Internet posting to Near Death Newsgroup....10-23-96
Attached may be found elements of a Near Death Experience that occurred on October 2, 1987. It was, on the surface, a horrendous experience. Yet, not unlike other things in Life, I wouldn't want it NOT to have happened. It taught and continues to teach.
This "accident" occurred west of Delta, Utah, in the Sevier Desert. Considered some of the most inhospitable land in North America, the two lane blacktop cutting thru the middle of this empty 125 mile stretch hasn't much traffic. Appropriately named, America’s Loneliest Highway, it’s something of a road less traveled ever since the interstate come to town up north toward Salt Lake.
I'd gotten my Jeep Cherokee stuck in somethin' like quicksand while out in the middle of this no man's land. I walked the quarter mile or so back to the tarmac with a guy I picked up in Colorado the day before as he was lookin' for a lift. We figured to hitch another ride. After standin' around for a few hours and watchin' the occasional car pass us by, we saw a 1967 Pontiac Le Mans coming from out of the west, that just, kinda, emerged from the heat mirage wafting from the baked pavement. It really did have all the markings of something coming straight out of the Twilight Zone.
The driver pulls to a stop; I check out his car (which is immaculate...no rust, no dust, lookin' like it just came off the assembly line in Detroit) and hop in next to him. The hitcher I'd picked up in Colorado jumps in the back and off we go. The guy at the steering wheel is heading back home to Grand Junction Colorado and I am going for a tow truck. The dude in the back seat is along for the ride and would have gone whichever way the wind blew. We've got us a clear road, broad daylight, new tires, a car without a scratch and is owned by a gear freak who calls it his "baby."
The odometer reads 182,700 miles and it ought to have been a piece of cake. Yet, taking into consideration I was on a Vision Quest and heading toward the Hopi Reservation in Arizona, the fella I'd picked up earlier had just left a Rainbow Gathering in North Carolina and was enroute to a Grateful Dead concert in San Francisco, the driver had recently done time in a federal penitentiary for conspiring to counterfeit 10's and 20's, and it becomes fairly apparent the writin' was on this wall. Obviously, I missed the fine print which warned, "Fasten your seat belts gentleman, it's gonna be a weird old ride."
About ten miles or so later, the back rear tire blows and goes thermonuclear as we careen off the road at 82 mph. Subjectively, it went into the standardized NDE slow motion routine that has been discussed by other experiencers before...only might be it felt a wee bit slower than slow motion...more like a "freeze frame...click...freeze frame...click...freeze frame...click...." And then sped up as we went airborne. It was like that, at least until the end to end, bumper to bumper, flipping started. By then, there was little left to do but hang on as the whole world cartwheeled across the hard pan, and the 20 year old car door took me along for the ride as it exploded off it’s hinges.
There's obviously a lot of the story before and after which is not being told here and is still getting written. But, here's the blood and guts...the Heart is in the INTENT of the tellin'... and loving the love inside... that loves the Love...that LOVES LOVE…just LOVE LOVE.
As I left my body I never lost what felt to be consciousness. True, I felt as if I’d banged my head. I even got a bit of that seeing stars sensation one does when falling as a child and bouncing off the ground. But this was different. There was no pain, not even the major jarring effect one gets when slammin’ your skull on a cupboard, just an immediate departure thru what appeared to be a galaxy of stars. Further, there was a specific counter clockwise motion to the movement, and rather than a spin, a spiraling effect.
I believe this is called being knocked out, yet I wasn’t unconscious. I was cognizant of traveling apart from my body even though I’d been “thrown” from it. There was only a journeying thru these stars that were really quite beautiful. This did not feel alarming or unnatural, although different, by way of being so memorable. After reaching a certain point in this spiraling motion, there was a reversal and it was like being drawn, sucked back, in a clockwise fashion. I had no awareness of time, only motion.
Suddenly, I found myself in my body, sitting on the ground and looking at a landscape that seemed alien to me. Everything was perfectly clear, very in focus as a matter of fact, and I vividly recall having this perception of a massive amount of the purest unobstructed energy coursing thru me. So much so, my first recollected thought was, “Hey, I feel good...really good. I haven’t felt this good since I was a kid."
Relishing the eloquence of this flowing energy, I looked up, and, to my amazement, noticed what appeared to be a car sitting on a pedestal. It reminded me of something you’d see at an art gallery, only weirder, because it was upside down as well. Confused by the surrealism, I immediately began wondering, “What the hell’s goin’ on around here?” It was as if I’d awakened in a disjointed dream, and I recall great perplexity insofar as how in the world is any of this possible.
