery is left, there is a feeling of let-down. We convince ourselves there must be more and wonder what we have missed. Then we poke, stir, and eventually tear the unknown apart until we come to an understanding. In the process of our search for spiritual knowledge many philosophies have evolved that offer their comprehension of order and stability to reduce our confusion about the universe, our place in it, and the meaning of life and death.

Recently paleoanthropologists unearthed a burial site that dated back one hundred thousand years and were amazed to find the first indication early humans considered the possibility of an existence beyond this life.3 Deep in a cave the body of a boy was buried with the head of a deer to take with him on his journey. This burial site illustrates even then the human struggle for answers to some of our deepest questions stretching back to a time when we were rubbing sticks together to create fire.

Resolutions to the ongoing mystery of our demise have been a complicated labyrinth that has been twisted by numerous factors. Like a tall person shoving in front of a child to see a parade, these factors have been thrust in our way and blocked our getting to the truth we seek. Our fears, personal views, religious teachings, cultures, and demands for proof have become hurdles in the way of finding answers to our spiritual questions. And, as curious creatures, it is not good enough to know we live on—we want to know how, where, and what we will do there? We want it all.

Shamans, philosophers, and spiritual leaders have offered their wisdom and sought to tone down our fears and make everything right by telling us what we want to know. Many faiths evolved to take on this task and teach us how to live in order to ensure a good death. Yet these same leaders were themselves taught by the same thoughts and ideas passed down from their ancestors. Thus the answers they provided were not much better than those of the people before them.

Amazing luminary teachers throughout history have offered remarkable insights and sound judgements. But, by the time it filtered down to us it became like gossip whispered in the ear and passed along until the last person hears a completely different message than the original. The first point became confused, misinterpreted, and lost its initial meaning. Is it possible the wall of mystery that has stood in our way is finally crumbling? Are we actually getting answers from those who have been there to our age-old questions? Are those who have returned from a near-death experience able to provide us with a new way of seeing? Is it possible that a direct link to our questions has been offered?

I want to stress it is not the intention of this book to start a new religion or cult. Although we may have some questions answered, new ones pop up as quickly as Kleenex from a box and take us on new quests. Therefore, while it is my hope that we find some answers to our questions in this book, be aware this is just one more step along the continuum of our development.

For approximately two years I was very privileged to do research with Dr. Jeff Long, MD and his wife Jody Long, JD the owners of the site NDERF.4 Our research was for a book that Dr. Jeff Long has since written, Evidence of the Afterlife: The Science of Near-Death Experiences,5 which talks of the scientific investigation into the authenticity of the near-death experience.

During this research I became like a child at Christmas hungry for more and more as I tore off the shiny wrapping and searched each account to discover the gift inside. Every report was dissected and reassembled into separate elements of that individual’s experience. With enthusiasm I consumed the stories of the NDEs in large gulps. By the time I had ingested a few hundred reports I began to see a pattern. Wait a minute, I told myself, there’s something going on here. It seemed that within these people’s experiences were deeper messages like buried treasures brought back from beyond the curtain of death. Each crumb coalesced into an observable and definite understanding and tantalizing secrets started to peek through.

When the research was finished I could not stop reading people’s experiences. I have read around 2,500 reports and my fascination has turned to a deeper understanding of these secret messages. There is a hidden legacy being brought back as a marvellous inheritance that was ours all along. It is the hope of this book to pass this heritage on to you.

In 1975 Dr. Raymond Moody published a book that was so shocking and intriguing that many rushed out to buy a copy of Life After Life.6 Dr. Moody courageously presented us with the first book to reveal what people who had been resuscitated after dying told about their experience. Over time, he saw that what they were telling him had amazing repetitious facts that prompted further questions. If these people had been dead how could they know what had happened during their operations or the details of attempts to resuscitate them? His book became so popular that a flood of people wrote about their personal experiences and added to the understanding. I too joined the throng as my inquisitiveness sought answers to the mystery of death. Now, no matter how many near-death experiences I have had the pleasure of reading, I continue to seek out new ones. I never tire of them.

Continuing education, it seems, does not stop at the completion of our time in this physical existence. Those who returned from an NDE explained that the knowledge they gained was not so much a continuation of their education as it was a remembering of things they had already known. So much of the knowledge brought back from the NDEs carefully wrapped in their memories involved information they felt the world urgently needed to understand.

