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Time and the Near-Death Experience

What is time? Is it a measure of the movement of the sun across the sky? Is it a ratio of numbers on a clock that represents change from one state to another? Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity proved that time is subjective to a person’s own relative position of reference. Einstein’s theory even allows for time travel which is an aspect of many reported near-death experiences. The following is a brief introduction of all the insights concerning time from near-death experiencers profiled on this website.

1. Introduction to Time After Death

Jeanie Dicus

After death when we enter the spirit realm, it feels as though we were there just a moment ago. Our time on earth seems like only a brief instance. Time in the spirit realm does not exist. By getting rid of the illusion of time from our minds, we have the power to expand our consciousness. We will realize that we are already living in timelessness right now. This means a person can remain in heaven for eternity if they desire before deciding whether to return for another earth life. In the spirit realm, if we desire, we can travel instantaneously from the beginning of earth history to the end. We have the power to grow forever. We are powerful spiritual beings.

2. Time as Experienced by Those Having an NDE

“The fact of a pre-earth life crystallized in my mind, and I saw that death was actually a “rebirth” into a greater life … that stretched forward and backward through time.” (Betty Eadie)

Jan Price wrote: “Time’s measurement on the physical plane is based on the vibration rate of cesium atoms, which was approved by international agreement in 1964. On the Other Side, time is simply the sequence of activity recorded in consciousness. And since our awareness is on a higher frequency in that world, progression (what we see happening) is greatly accelerated. In some situations it would seem to be at the speed of light. In his book ‘Return from Tomorrow,’ George Ritchie, M.D., writes about his life review during a near-death experience: ‘There were other scenes, hundreds, thousands, all illuminated by that searing Light, in an existence where time seemed to have ceased. It would have taken weeks of ordinary time even to glance at so many events, and yet I had no sense of minutes passing.’ The specified lengths of time that we on Earth call seconds, minutes, hours, days, and so forth do not apply over there. The Bible’s definition of God’s time (the plane of heaven) is that one thousand years equals one day – a remarkable extension of third-dimensional time. I was out of my body for close to four minutes. If we agree with the Bible equation, that would be about three years on the higher plane. That seems like an awfully long time for my particular experience; maybe I just didn’t adjust to ‘heavenly time’ the way others have. For example, in the book Intra Muros by NDE experiencer Rebecca Ruter Springer says: ‘Days lengthened into weeks, and weeks into months, and these in turn crept into years, and the duties and joys of heaven grew clearer and dearer with each passing hour.” (Jan Price)

“It does not matter that we leave family and friends behind because time becomes irrelevant. It is certain that once we enter the spirit realm, it will be just a blink of the eye before they join us.” (Mac Wright)

“Before we’re born, we have to take an oath that we will pretend time and space are real so we can come here and advance our spirit. If you don’t promise, you can’t be born.” (Jeanie Dicus)

“Space and time are illusions that hold us to the physical realm; in the spirit realm, all is present simultaneously.” (Beverly Brodsky)

“Time did not make any sense. Time did not seem to apply. It seemed irrelevant. It was unattached to anything, the way I was. Time is only relevant when it is relative to the normal orderly sequential aspects of life. So I was there for a moment or for eternity. I cannot say but it felt like a very long time to me.” (Grace Bubulka)

“During an NDE, you can’t tell if you were in that light for a minute of a day or a hundred years.” (Jayne Smith)

“Earthly time has no meaning in the spirit realm. There is no concept of before or after. Everything – past, present, future – exists simultaneously.” (Kimberly Clark-Sharp)

“From the onset of this rather superconscious state of the darkness of the tunnel, there was something that was totally missing, and that was what we call time. There’s no such thing as time in heaven! As I thought of and formulated a desire or a question, it would already have been recognized, acknowledged, and therefore answered. And the dialogue that took place, took place in no time. It didn’t require a fifteen-minute duration in time; it simply happened.” (Thomas Sawyer)

3. NDE References to Time Travel

Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity allows for the possibility of time travel. During an NDE, some people have reported traveling back in time and some have reported traveling into the future.