I shook my head in an attempt to gain clarity. I distinctly remember thinking I was “going two dreams down." My surroundings remained, and, what was worse, I began losing the fluidity of this newly acquired energetic feel good. With an agonized shriek, I realized this was no dream; this was the real deal and the car in front of me had achieved a pedestal effect by having come to rest on its' roof atop a six foot embankment.
I could see my foot had been ripped off and was hanging by threads next to my right kneecap. Bloody bone was protruding out of the place my foot ought to have been and the end of my tibia was sticking into the floor of the desert. I was afraid. I was immersed in a nightmare happening in front of my eyes which refused to go away. I thought, "Oh my God, my foot’s gone and it’s over...I am an invalid now and things will never be the same...They’ll never be the same...I’ll never be able to shoot a 30 foot jump shot again and my foot's gone; my foot’s GONE."
Then the pain hit. A white hot wave of agony with no baseline from my experience to contain it, a ruthless fiend, without pity, compassion or comparison. Terror followed and accelerated to the point of near hysteria. Frantically, I tried dragging myself away in hope of evading this excruciating specter…it didn’t work. The insanity of it continued to escalate like a freight train gone wild, all out of control, and fueled with a primal fear that goaded my attempt to escape in the first place.
I became aware other things weren't right. Something was wrong with my spine; my chest seemed crushed and there was no air, no energy to hold the pain at bay or fear away. It was just too much. I could only haul myself a few feet and go no further. I was done. I was "all in." With little success, I tried to clear my mine and get my emotions under control. This was bad, real bad, and it was hittin’ me in such torturous tides I could only lock my shoulders beneath me and brace myself against the gravity drawing me down to the ground. Later, I learned I’d suffered 9 broken ribs, 4 cracked ones, and compression fractures in my spine. Yet, in that Here and Now, all I could do was a juggling act between drawing air and dueling with the devastation that had become me.
Somehow or other it occurred to me pain really wasn’t all bad. And, if I could still feel the shafts of it running up my leg, then my spinal cord wasn’t severed. I figured, since my spinal cord wasn’t severed, that was, at least, one good thing. Thus, pain that was bad had reversed itself into pain that was good, and, once realizing how good it was, I wanted it to go away again…I guess some people are never satisfied. Then, as if in a leap of macabre mirth, the thought occurred to me, “Whelp, this does not bode well," and, suddenly, I entered the groove of objectively sizing the situation up and began determining what had to be done to keep the machine runnin.’ I became deliberate, determined to “tighten up, get tough” and see what had to be done.
The driver was impossibly wedged in the car, his head crushed in an 8 inch space created by the roof collapsing upon the dashboard. With certainty, I figured he was dead. There was no aghast astonishment registering based on this observation; it was just the way it was, so get over it and get on with it. The other passenger came fumbling, then stumbling, out of the car. He tacked a dozen yards or so before dropping to the ground, impressively managing to get within six feet of the road.
Blinking back blood from numerous scalp wounds, I continued to scan the perimeter. The lightening bolts of pain kept hitting and the heat kept coming on... wave after wave after wave. With each expansion and then contraction of my rib cage, the broken body parts would work in unison to create the effect of a vise grip, refusing to let go. I’d gasp a hit of air, hold it, and, after utilizing all that could be garnered, grab for some more.
Then, with what felt like it was approaching from a great distance, I sensed an easing. My distress was becoming more manageable, less devastating, and a comfortable lapse in the extremes began to take place. The flashes of blinding terror and jolts of agony were being replaced with a sense of "it’s getting easier, it isn’t as bad as it was." I was reminded of something, but like in a fog, the recollection of just what it was refused to register. One of those it's right on the tip of the tongue kinda things, yet another hint or two might help to clear things up a bit.
Suddenly I knew. It felt like the morphine given me when I’d experienced a nearly bursting appendix during my junior year in college. True, that pain wasn't nearly as consuming as what was occurring at the particular moment, yet an attention grabber just the same. I recall how amazed I’d been any substance, morphine in this case, could just take it away.
So, while semi-lying there in the desert, with my elbows welded in a manner making it easier for any air I could get to tumble into my lungs, it occurred to me somewhere or other I’d heard endorphins, produced by the brain, were chemically similar to morphine. Endorphins are what the body utilizes from it’s own neurological pharmacopoeia to deaden pain and the process, in layman's terms, is shock. That was it. I was going into shock, the ache was leaving, and I was being lulled into lettin’ it all go. Ah yes, better living thru chemistry.
