This anonymous scientist earned an M.S. in Geophysics in 1980, after a B.A. in geology degree, and is currently employed as a Seismologist in California. He has been a Project Manager in geophysics with a leading geotechnical consulting firm. This experience happened in 1967 or 1968 in the back yard of his boyhood home in New York state. He has had no other transcendent experiences. His experience resembles both an out-of-body experience (OBE) and a near-death experience (NDE)(in that his consciousness was markedly altered, not merely his experience of where he was located), although there is no suggestion in his account of the major physiological traumas that often (but far from always) seem to induce OBEs and NDEs. The aftereffects on his view of life he reports often occur with such experiences.
A Brief Encounter with Pure Love
This experience happened a long time ago when I was still a child of 12 or 13. (I am 46 now). We had a large granite boulder in our back yard that I liked to sit on and contemplete my short life and think about the many possible futures available to me. (This was before I had heard of TM or Meditation). My mother had saved this boulder from a neighbor’s yard, where it had been dug up by a contractor. She and I had a special affinity for this rock – I don’t know why.
One night, I was sitting there alone on the rock in semi-darkness. I looked up and to my left and saw a very bright blue-white light in the sky. I continued to look at this light, and it began to approach me until it became all-encompassing to my field of view. I cannot tell you how bright the light was, but it was overpowering, yet I had no trouble looking at it. I began to sense that the light was alive, and felt that it was radiating Pure Love. (A Christian would probably call this entity Jesus, but although we attended a mainline Protestant church regularly, I did not associate the light with any particular religious figure or belief system). I felt a sense of belonging and complete acceptance, and I felt great love for the light in return.
After gazing at this light for a short while, I suddenly found myself up in the air, looking down at my house and the town around me. I no longer felt the presence of the blue-white light. Since it was dark, all I could really see were the lights coming from houses and streetlights. I don’t remember if I could see myself – probably not, as my body was in darkness down on the rock. I do remember looking down through the telephone pole wires, which ran along the hedgerow above the rock (they were visible as dark lines in front of the lights of the town). I recall being momentarily puzzled by this view, which I had never seen before.
I slowly realized that I had no physical body, yet I could see everything around me just fine. The only emotion I experienced was exhiliration at being free of my physical body – like getting out of jail after being in solitary confinement for ages. The feeling I had (and still have) was that this experience was much more real than normal reality, and that this is what I would return to after my physical life on Earth ended.
After a short while I realized that I could will myself to go higher or lower in the air, and did so. I recall feeling very alive and exhilirated. I could also move horizontally, but I did not go very far before returning to my starting point over my physical body. I did not see any “cord” between myself and my physical body, as others have spoken of.
I have no recollection of returning to my physical body. I do remember telling my parents about it later. They just looked at me as though I had two heads. I tried many times to have this experience again, without any luck.
Contributor’s Comments on the Experience
I believe I gained useful knowledge from this experience, namely:
1. “Reality” consists of much more than what we observe (or can observe) in this physical life. Our normal reality is but a shadow of what really exists. The world, and in fact our universe, is very real and incredibly detailed, but it is not everything.
2. We are here in order to learn how to love and accept each other. In some sense, we are in a kind of school. That is, we choose to live this physical life in order to learn something that will be valuable to us in the “greater life”. What we are to learn is not always known to us.
3. We existed before our physical bodies did, and we will continue to exist in some form after our physical body has died.
4. Death is not something to be feared – it is only a doorway into another part of our existence, just as our birth was a doorway from another place.
5. Nothing matters in the long run if we don’t have love in our lives. It is more important to love and accept others than to be loved. (But it’s a great by-product!)
6. There is no “Heaven” or “Hell” but the one we make for ourselves by our actions and beliefs.
Having this experience was one major reason I became a scientist, although I probably would have become one anyway, as I was always very curious about nature. In some sense, it has caused me not to be as curious and scientifically productive as I might have been, since I now know that “nature” is but one tiny part of a much greater whole. In other words, it is much more important to me to be a loving, accepting person than a great scientist.
Even knowing this, it has still been a struggle for me to love and accept others in my daily life, but I am always learning. The biggest struggle for me has been with my own family members. I am just now becoming aware of how much more I need to love and accept them as they are, and not as I wish they would be. I think this may be the one “Truth” I was supposed to gain from this life.