Don Brubaker’s Time Travel Near-Death Experience:

Christ says to Don Brubaker, “Don, do you want to stay or go back?”

“I want to go back,” I answered immediately, knowing I made the right choice.

Jesus smiles. “You have chosen well. Go. I am with you,” Jesus says gently.

Everything changes again, as if someone has turned a page in a book. I see myself in the midst of a huge crowd. It’s not a modern crowd. They are dressed in the clothes of Bible times. I look down at myself. So am I.
The crowd seems to be jeering at me. Why? Then I see more: I help a man, someone who has been brutally whipped and abused. The crowd is upset because I am offering assistance. But the beaten man has eyes that burn with love and compassion.

How could anyone want to hurt this man? I lift the man off of the dusty road to his feet.

The man turns, and from somewhere he lifts a huge wooden cross to his back. The man begins moving toward a hill. The hill is called Golgotha. With each new moment, I realize more and more clearly what I am seeing. These people are going to crucify Christ.

I follow, stunned, I watch in horror as Jesus is nailed to the cross, the spikes pounded through his wrists and the sensitive insteps of his feet. I watch helpless as the cross is propped up and dropped into position with an ugly thud. I cover my face with my hands.

If only others could see what I’ve seen. The world would get on its knees … The world would be at peace. (Don Brubaker)

“Everything in this experience merged together, so it is difficult for me to put an exact sequence to events. Time as I had known it came to a halt; past, present, and future were somehow fused together for me in the timeless unity of life … I could be anywhere instantly, really there … I felt it necessary to learn about the Bible and philosophy. You want, you receive. Think and it comes to you. So I participated, I went back and lived in the minds of Jesus and his disciples. I heard their conversations, experienced eating, passing wine, smells, tastes – yet I had no body. I was pure consciousness. If I didn’t understand what was happening, an explanation would come. But no teacher spoke. I explored the Roman Empire, Babylon, the times of Noah and Abraham. Any era you can name, I went there.” (George Rodonaia)

The light replied, “Let us go back in time, as far back as possible, and tell me how far back we should go”. I was thinking for some time. Eventually I blurted out, “Stone Age?” I did not have much time to think about all this, because, all of a sudden, I saw human beings back on earth. I was looking down on a group of people, men and women, who were dressed in furs, sitting around campfire. (Guenter Wagner)

“The box opened to reveal what appeared to be a tiny television picture of a world event that was yet to happen. As I watched, I felt myself drawn right into the picture, where I was able to live the event. This happened twelve times, and twelve times I stood in the midst of many events that would shake the world in the future.” (Dannion Brinkley)

4. More NDE References to Time

Going through the tunnel during an NDE means traveling through the various afterlife realms. One of the realms that you can see on either side of the tunnel, is an outline of houses, walls, trees, etc., but everything is motionless. As you travel further up the tunnel, you can see more light and movement in what appear to be normal cities and towns. (Edgar Cayce)

Webmaster’s note: Cayce didn’t mention it, but the motionless realm he saw, I believe, is the physical realm. If it is, then it shows how time stands still in the physical realm when entering the spirit realm.

“An expansion of consciousness can be achieved through meditation. With this expansion comes the realization that we are in eternity now.” (Edgar Cayce)

“There is no time and space in the spiritual world. If one is in the highest realms, love reigns. And where there is love, there is happiness. Where there is happiness, there is no awareness of time. Therefore, there is no time as we know it there. In the lower realms, because people are very unhappy, time seems to drag forever. There is space, but it is a reflection of the qualities of the people who live there. Where love reigns, there is no distance between people.” (Nora Spurgin)