My head was getting heavier. I could feel it gathering weight and couldn’t quite hold it up any longer. I didn’t really feel like working so hard at keeping my elbows locked or subjectively demanding more air. As certainly as the pain was subsiding, so did I become aware if I allowed myself to be seduced with the tranquilizing effect of shock, I wouldn’t have the strength to fight any longer. I knew once I was down on my back, I’d never have enough energy left to raise my diaphragm and get the air I needed to survive. Thus, the world had turned again, and no pain was no good. Instead, I’d have ride thru the soothe, keep my elbows anchored, and chin up. Once again, I guess some people are never satisfied.
I had help. It seems of all the places I could have dragged myself, I just happened to have stopped at a place where a sharp edged rock about the size of a baseball was located. Furthermore this damn thing was cutting into my back at a point where it actually made the pain worse than what it was to begin with. Every time I’d try to give up, Mr. Rock would start slicing into my back and reminding me, “Yes Mike, it can get worse...it can get a whole lot worse." This, of course, was to be followed with such cosmic frivolity as, "Hey pal, talk about a rock and hard spot." I didn't laugh.
Creatively crafting every four-letter word that came to mind, I explained to the pain it was A-OK to prance back upon the stage. Graciously accepting my invitation, the endorphin rush ran it’s course; the torture returned to it’s screeching rendition of Hell on Earth and the guy who had managed to get himself next to the roadside, spoke.
“How bad are you hurt?" he said.
One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to say was when I responded with a stutter, '"My... my foot's off. I lost my foot”. It felt to finalize it…to make it so. There was no more slack and by saying those words it added more Reality to an already Unreal situation…the angst was crucifying.
“How...how about you?" I said.
“Both my legs are broken”, he responded.
Which, in the moment, sounded far worse than what I had to deal with because I, at least, still had one good leg. I am a little ashamed to admit it, but I saw this as a huge plus and was relieved it was him instead of me. Frankly, it seemed I already had my hands full and my good leg being broken, along with my foot having been ripped off, might have been just a little bit more then I could handle for one afternoon’s drive in the country. That was about the time this undertaking turned form bad to worse and from worse to weird.
The upturned car was directly in my line of sight. I could see the body of the lifeless driver hanging from where his head had been pinned on its perch. Abruptly, his torso snapped to attention like a broken twig. I was thunderstruck. After all, one moment the guy's got his skull wedged in an area you couldn’t fit a golf ball, then, WHAM, his arms and legs shoot straight out like some puppet on a marionette's string.
"Help me, help me," he moaned.
It was like someone talking thru water, muffled the way it would sound if he were stuffed inside a paper bag. Then the flopping started. Trying to pull his head from an inconceivably small area, the poor Soul was using his hands, and pushing against the crumpled dashboard in hopes of freeing himself. The collapsed roof held him tight and no matter how hard he tried, he just couldn’t. He was stuck, and from what I could tell, was gonna stay that way. I was convinced anything as large as a human cranium, crammed in a space so small, stood little chance of liberation. Not unlike pulling a ship out of a bottle...it just ain’t gonna happen. His struggling slowed, his moans became feeble, and it got quiet again.
“We’ve got to get him out," said the guy by the road.
"I shoulda said that", I thought. "How could I be so selfish?" I was immediately wracked with shame. “Can you do it?" I said.
“No," he responded, “my legs are broken."
Well, that was just about the all time slam dunk as far as guilt goes. If I had illusions of what a great guy I might have been before, they were all gone now. Here I was just lying around and being so damn preoccupied it never even occurred to me to try getting the driver out of the car in the first place. And now, I ‘d completely forgotten the fact the guy by the side of the road had two bad legs, not one. No doubt about it, I was an all time schmuck and really a rather pathetic piece of protoplasm.
There was a problem though. I knew I was all in and had never been here before; I’d never gotten to the point where my body was so shot. There had always been, even when trying to run a race as fast as I could, some reserve...a little extra something, somewhere. This time there was nothing left.
I really detested him for putting me in this position and, further still, found I detested myself more for being angry in the first place. In some philosophical hall of debate I am certain there is a message about what this may mean, but at the time my hands were fairly full, and I could decide on only one course of action. I had to try, even though I figured I’d die on the way. I knew I’d rather be dead than live with the knowledge I wouldn’t help another in such piteous condition. I was screwed. The guy was really starting to piss me off.
Every time I ran the logic thru my mind it kept coming up the same. I sucked what wind I could into my lungs and promptly lost half of it. By expanding my chest, the broken ribs separated and the pain’s backlash forced an exhale as I attempted hefting myself up and over my dismembered foot. After the third attempt, I managed to throw my left arm over my body, twisting my frame enough to grab the desert soil to my right. It worked; I had what felt like the beginning of a hold insofar as rolling onto my belly and inching myself back to the car. Yet, no matter how hard I tried, I didn’t have the strength. I couldn’t even turn myself onto my stomach, much less accomplish anything else. Once again, Life reminded what it was like to be all used up.
