By Douglas De Long
[Excerpted from Mysteries of the Afterlife, compiled and edited by Rosemary Ellen Guiley.]
The lights were dim in the intensive care unit of the local hospital. The small nursing staff of the night shift was on duty. I was lying in a bed directly across from the nursing station. Several tubes had been inserted into my body; one in the upper left side of my chest, one into a nostril, another into the left side of my abdomen and a fourth one into the wrist. Two of these originated from IV bottles and the other two ran back into drainage machines.
It was here that I was recovering from major bowel surgery. In fact, this was the second “bowel resection” for me in less than a week. Earlier that day, I had been reopened with a knife from above my groin to just below the sternum. Heavy sutures and clamping devices resembling large hair curlers had been used to close the new incision. Unfortunately, several hours later some of the sutures burst open, exposing my intestinal tract.
The pain was unbearable already, but with this further mishap it became excruciating. (Upon reflection, I can honestly say that I know what the pain of childbirth feels like for most women, although I am a man!) I drifted in and out of consciousness throughout the day. When I became lucid, I would beg the nurses for a pain killer, anything to ease the agony. Each time I was informed gently that my heart was beating too slowly to receive any morphine or Demerol for relief.
At 19 years of age, I thought I had my whole life ahead of me and that this nightmare should not be happening. It was very difficult to comprehend all of this. The only thing l understood was the terrible pain.
A male nurse was one of the night staff. He was sitting at the nursing station across from me reading something. l was now in a clearer state of mind and could observe him and the surrounding area of the intensive care unit as I lay there. It was at that moment l felt a strange tug in my solar plexus. This sensation became stronger.
Then my awareness moved down from my eyes to my solar plexus. From there I felt myself floating out of my pain-wracked body. Once I was completely free of my physical form, the pain disappeared.
I could see everything around me in great detail. This included the thin, emaciated person lying below me in the hospital bed. His eyes were shut, and he appeared to be in a deep sleep or even dead.
I realized that I was now gazing at my own body. It resembled a wax figure. Although this gave me an eerie feeling for a second, it quickly ceased.
I became more curious and started to float across the room toward the nursing station where the male nurse was sitting. l floated effortlessly over him and looked down at what he was reading; it was the sports section of the local newspaper. For some reason, he was unaware of my presence. A strong reading lamp shone directly onto him and his reading material. This same light seemed to shine right through me.
After a brief moment, I continued with my exploration. I felt free as a bird in flight as I drifted around the corner of the nursing station toward three glass cubicles situated immediately behind. The center cubicle contained a bed with a sick, elderly man in it. He had recently suffered from a heart attack. A pillow propped him up as he rested with his eyes closed. I entered his room or cubicle and floated above him. As I did that, he opened his eyes, smiled and waved at me. I waved back at him. This seemed strange. The nurse had not seen me nor been aware of my presence. Yet this deathly ill man could see me in my soul form. He had even communicated with me in some way. The next day, this poor fellow passed away.
After that, I went down the small corridor, around to the other side of the nursing station. I headed toward the double doors that led out of the intensive care unit. The doors may have been closed, but I passed right through them like a ghost. I moved down the quiet hospital hallway and veered to the left. I continued along this hallway until l reached a steel door that was off to my left. The word “morgue” was written on the front of the door. As before, I went right through the door. I was now floating within a cold, sterile room. The floor had a granite stone look to it. The wall in front of me contained several freezer doors. The scene reminded me of a murder mystery where someone has to go to the morgue to identify the body.
I felt very uncomfortable here and wanted to leave right away. As soon as I thought this, I started to fly rapidly up through the ceiling and through the roof of the hospital. I shot up into the night sky like a Roman candle. My soul continued upward into space. Soon I was moving along at an incredible speed. Many stars seemed to flow past me. It looked like an episode of Star Trek when the starship goes into warp drive.
The tunnel of light
Then my soul started to slow down as I spotted a beautiful white light ahead. Instantly I was standing, or more accurately floating, in front of this intense, vivid light. I experienced a sense of peace here. This light was actually a long tunnel with even more light radiating from deep within the center. I felt an overwhelming urge to enter into the tunnel toward the radiance at the far end. The sensation of being home filled my being. I felt comfort and joy in this wonderful place as I floated down the long tunnel.
Up ahead I started to see people looking toward me. They were faint but discernible. There was a blue sky in the background. All the people felt very familiar.
It was at this point that two beings of light appeared on each side of me. Their ethereal hands reached out and gently touched me. My forward momentum stopped, even though I wished to continue traveling toward this scene.
These two light bodies or angels began to talk. Neither one of the angels spoke verbally. Instead, the words and messages given to me came in a telepathic form. I could hear their voices inside my head clearly. They took turns talking. I was told repeatedly that it was not my time to go and that I had things to do on earth. The angel to the right of me stressed that I had an “arrangement with heaven” and needed to fulfill it. Both these ethereal beings radiated intense love and understanding toward me in my soul form.
Then a vision was shown to me. It was like watching television as the scenes unfolded. Future world events flashed before me in quick succession. Terrifying diseases, natural calamities, and major earth changes rolled across the screen. Just before the vision came to an end, a final scene was shown. This one was of a more positive nature. It involved a world embracing spirituality and love. The impression was that earth and heaven would be closer to each other. Angels and other spiritual beings would work together with people on earth in the near future.
When this prophetic vision ended, the two angels smiled. They gently turned me away from the brilliant light and nudged my soul in the other direction. Soon, I was flying at an incredible speed past the stars. My soul continued in this manner until a beautiful blue planet came into sight. I shot down through the cloud until I was directly over the top of the local hospital. Then I went into the building itself and floated down into the intensive care unit.
There was an apprehension inside as I floated toward my almost lifeless body. I positioned myself in my soul essence right above the physical body. The face still looked pale and sickly. I started to move closer to the inert body, even though I was trying to fight this movement. I sensed that the hands and feet of my soul form were trying to keep me from descending into the body. Despite all my efforts, I slipped back into my physical form. It felt like cold clay as I settled within.
Back on Earth
In less than a second, I opened my eyes, fully awake. The intense pain was now back, so I pressed the call buzzer situated on the pillow beside my head. The male nurse heard the sound, looked up at me, and put down his newspaper. He came across to my bed very quickly, carrying a blood pressure machine. A stethoscope was hung about his neck. In a very expert and caring way, he checked my blood pressure and listened to my heartbeat. A slight smile came onto his face as he did this. He then looked down at me with kindness and said, “Your heartbeat and breathing are stronger. I can give you something for the pain now.”
With that, he gave me an injection of Demerol that eased the pain in a few minutes. I knew at that moment that I would survive the ordeal. There would be a few rough times ahead, but I would overcome them and live a productive life. With that thought in mind, I drifted off into a pleasant sleep.
I look back upon my near-death experience as a journey into light. Once I became healed, some special abilities started to re-manifest. As a child, I could see auras or energy around people and things. Visitations by angels and spirit guides were common occurrences for me. After this profound experience at age 19, l started to see lights and then colors around people again. Soon I could see the human aura of everyone very distinctly. I was able to interpret accurately what the colors meant.
Most survivors of near-death experiences, or NDEs, develop an intense desire to seek a spiritual path. Many will do so through means other than organized religion. A deeper understanding and appreciation of life can be the result. Some survivors develop special psychic and spiritual gifts. For them, the small dramas of life become less important than the greater life plan they have been shown.
Douglas De Long: Author of Ancient Teachings for Beginners, spiritual teacher, past-life therapist, chakra master, and medical intuitive, co-founder with his wife, Carol, of the De Long Ancient Mystery School in Saskatoon, Canada.