Gilles Bedard is a near-death experiencer and specialist in contemplative music. From 1982 to 1997, he worked as journalist, concert, radio and record producer. His knowledge and expertise, combined with the thoroughness of his research, have made him Canada’s New Age music specialist and one of the genre’s most active proponents on the international scene. Through the years, Gilles has developed a unique way of working with music. After years of research and experimentation, he has created Inerson, a set of practices that enable people to develop their potential through music. His study of the psycho-spiritual dimension of death and dying has taught him that the sacredness of life is found in the simplest things of our everyday lives. Since 1990, Gilles has worked as counselor for near-death experiencers and has given individual and group workshops and seminars.
1. Gilles Bedard’s Near-Death Experience
The doctors at Sacré-Coeur hospital in Cartierville, Quebec, just north of Montreal, did not expect Gilles Bédard to live. Ravaged by a severe intestinal disorder for nearly five months, the 19-year-old five-foot, eight-inch Bédard weighed just 75 lb. on November 17, 1973, when he developed a 105º fever and lapsed into a coma. A priest administered last rites, and Bédard’s parents were at his bedside. But he recovered, and in the months that followed he had vivid recollection of his glimpse of what he calls an afterlife. Now 38 and living in Montreal, Bédard told deputy Chief Researcher Sharon Doyle Driedger that the experience has affected his life profoundly, leading him to his present career, as a producer of New Age music. The following is the account of his journey beyond death:
“All day long, I went in and out of a coma. Around 2 a.m., the doctors came and put me on my back to examine me. Then I saw a round light at the ceiling. I felt as if I were looking at the moon. Suddenly, I couldn’t see any walls. Then I saw myself from the ceiling. I was nine feet higher than my body and I was looking down at the people around me. It was very strange. I had never experienced anything like it. I could see myself, the people around me, the doctors, the nurse, my family, but I felt no emotion. It was just like watching television.
“In the blink of an eye, my vision expanded and I went into a place like a cosmos where there were twelve people standing in a half-circle. They were all pure white lights and they had no faces. Beyond them was a tunnel. I wasn’t afraid. I somehow knew these people although they weren’t family or people I could recognize. It was as if they were waiting for me. I asked them what was happening, and they told me, ‘You are not going to die. You are going back to Earth. You have something to do.’ I asked them what it was, and as soon as I asked it was as if I knew the answer. They said I would know what I had to do when the time came. At that moment, I could sense the future and I realized I had the choice to do what I wanted to do. I felt pure peace.
“What I remembered most is the music I heard when I was out of my body. It was fascinating. It was hard to tell how long the experience lasted. It could have been five seconds or half an hour. When I came back into my body, it felt very small. But it was OK. I felt calm, very warm. When I came to, around 5 a.m., I felt ready for a party. It was as if nothing had happened to me. I didn’t remember the experience at that time. But a month after I left the hospital, I had another one.
“During the night, I had a sensation of falling into a tunnel. Going into it, I knew I was about to die, but just before arriving at the end of the tunnel, I woke up. It was not a dream. It was real. And it was then that I remembered the earlier experience. After I left the hospital I felt secure, as if I were in a large protective bubble. I knew I could cross the street without looking and not be hurt.
“During my convalescence, I began to remember the special sound I had heard on the other side. It was slow and calm, like very deep breathing. At this period, I had a vision. I was with a sage in the mountains and we were looking into a valley and he said, ‘You are going to bring this music to the people.’ Then one day, a few years later, I heard the special sound on an album by Steve Roach, a composer of electronic music. I had always been interested in music. I played the guitar and performed in a small rock group with some friends, but after I discovered that album I turned to electronic music.
“Later, in 1988, I met Roach at a New Age music conference. There I found out that as a motorcycle driver, he had had a near-death experience. He said that when he wrote music, he tried to re-create the music he heard when he was in the light. I kept the experience to myself for a long time because I didn’t know who to tell and I didn’t want to be considered a freak. I am not afraid to talk about it now because people have heard about near-death experiences and it isn’t as shocking. It happened to me and it changed my life. If people don’t believe me, that’s OK. I’m not a salesman for near-death experiences.