I felt relieved in a peculiar way. Now, no matter what, at least I’d made my best effort. If nothing else, perhaps some redemptive force would take such self-reflective flagellation into consideration when my time came. Which, incidentally, seemed right around the corner.
Before I could slap myself on the back, the strange got stranger. With a “pop,” (and, I do mean “a pop”) the driver’s head simply exploded from its trap and the guy came sweeping out of the car, fully erect, and moving like a cat on a hot tin roof...with tar on it. The most bizarre part was yet to come, because right before my very eyes his head began to grow to three times it’s normal size. What’s more, he had a hole in his forehead pumping a geyser of blood straight up, over the top, and all the way down his entire body.
Since then, I’ve learned this is not uncommon with severe head injuries. After all, the rear view mirror had broken off and the anchor post was sticking into his skull. This probably accounts for the popping noise as he dislodged, and the reason he was so securely stuck in the first place. I wasn’t aware at that time the human cranium is comprised of movable plates which can expand to such disproportionate degree as to make the term “pumpkin head” more than fancy...It can make it fact.
He was covered with blood from top to toe. It just burst out of the opening carved into his forehead, and, I’m slightly embarrassed to admit I’ve referenced him as Mr. Tomato Head since. Yet, it was like that. It was like this pumpkin sized, bloody tomato had emerged from the vehicle, with features unrecognizable as a being human. Initially, he staggered as if drunk, but soon righted himself by clutching the back bumper of the overturned vehicle.
His head kept growing. Unfathomable amounts of blood continued to gush every which way, and last, but by all means not the least, he was blind. Each time he would raise his hand to wipe the blood out of his eyes, the wound would just feed more of it back at him until he eventually just gave up trying to clear his sight altogether. As an extra added attraction, he began shouting, ”Where am I? I am blind. Where am I?"
There really wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it except struggle to hold onto my rationality and go along for the ride. More problems began presenting themselves with each passing moment. This was a 1967 Pontiac Le Mans; it had a pre-embargo gas tank, capable of holding 23 gallons of fuel, and the driver had just topped it off before entering the longest stretch of America’s Loneliest Highway. The gas cap remained on during the wreck, and, with the car residing on it’s roof, fuel was being sprayed around the lid’s edges like one of those water sprinklers you’ll find in the backyard on a hot summer’s day. What was worse, there was no movement of air in the desert, only stillness. The fuel and fumes kept pouring out, permeating everything. It just hung there…and the engine block was very, very hot.
Of course, the guy by the side of the road was the first to say something. And, shame having no boundaries, I immediately felt chagrined I’d missed this one too.
“Get away from the car, it’s gonna blow," he said.
Once, then twice he shouted, and the driver, who had never stopped screaming, finally registered others were in this predicament as well. “What," he started, “Who said that? Where are you?”
I added my two bits by tossing in, “There’s gas everywhere; ya gotta get away from the car."
He let go of the bumper and started stumbling toward me. Self absorbed as it sounds, all I could think of, as this red bathed apparition began moving in my direction was, “Oh my God, he’s blind and gonna follow the sound of my voice, trip over my foot, fall on my chest, and crush me to death."
I got real quiet after that and couldn't help but notice the guy by the side of the road did too. And, although Mr. Tomato Head kept begging to know who was there and where we were, we remained as silent as little church mice waiting for him to stagger back to the car and button himself to the bumper.
After a while, it seemed fairly obvious if the car hadn't blown by then, it wasn't going to. Nonetheless, I’d watch him as he’d get ready to launch himself into the desert and when the moment arrived, I’d quickly say “Get away from the car, it’s gonna blow." He’d respond by immediately reattaching himself to the car frame, which seemed like a better idea then anyone wandering off before help arrived. He wasn’t listening to what I was saying, only the sound of something being said.
Initially, he’d kinda spin around screaming “Who said that?...Where are you?...I am blind...I can’t see."
I’d respond with silence until he’d turn to embark in another direction, and then I'd simply repeat the earlier warnings. I really wasn’t feeling creative enough to come up with any new lines, and, “Get away from the car, it's gonna blow,” seemed to work at keepin’ him put.
And so, in the middle of the desert, in the center of nowhere, Mr. Tomato Head and his Footloose Companion were just playing a morbid little game of cat and mouse... and then it got worse.
“There’s a car coming...A CAR IS COMING!" said the guy by the side of the road.