Throughout this book are amazing pieces of information and hopefully answers to the constant questions that just will not go away. Does this knowledge mean we have all the answers? The answer to these questions is clearly no. However, much of the religious restrictions of the past have been removed and we are free to explore and discover. When I think about the multiple universes science has hypothesized I realize we have only cracked open the doors to understanding. There are many journeys beyond those doors to take us to places only our imaginations can create.

I would like to take a moment to sincerely thank each and every one of those who opened themselves up to share their experience with us. Their contributions to our learning has been invaluable and opened us up to a deeper understanding we have searched for throughout the centuries.

As a serious researcher in the field of the near-death experience I find one trend upsetting. While writing this book I went to YouTube to watch some NDEs and was both disappointed and astonished to see what has happened with the subject since my last visit. There were links to, Ouija boards, crystal gazing, and fundamentalist religious groups that seem to be vying to take over the subject of near-death. While I do not want to disqualify anyone’s experience I do want to stress some important points to consider.

No two people have the exact same experience, no matter how close they may seem. An atheist may see Jesus and become a Christian, a Christian may experience something that is similar to the Buddhist tradition, and a Jew may experience something very different from what he or she thought. Each individual has the near-death experience that is right for that specific person. For that reason we may read of an experience or have our own experience but no one who has had an NDE can talk with authority about what happened for others who also had an NDE. For those who want more clarity on this topic I suggest they go to those studies that use many experiences as their base rather than one or two.

I feel it is important to talk about the number of reports of children who died from drowning. Based on the information received at NDERF, there were two major causes of accidental death with children. Drowning was highest on the list by far. The other was caused by a game children at elementary and middle school play. One child presses on the arteries running up the neck and cut off the blood flow to the brain causing the first child to pass out. Sometimes this child’s unconscious state goes beyond becoming insensible.

Within this book subjects that could be sensitive to some people such as suicide or hellish experiences have been reported anonymously. However, there are a couple of people who requested I offer links to their sites or stories, therefore, that information is included in the notes at the back of the book. In an attempt to be respectful and sensitive to those who have offered their story I have been careful not to alter any part of their material except for the occasional correction of grammar. Most of the testimonies mentioned here come from NDERF and researcher Kevin Williams’s website.7 I encourage you to visit these sites and I wish you an enjoyable journey in your explorations.


What Happens at Death

Tentatively we reach out to embrace the threatening cloud of change within our lives that we fear will sweep us into an unknown abyss. We are convinced personal change will bring tremors that disturb our stability and symbolize the death of all we have known, while removing the solid ground from under our feet. Psychologically, change can represent our own private death.

The young consider death too far away to think about yet it has become the principal entertainment that now inundates society. It influences our movies and television and powers our computer games in an effort to sate an ongoing adrenalin addiction. Munitions plants sell death like lollypops which seems to lead us to endless unanswered ethical questions. And, of course, our individual demise looms over us with an hourglass and sickle.

For centuries religious leaders have stood before their congregations with a raised finger and warnings of the hell and damnation that is sure to be ours because of the sin we inherited from our ancestors. As large populations have turned away from these lessons, they have been left struggling with unanswered questions.

Not everyone is fearful of dying; some people reach out to embrace death like a welcomed lover. Those who suffer with disease and pain may find every moment is an eternity of torture and look to death as a relief. Others may feel the burden of life too emotionally painful and look to death as the soothing balm of oblivion. Many others, who have been touched by the shroud of death during marvellous NDEs, return to this plane, also welcome their future demise.

Astounding medical advancements have become the alchemy of the future and created many opportunities to resuscitate patients from death. According to the NDERF site, 1992 statistics show there were approximately 774 each day in the United States alone. When we consider the rest of the world, the number could be thousands if not millions.

Many of those who have had an NDE have returned with astounding stories of wonder and mystery. With sparkling eyes and whispers of awe they explain that the actual experience of dying was simply a transition. They tell of smoothly stepping from the shore of this life into warm, lapping waters of the ocean of eternity as trouble-free as leaving one room and entering another. Repeatedly those who returned from death shared stories that at one moment they were in their physical bodies with all their normal feelings and sensations and the next moment surprised and delighted to discover they were still alive and there really is a life after death. Those who sought oblivion through suicide were astonished to discover they continued after death and there was no oblivion. The subject of suicide will be dealt with in detail in chapter 6.

