You know, I have been dead so many times that I tend to view life from a slightly different perspective than most people. Some things that outwardly appear to be serious are not. While other things that do not appear serious, really are to me.
Due to the near-death experience (NDE), my life was shoved under the scientific microscope, and was then catapulted into the spiritual spotlight, from the day I was struck by lightning.
Having been raised in the Southern fundamentalist tradition, I had been taught that our reward for living a good life would be redeemed in Heaven. Yet, as a child I had no interest in that far off wonderland where angels were playing golden harps on fluffy white clouds. You see, I had always been into instant gratification! So, whatever was waiting for me, behind some invisible veil, seventy or eighty years down the road, meant little or nothing to me. It neither motivated me to do good works, nor deterred me from being the natural-born hell raiser, which had made me infamous in my hometown, deep in the Carolinas. Like most young people my age, I thought I was invincible; therefore the thought of dying rarely, if ever, crossed my mind. Until that unforgettable evening a raging bolt of lightning decided to teach me the lesson of what a tenuous and fragile mystery life really is.
[Editors Note - Dannion Brinkley's Near Death Experience is perhaps the worlds most well known Near Death Experience. Officially dead for over 28 minutes, he has written three best selling books about his experiences - he has had more than one Near Death Experience. It was Dannion's first Near Death Experience that brought the terms NDEs and Near Death Experiences into the mainstream consciousness.]
The Near Death Experience Begins
In September of 1975 I was barely 25 years old, and at the top of my game. I’d returned to Aiken, to spend some time with my family, after being in South America. The word had spread that I was back in town so my telephone had been constantly ringing all day. Just as I sat down to dinner, it rang again. I started not to answer it, but there seemed to be a certain urgency to the tone so, I walked to the bedroom and picked it up anyway. From that day on, I’ve referred to it as “my phone call from God.” I had no idea what hit me as I heard a deafening roar of thunder and felt a searing pain in the side of my head. My entire body was then lifted just below the ceiling and momentarily suspended in the air. Then it was as if I was intentionally thrown back down toward the floor by an incredible force. The invisible forced slammed me onto my bed hard enough to break the frame. My body felt as though it was being incinerated from the inside out. My veins were on fire, and every inch of my body was in excruciating pain. Then I heard my girlfriend, Sandy, yell from the kitchen, “Wow…that was a close one!” In the following instant, I watched as she came running down the hallway to the bedroom. But I wasn’t watching her from the bed. I had lifted out of my body now, and I was viewing the entire scene from above.
As fate would have it, she had recently completely a CPR course at work, and so, she started to pound on my chest and breathe into my mouth as she had been trained. It worked! Instantly, I was back in my body experiencing all of the unbearable agony all over again. Then, I lifted out again. From above the scene, once more, I saw my friend arrive at the house, and right behind him was the ambulance. I sat right beside my body on the frenzied ride to the hospital, and amid all the chaos inside the ambulance, I remember looking down at myself and thinking, “I always thought I was better looking than that.” In the emergency room, the attending medical team did more CPR, pounding my chest until they cracked my ribs. Then, they put the electrical paddles to my chest. One doctor even gave my heart an injection of Adrenaline, but it was all to no avail. By this time, all my family had gathered together in the hospital waiting room. And now the doctors had the unenviable job of having to tell them I didn’t make it… I was gone. But what they didn’t know was where I had gone.
The Near Death Experience (The Short Version)
While the orderlies were preparing my body for the morgue, I was off and running on the most extraordinary adventure of my life. I wasn’t really sure I was dead; I just knew I was ever so grateful for being out of that intense physical pain. And whatever this was that was happening to me was some really cool stuff. First I found myself surrounded and embraced by a tunnel through which I was moving effortlessly. All around me I could hear the beautiful sounds of seven distinct chimes. Ahead, I could see a light, and as I moved closer, the light became more brilliant.
The next thing I knew, I was standing in the Light as a powerful Being drew near. This great Being radiated an intensity of unconditional love and non-judgmental compassion I had never known. Suddenly, and for the first time, I had the sense of being pure spirit, without the heaviness of my physical body. I looked down at my hand and it appeared phosphorescent as the light danced through it. Looking above and below me, I witnessed the presence of other Beings who looked just like me. Some were vibrating at higher vibrations, and some at lower ones. Yet, my attention was quickly diverted when the powerful Being enveloped me and I began to relive my entire life, one incident at a time. In what I call the panoramic life review I watched my life from a second person point of view.