With a monumental effort, I turned slightly and looked down the two-lane blacktop strip…and saw nothing. It was late afternoon, a clear autumn day, and It surely seemed to me if there was something out there I’d be able to spot it. Especially is this true because at that particular juncture "A car is coming" took on the same import as if he were to have said "Here Come Baby Jesus."
Before I could respond he continued, “I saw a flash of sunlight off a car’s windshield, they’ll be here in a few minutes”.
And sure enough, it was there. Periodic glints, glare coming from an approaching vehicle, although still miles away, getting nearer. All we had to do now was just hold on. Just stay with it a little longer because help would soon be arriving and everything was gonna be OK. We were gonna get out of this god forsaken desert, be taken to a hospital, get pumped up with some major drugs, the pain would be gone, and if I could only just kept breathing one breath at a time a little while longer, just maybe I’d live. I was so thankful I let loose a sigh. As it turned out, this was almost my undoing.
I’d managed to keep myself going by performing a number of physical gymnastics. Clamping my elbows to the ground and securing them in place were required to keep my diaphragm angled at the most advantageous slant to drop air into my chest. It seems I wavered between 25-35 degrees, depending upon what was happening in the arena of my extremities. My foot was hangin' by a thread, and the bone, that until recently had kept it glued to my leg, was stickin' in the desert soil. Other than the fact I'd just become a bona fide lightening rod, the unrelenting intensity of the pain just knocked the wind out of me.
I clamped down on all the muscles in my hips, thigh, and footless leg in hopes of stemming the flow of blood. Whether or not this is anatomically feasible, I do know by remaining rigid the pain from my foot didn’t seem to get as long a running head start and so I was less likely to flop around when a really powerful blast blew thru. Flopping around seemed like a bad idea. Especially since my spinal cord hadn't yet been severed and I wanted to keep it that way. I made every effort to keep the muscles, acting like carrier waves, as hard as possible to buffer the bolts before they worked their way up my spine.
It was necessary to keep my head in a fixed position with my chin resting forward over my chest. This allowed me to keep the weight of my skull positioned away from the pull of gravity conspiring to yank me down and onto that damn rock. I needed to regulate my breath in such a manner I didn’t expand my lungs so greatly the broken ribs would kick in and cause me to black out. I’d only take in a minute amount of air and hold it, grabbing every bit of energy it had to offer. If everything worked out all right, there would be enough left over to get my next measure.
It was like that from the beginning. It simply got to the point of one breath to the next and not much room for error. Get it right the first time, every time, or else. The mind is an amazing instrument. I'd compute the level of fuel intake, consumption requirements to get to the next rest area and then go for all the gusto I could gulp.
Tomato Head was clinging to the bumper and had given up on doing much of anything else. He’d continued to lose blood, and was obviously wearing down. Knowing how he felt, we’d stopped our cat and mouse game because it took just too much energy to play anymore.
With the sigh escaping my lips, I almost didn’t have the energy reserves necessary to draw my next breath. The hope of rescue seemed to keep things interesting enough to stick around.
The car began as a small speck growing agonizingly slow, and finally, loomed as a tangible thing you could really believe in. It was actually there, continuing toward us, and bless the beasts and children...we were goin' home. Yet, as it got to within 100 feet I heard the most horrifying words I can remember. “He’s not stopping," wailed the guy by the side of the road, “He’s speeding up and gonna leave us here."
And it was true. The car was accelerating and driving by with no hesitation whatsoever. My mind was incapable of grasping what was happening...complete confusion, mind snapping incomprehension. I struggled to come up with an answer and was rewarded with the initial rationalization, “Oh, they must have hit the accelerator, instead of the brake, by mistake."
But the only thing breaking was my heart as I watched, with what felt like the angst of the ages, the car disappearing and leaving us there to die.
As I tried to make heads or tails out of what had just happened, I was reminded of a kid’s story I'd heard and never did liked very much. It went something like, ”If you want to know how really important you are, put your hand into a bucket filled with water and pull it out. Look back into the bucket and see what trace you’ve left and realize we’re all just dust in the wind.” Like I said, I never cared for this fable; still have misgivings as a matter of fact, but that was the final straw. That’s what broke me and gave such sense of abject futility that, naked to the core, I cried out, “Oh God... Great Spirit... Help."
When that didn’t seem to produce any effects, I went in a rather hysterical manner thru a litany of different philosophical belief system’s saviors, savants, saints, or anything else I could think to call upon because I’d had enough and wanted out. I couldn’t take it anymore.
I was greeted with silence.