In North America death has been treated as an unnatural invader, an enemy to be conquered. Today, like a trickled runoff from melting snow, new understanding is gradually seeping through. Drip by drip we have opened ourselves to discover that death is far more glorious than we ever thought possible. When we listen to those who have taken the sojourn into that alien world, we discover it was the most beautiful and rewarding experience they have ever known.

It was found in research that although many elements of the near-death experience were similar no two NDEs were exactly alike. It was as if he or she were creating a delicious new recipe and had included their own special ingredients. For example, some people saw a light right away, while others went through a tunnel first and then saw the light. Others had no tunnel at all and either found themselves floating in dark space or immediately went to various destinations (which we talk about throughout this book).

Many people responded as though they had packed their bodies and transmitted them through their death experience with them. Reason told them this could not be as they had seen their bodies left back in the physical realm. Yet, as though their physical being was a passport, they metaphorically brought them along to this land with weird and extraordinarily different rules.

Some people had an irresistible yearning to enter the tunnel while others simply found themselves zipping through a passageway with no idea how they had arrived there or what waited at the other end.

Almost everyone reported a sense of profound, penetrating peace that wrapped them in secure protection with the understanding there was nothing to fear in this strange existence. True to the variations of these phenomena some tunnels were a circular swirl of misty gray cloud that opened wide enough for them to float through while other individuals found themselves being squeezed through a tight aperture as though they were toothpaste pushed out of a tube. Numerous folks compared their flight to astronauts racing through a passageway at speeds beyond physical possibility, while others were able to stop and sightsee. Most were aware only of the passageway itself, while some reported seeing different beings within their tunnel. Let us take a brief journey through some of the tunnels people experienced.

Stella became a casualty when she was hit by a car and then watched from above as her body rolled to the side of the street. A blank space shoved itself into her memory until she realized she was floating above her body in an ambulance and knew she was being rushed to the hospital. It seems hard for us to understand her joy when the ambulance driver lost his way to the hospital.

At that point I figured that I would never get to the hospital, but I was overjoyed! I thought, “But is it already over? How lucky! Wowwww!” and I entered the tunnel (which I strangely seemed to know well) and went forward at a vertiginous speed toward home, without any intention of stopping to observe everything in the tunnel, I just wanted to go home.

The tunnel was semi-transparent and I saw points of light like distant stars becoming rays of irregular lights, like the headlights on a car that is speeding down a curved road. My speed kept growing until the light could no longer reach me and I saw that the tunnel was one giant curve, but a curve that was barely discernible, yet I could feel it. Then I was home.

Brian was ten years old on a summer day when the temperatures were screaming hot. His brother and he begged their mother to be allowed to go swimming at a local river. After enough nagging to probably drive the poor woman nuts they finally wore her down and she gave in. It did not take long for the boys to rush off to join their friends but instead of going where they promised, to the part of the river where the current was more controlled the group daringly crept through a fence into the restricted zone. There was a reason for that fence—it protected the kids like Brian from a dam whose current was too strong for him and he drowned.

Then I saw light at the end of the tunnel bursting toward me. My spirit or soul was caught into the Light Tunnel. I flew through the light tunnel. I could still remember the feeling even today! The only description I could give you is that the feeling was almost identical to the movie Contact—the New Built Ball Spacecraft falling down the Giant Gyro-Space machine. The actress went through the tunnel right away and she could see outside space by her “ball space shuttle.” That's what I saw when I was zoomed through the tunnel. I could see some universe by the tunnel's transparency. Such an awesome feeling flying through the tunnel at light-speed.

Now, many years later, Brian says the experience is so fresh in his mind, he can remember it as if it happened today. Indeed, this is one of the signatures that stand out throughout the reports people have sent in. They state they can remember every detail of their experience as well as they did when it happened even when thirty or even fifty years have passed.

Holly was in the hospital with a miscarriage and was given medication that caused an allergic reaction. She knew her temperature had risen and picked up the thermometer on her night table. She does not tell us what her temperature was but she knew she needed help right away. Before she was able to call for a nurse she simply slipped away.

I found myself sitting, which I thought was odd, as I felt I should be standing, in a sort of passage. I called it an elevator shaft, but really it was more like a curved, fast moving tunnel, more like a subway than a shaft. But it was not very wide, and I was comfortable sitting in it. There were no seats, but one could just seemingly sit in suspension.

