My first clear personal direct encounter with God as I see it was when I attended a service of the Lectorium Rosicrucianum just before Christmas of 2009. The subject was "The Birth of Light" and I clearly felt the presence of the Holy Spirit: subtle yet absolutely unmistakable. In 1983 I had been baptised in a rather liberal Baptist church in England, but the effect, ecstatic at the time, had not stayed.For decades subsequently I had been searching via various churches, liberal, moderate and conservative, major denominations as well as free churches. I had taken courses at Esalen in California, leant NLP and hypnotherapy, attended Tony Robbins' seminars and studied New Thought (especially the writings of Joseph Murphy and visited Christian Science meetings for some time), but nothing had satisfied me. Then following a further period of destitution and homelessness, I experienced a major heart attack at a free church run by a friend, a fellow engineer. He, my girlfriend and another member prayed aloud for me, laying on hands, as I lay stricken on a sofa, seeing the street lights outside through the large windows of the church building.
Initially the pain went away and I got up to go the bathroom. But quickly the pain returned, this time more severely, and my friends began praying for me again. As I lay in serious pain, thrashing from left to right on the sofa, hearing their voices and seeing the orange light, suddenly an internal vision appeared to me: (Jesus) Christ, dressed in white light. Immediately, without realising it, I asked how I could have the pain go away, but I understood (as I see it now, the Holy Spirit said) that this was the wrong question. Then I asked "What must I learn, what must I take away from this experience". Instantly the pain was gone, and my whole body filled with a warm feeling; I stood up and said "Wonderful!" Later my girlfriend told me she'd thought to herself "Why did he say wonderful: he just had a heart attack?" As my friends took me to the emergency room, I told them of my experience. Only three days later whilst lying in my hospital bed I realised with another burst of ecstacy that I had had the experience that Christians often refer to as being "born again". My recovery was initially gradual and became stronger, although I still have high blood pressure. Many emotional issues are being resolved in ways previously impossible, and almost automatically. This near-near death experience has been a blessing and I have become fascinated with the details of other people's NDEs, watched many YouTube accounts, especially those of Howard Storm. I find both the differences and similarities wonderful and compelling, and I believe NDEs of people Christian and non-Christian equally valuable. I see myself in this regard as a Christian mystic, seeking the direct experience of God, rather than just the knowledge of God as I perceive the evangelical movement. And I understand too that all of my previous experiences are of tremendous value, too. There are many unanswered questions, and I had the insight recently that during this life there always will be for everyone, since we could hardly survive, let alone fulfill our life's purpose here if we remembered all that we had known before being born here. This is the cause of major conflict between and within major religions and all spiritual pursuits, yet it is essential, if painful.
Now my life's purpose, at 50 years of age is clear to me finally and for that I am both profoundly grateful and somewhat daunted by the challenges, but I would not have it any other way.
Following my NDE, I practiced at times the consciousness of the presence of God, sometimes constantly for a couple of days. On one occasion in the Swiss city of Basel, a mentally ill man had been on the roof of a building for 48 hours: all attempts by police and rescue crews to bring him down had failed, and he had kept throwing roof tiles to the street below, terrorising the residents of the block as they darted quickly to and from the entrance of apartment buildings . I went to look, and for less than 5 minutes I practiced this simple consciousness of God, asking for nothing. During these 5 minutes, the police were able trick and catch the man and bring him down safely.
Another time, I had been practicing this presence of God for about 48 hours more-or-less on and off, and I awoke in my bed at about 1:00am. Thinking of nothing in particular, I suddenly felt the very strong presence of a being, a person in my room. I looked up and although I saw nothing, realised that it was Christ. I started to weep as I have
not done since I was a child, got out of my bed and knelt to pray. As I did so, I felt the presence not of one being but of three: Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Sometime after I realised that this must have been like the experience that lead to the teaching of the trinity, since it is not overtly described in the Bible.
I came to understand many things that had previously seemed incomprehensible ~ one thing to resolve many of the mental conflicts I had encountered in the various religious groups and applied psychology studies I had done, and more recently why others fail to see or resolve these things.
If the Rosicrucians are correct in saying that after spiritual rebirth there is no need to reincarnate any more, then I regard my remaining time on Earth as even more valuable, and I am even more strongly motivated to fulfill my life's (divinely appointed) purpose. I believe that many people, regardless of their former or current beliefs have had equivalent experiences of spiritual rebirth (and others who claimed to have been "born again" have not yet been), and all of these NDE accounts confirm this belief.
Two other subsequent observations are that the process of complete repentance and forgiveness of every last "sin"/mistake/error are essential, and that the wholehearted passionate love of The Father is the ultimate panacea for all troubles.
One day I will write more of my ongoing experience. The changes, gradual at first, are now accelerating: those that I had sought for decades via religion, spirituality and psychology; namely a deep healing as well as discovery and fulfillment of my life's purpose.
For now I am just so grateful.