As I experienced this I was myself as well as every other person with whom I had ever interacted. When the panoramic life review ended, despite the many obvious mistakes I had made in my life, I experienced no retribution – no judgment and no punishment. I was the only judge presiding over my day in court! Given time to assimilate my life in retrospect, I was given the opportunity to know, first hand, both the happiness and the sorrow I had created through my actions. I came to the realization that, more often than not, I had lived in a devastatingly selfish manner. My heart was filled with shame and remorse. The impact of that emotional avalanche remains uppermost in my mind to this very day. However, after my time of reflection in the Heavens that day, the Being of Light telepathically conveyed these words: Who you are is the difference that God makes, and the difference is love. As the Being moved away from me I began to feel lighter. My pain and guilt lessened and I understood that I had been shown my deeds on Earth, not to harshly impugn me, but rather to lovingly instruct me.
Through the panoramic life review I had been given the knowledge of how to correct my life, and use my power of love to make a difference in the world. I was later told that human beings are powerful spiritual beings meant to create good on Earth, and that good starts with small acts of kindness. I had one more stop to make on my journey through the Heavens before I was to be sent back. The Being next took me to the Crystal City where I met 13 more Beings of Light who appeared much mightier than he. Each one of them emanated a special power or force. For example, it was as if one Being was the epitome of Wisdom, while another was the epitome of Strength. Standing before them all was most humbling. They stood in a line behind a crystal podium in what seemed to be a Great Hall of Knowledge.
One by one, the Beings of Light approached me. When they did, a small black box emerged from their chest and sailed toward my face. Before impact, the boxes would open to reveal pictures or what I now call visions, of the future. Initially, it was difficult to understand and make sense of everything I was shown that day. And through the years I have had to tweak my take on a lot of it. However, it is amazing to me still, how much of what I saw, the day I died in 1975, has come to pass over the years. After viewing over one hundred visions, the Beings of Light gave me one last assignment. I was told to create Centers for stress relief on Earth. And then I was told it was time to go back. But I did not want to leave this wondrous place of peace and love. I recall thinking how sad I was to be leaving.
The Near Death Experience Ends
Without time to even finish the thought, I was standing in the hospital corridor with absolutely no clue as to how to get back into my body. I stood there pondering the dilemma for only a nanosecond before I found myself looking up at a white sheet that was covering my entire body. But I could not get up and tell anyone I was alive — I was completely paralyzed. So, I began to blow on the sheet hoping someone would notice I was breathing again. And someone did. From that moment on, I was engaged in the fiercest battle of my life. I was so angry that I hadn’t been allowed to stay in the loving paradise we call, the afterlife. And I was even more enraged that they had sent me back, with all this knowledge and a mission, into a body so racked with pain and damage that it took me two years to learn to walk and feed myself again.
When I could finally remember the names and faces of my loved ones, none of them wanted to hear about my journey to the Heavens. They just wanted the whole incident to go away. This strained all of my relationships, and destroyed my love affair with my Sandy. At that point, I thought I would lose my mind. My life had been stolen from me. Now, I just wanted to go Home ~ back to the Heavens. It was not until I met Dr. Raymond Moody in 1976 that I started to fit the pieces of the near-death puzzle together. Dr. Moody had been researching the phenomenon for several years when he read about my experience in a local newspaper. I believe that as surely as it was my destiny to be struck by the lightning, it was just as surely destiny that brought Raymond to me. For without him and his extensive research data, I most assuredly would have lived out my life in pain, confusion and resentment.
Armed with the knowledge Raymond had ascertained through the compilation of hundreds of near-death experiences, I was able to come to grips with my life and find a brand new way of being of service to humanity. I knew there was no such thing as death, and I was ready to spread the word. Soon, Raymond and I were lecturing together on the subject around the world to academic and spiritualistic audiences alike. Finally, I had a life again.
How The Near Death Experience Changed My Life
In 1994, author Paul Perry helped me to put my experience into words. Saved by the Light became a New York times best seller, and I appeared on radio and televisions shows from coast to coast. A year later Paul and I wrote the follow up book, At Peace in the Light and the near-death saga continued to captivate readers around the globe. My third book, The Secrets of the Light, co-authored by my beloved wife, Kathryn, was the last installation of my Light Trilogy. Truly, my life and spirituality have come full circle.
More Near Death Experiences
Since being struck by lightning in 1975, I have had two more near-death experiences. As a result, I have been gifted with an incredible wisdom and understanding of life, both here and in the Hereafter. Life is the greatest and most precious gift we could ever be given; I urge you not to take it for granted for a single moment. I have been through the worst of times, and the best of times, in this one life. But as the Rascal Flats song says, “God bless the broken road that led me straight to you.” It is my prayer that all I have experienced can be used to assist you in creating a life of love you will one day look back on with pride.
For more information visit Dannion’s Bio.