Harvey Green wrote: “The occupants in outer darkness are there for various lengths of time. It is peculiar to discuss length of residence by a measure which does not exist in that dimension. For most of us it is very difficult to relate to a timeless condition, so the use of finite terms helps us to better understand. Some residents feel they have been in outer darkness for weeks or months, others for eons. No doubt all are correct in their assessment of length of time spent in this realm. In a reality of pain and torment, even a moment can seem like an eternity and there is no way to judge length of stay until after one has long departed. Some souls have occupied outer darkness for what we would measure as hundreds, even thousands of years. But it is more likely that most stay for a considerably shorter period. It is not possible for souls to be forever confined to outer darkness, since in such a case there would be no hope of redemption.” (Harvey Green)

“In the void during an NDE, there is a profound stillness, beyond all silence. You can see or perceive FOREVER, beyond Infinity, in pre-creation, before the Big Bang, in the Eye of Creation. It is like toughing the Face of God and being at one with Absolute Life and Consciousness. You can experience all of creation generating itself. It is without beginning and without end. You realize the Big Bang is only one of an infinite number of Big Bangs creating Universes endlessly and simultaneously. The only images that even come close in human terms would be those created by supercomputers using fractal geometry equations. You learn that you are an immortal being and a part of a natural living system that recycles itself endlessly.” (Mellen-Thomas Benedict)

P.M.H. Atwater wrote: “Time and space exists only in the physical realm. When you leave the physical realm, you leave such constraints. Existence there is never ending and ongoing, forever and ever eternal. The only true movement is without the distortion of time and space. It is expansion and contraction, as if the existence that exists were capable of breathing. What appears as a progression, a time-line of starts and stops and ever-changing variations, is but an overleaf, an illusion, that helps us to focus on whatever realm we currently inhabit so that we will accomplish what we set out to do (or at least have an opportunity to), and not be distracted by The Truth that under-girds reality. Using radio as an analogy, dying to this physical realm and entering a spirit realm is comparable to having lived all your life at a certain radio frequency when all of a sudden someone or something comes along and flips the dial. That flip shifts you to different frequency. The original frequency where you once existed is still there. It did not change. Everything is still just the same as it was. Only you changed, only you speeded up to allow entry into the next radio frequency on the dial. You then fit into your particular spot on the dial by your speed of vibration. You cannot coexist forever where you do not belong. (P.M.H. Atwater)

“When you die, you enter eternity. It feels like you were always there, and you will always be there. You realize that existence on earth is only just a brief instant.” (Dr. Kenneth Ring)

“After death, you can literally travel at the speed of light and see all of the people on earth simultaneously in one moment. You can see people in all manner of activity instantaneously. You can see people praying in mosques and temples, synagogues, and churches. You can see people individually expressing their own silent prayers. You can see indigenous tribes in all different parts of the world drumming and chanting. You can see God sending multitudes of angels to earth to assist in answering all of the countless, millions of prayers being offered up at that single moment.” (Dr. Liz Dale)

“When you die, everything stops and you enter eternity. It is like finally getting to the nanosecond, where time stops. Like a watch, our body stops at that time. Yet our spirit and consciousness continue to live on in a dimension beyond sequential time. We go beyond nanoseconds into a space-time measurement we cannot know here on earth. It is the eternal now where past, present, and future are all merged into one. Eternity is the present, the now that never ends.” (Dr. Gerard Landry)

“After death, you can go through the end of time all the way back through the beginning of time, then back into the present time where you started. It lasted forever, and was over in an instant. It is a paradox.” (Dee Rohe)

“After death, you can view one afterlife realm as if it was first grade. People stay there until they were ready to go to the next afterlife realm. This is the eternal progression, from one realm to the next.” (Cecil)

“The sense of timelessness after death makes you feel unaware of how long things last, but it can feel like a long time – maybe days or maybe weeks.” (Howard Storm)

“Everything in the spirit realm is kept in place by an all pervading Master-Vibration which prevents aging. Things don’t get dirty or wear out. Everything looks so bright and new. You can then understand how heaven is eternal.” (Arthur Yensen)

“In the spirit realm, travel takes no time at all. Any experience can seem like eons. But that same experience also seems like seconds.” (Dr. George Ritchie)

