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Drowning – a Near Death Experience

ImageIn the summer of 1972 I was a young man living in Auckland. One day the guys in my flat took me sight-seeing to Muriwai Beach. One asked me if I had ever been surfing to which I replied, “No”, so he offered me the use of his surfboard.

Now, I am not a strong swimmer and I should have declined the offer.  Nor can I float (except for an inch of the top of my head that sticks out the water, so breath I have to swim!) But I accepted the offer and off I went into one of the most terrifying and yet strangely wonderful experiences I have ever had. The first wave dumped me off the surfboard and pushed me underwater. On surfacing to take a breath another wave pushed me under again. Again the same thing happened, three times surfacing and three times being shoved under again. On the last time I was caught in an underwater rip and dragged backwards along the seabed.  
At this stage I went in to a terrible panic and I can remember being pulled along the seabed, screaming into the water and clawing the sandy bottom.  This was sheer animal panic, the same sort that is felt by all men facing death for the first time. Now I could feel my lungs burning for air and my heart pounding in my ears. Everything seemed to rise to an incredible crescendo of panic, noise and pain at which point the whole thing stopped – instantaneously.  
Then I was in a new state: I could no longer hear my heartbeat and the silence was amazing. The panic and pain was gone completely: I was peaceful calm and happy. It was a peace of great magnitude, such as I had never felt before. Surrounded by a love of immense depth I realized that there was no time either – everything just IS. Next came a most unusual sensation as I “withdrew” from my body: I felt my teeth, my hair and my fingernails. I realized for the first time that these mineral parts of me were alive.
Then I was free of my body, looking down at it. It was floating in the water in a lotus position, completely inert. I looked at it and felt a deep loving gratitude towards it for being such a wonderful servant and vehicle, fare-welling it but having no regrets in the parting. Next I was “seeing” with a new type of vision. Although I had no eyes I could see everything differently and far better! I could see through 360 degrees – to the top, the bottom, the front and back as well as to the left and right of me.  Then I started seeing in different bands of the spectrum – the green, red and blue spectrums still stick in my memory. In the blue band the water had gold flashes in it – a most lovely sight.
While all this was happening I was having another experience – tapping into the universal source of knowledge. Things I had always wondered about were suddenly “answered”. Well, not so much answered as I knew the answer. As the experience progresses it gets harder to describe because much of the experience defies translation into mere words. The next major experience was
“the journey”.  It felt as if layers were “peeling” from me, something like layers peeling off a cooked onion.  I was going into the central core of my being.  In it was a “black hole” or opening.  I knew that once I had passed through this opening I would never return to this world. Yet I felt no fear, in fact I had a huge desire to complete the journey.
Sadly I never made it through, being shot instead to the surface – literally onto the surfboard. I can’t remember the journey to the shore but I do remember most vividly lying on the beach crying at the “injustice” of being returned to this world. I can also remember all the knowledge I’d gained draining from me and that really hurt! From that moment on my quest, my hunger was for that knowledge to return. And over the years I have gathered some of it back.
Has it changed my life? Yes!  First-hand experience of death removes all fear of it. The thought of death as annihilation is totally wiped. I also now know that death is not a punishment, but the ultimate reward for life!   


“I have made death a messenger of joy to thee.
Wherefore dost thou grieve?
I made the light to shed on thee its splendor.
Why dost thou veil thyself therefrom?”