It gets very quiet when you're in the middle of the desert and waiting for your own death. Other than listening to the hiss of gas draining from the fuel tank and the driver’s incoherent pleas, I just went from one breath to the next. I recall no thoughts registering in my mind. I simply couldn’t believe the unbelievable and my brain shut down. There was nothing left to ponder, or anything to ponder it with. Believing in the inherent goodness of people when the chips were down, I was proven wrong.
My midwestern sensibilities were most certainly blown and all I had left to hold onto was the Light of Love I’d Merged in 1972’s Near Death Experience. Or maybe just be a part of...because there just didn’t seem to be much of anything else remaining. My NDE had nothing to do with believing or hoping or philosophizing or anything else I’d picked up along the way. Those things were as far gone as the next two cars and the semi truck that passed us by and kept on going.
I knew only The LIGHT and ITS LOVE mattered Now. And even in such a miserable condition, I am still amazed the intensity of my injuries in the desert was not nearly the Peak Experience the LIGHT of the Afterlife Experience had been. I’ve marveled about that since...how when all else was stripped away, the two events weren't even close in magnitude. The Light was more powerful than this darkness because it was still the most impregnating experience I’d ever known. Beyond the Desert Wasteland, IT was what I’d been left with when all else was gone. IT for IT’s Own Sake, that and that Alone...LOVE...to just LOVE LOVE.
I heard the car slowing before the guy by the side of the road began yelling, “They're stopping, they're stopping."
I could hear car doors opening, people rushing out, and footsteps. It had been well over an hour since the accident and I no longer had the strength to turn my head and take a look. I didn’t have to wait long before a face appeared in front of me and said, “Sam, is that you?”
I didn’t have a clue. I wasn’t Sam. I didn’t want to lie. And I sure as hell didn’t want him to leave. I thought about it though. I thought, “Hey, if ya want Sam, no problem. I’ll be Sam." But I didn’t want to start it off like that and figured even if it meant he was gonna go, I had to tell him the truth. “No, my name’s Mike ”, I replied.
By then, I fully expected him to pack up and roll away; instead, he just looked at me with the kindest eyes and said “Oh, OK, my name’s Pat."
As he crouched down, I could look over his shoulder and see another fella assisting the driver. Someone else was asking the guy by the side of the road where he was hurt. ” My leg’s are broken”, he replied.
After a quick check over, the new arrival said, “Your legs aren’t broke. There’s nothing wrong with you,” and left him to go help out with Duke Tomato.
“How about you, fella? How ya doing?” said Pat.
"My foot's off," I stammered. “I lost my foot."
“Well, it’s not gone," he said, “but you’ve got a pretty nasty looking compound fracture there."
I couldn’t believe it. He said my foot wasn’t gone and it was only a compound fracture. I remember thinking, “Compound fracture? I can do a compound fracture." Things were definitely starting to improve.
"It looks like your having a hard time breathing; you must have gotten some ribs too," Pat noted.
And he was right. I was having a hard time breathing and it was getting worse with each passing moment. “Yeah,” I said, "and my back, my back." Muscles spasms, like full body charlie horses, were hitting with increasing frequency. And, with each pass, it became harder to get the next breath. The cramping squeezed the air out of me before I could get the charge of energy I needed to draw my next gasp. I was getting weaker. I was wearing down.
“Hang in there Mike, we’ve got an ambulance on its way.”
There were two carloads of them. The three grown men, Pat, Bob, and Stan, were Boy Scout Leaders from someplace near Provo. They were escorting a group of guys, who, having just earned their First Aid Badges, had become Eagle Scouts. These kids were the pick of the crop and were being honored with an overnight camping trip in the mountains for completing the final requirements. They were to set up camp that night a little later than they’d planned.
Other cars began stopping. Whether strength in numbers played a part, or I’d been wrong to judge the entire human race based on the ones passing us by, the company was appreciated. I really didn’t want to die alone.
And I could tell I was dying. Each new wave of pain took too much giz to counteract. I was running on empty and the reserves were burnin' quick. Pat tried his level best to keep me going. He must have gotten a first aid badge or two himself in his lifetime, because he did everything right. He kept me warm. He talked with me, attempting to take my attention away from the hurt, and held my hand. He even, I could tell, willed his strength to flow into mine. And it worked for awhile, but enough was enough... I’d about had it.
I’ll always remember the look in his eyes as he tended me in this nowhere land. I could see his concern, feel his tenderness, knew he cared. And, of everything giving me peace and a sense of rest, these are the things I hold dear the most. Just to have someone give a damn goes for a long way. To care what happens and to be a little kind are markings of a True Man. Pat E. carried these attributes with him as a natural extension of himself on one level, and a supernatural extension of the Divine on another. I could have asked for none better.
