by Debra Kaiser
As a young girl of 10, I became ill with strep throat and pneumonia, with a relentless high fever. I had been very sick for a couple of weeks with an increasingly sore throat, cold-like symptoms, coughing, and mounting breathing difficulty. (I had always had breathing problems and after this was formally diagnosed with asthma.) I eventually became unresponsive and was taken to hospital. There, during medical assessment, I was first stripped of all clothing and was wrapped in cold, wet sheets in an attempt to alleviate my soaring temperature. After diagnosing me, they gave me an injection of penicillin, to which I had an allergic reaction, resulting in an “anaphylactic shock-induced death.”
I found myself out of my body and floated up to the upper-right rear corner of the hospital room. As I looked down, I saw what was supposed to be me—a long, skinny body wrapped in white sheets—but the body wasn’t me. I felt a complete and total disidentification with the body, while I, the real me, was dispassionately observing the hospital staff frantically attending to it with an intense and increasing flurry of activity. The concern and attention they had for this body was interesting, yet no one noticed I was there, watching from outside of it.
Through the wall, I could see my distraught mother down in the hallway. On some level, I sensed and felt her angst, and I wanted her to know that I was all right, that she needn’t worry or be upset.
Her upset was no doubt heightened by the fact that, prior to my being in this room, the doctor had sternly and angrily chastised her. Why had she not brought me for medical attention far sooner? We had been at my great aunt’s cottage. It was summer. My illness progressed to the point where my fever remained high and constant—at least 104 degrees for two days—and my body would shiver uncontrollably. Though hot to the touch, I kept saying how cold and freezing I felt.
So my mother heeded my great aunt’s advice and covered me in blankets and put a woolen hat on my head. In addition, my aunt slathered me with Vicks VapoRub and wrapped a sock around my neck. All this naturally raised my fever, which is how I became unresponsive. The doctor was angry with my mother for bringing me into the hospital in blankets and a woolen hat, with a sock around my neck. He made a comment that she was cooking me to death and sternly sent her away to wait elsewhere. (My mother would tell me this many years later.)
As I continued to disinterestedly watch all the activity, a light began to fill the room, enveloping everything in sight, making its way to me, wrapping itself around me. I no longer saw anything else but this light. The physical scene below had now faded and disappeared. The light grew brighter and brighter. It was gorgeous, magnificent. Brilliant white silvery light swirled and glided, forming and melding around me.
Exquisitely soothing and flowing, it invited and welcomed me into itself. It was as though I looked into a corridor of light. The light pulled and drew me into itself and enveloped me. I had no resistance, as it felt so inviting and completely natural. I merged with the light, and became it. It was me, and I was it, without differentiation.
As the light now, I/we moved along this shining tunnel. The light was so intensified that’s there’s nothing to compare it to on earth. It was like when you look up and see shafts of sunlight shining onto you through the leaves of trees, only magnified in brightness thousands of millions of times.
In this pulsing brilliance, there was such a soft gentleness. I felt profound, exquisite LOVE. A joining and remembrance of being this Love, this true and perfect essence. I was and am that. All was perfect and whole. It felt unceasing and limitless. The indescribable, effulgent Love was what I was. And I was at peace. Complete peace. There were no thoughts, only blissful, peaceful silence and contentment beyond words. Only oneness prevailed.
At some point, there was what seemed to be a soft hum in the background and a gentle sound of whooshing air or wind all around. Yet it was not distracting nor disturbing. It was beautiful. I was part of it too.
Before me, appeared a magnificent being radiating forth pure Divine Love. This being was formless and was softly and ethereally pulsating, yet somehow it seemed to have a hint of form, liked a blended, ever-so-faint outline that was even more radiantly brilliant (though, paradoxically, of the same brilliance as all else around it).
There seemed to be a recognition of this being as an entity “other” than myself. And yet at the same time, it was also an aspect of who I was, and therefore, in essence, was ultimately also me. There was thus no sense of separation.
On each side of this magnificent being was another form. These two additional beings felt equally powerful, yet slightly smaller and a half-step back, even though their edges (and their entirety) intermingled with the central being. They also seemed to be more in observation. (I almost don’t want to say “they” here, because all three beings felt like one.)
We all shared this intense feeling of LOVE. Our communication was silent, absent of words, telepathic. This form of communication was all-knowing, like windows into the heart of the soul, through which the communication expanded both outward and inward. We read one another’s thoughts instantaneously. There was no room for even a smidgen of miscommunication. The whole picture of each expression was perfect. The three beings and I expressed everything so clearly, succinctly, and eloquently. The thought-forms flowed back and forth simultaneously, all at once. We all heard one another.
I had a sense that the being in the center was God, the Creator, and the thought-forms of the other beings were expressed to me through this one central consciousness. All was perfect. I felt that I was at home, basking, enfolded, and cradled in the heart of the source of all Love. Home in the heart of God.
Even though there was no sense of time or sequence, I then recall an ever-so-slight discomfort, a reluctance to agree to that which was next asked of me. This was to consider taking a look at my life, to review it, and then decide whether to remain in this loving embrace of divine perfection or to return to my body.
