My name is Charlotte, I am 66 years old, I’ve been in AA for 40 years, and I live in Marin County, California. I’m in a long-term and loving relationship of 22 years. Most of my career as an RN was spent as a hospice nurse, a job that I loved, but had to leave in 2008, when I became extremely ill myself. I have spent much of the past decade+ in hospitals for extended periods of time. Although my spiritually transformative experiences were not NDEs, per se, it is clear to me that my long years of illness and suffering have had a deep effect on my spiritual path, and on all of the love and compassion that I have been shown from the other side.
Here is my story:
As an active member of AA for decades by this time, I was painfully aware of how important meditation is to a healthy psyche, yet I had been unable to practice it successfully. My mind would always interfere and lure me away from tranquility. I usually gave up and decided that my form of meditation was to contemplate the glorious view outside my living room window. It wasn’t until February of 2018 that I finally settled down to meditate, by deep breathing and repeating: “in light, out fear," with amazing results. The biblical quote, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you,” came very much alive. It was as if I knocked and the door was, quite simply, flung wide open.
Literally on the first night after I had meditated earlier that day, I awoke in the wee hours to what I can only describe as a profound “feeling” of having been bathed in unconditional love, a feeling which was utterly blissful and stayed with me for a couple of hours afterward. There were no intense visual experiences that first night, but the very next night, I began to see twinkling stars on a section of my bedroom ceiling, very much as though through a skylight showcasing the night sky. At first I discounted it as a visual disturbance, but by the third night, the stars were so bright and intense that there was no denying them. At one point I got up to the bathroom, and little twinkling stars were appearing on my hands as I sat down. I guess I was expecting that she would share my bliss as I exclaimed to my dog, “Wow, Lexy, there are stars in my field of vision and on my hands!” She liked the tone of my joyful pronouncement, and wagged her tail.
Later that night, I awoke again in the wee hours to an intense vibrating sensation all across my torso and a loud buzzing sound in my left ear. I was sitting up in bed, aware that I was immersed in the warm glow of unconditional love. Something, not a voice, but just an internal knowing, told me to turn my head to the right, and when I did, I saw a huge ball of the most vibrant orange-colored light. It was about 5 feet in diameter, and it almost totally blocked the shutters all across the bedroom windows: all I could see were their edges. It was as if a newly-colored moon had landed in my bedroom. The color, though, was different from and richer than any shade of orange I’d ever seen, more akin to a coral color perhaps. This moon was very much alive, with ripples of currents of movement, like small streams, flowing across its surface. For some reason, which is difficult to explain, this moon looked like absolute perfection to me. I was in a serene state of mind and very drawn to this light. I would guess that it was there for all of about ten seconds, and then, just before it disappeared, occurred the most amazing part of all – it smiled at me with just a one-line smile, and it was the warmest, most loving, most good-natured smile imaginable. I remember thinking, “Wow, that moon just smiled at me!” I was then directed, again by an internal knowing, to turn my head to the bedroom wall in front of me, and on it appeared a small painting, about the size of a Japanese woodblock print. It was half black and half soft yellow, and from the lower left corner of the black side, a flock of very small blackbirds suddenly took off across the wall, then disappeared. The next morning I searched on Google for the symbolism of a flock of blackbirds: “symbolic of life in the heavens (higher ideals, higher path of knowing) and the color black is symbolic of pure potential.” I wondered if those blackbirds were harbingers of more to come, although frankly, if nothing else had happened, this one experience was so profound as to be life-changing. I was no longer an “agnostic” because I had encountered a divine realm.
In April 2018, two months after my initial spiritual experience and after a day of having meditated, I again woke up in the wee hours to intense vibrating and buzzing, both in my ears and across my torso, to find above and all around me, a brilliant but soft golden spotlight of sorts, very intensely beaming upon me, but without hurting my eyes. It pulsated rhythmically while infusing me with unconditional love and compassion. As this light of love poured down upon me, the position of my body intermittently changed, and I could actually see myself from what seemed like a few feet away, sitting under this shower of divine light, looking more like a little girl than a woman in her 60’s. I had never, ever felt love like this in my life. I felt utterly enraptured. I knew it to be coming from a heavenly, unearthly realm, and I found myself saying, “Thank you, God, for all of this love and compassion.”
In August 2018, I had an out-of-body experience where I felt myself being lifted off the bed and into the night sky. I was floating through the star-studded expanse in total peace, in the same position I had been when sitting up on my bed, head elevated, legs extended in front of me, when I suddenly realized that I was being sweetly and gently held and hugged around my torso, from behind. It was truly the most tenderhearted, loving hug I have ever experienced, and from which I absorbed the absolute, pure unconditional love being infused into my soul. I wish I could better describe how this love felt, but I just don’t have the right words. It was sublime and it made me feel like the most beloved person in the entire universe. I could “feel” the words, “Charlotte, you are SO loved!” over and over.