The tunnel was surrounded by darkness which was not surprising for some reason, and the darkness appeared to be infinite.

  Then as I flowed quickly through this shaft, I realized there was a soft, glowing light in the distance ahead. Maybe like city lights appear long before you can see the city…more like a glow reflecting off the darkness.

Bobbi was rushed to the hospital with a serious infection and in the process of dying. When she did not respond to medications the doctors decided to do an operation they knew was quite dangerous and from which she might not recover. With that in mind, the operation proceeded and she did die. Her explanation of the tunnel is wonderful and clearly explains what she felt.

I was being pulled with my back facing in the direction of the pull and my face facing the Earth. But I don't recall seeing the Earth. It was a knowing that I was leaving it. It was not that I was “in a tunnel”, it was that a tunnel was created around me due to the incredible speed that I was traveling. I think about it when I see the white marks that a high-speed jet leaves across the sky. The jet created the marks. It is the same. There is no fear whatsoever in this experience, even though at this point there was an unknowing of what was happening. It was at this time that I realized I had left my body, that I was dead. But I didn't care that this had happened. I was peaceful.

Not everyone who had an NDE was welcomed via a passageway. As though they were taking a short-cut an almost equal number of people saw no tunnel. Like living in a bubble that popped, they instantly found themselves at their destination. The descriptions of these locations were as richly varied as marbles in a sack. Several people talked about a beautiful garden with colors and plants they had never seen before. Others were instantly surrounded by a gentle glove of perfect velvet blackness before moving on to a white light. Some folks mentioned music that was so beautiful it made their heart sing with its splendor.

As though they were receiving a generous gift every one of their bodily senses became boosted as they reported the vast improvements. Superman had nothing on them as they discovered they had become far superior to what they had been before death. Those who were deaf or blind in the physical world could hear and see with an acuteness that was much sharper than anyone on Earth had ever known. It was amazing to discover that, better than a housefly on the wall, they could see in all directions at once and hear numerous conversations simultaneously with full understanding of every one. People with various disabilities while in their Earth bodies were thrilled to be whole again.

With the wonder of a child NDErs were fascinated to communicate through telepathy as concepts entered their awareness complete and whole. These thought flooded them at faster-than-lightning speed while every facet of the subject came through as a clear and perfect representation of what was being told. It was as if they had jumped into a swimming pool of information that instantly brought them complete understanding. Once NDErs adjusted to this form of communication they found it comprehensive and produced a more thorough and instant understanding than they had been used to. It was as if they had immediately ingested whole oceans of information on each subject.

Most NDErs were greeted by spirit entities they were sure they had never seen before. Yet, in a way they could not explain, these unfamiliar souls seemed as well-known and close as a loved family member or dear friend. These entities became guides to this strange world taking their charges at the speed of thought to a glorious garden or a brilliant city of crystal or gold. Others arrived on mountaintops or gently floated in a soundless black void permeated with love and serenity. A large number of people were instantly surrounded by a brilliant white light. This light was so central to the near-death experience that we will discuss it in greater detail later.

As though they had become visiting relatives the majority of the NDErs were disappointed to discover that they had to return to their bodies. They reacted to being sent back as though they were being sent to prison for a life sentence. Repeatedly they pleaded, begged, and cried not to go back to the physical world. Still, once they understood the importance of their continuing existence here most willingly returned.

Upon arriving back in their bodies many NDErs experienced a deep depression and became homesick for the place they had been. Like starving people they longed to return to the love they had found beyond this life.

Some people tried to share their experience with others and were told not to tell anyone because the world would think they were crazy. Others were told it was just a dream or caused by the medications they were given or perhaps hallucinations. Today many people within both the medical profession and the general public have become more open to exploring information from NDEs.

Let us look at the near-death experience in greater detail and find the hidden message waiting there for us.


Were They Really Dead?

The preparation for this book sent me scurrying here and there poking my nose into crevices and cracks for research information. On occasion someone would ask if those who had had an NDE were actually dead. Perhaps, the thinking went, they were simply on the edge of death and their brains were still operating. Or they wonder, Could the near-death experience be a case of lucid dreaming? (Simply put, lucid dreaming is when a person is dreaming while at the same time consciously aware of the fact they are dreaming and, in some cases, they can control what happens within the dream.)