The idea of returning to the physical was definitely a highly unpleasant one, to say the least, and I attempted to refuse entirely. Patiently and with loving understanding, I was informed that indeed I could remain and not return to the physical if that’s what I chose. Yet I was gently encouraged to first take a look at my life prior to making that decision. I felt an increasingly strong sense of resistance to this, and yet in the same instant, a knowingness that I needed to.
I wasn’t forced in any way. The decision came from a deep internal knowing that it was the right and necessary thing to do. And so I agreed, however reluctantly, to take a look, and as a result experienced a very vivid life recall.
It was both painful and exquisitely beautiful. It was like viewing a film, filled with precise detail. Every single thought, word, deed, decision, and action was brought forth and re-experienced and re-examined. It was self-evaluation, with total transparency and honesty. Throughout, I was never judged by any of these divine beings. They simply held me in Love, with complete compassion and acceptance.
In this review, I realized that I was every single person I’d ever encountered or thought of. As I merged with and became them, I felt exactly what they experienced as a result of my loving or unloving thoughts and actions. I saw it all from their point of view, not only how my actions affected them, but then through them affected others they encountered, as the effects kept on going.
I saw that the love we express ripples out, creating an everlasting beauty that is often unbeknownst to us at the time. I saw this happen when I spoke a heartfelt word, thought a truly kind thought or gave undivided attention to someone. I recall simple gestures having the most impact, like a spontaneous and genuine smile. For example, I smiled at a woman I passed on the street and it turned her day around. She had been feeling disheartened about life, and my smile changed her interactions later that day with her children and others. On some level, I heard her thanking me.
In our essence, we are powerful and loving beings, and we are given countless opportunities to act from that love, endless chances to learn and grow by offering and receiving love. It felt as if we are living inside a grand game, which is perfectly designed to always give us another opportunity to get it right this time.
For instance, I saw a disheveled man. It was as though in the “game” he’d been dressed in this disguise to give others an opportunity to respond with kindness. But when I and others judged him—actually believed him to be “disheveled”—I felt his profound sadness and regret. On a higher level, I earnestly apologized to him and then immediately felt his forgiveness bestowed on me.
I saw that everything we do makes a difference. The impact we have on one another is profound. And all of it is registered telepathically somewhere in our minds, so that we carry within ourselves the consequences for our thoughts, words, and deeds. We have a responsibility, and we hold ourselves accountable for all of it. I could see that the effects we impose on others by our unlovingness become our personal hell. Hell is not a place we’re banished to as punishment. There is no punitive God. Hell is the self-judgment that keeps us imprisoned. We do it to ourselves.
Yet none of that is real. In the end, only the Love is real. The divine Love we share between us is all that truly matters, and is measured, and endures.
In this process of ruthlessly honest self-reflection, nothing went unnoticed. Nothing was able to be hidden. Nothing. Not one single thing. This life review was like going through everything with a fine-tooth comb, looking under every rock, leaving no stone unturned, seeing into each crevice with a Divine Light that revealed every hidden place. And through the entire process, it was all looked at and discerned through the lens of Love. Love prevailed. And I remembered.
In the life review, there was an interlude in which I was taken by the hand and led into another realm. It resembled earth because there were trees, sparkling sand, and aquamarine water. There were fruit-laden trees, lush foliage, and vibrantly colored birds. Everything was alive—each flower and every glistening grain of sand. Floral fragrances filled the air. (Even now, when I smell lilies and freesia, I’m transported back to that memory.) It was all soft and ethereal and vivid at same time.
I was not in a solid body, nor were the others. Rather, we were in these shimmering, flowing, ethereal garments. Everyone floated and glided, just inches above the ground. We could pass right through one another, and when we did, we felt a ripple of heightened intensity above our already sustained joy. As I glided slowly along, my “hand” would pass through the flowers and meld with and become them, and there would be that same ripple of joy. As I passed another, our thoughts communicated instantly. We had a sense of seeing into and becoming each other. We knew we were all one another. We felt an ecstatic joy that never stopped. It would build and intensify, ebb, and flow, yet it never stopped. I want to use the word “orgasmic,” but not in the sense we experience on earth. It was simple; it was Love, completely pure and unceasing Love.
Glimpses of the future
I was nearing more readiness to agree to return to the body, but was still reluctant and leaning towards saying no. Then I was asked, still without words, would I look at a few more things? And I agreed. I was then given glimpses of life ahead still to be lived. Those included the seeming challenges I would face, along with all the precious beauty that was inherent within them.
I was shown the children that I would birth into the world. I felt my love for them and theirs for me, along with the love between me and many others yet to come into my life.
I saw how my mother would be devastated if I “died,” never forgiving herself, thinking that she was responsible for my death. One of the beings I met there, who felt like my older brother (my mother had not yet informed me that she had given birth to a stillborn boy before me), told me how my (our) mother would be very, very sad.
After what I was shown of the life ahead, I was informed that if I chose to return, I would temporarily forget it all and that it would gradually come back to me in the living of my life.
