NDE-Like Accounts

The Grand Attractor

I think my story qualifies as an NDE-like account. My health was good, and there was no obvious trigger - no trauma or illness.

And I have no history of seizures. At the time, I was working part time and engaged in a period of intensive personal study and writing. I had a history of psychedelic use, but my LSD experiences from years earlier - while impressive in their own way - seemed unrelated to and different from this experience. It happened one night without precursors while I was asleep.

I found myself suddenly in a hyper awake state in which time and space seemed translucent. I can only speak figuratively as no part of the experience can be described literally. It was as if two angels had lifted me by the shoulders out of my body and were carrying me up a kind of "mountain." I understood this mountain as something I had been trying to climb figuratively in my writing - a mountain made of being and imagination. The peak, when we reached it, seemed like the highest place human thought might reach and still return to ordinary time and space. One more step would be too far.

From this peak I could see a great light in the distance. It seemed to shine through the whole universe drawing all things to itself, even rocks and dirt. This light was the ultimate destiny of all things. It was brilliant, beautiful, and loving. The scene was much like the painting by Bosch, "Ascent in the Empyrean." The light also fit Aristotle's description of God as a grand attractor that draws all things from potentiality to actuality. It was awesome, and extremely real!, and I wanted to cry out, but I realized just in time that any vocalization on my part would be unworthy. It seemed the essence of intelligence was to stay silent and simply behold the nature of reality without trying to appropriate it in any way, much like the angels on either side of me were doing. I succeeded, but only barely.

After a few moments, the angels took me by the shoulders again and carried me down the mountain back into time, space, and density. I could feel it all closing in around me. Then they poured me into my body like water into a fish bowl, and I came to my dull senses, my body shaking uncontrollably. I have not told many people about this experience fearing that they would say it was only a dream. It was not a dream; it was more real than real, and in the immediate aftermath, I remember feeling that my old life was over and I had to start living a new life. I was shaken and humbled. Sadly, many of my old habits and anxieties did return, but one change that stuck is that I became more open-minded about spirituality and I stopped calling myself an atheist.


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