“You can depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.” – Samuel Johnson, 1777
(From Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, 16th edition)
The power of expected death to focus the mind and induce major changes has not changed since 1777, as is attested by this account by David N Rouleau. Dr. Rouleau is a physician, also trained in social work. This experience happened to him when he was 52.
Experiences While Death Was Very Possible
David N. Rouleau MD
It has now been 18 months since my near-death experience. Because I did not know if I would be alive in 24 hours – I had received death threats, repeated over several days, which I had to take seriously – I found myself in a situation of extreme terror and vivid curiosity. I would describe my symptoms as severe acute depression, panic disorder and degradation to schizophrenia and psychosis.
I elected not to medicate or call in a consultant, but rather went inward through introspection. I conducted an intensive life review and ended up asking myself questions regarding all of the conditioning that had occurred in my life that conflicted with my inner being. The process involved intense focused questioning in a very emotional way.
Because of the panic, I had difficulty “quieting” my mind after focusing on my questions. A friend suggested progressive relaxation of muscles followed by controlled breathing – counting each breath 1 through 10 and then starting over. This seemed to pre-occupy my conscious mind – with all of its clatter – and allow flashes of thought or insight to occur. The state seemed to be part awake and part asleep- almost stuperous or “zombie”-like and sometimes a floating sensation.
With each question I went through a 3-4 hour period of asking the question, reclining and attempting to quiet the panic with controlled breathing. In the meditative state, I had physical symptoms of chills, sweats, tremors and sudden shock-like sensations. As I held the question, I would then be drawn to a book seeking the answer! With each question, more and more amazing phenomenon began to occur. I could open the book I was drawn to and the answer I was seeking would be on the page I had opened to – I have since learned this is termed bibliomancy. The process expanded to include not only books and so-called inanimate objects, but also the animal world including wild animals and insects.
After each 3-4 hour period I was totally physically and psychically exhausted. I would then take a shower and collapse in deep sleep for 3-4 hours, only to awaken from a lucid dream with my next question. This process repeated itself over a 3 day period and was conducted in isolation and in a state of relative fasting.
At the end of the process I felt totally at peace – a wise friend characterized my process as “dumping my hard drive.” The following day a man in my community came up to me and shared that he had been with me telepathically the night before! This was my first experience with anyone with these abilities so refined.
Editor’s Note: I asked Dr. Rouleau if he could elaborate I why he thought this man’s words demonstrated telepathic communication to him. He replied that ” Regarding the telepathic experience a little background may help. At the depth of my plunge to the abyss, the pain I felt for humanity had me pleading to be taken out of this existence. At this point, in the middle of the night, I had an encounter with a beam of light from the night sky and with it the realization that the phenomena I was experiencing far transcended my limited world view and feelings of impotence to help with any meaningful change to empower myself and others. I chose to stay and this was what the man acknowledged. His unprompted words to me the following morning were” I was with you last night when you chose to stay.”
Following my life review and de-personalization experience, only more psychic phenomena began to occur. For a period of time I was almost totally precognitive – a very frightening experience, not having been there before. Again there were teachers that came into my life to assist me with the assimilation of these experiences. Never had I experienced “miracles,” nor in my wildest imagination envisaged a universe that was alive and responsive at the individual level in time of need. My psychic journeys imply to me that we are just beginning to comprehend the miracles that lie within each one of us. It also appears that as sentient beings we are all connected, and the universe is alive and responsive in times of need and intense questioning.
The following quotation from Tantric Yoga (source: http://www.eu.spiritweb-org/Spirit/tantra-roman.html) is the best characterization of the process that I have found:
“The Supreme Existence reveals itself instantaneously during the tumult of violent emotions such as extreme terror, vivid curiosity, deep compassion, total anger, profound pleasure. In order to penetrate into the Supreme Reality, everything that is at hand is to be considered as a modality because the human being must not submit to any restrictions”
Contributor’s Comments on the Experience
For me, at this point in time, it appears that on some energy level disease is but a metaphor or physical expression of the spirit’s conflict with the conditioned external world. One need only re-awaken the spirit, which is like a sleeping child, to begin the self-healing process.
I am deeply indebted to Stanislav Grof MD, Larry Dossey MD, Jeffrey Mishlove PhD and family and close personal friends who were there at just the right time to assist me