I had been christened and confirmed as an Episcopalian, and educated in a Catholic school, so of course I was very familiar with Jesus, but I hadn’t thought that much about him since school days. I loved his teachings, his compassion, and his wisdom, but that was the extent of my ability to “believe” in him. Frankly, I hadn’t even wanted to think much about him, because Christianity had become such a symbol of and force for divisiveness in this country and elsewhere in the world.
However, as I traveled through the night sky in a loving embrace which I knew to be coming from God, or one of God’s representatives, I suddenly heard my own voice resounding across space and asking a question that had not even occurred to me to ask, “But where’s Jesus?” Within a split second, to my right, after releasing his hug and coming out from behind me, appeared a very young, medium-dark-skinned man, perhaps in his early 20’s, with African features and shortish tightly-curled dark textured hair. He did not have a beard or moustache, and he appeared to be wearing a beige or white tunic top. All I saw were his torso and head, but he seemed fairly short in stature, maybe 5’1” or 5’ 2”. He flashed a huge and warm smile, waved with one hand, then disappeared again.
The next thing I knew, I was being placed so very gently back upon my bed, so gently as to be almost imperceptible, but I felt it. I jumped off the bed, looked around, and said, “Where did you go? Oh my God, thank you SO much for all of that love!” I found myself in tears of joy and gratitude.
Like all of these mystical experiences, this one with Jesus has profoundly affected me. The Jesus that I saw was nothing like the chiseled, Nordic representation so prevalent throughout Western culture. Right afterward, I could barely wait to announce to the white supremacists of the world that Jesus is way more African in appearance than Northern European! Needless to say, I have yet to accomplish that, but hopefully I will have the opportunity to make this revelation better known.
My next experience occurred in October 2018. Again, preceded by an earlier period of meditation, then a wee-hour awakening to intense vibrating all over and buzzing in both ears, I experienced a surge of joy as I thought, "Something amazing is coming.” And sure enough, a brilliant night sky spread across the ceiling of my bedroom, with a seemingly infinite number of stars. As is often the case, I had fallen asleep that night sitting up in bed against a backrest, this time because my feeding tube had been bothering me a lot, and I had tried to wriggle into a comfortable enough position to fall asleep without being awakened by the pain. As I gazed upon the night sky above my bed, atop my head were two hands gently stroking and touching my head and hair from behind me, and infusing me with the most heavenly unconditional love and compassion, once again more profound, more sincere, and more wonderful than any I had ever known.
You can imagine that waking up at 3 am with hands on your head from an unseen source behind you could be a pretty terrifying occurrence, but it was nothing like that at all. Similar to what I had experienced in all of these events, this was emanating from a divine presence. I was completely relaxed and receptive. I keep my bedroom very dark at night, as I’m known to have insomnia, and even the slightest light can irritate me as I try to fall asleep. This night, however, the room was lit up the way a brilliant night sky can illuminate a beach. I saw my dog Lexy in the soft starlight, sleeping right next to my bed. Suddenly she emitted a loud snorting sound that made me laugh out loud, and I found myself saying telepathically to the being who was caressing my head, “I’ll bet you love dogs too,” to which the being replied with his/her left hand, communicating, “Oh yes, I do!” This conversation all seemed so normal at the time. Then, just as night turns to dawn, or when the show at the Planetarium ends, the stars faded away, and my room returned to its normal 3 am darkness. I sat there for an hour or so in a rapturous state, contemplating what had just happened to me, before falling back to sleep.
In early May 2019 I awoke once again to intense vibrating and at the same time my whole bedroom was rumbling, like it does right before an earthquake. I knew it wasn’t an earthquake though. A gentle, almost tropical-like breeze was blowing across my face. Above me, on my ceiling or miles above me, I do not know, because the dimension changes during these experiences, there appeared a mass of orange colored light, like the color of sunset, only more brilliant. I was aware, but somehow not surprised, that there were two or three beings to my right, also resting on the bed. They intermittently and very softly said things like, “ooooh” and “ahhhh.” They seemed very benevolent. Gradually or perhaps quickly, because time changes during these experiences, the orange light morphed into an oblong “ball” of soft but brilliant whitish, yellowish light, which was slowly rotating in a clockwise direction, and it locked onto my torso through a field of intense but peaceful energy. I knew it to be God. When God comes into your bedroom in the wee hours, at any time, you just know it, and nobody can tell you otherwise.
