Kimberly Clark Sharp's message
from her extraordinary near-death
experience during the minutes after
her heart suddenly stopped and she
lay on the sidewalk, not breathing
and without a pulse. Swept into
a peaceful, loving place of brilliant
golden light and warm comfort, she
saw, for the first time, the meaning
of life - and death. After her near-death
experience, she became the cofounder
and president of the
Seattle International Association
for Near-Death Studies (IANDS).
The following is an excerpt of her
near-death experience as described
in her book,
After The Light.
first thing I remember was the urgent sound
of a woman's voice. "I'm not getting
a pulse!" she said. "I'm not getting
fact, I said, I felt fine. Really good.
Come to think of it, I'd never felt better,
or more alive. I was healthy and whole,
calm and together for the very first time
in my life.
I still couldn't see, I could hear everything
- mostly the scramble of many voices talking
all at once. It didn't bother me. I let
it go. I let everything go.
next awareness was of an entirely new environment.
I knew I was not alone, but I still couldn't
see clearly, because I was enveloped in
a dense, dark gray fog. I felt a sense of
expectancy, the same anticipation one feels
when waiting for a plane to take off or
arrive. It seemed natural and right to be
here, and for me to wait as long as it took.
Earthly time had no meaning for me anymore.
There was no concept of 'before' or 'after.'
Everything - past, present, future - existed
an enormous explosion erupted beneath me,
an explosion of light rolling out to the
farthest limits of my vision. I was in the
center of the Light. It blew away everything,
including the fog. It reached the ends of
the universe, which I could see, and doubled
back on itself in endless layers. I was
watching eternity unfold.
Light was brighter than hundreds of suns,
but it did not hurt my eyes. I had never
seen anything as luminous or as golden as
this Light, and I immediately understood
it was entirely composed of love, all directed
at me. This wonderful, vibrant love was
very personal, as you might describe secular
love, but also sacred.
Though I had
never seen God, I recognized this light
as the Light of God. But even the word God
seemed too small to describe the magnificence
of that presence. I was with my Creator,
in holy communication with that presence.
The Light was directed at me and through
me; it surrounded me and pierced me. It
existed just for me.
The Light gave
me knowledge, though I heard no words. We
did not communicate in English or in any
other language. This was discourse clearer
and easier than the clumsy medium of language.
It was something like understanding math
or music - nonverbal knowledge, but knowledge
no less profound. I was learning the answers
to the eternal questions of life - questions
so old we laugh them off as clichés.
Why are we here? "To
What's the purpose
of our life? "To love."
I felt as if
I was re-remembering things I had once known
but somehow forgotten, and it seemed incredible
that I had not figured out these things
Then this ecstasy
of knowledge and awareness was interrupted.
Again, without words, I learned that I had
to return to my life on Earth.
I was appalled.
Leave all this, leave God, go back to that
old, oblivious existence? No way.
The girl who
always did as she was told dug in her heels.
But to no avail. I was going back. I knew
it. I was already on the way. I was on a
trajectory headed straight for my body.
That's when I
saw my body for the first time, and when
I realized I was no longer a part of it.
Until this moment, I'd only seen myself
straight on, as we usually do, in mirrors
and photographs. Now I was jolted by the
strange sight of me in profile from four
feet away. I looked at my body, the body
I knew so well, and was surprised by my
detachment. I felt the same sort of gratitude
toward my body that I had for my old winter
coat when I put it away in the spring. It
had served me well, but I no longer needed
it. I had absolutely no attachment to it.
Whatever constituted the self I knew as
me was no longer there. My essence, my consciousness,
my memories, my personality were outside,
not in, that prison of flesh.