“Hang on fella.” he said, "Just a little while longer”.
“I can’t breathe. I can’t get my breath," I muttered thru clenched teeth. I was fading. Hope was leaving and my energy was nearly gone. He knew it, I knew it, and apparently the guy by the side of the road knew it too, because suddenly, on his belly, he began scurrying toward us. Like some wounded crab, low crawling across the baked desert soil, the guy really impressed me with his speed. I was reminded of relay races run at track and field events, for extended in his hand, as he pulled himself within reach, was something he’d taken from the dashboard of my jeep.
“The Crystal,” he cried, "TAKE YOUR CRYSTAL."
In so doing, I was plunged into the Heart of a thousand Suns. At the moment of touch, it was Fire. It was Being Inside a Great Burning, both cellular and solar at the same time. Of all the physical agony I have ever known, nothing can compare. The completeness was such, that to hold the Stone, was submission to the Inferno, immersed in a Continuous Lightening Strike...and more.
“I want to live, I want to live," I wailed in my mind, “LIFE, LIFE, LIFE." Beseeching, braying, begging the need fore LIFE.
The Knowing came; a powered intuition forming a thought; an awareness so strong it cut thru the internal eternal Combustion engulfing and becoming me.
"YOU MUST HOLD IT UNTIL THE COUNT OF FOUR," It impressed.
And I knew, unless I was able to do EXACTLY that, I'd never survive. I damn well better do it or else die trying.
Nothing was left unscathed. No obstacles stemmed the onslaught. I was molded, molten, melted Flame. It Burned, like some thermonuclear conflagration without limit, had no boundary, and of a power which cauldroned Life Itself.
The foot, the chest, the back, all previous parameters were forgotten. They became smoke in the Blaze incinerating every fiber of my Being. There was nothing I knew or could have known; only the smoting Center of some Primal Furnace scorching all barren, all gone, until no thing remained.
I could actually hear the COUNT.
As if from a non-distant distance, numbers began, "ONE...TWO...THREE...FOUR..."
And still I clung to the crystal shard, unable, unwilling to let it go. So great the power to Live, to fulfill, that not until “FIVE” had passed and neared the sounding “SIX” did I relinquish my grasp and fling the flame from me.
There is little of seeming import after that. More people came and I watched them grimace when they’d look at me, but I had become immune. Little mattered anymore except the next breath or the spasms squeezing like a vise. Pat tried to help, but there was nothing he could really do. Religions of the world, philosophies, and metaphysics, were worthless. They only speak of how to live one’s life and not how to leave it.
As the time to depart drew near, I was left with what I’d found all those years ago when I’d had my first NDE in 1972. Having gone into the LIGHT and felt IT'S LOVE, a LOVE even more consuming than the Crystal Fire that had engulfed me, or the battered body assailing me, I began to speak it aloud. To say what it was that after everything I’d seen, and everywhere I’d been, still remained. What was, even with what I had been through on this day, more memorable in ITS POWER than all else...LOVE.
So I did. With each haggard breath I’d just say that word. Over and over and over again, "LOVE... LOVE... LOVE."
I’d finally found my Death Song and with my last breath was released into the void.
With a final exhalation and eyes closed, it was as if being “loosed,” released from the laborious exertions necessary to maintain my body. The pain was immediately gone and I felt as though I were slipping away on a cushion of cloud.
There was stillness, a calming, a sense of rising and flowing, then floating upward.
I knew I was leaving my material form behind. I knew I’d died to the physical world, yet remained aware my essential self continued to chant the word LOVE. I never forget, nor could ever, the Wondrousness of the Light. I figured this is what would happen to me once again as I continued rising upward, outward, from my body.
It was dark at first and I was afraid. The pain and suffering I’d endured still infused portions of my awareness, yet these things were diminishing as I continued movement beyond and away from the corporeal shroud I’d left. Layers of these concerns were being peeled away, until I was left with but one thing to Wonder, to maintain as my focus of INTENT...LOVE. From the Heart of me, I continued repeating the word LOVE to the cosmos with whatever apparatus I utilized to give desire expression thru my Beingness...LOVE, LOVE, LOVE and the humility of impulsing this and only this was all I knew to keep fear away.
It’s a mighty big universe out there and I still felt afraid. After all, everything I knew or thought I knew had been stripped away in the desert, and I found myself wondering whether dying was to be the end of my suffering, or if there was more in store before entering the LIGHT once again. Enough had occurred to make me carry a sense of paranoia, even beyond my death. I was a babe in the woods, whatever was gonna happen or had happened was beyond me, and I continued to move outward-upward thru what appeared a dim, low lit, mist.