James, said this of his NDE,

I'd like to point out that whoever coined the phrase near-death experience probably never had one.  I can assure you there is nothing halfway or near about dying, even if you are fortunate enough to come back from such an experience, dying is quite absolute.”

Some people find it difficult to accept that a person could be dead and come back. I can understand their skepticism because for so long we have been told what can or cannot be. As one student of theology told me to her knowledge, there was only one person who had died and come back to life.

Since Dr. Raymond Moody first published his book, Life After Life, discussion has revolved around the validity of the events reported by NDErs. In writing that book he stepped out of the conservative world of medicine to report his findings with the full knowledge that he would not be believed and be ridiculed by some of his colleagues.

Fortunately today more and more health professionals have an unbiased concept of the near-death experience. On the NDERF website a number of doctors talk of their own experience with near-death.

To speak to the question of death or no death I have brought you a few cases where the individuals involved were clearly dead. In some cases they had even been sent to the morgue before they came back to life.

The subject of skepticism is covered later in this book. At this point we are not talking about doubters but rather establishing the individual having the NDE is in fact dead.

We do not have a name for this first gentleman who died in an accident on his farm. He managed to make it from the mishap to the farmhouse before he collapsed. An ambulance was immediately called but he died in the hospital. After arguing about having to return he eventually came back to tell us his experience.

I had heard this wonderful, familiar voice, “It is not yet your time to be here. You must go back.” I begged it to please not send me back. And that is when it told me I had a mission to do. I begged it to please tell me the mission so I could do it and come back. Then it told me I had to go back and perform my mission when the time came. I would not know what it was until that time. Then it would be my time to be there.

I awoke in the hospital. The doctor told me I should be legally dead and that they were going to bury me in twelve hours. It had been two and a half hours of death for me. I was cold and stiff from rigor mortis. The doctor sent me home only to die again one day.

Sammy was having flu-like symptoms but his physician was not able to find anything that agreed with Sammy’s assessment. The doctor gave him a treadmill stress test where Sammy had a heart attack followed by an NDE. His near-death experience was very much like many others; he met with his first wife, who had died earlier, and then went with a spirit guide and discussed many things. We step into the report at the point where it is clear he is going to come back.

The only thing I remember from that conversation is one sentence. I remember it as clear as if I just heard it. A deep male voice said, “Then it is decided; you're going back.” At the end of that sentence the medical personnel defibrillated me the second time. I was slammed back into my body and I felt the shock with a vengeance. It was as if somebody set off a small bomb in my chest. My eyes popped open and I saw the back of the head of the man who did it. I heard him say “conversion” which is the medical term for reestablishing a cardiac rhythm. The doctor who administered the stress test said they shocked me twice. The first time I did not convert.

Rosemary was a twelve-year-old girl who had spinal meningitis and after a week of running a constant fever she was sick and tired of feeling cold, a tactic the hospital was using to bring down her fever. She covered herself with a terry cloth robe which raised her temperature over the top and she died. Here she had just returned to her body from a normal NDE.

I could hear my surroundings gradually become louder until I was totally back in my body. However, there was one problem; I was as stiff as a board and could not move. I obviously had been gone longer than I should have been because my body was not functioning. My legs, my whole body hurt like someone had a million pins sticking in my body. My legs hurt the worst as my blood began to flow again. As I got older, I found out that your blood begins to thicken after you die. I know this is why I felt such intense pain in my body. It was like my blood was frozen and was being defrosted.

Patti is not clear what brought about her death except to tell us that she had given birth to her second child and for some reason lost a lot of blood. It was 1952 and the medical profession did not have the knowledge, equipment, or CPR skills it has now. When the doctor saw the blood loss and realized Patti’s heart had stopped the physician simply gave up on the mother and turned her attention to the baby. As Patti’s soul left her body she could hear the doctor.

I heard the doctor say she had lost me as I was losing all my blood and she could not stop it. She made the remark, “If anyone knows how to pray, they better do it quickly.” As far as the doctor was concerned, I had lost all my blood, my vital signs were gone and I was pronounced dead. She was not even trying to work with me at all and only one nurse stood by me. The doctor went outside to my grandmother, aunt, and husband and asked what they wanted done with the body, as I was gone and she could do nothing about it.  

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