In a classic near-death experience, someone leaves the body when it is clinically dead. This could involve flat-lining on the operating table. Or it could be in the middle of a trauma like being electrocuted, being stabbed, drowning, having a cardiac arrest, or whatever. Their consciousness, or all that they think of as themselves minus the physical matter, leaves the body and goes somewhere else.
In this somewhere else state, they often experience ecstasy. It usually involves being loved so much and so profoundly they cannot even describe it in Earth language. They’ll say things like “It’s like the best hug you have ever had times a million.” Sometimes this love is in the surroundings as if in the air. Sometimes it’s meeting deceased relatives or beings of light. Sometimes it’s meeting Christ or God or an angel or a twin flame. Whatever it is, the love is beyond intense. Way beyond intense.
They will often also see incredible landscapes in surreal detail compared to here. There are stories of singing flowers and heavenly music (as if the air itself sings) and intense colors including many that don’t show up on Earth (computer technology claims 16.9 million colors here on Earth.)
After walking around in some unearthly dimension savoring ineffable ecstasy, they are told they have to go back to physical life on Earth. Many of them protest vigorously, yet they return to this place—with all its pain and violence and fear—and are left to process what happened to them, often alone because so few people like to talk about death and woo-woo.
I never had an NDE, but recently I fell in love.
Full speed ahead and nowhere to go
It was an unexpected love, one neither sought nor planned for. I met a woman I had been getting to know by email. She lived 600 miles away. Our correspondence had been intimate yet platonic, sharing the kinds of feelings and stories you might reveal in a support group or personal growth workshop.
She was, after all, a married woman. Her surly, neglectful husband was addicted to porn and video games. She and I exchanged our life’s horror stories and attempted to soothe each other’s emotional wounds.
After many months writing, we met in person. The energy rapidly shifted as our hearts opened to each other. Despite that I was single and she was miserably married, we did not cross the line of physical intimacy. We dd not even kiss.
After I left town, our creative channels burst open. We became lovers in thought via the medium of words. We showered each other with the most precious serum of affection. It was virtual loving at its finest, something akin to the exchanges of letters between Henry Miller and Anais Nin. She was my soul muse. She saw into me. She got me. Under this love spell my creative energy flowed like spring thaw. We bantered and flirted with speed and humor as if we both had teams of extra writers living inside our heads and hearts.
For years, she said, friends had been urging her to leave her troubled marriage. Even her adult kids encouraged her to leave, she said. She had a lawyer picked out, she said. In less than two weeks my soul muse announced to her husband that their 27-year marriage had just ended. She wrote me that she was now free to pursue any sort of relationship that we wanted. She would be polyamorous.
Don’t cash that check yet
Then her husband made a miraculous u-turn recovery. Faced with divorce, loneliness, stigma, and the probable loss of their house, he awoke from the dead and suddenly became the husband she’d always wanted. He made love to her (she said) in ways he hadn’t in 27 years of marital history. He suddenly wanted to become a better father to the kids. He suddenly took an active interest in her life as if Pfizer had invented Viagra for the heart.
While thrilled with this development, my soul muse said that no matter what, I was in her life to stay. In one poem she wrote, “For I receive you forever / I’m your Bride and I wait to welcome you each day / To a wedding night and honeymoon of unending bliss …”
Forever turned out to be about three more weeks. Her suddenly-transformed husband asked her to re-marry him and she accepted. Then she abruptly blocked me on Facebook.
When the love flow unexpectedly halted, it was like being sent back to physical earth in a near-death experience. I had a pile of emails and text messages to annotate the roller coaster ride. My soul muse had penetrated deep inside my psyche and exposed my most sacred desires and aspirations. Through her I realized how much I craved true partnership in love. It had been entirely virtual, but I felt what it was like to be soul-mated.
A near-death experience usually occurs unbidden. Someone unexpectedly “dies,” experiences ecstasy, and is then returned to deal with the consequences of this perceptual shift. That’s what my near-ecstasy experience was like, too. It was unexpected to begin with; it served up a rich layered dessert of mental and emotional bliss, and then it vanished. I guess that happens to rich layered desserts!
As with an NDE, I won’t know all the answers to my questions. Yet putting this experience in the same context as an NDE has helped me move through it. I have learned to look for the lessons and for the gifts. This process has minimized my getting caught up in the blame game or feeling too sorry for myself. Conceiving it as a planned event in my Earth School curriculum has motivated me to rise above the pain of paradise suddenly denied me. It also helps me better empathize with what NDErs feel when they are sent back to the snake pit.