The power of the event is ineffable, but something that comes to mind is how it feels to be a passenger just at the moment when a jet is about to lift off the runway; one’s body is kind of thrust against the back of the seat, and everything is vibrating. What the light conveyed to me was the sweetest compassion and unconditional love. God is so gentle, so nonjudgmental, almost what I would describe as lighthearted. There were no spoken words exchanged, as in all of these experiences, but I could “feel” the words through my skin, as they were being conveyed, and what God was saying to me was, “You are SO sweet, you are SO loved, you are wonderful,” over and over. I began smiling and almost laughing at one point because it was so utterly blissful. Eventually, and I don’t know if this experience lasted for ten minutes or an hour, but the energy in the room shifted, the oblong “ball” of light disappeared, and suddenly my ceiling lit up with thousands of stars against a velvety black night sky. I was just starting to say, “Oh wow, how beautiful,” when the stars faded, and again my room returned to its normal state. I couldn’t go back to sleep, and when Paul came in at 4 am to take Lexy out, I said, “Hi, Paul, God just came to me again about an hour ago.” Paul wanted to hear all about it. An atheist all his life, he has approached all of this with an open, receptive mind, if only because he knows me well and believes me.
In mid-September of 2019, I had met with a spiritual advisor on Skype, a woman named Dianne Sherman, whom I had discovered via some YouTube videos about her own spiritual experiences. We had met a few times already, and I found her to be a compassionate and skillful advisor. This particular day, at the end of our session, she called up some unique and divinely inspired spiritual codes and sequences. I dozed off early that evening, as I had looked at the clock right after a phone call, and saw 9:15 pm. Here’s what unfolded, which I wrote to her in an email right after I came out of the experience. I also sent a copy to my 92-year-old Godmother in San Francisco, with whom I have shared many of these experiences:
“Whatever you unblocked or unlocked in me today, it led to an awesome vibrational spiritual experience tonight from which I have only just emerged...I was lying in my bed, vibrating all over, and from underneath me, arms were holding my entire body or entire soul or both, and again infusing me with that most incredible unconditional love and sweetness, squeezing me around the shoulders and arms in a deep hug and letting go, then squeezing me again...This being had strong arms and a sort of bulging musculature, very masculine feeling. The space around me filled with a whitish haze or mist, and from right behind the haze, either 10 feet or 10 miles above me, I do not know, was a reddish/orangish disk, like a moon. I was clearly in another dimension, another realm of existence. At times the “moon-disk” was more obscured by the whitish haze, but when the haze would move away for a few moments or seconds, what I saw was another smaller circle within the disk, and within that smaller circle was sitting, in a lotus position, a Buddha or Krishna type figure, very small from my perspective, but whose eyes were gazing steadily on me throughout the whole experience...I vibrated for the entire two hours as this event unfolded, and I found myself pleading several times throughout, “Please take me with you, please.” There has been something very “eastern religion” about this whole experience...I am STILL so warm and peaceful, and I feel no physical pain...none...”
In mid-October of 2019, I was awakened again in the wee hours to both of my feet vibrating, and it felt divine in all senses of that word. I looked up at the right corner of my bedroom ceiling and saw a rather disorganized mass of whitish-bluish light, almost neon-like, which I immediately recognized as God. This was a very short experience, but very clear. Once again, I could “feel,” not hear, the words that were “spoken.” I recognized the same “voice” from God that I had “heard” in May of the same year. This time it was three sentences: “You have not been forgotten. Not at all! You are deeply loved.” That was the extent of it, and it was so warm and loving. I don’t know why God thought I had been feeling forgotten, because I couldn’t recall having felt that way in the recent past.
On December 2, 2019, I had done some very simple meditation before going to sleep, for about 5 minutes, and I was awakened at 11:45 pm by the very weird sensation of being pulled backwards and downwards by my arms, in complete darkness, almost head first. It was very scary at first and I found myself yelling: “Stop! You guys are scaring me!” I have no idea what guys I was referring to!! Anyway, with the utterance of those words, the pulling stopped totally, my body was returned to its recumbent position, and what happened next was dazzling...My room, which had been so dark, lit up with radiant, shimmering, gold-whitish filaments and ribbons of light, so that the entire room was brilliantly but softly lit...Then, directly in front of me was a round ball of white-gold light that looked very much like a small version of our sun, with rays emanating from all the way around that ball of light, and I heard myself saying, “Thank you, God, for all you have given me! I love you SO much!” I could “feel” a warm and loving smile coming from God, although this sun revealed no visual facial features. After a few moments or more, as once again I’m never sure about passage of time during these experiences, the light faded, and I was sitting up in my bed, feeling SO warm, so peaceful, and I had NO pain or nausea. That day, like so very many others, had been fraught with both pain and nausea, but both were 100% gone for several hours after the experience! It didn’t last, but I am grateful for whatever reprieves I have been given.