“I’m an ordinary guy. I’m into reality. The near-death experience was not a mystical experience. It was a major step that helped in my life. It opened a new dimension for me, a new way of thinking. It changed my relationships with other people, with friends, with people near me, because I realized that it’s not other people who create your unhappiness. My near-death experience opened me to the possibilities of life. I know that I am going to live a long time. But I am not afraid of death now because I know what it is. People are afraid to die because they don’t know what’s there. But now I know that life will continue after death.”
2. Gilles Bedard’s Analysis of NDE Music Based on His NDE
Gilles Bedard analyzes the sound her heard from his NDE:
“Based on my experience, I would say that people usually have a romanticized view of the music heard during near-death experiences. That’s why most people think first of new age music, harp or soothing music. From the outside, it would seem like that, but the music experienced from within is deeper and more profound than that. When I first heard the music of Tangerine Dream (www.tangerinedream-music.com) (“Mysterious Semblance at the Strand of Nightmares” from their CD called “Pheadra“) in 1974, I thought that was almost it. But ten years later, when I heard Structures from Silence from Steve Roach (www.steveroach.com), I recognized the sound I heard on the Other Side. The music of Steve Roach is by far the most accurate and closest to the real sound of the near-death experience. When you go to the source of that sound, you then find yourself beyond the emotional side that we usually associate with the music on Earth. In my twenty-five years of research, on the television and radio programs I was invited to, I played that music and hundreds of people ‘recognized’ this particular sound. This happened also at the IANDS conference.
“The music of Constance Demby (www.ConstanceDemby.com), especially the piece “Celestial Communion” from her album Set Free is the musical illustration of being bathed into the light. For many of the people who assisted at my conferences, that piece unfolded on many occasions, as a souvenir of the near-death experience for those who lived one.
“If you would like to explore the music of the near-death experience, here are some suggestions. These are a part of my workshop Sound Quest to Omega that recreates the near-death experience in music. Each listening has that power, if I may say so, to unveil forgotten memories. Each listening takes you beyond to the Source of the light. Some people who have never had a near-death experience and who came to my workshops, experienced a light experience through this music similar to the near-death experience, but without dying.”
3. A List of Music Approaching the Sound of the NDE
Here is a list of music which Gilles Bedard says approaches the sound of his near-death experience:
(1) To prepare yourself for the experience, listen to “Structures from Silence” by Steve Roach. It will convey to you the light within.
(2) For being in the presence of the light and feeling its energy, listen to “The Other Side” by Steve Roach from the CD “Dreamtime Return.”
(3) For being one with the light, listen to “The Unfolding” from Duality by Lisa Gerrard (www.LisaGerrard.com) and Pieter Bourke.
(4) For being bathed in the light, listen to “Celestial Communion” from Set Free by Constance Demby.
(5) For a glimpse of eternity, listen to “The Graceful Sky” from Cavern of Sirens by Steve Roach and Vidna Obmana (www.vidnaobmana.be).
(6) For remembering, listen to “Dante’s Prayer” from Book of Secrets by Loreena McKennitt (www.LoreenaMcKennitt.com).
“There is much music available to give you this feeling but first you must be aware of the cleansing and the sound quest to go beyond to the Source of the light in Sound. You have to go beyond the esthetic aspect of music to the source of the power of sound. This is what I’m doing in the workshops. People surrendering to the sound will themselves have a very deep experience.
“While giving my Inerson workshops over the last 10 years, I have seen powerful catharses and profound transformations in people. Some have commented that the workshop opens a door within them that not only shuts itself after they’ve crossed its threshold, but disappears behind, leading them to follow the call towards their soul within the sound. And once they have surrendered to the sound’s resonance, they find the courage and determination to travel the path of profound transformation unfolding in front of them, a labyrinth of choices and consequences.
“What I share with you through Inerson is a way to connect yourself, to attune your whole being to the sound current. Thirty years ago, I didn’t know what to expect from the sound, except that there was a direction, a call to follow. I was drawn towards that call. Over my years of listening, I’ve found a way to probe into the sound, to access and experience sacred inner realms, allowing myself to be touched by the unknown, to be surprised by the sound. The music, or should I rather say, the sound I heard in my NDE, and which is now an integral part of my life, is the expression of consciousness, the manifestation of the Void in the Light, the Sound Current, the breath of the Universe, the breath of God.
“I hope that this music will give you a glimpse of what I heard in my near-death experience.”
Be sure to read the article NDE and Music Research Conclusions.