Gradually, things began to clear, and I had a sense of being on the outskirts of the planet. Like some weightless wisp, I stopped at a point outside the Earth’s envelope, and was aware of it behind me, over my shoulder. Yet, I had no shoulder I needed to look over. It was as if I were vision only and wherever I’d turn my attention is where I’d see.
I was slightly confused. This isn’t how it had gone before. I recalled distinctly moving thru a Void and, once my priorities were revealed, inexorably drawn to the LIGHT. But, here I was, come to a complete standstill outside the Earth’s atmosphere and just hanging boundless. What’s a fella ta do?
I turned my vision eyes to look about me and became aware of a group of White Light Beings hovering in space. They were luminescent and appeared less transparent than I felt, with something of a cocoon like shape, reminding me of Casper, the friendly ghost, but longer and leaner. They were spread out a bit and were all observing the planet. I sensed these White Light Beings watched the melodrama unfold in the desert and, perhaps, contributed their collective focus on the crystal I’d been given.
I just knew these things with my “unearthed awareness,” resulting from the expansion ensuing upon departure from a body, or moving beyond the Earth’s aura. I also felt a little shocked as one of them disengaged Himself from the group observations and began moving toward me. I’d not gone as far this time as in my previous NDE; I had come up short of where I’d Intended to go and this whole deal was new. As He approached, I, with more of a question attached than a statement, said, “Love?”.
His immediate reply gave me a sense of peace and of being a bit of a dunce too. “Of course,” He casually said.
I’d impulsed this question from an openness that wasn’t only asking him if he knew IT, but challenging Him, in His Heart of Heart's, if he represented IT, as well. There was no doubt in the purity of his reply when he responded, "Yes.".
I impulsed a query along the lines of, “Well, what are you doin' here?”
His response was, ” We’re the first to arrive... there’s more on the way.”
And there was no mistaking it. He, and I did sense he was decidedly male, was saying something was going to happen. From wherever He and His fellow Light Beings had come from that was Home to Them, more were coming. I distinctly got the impression great masses of these Beings were on the way, and not merely a handful.
This was a good thing. It was like the feeling one gets when a rescue vessel pulls along side a ship in distress. “How do They do that?” I queried.
“It’s a form of electromagnetism utilizing Intention and Attention to travel between planets and stars,” He impulsed.
Thoughts would form in my awareness as we communicated. It was like mental telepathy, yet more. Pictures of information, something like holographic transmissions, were taking place in such a freed up means of communication that effortlessness seems an appropriate word to define it. There was nothing to hide, nor anything hidden.
Understanding what I had been told, I cast my attention toward a grouping of stars feeling to be off too my left. By placing my Attention in that particular quadrant, and then simply releasing it and Intending to go, I felt a ‘drawing toward” begin. It was delightful. and I began thinking of how this must be the way magnets attract one another; the additional kick to get the whole deal in motion was releasing the allowance to move.
I began a “directed drift” in the area I had placed my Intention-Attention and Desire and knew I would soon to be traveling at speeds far greater than any imagined. I wanted to give this thing a practice run and began applying the lessons I’d been given. I could feel a build up of magnetic energy occurring within me, which I somehow knew was integral to the experience. Sorta like watching the Starship Enterprise prepare for warp drive. It drifts a bit, aligns it’s corridor, then engages warp speed. Yet with this experience, I sensed it to be stepped up into the arena of Stardrive.
My thoughts were already moving at the speed of light. I began a torrential out pouring of enthusiastic scientific inquiry. “Well, if this does this, and it goes like this, than that must be like that, and then it must be like this, and if it works like that, then it must go something like,” I gushed. Images, scientific thoughts on the nature of magnets, coupled with philosophical meanderings of the energetics involved in Desire, Attention, and Intention, flooded thru my awareness in an exhilarating hyper leap of new found understandings and metaphysical connections. I was good to go.
"Wait”, the Light Being pulsed, “you must go back”.
And I knew he was right. There wasn’t anything to argue about. It was the way It Was supposed to be, and although I did long to stay, I turned my attention back toward Earth, and was immediately reunited with my physical body.
The first thing I noticed was the pain. It hit like a comet. My foot fired shotgun shells like grapes thru a goose and each explosion registered on every receiving tower of all thirteen splintered ribs. My body kept tune to a mastodon’s tap dance and, in short order, I was reminded where I’d been was far more pleasant. I knew I was going to live. I’d recharged enough to make it and, although it would be hours before arriving at a hospital, I’d endure...and have.
© MJR 1996