The Trigger of Death
The most obvious trigger for a
near-death experience is by actually undergoing the process of dying. It is
very likely that more near-death experiences are triggered by death than
by any other method. Although science has not really been able to define death precisely,
there is an established
criteria. Sometimes a near-death experience can occur during a surgical
procedure where the patient is purposely flat-lined. The
condition of the patient meets all the criteria for clinical and brain
death. After the procedure, the patient is revived. Sometimes, the
near-death experiences triggered this way are quite unique.
The following is an example of a
near-death experience, by a man named John Star, which was triggered by the process of
death. His near-death experience also appears in Kevin Williams' book, Nothing
Better Than Death.
One day, without any warning, John Star found himself
face to face with the fact that life in this world is terminal. He was swimming in Lake
Michigan about half a mile offshore when he got in trouble. He was swimming free style,
like he had done at swimming competitions, when he turned his head to breathe and inhaled
water from an oncoming wave. His lungs were full of water when he wondered if he could swim half a
mile at top speed without breathing. He tried. What resulted was an extraordinary
near-death experience and a miraculous return to life. Here is the
account of his near-death experience:
I had only gone a few yards when my head
began to buzz and I felt dizzy. A few yards more and I heard a loud snap. Suddenly the
world was calm and clear. I could see the shoreline, still in the distance and noticed the
sun shining overhead. It seemed brighter than usual. When I looked down I got the surprise
of my life. There was my body, still swimming toward shore, moving as straight and smooth
as a motor boat. I watched for a while, indifferent to the plight of my body. I was far
more concerned with trying to figure out where I was.
I noticed a light coming from somewhere
behind me. It was a peculiar light. It had feeling. When I turned to see where this light
was coming from, it would remain behind me. Somehow though, I managed to get turned around
so I could look right into the light.
The light was delicious. I soaked it up like
a dry sponge soaks up water. I felt like I had been sealed up in a vacuum packed jar for as
long as I could remember. Now the jar was opened and the pressure was gone. I could
breathe again. I could feel energy flowing into me, loosening and softening parts of my
being that I did not even know I had. My whole being thrilled with well-being and joy. A
feeling that I had known before, though I could not remember where or when.
Time itself seemed to be softening. For as
long as I could remember, the minutes, days and years of my life seemed to be fixed, like
the markings on a steel ruler. Now, the measuring stick of time was becoming soft and
flexible. It would stretch and shrink, like a rubber band. I could return to events of my
past, examining them with greater clarity and detail than when they had originally
happened, lingering there for what seemed like hours. But then, when I would return to
where I was, it seemed like no time at all had gone by. Back and forth I went. Deep into
episodes of my personal history, and then back into the light.
Time could also be contracted, I found.
Centuries would condense into seconds. Millenniums would shrink into moments. The entire
civilization that I was part of passed by in the blink of an eye.
"Look at that," I marveled.
"The whole civilization is no more permanent and no more important that a patch of
wild flowers! It's so simple from here, and so beautiful. Whether it is a patch of wild
flowers or a mighty civilization, the process is the same. It is only life, trying out
different shapes and then returning from where it came."
I was being pulled into the light. Or was it
that the world and the life that I knew was receding, the life that I had come to assume
was the only life there is. All of my certainties and all of my doubts, all of my pride
and all of my guilt, all of my pleasures and all of my fears, were all fading away. All
that remained was the light and the awesome feeling of well-being that the light
contained. It felt like I was waking up, like I had been in a deep sleep, dreaming an
intense and detailed dream when somebody came into the room and turned on the lights. Now
I was waking up and the dream was fading away.
As my sleepy eyes slowly became adjusted to
the brilliant radiance, I could make out shapes in the light. There were people
there! People that I knew and loved. The place was completely familiar, as though I
had been there just a few moments before.
"Did you have a nice rest?" one of
my friends asked.
My other friends broke out into roaring laughter. They were making a
joke. They all knew what a grueling ordeal such ventures into the material world can be.
They had all made such ventures themselves, many times before. I joined in the laughter.
How good it felt to laugh so freely. How strange, to be so open, and yet it was all so
familiar. I was totally alive again - an aliveness that was beyond beginning and ending -
an aliveness that was eternal.
The world that I had entered was now as solid
and real as the world that I had left behind, but the light was still visible. It was a
living light. It had vitality and feeling. It was focused in every living thing just as
the sun can be focused to a point with a magnifying glass. There were colors, too, not only
the colors that I had known on Earth but many octaves of color. Surrounding all my friends
and every other living thing was color, arranged in intricate geometrical patterns, each
pattern unique, every pattern original. Permeating the colors and patterns was sound,
countless octaves of sound. It was as though the colors could be heard. It reminded me of
bagpipes. Filling the entire region were the droning sounds. Octave upon octave of
invigorating, vitalizing sound. It was very subtle, practically imperceptible but immense,
it seemed to reach to infinity. Superimposed on this vast life-giving hum was the melody,
which was created by the individual sound of every living thing. Light and sound, color
and geometrical patterns were all combined into a totality of harmonic perfection.
It seemed like years had gone by. There was
no way to tell, though, whether it had been minutes, hours or years. Where I was now,
be-ing was the only reality. Be-ing, which was inseparable from the moment, inseparable
from the eternal NOW, inseparable from the life that was in all other beings. Even though
this place was as solid and real as the world I left behind, time and space was not an
To an animal, a closed door is an
insurmountable obstacle. They do not have the faculties necessary to overcome such a
barrier. In the world that I had left behind, time and space were just such an
insurmountable obstacle. I did not have the faculties necessary to overcome such a
barrier. Now I was free, like an animal that had learned how to work a doorknob. I could
go in and out of worlds without getting stuck. I could stay inside as long as I wanted. I
could become acquainted with people that lived there and get to know their particular
customs and their curious opinions, conclusions and beliefs. Then I could leave that world
and return to a world without end - a place where there were no opinions, conclusions, or
beliefs. It was a place where there was only be-ing, a place of awesome beauty and joy, a
place of total harmonic perfection.
Images of my former life began to flicker in
my mind. Fleeting images at first, but now they were growing stronger and clearer. Visions
of people who were dear to me that I had left behind. Visions of things I wanted to see
and things I had wanted to do. From somewhere deep within my being, a powerful voice
"You have seen enough of eternity. It's
not time yet for you to stay. Return now to the Land of Shadows where the mortal creatures
play and be a puff of dust in the wind without being blown away."
I raised my
head to see what was making that sound. It was tiny wavelets breaking along the edge of a
mirror-still lake, rattling the small pebbles that lined the shore. I was laying in the
sand on the shore of Lake Michigan, just a few inches from the water. I felt good, like I
just had the best rest that I had ever had.