Two experiences within one year of each other of going out of my body during sleep apnea.:
1st NDE/OBE: While asleep, I left my body, floated up through the ceiling & roof of house to an altitude of about 200 - 300 feet, traveled southwestward at a fast rate of speed, then stopped and hovered over a cow barn and farmhouse. Two years later, I began attending a charismatic church which was a remodeled cow barn with a farmhouse next door to it. Prior to this and my NDE, I had been agnostic. It wasn't until well AFTER I began attending there that it occurred to me that the church looked exactly like what I saw in my NDE. So, in retrospect, I now see that as a predictive or prophetic NDE/OBE.
2nd NDE/OBE: This dramatic experience happened in 1976, when I was about to turn 18, only months after the experience described above:
I had come home from a band gig; was very tired because we had been driving some distance. I fell asleep immediately. At about 3:00 a.m., I felt paralyzed, it was impossible to move, and I was very frightened. With this paralysis, I "heard" a loud buzzing sound and also a "rushing" sound, like Niagara Falls.
Suddenly, I found myself outside my body and beside my bed, at a height of about 4 or 5 feet off the floor, and floating on my back. I saw that my body was a wispy, grayish-white and in the general form of my normal body, but not as defined. It looked like living energy. I turned to my left and saw my fleshly body on the bed, still and lifeless. Although the lights were off, I could see things in the room quite clearly.
I began to slowly sink toward the floor. I remember saying (telepathically), "Stop!" And, to my surprise, I immediately stopped. I must have began thinking of others in the household because I then began to float backwards in the direction of where other family members' bedrooms.
I went THROUGH my bedroom wall into the bathroom and THROUGH the bathroom door into my younger brother's bedroom. He is special needs (mentally retarded since birth). I saw him sound asleep in his bed. I felt as light as a helium balloon and I felt quite euphoric! But I saw no "Light" or tunnel at that time. I felt a sense of freedom but I was not confident I had complete control over what might happen. So I was "testing the waters," so to speak.
I reached out to my brother and tried to nudge him awake. I shouted his name, "Jeff! Jeff! Look! Wake up!" I was excited and happy, at least at first. But my brother could not hear me and did not budge. I hadn’t realized quite yet that I truly was in the spirit world and the humans could not see or hear or touch me. When my hands pressed against Jeff, it felt sort of like when two magnets in reverse polarity are pushed toward each other - there was resistance, like a force field. I do not know whether that resistance was physiological, metaphysical, or psychological. That is, I knew he was a human and not a wall or door, so the idea of passing my hands through him might not have seemed possible or ethically right, thus my hands did not pass through him.
Next, I began floating down the hallway, and when I reached its end, it almost seemed like I pushed off the wall with my feet and ricocheted into my parents' bedroom. I floated above at the foot of their bed, at about 6 feet high. I shouted to them as they slept and snored on. "Mom! Dad! Look! It's me!" Then, I did a single somersault head over heels. It was exhilarating to be so light and free! But when I began to realize that my parents could not hear me or see me either, and that they just kept on sleeping, I began to feel fear again. It was a sudden realization that I was truly outside of my body and detached from the physical world, in terms of any effect on it or communication I could have with it. This scared me because how long would I remain there? Where would I go? What was beyond this experience, this place and time? Was I dead? Or, like other out-of-body experiences, was it temporary?
At these feelings and thoughts, I felt myself suddenly and violently yanked back into my body, which was still about 40 feet away, in the back bedroom - WHOOSH! I woke up immediately and was gasping desperately for air, my heart in my throat and pounding much faster than was normal. I looked around and realized I was safe; I was in my room again and in my body.
I got up, went downstairs, and turned on the kettle and made a cup of coffee. I sat at the kitchen table until sunrise, afraid to go back upstairs and back to sleep. Later that day, when I saw my mother and father, I told them about this experience. Mom said that at about that same time, she stirred from her sleep and wondered whether I had come home from the gig yet or not. She always was a rather spiritually and intuitively in-tune person. Dad shrugged it off, scoffed.
Now I knew that I indeed had a soul, that there was a spirit world, and that we could not affect this physical world from there. That rattled me. A realization came over me. "I need to find out if God is real and find out about the afterlife!" Thus began my seeking, my journey. At first it was about Zen Buddhism for awhile. And today, I still meditate regularly, though I didn't for many years after that experience.
But then I began dating a girl who was from a born again Baptist family. Her parents never missed a chance to drop hints about God to me. Their daughter was at first less intrusive towards me about that, but eventually even she spoke to me about her faith, about God. I adored her and hoped our relationship could continue. But was the Christianity of my childhood what God was trying to get at with me here?
Finally, after reading about the place in a magazine, "on a whim," I went to a Benedictine monastery about 90 minutes away, for a short retreat, just to see for myself what this might be about. I even took along a friend who was raised a Catholic, just in case I didn't understand some of the things I saw there. But that very night, after the monks had gone to bed, we were in the little library, rifling through the books. Suddenly, I felt the presence of God - like a Light filling the room. There was a welling up sense of joy and peace and excitement overtaking me. Out of the blue, I turned to my friend and told him I wanted to go to my "cell" (monk's room) and pray.
I did so. I turned off the light and knelt like a child beside my bed. I prayed, "God, I don't know if you're real. But if you are, I really want to know. Right now. I admit I have been a real screw up; I'm a sinner. I have wronged and hurt others. I've lived a selfish life. I believe you died for me. Come into my heart now." Suddenly, WHOOSH! I was flooded with incredible warm, loving joy and peace, from head to toe. Forgiveness and acceptance like I had never known before. I jumped to my feet and ran out the door and grabbed my friend, who had not had the same experience as I. The first words out of my mouth were, "God is real! God is real! I can feel him!"
I then urged my friend to go outside and walk. It was early April 1977; Easter weekend, if I remember correctly. My friend and I walked all night until sunrise through those country fields. The moon was full and the clouds were low and traveling briskly overhead. I felt the love of God as a Father for the first time in my life. The other thing I felt was that HE was ALWAYS ALREADY there with me. He had just been waiting for me! I tried to explain this to my friend (he had been a lapsed catholic) and I spoke out loud everything I felt God was impressing upon me. We returned home that next morning after the sun rose.
That was the first year that the mini-series "Jesus of Nazareth" by Italian director Franco Zeffirelli aired on TV. Excited, I grabbed the family Bible off the living room bookshelf, blew the dust off from it, and followed along in it with the nightly airings of that movie about the Jesus story. For the first time in my life, I actually began to understand the Bible and felt the love that God had for us in Christ. All this began my journey. Within two years, I had found a local church that met in a remodeled cow barn. And I remained there, fellowshipping for the next 4 or 5 years. Lots of love there and good lifelong friends. It was a good spiritual foundation for my lifelong journey.
I much later learned that I had obstructive sleep apnea and was prescribed a CPAP machine. After the sleep study, the doctor showed me on the computer read-out that I frequently stopped breathing throughout the night, many times per hour. He showed me one example where I had stopped breathing for a minute and ten seconds! I was shocked. This later caused me to put two and two together and consider the real possibility that way back when I had those OBEs, they occurred because I had stopped breathing for very long periods of time. Perhaps, then, these were actually instances in which my heart stopped and I had died for a couple of minutes each. To this day, I have come to accept that explanation and I have also never had another OBE or NDE since the time of spiritual conversion, which I believe is utterly God's doing, his protection over me. ; )