Everything I was shown in the past review and the future preview was vibrant and vivid, with intensely amplified feelings. I felt reassured that all would be well; more than that—all would be and is perfect. (I don’t recall specifics of the future view. I don’t recall details of an eventual physical death. I can remember none of that.)
Toward the end of the life review and future glimpses, there was an event that seemed like a finale of sorts. One last gift to be shared and shown to me.
It was as though I walked into an enormous, open, ethereal space, not on earth. In this place, absolutely everyone I had ever encountered, even including people I had just passed on the street—literally everyone—was there before me. It was a vast sea of people, and I was awestruck.
As I looked around, there were faces of people who had been more prominent in my life: family, close friends, ancestors. These were more in the forefront. But also present were all those I had interacted with in passing on the street, in a park—everywhere I ever went in my life.
Once I got over the initial amazement of what felt like a grand surprise, I looked over the sea of faces, and the message that came from all of them together was, “Welcome home. Welcome, we’ve been waiting for you.” (My God, the profoundness of this brings tears to my eyes, tears of overwhelming gratitude and joy.)
This experience forever instilled in me a deep, knowing sense that no one is or will be left behind. We wait for one another. We wait for everyone. We wait for however long it takes to walk one another back home. It’s as though we play an unconditionally loving witness to one another’s lives. There was so much Love infused that it is indescribable and brings me to my knees in remembrance. It was like a reunion.
We then went on to excitedly reminisce in a way, in mind-to-mind communication: “Oh yes, I remember, when I said (or did or thought) that to you, you said (or did or thought) that to me.” “And then I felt and did”…etc., etc. It’s as if the divine in us is always supporting one another toward our eventual union with our Creator. What a revelation this part was. It was like a grandly orchestrated event on every level.
A most wonderful aspect of this was how, above the surface interactions, there is a whole completely perfect other level of communication going on at all times. Even when the interaction might appear to be hurtful, when seen from that other, higher level, it is only and always from Love and always in the highest good for both people. It’s as though I saw behind the scenes, behind the curtain of physical interactions, to what is always really going on. There’s a divine intelligence at work all the time. It was incredibly funny as well to see how I had often taken things so seriously. What a tremendous relief this was to see insights into what was really going on. That is what was revealed to me in our excited reminiscing. The whole thing felt like a celebratory party.
Choice to return
Once this “reunion” felt complete and I understood what I was meant to fulfill going forward, I then chose to return to the physical. I felt I had been given a great assignment of responsibility, and I vowed to fulfill it. It was not one big, important task. Rather, it was inherent in all that I had experienced: to be truly kind and express love at all times. Quite simply, I had fallen short and could do better this time. Going back into human life to play out this earthly “game” was still tinged with reluctance, though this was tempered by the magnificent Love I’d just experienced and the knowledge that we’d all meet again.
This entire experience must have happened within a few moments, but where I was there was no time, and it seemed to have gone on forever.
Perhaps my point of decision was when the doctor had counteracted the penicillin, which had stopped my heart, with adrenaline to get my heart beating again. In my experience, though, as soon as I said yes to the choice to return, I had a sensation of falling backwards into the light, like it all happened in reverse, but faster now, as if I was being pulled, sucked back through it all, falling backwards.
As this falling sensation began, I asked one last question: “Will I—and when will I—have the opportunity to return to the love and light of this my home and remain?” The answer was a resounding “Yes. Yes, my child.” And as to when, I heard (as I continued to fall backwards), “Yes in…when…bring” and then I heard numbers. It was either 1,000, 10,000, 100,000 or all of those. (Whether these referred to years, days, people, situations, lifetimes, or something else, I don’t know, and perhaps don’t need to know). I couldn’t hear clearly, and I don’t fully remember the details. I was falling backwards so fast that the communication became fainter. I heard the voice still (telepathically) speaking, but it became fainter and fainter, and I was straining to hear and gather it all.
And then I was back in the body.
I felt I understood it all. There was so much information, but it was all inside of me. The experience was about Love, an unconditional Love that transcends words. A Love so magnificent and perfect. And that grand Love resides within us all, equally. One human body could not carry nor sustain the magnitude of its unlimited power. We all share it equally. Love of this magnitude is truly indescribable in words. It is an otherworldly realm of indescribable radiance. Our purpose is to remember this Love, and help one another remember. And the opportunities are always right there, in front of us.
This experience has remained a touchstone for me my entire life. It has walked beside me the whole way. It would take a book to attempt to recount its impact on my life. In particular, it has given me a sense of the preciousness of every interaction and the opportunity for divine love to pass between us in the smallest of exchanges.
Many years later, when I found A Course in Miracles, I felt a powerful connection with it. This is difficult to put into words, but the words in the Course spoke so penetratingly to something deep within that it felt as if, in a sense, I myself wrote the words. Of course, I didn’t, but what I mean is that I felt such a profound sense of familiarity within the gift of the words, as though they were inside of me, helping me to remember who I am, who we all are. I have found my home in the Course because when I open its pages, I hear constant echoes of the home I visited when I “died” all those years ago.