“In the spirit realm, It can take eons of time as we understand it before some people go into the light. It depends on the person. You’re in control. You hold the reins. Those who’ve come through those darker levels have said that they’ve had to face themselves and realize that if they don’t shape up, in other words, learn more about themselves, they’re not getting anywhere.” (George Anderson)

“Space and time are illusions that hold us to this physical realm. In the spirit realm, all is present simultaneously.” (Beverly Brodsky)

“After death, each person shapes their own eternity to correspond with their real inner nature. Some are taught by their friends about the state of eternal life.” (Emanuel Swedenborg)

“One experience in the spirit realm can feel like forever. Time no longer seems to apply and seems irrelevant. Time is only relevant when it is relative to the normal orderly sequential aspects of life. The experience can feel like a moment and an eternity. You realize that you are eternal and indestructible. You realize that you have always been, that you always will be, and there was no way you could ever be lost. It is impossible to fall into a crack in the universe somewhere and never be heard from again. You are utterly safe and always have been forever and ever.” (Jayne Smith)

“Life is about having experiences forever and ever and ever. As we bring this awareness permanently into our consciousness, our connection with God will be there and not somewhere in our unconscious. We will be consciously aware of who we are all the time.” (Jayne Smith)

“The experience lasted for hours or eons and now it seems that eons passed in only moments.” (Virginia Rivers)

“We wandered in this beautiful place for what seemed an eternity.” (Karen Schaeffer)

“The experience was a few seconds, but it seemed like an eternity.” (Rev. Kenneth Hagin)

“In the spirit realm, time and space becomes nothing more than attenuated wisps of human invention. Both were webs of light created in my consciousness.” (Lynnclaire Dennis)

“The human spirit is eternal and we are not alone in the cosmic scheme of things.” (Brad Steiger)

“In the spirit realm, people don’t talk about time. They talk about opportunity. People don’t think about time because it is not measured off in days and nights and months and years.” (Margaret Tweddell)

“Our souls are immortal and eternal.” (Sandra Rogers)

“Many events of eternity can pass through you. You can bathe in them and become them. They can be infused into your soul.” (RaNelle Wallace)

“We are intricately connected to all that exists throughout eternity.” (Jan Price)

“On the other side, one event follows another just like on earth. But looking at it another way, time on the other side doesn’t pass at all because there is not enough change to make the passage of time evident. From another viewpoint, time in the afterlife stands still because it is always now. The past and future are of equal length because there never was a beginning and never can be an end. This flexibility of time on the other side can be compared to the earth experience when a person is enjoying themselves and time just seems to fly by. But another person having the same experience but who is absolutely miserable, time can seem to last forever. As Einstein discovered, time is a factor that is relative to a person’s own experience.” (Kevin Williams)

“I glanced at my wrist to note the time, since there was no sun in the sky. My wrist had no watch on it, nor was there any telltale evidence of a watchband … A strange sense of timelessness gripped me. It was simply awesome! … We exist here in that timelessness, the eternity of God, the kind of life that does not perish! It is our gift of love, eternal life!” (Dr. Richard Eby)

“There is an overall awareness of the earth’s future as it will be in six weeks, six months, or perhaps two years ahead. It is like being in an airplane looking down, and you can get a prevision of what is going to happen, due to being able to see things in broader perspective. However, there is not a complete vision of the entire future of earth. But there are souls in the spirit realm who, through much tribulation and service, have been permitted to see the earth’s future in a more extended way.” (Margaret Tweddell)

“Time is not linear. Energy moves in a continuum and if we would consider the past as a time passed we would release pain from the body. We get stuck because we stay in the past, instead of realizing that we have passed!” (Lynnclaire Dennis)

5. John Star’s Extraordinary NDE Concerning Time

John Star

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 obstacle.

“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 welled up:

“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.”

Whoooshshsssss, whoooshshsssss.

“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.” (John Star)