Validating the NDE Experience.I had an incredible spiritual experience that occurred 43 years ago when I was fourteen years old, and I am now 57, born 11/28/46. It wasn't until around 1979 after hearing about Near Death Experiences that I realized that my spiritual experience was extremely similar to NDEs. The value in my experience, as I see it, is that it validates the NDE experience, and also validates the hypothesis that Mind/Spirit is indeed substance.
In 1984, I used to drop by the Unity church in Salt Lake City, Utah once in awhile to have tea and to visit with the secretary (Ruth). The secretary was a former Unity minister who became the leading teacher of 'A Course in Miracles' in Salt Lake City, Utah. I knew a little about the ACIM, but it wasn't my cup of tea, so to speak, at the time. Then one day while visiting Ruth, she exclaimed there was one lesson in the ACIM she did not understand, lesson number 167 (There is one life, and that I share with God). Ruth asked me to read it to see if I could shed some light on it. After reading the lesson to my astonishment, amazement and joy I told Ruth this lesson speaks of the very thing I experienced at age 14. After explaining my experience and what I learned, Ruth was exceedingly pleased.
My story really begins, however, when I was fourteen years old. We lived on the outskirts of a small town in Oregon called Goshen.
This one evening while alone in the bunkhouse I knelt and prayed to God. I prayed that I might serve Him with all my heart, mind and soul. What immediately followed this prayer was totally unexpected to me. I was flooded with love, peace, and joy; and I was surrounded with an incredible sense of warmth and oneness with God.
As I stood a Voice spoke clearly and precisely into my mind, the message I received was intensely personal and cannot be meaningfully shared, but the last thing the Voice shared with me can be shared. Just before going to bed that same evening I asked, "What is it that I am supposed to do?" The Voice replied: "Teach!" I replied: "Teach what?" And the Voice never replied, not then or ever again.
This ends part one of my experience.
Part two begins when I was around 21 years old; I took this one class in psychology. Our textbook was titled, 'Machinery of the Brain' by Dean E. Woolridge. This book reduced man to a series of chemical actions and reactions to his environment, and the argument was extremely persuasive. It made sense and it was logical but it ran against my early experience at age fourteen, and the very instincts of my being. I really felt sick at heart and I didn't know what to think. So I prayed for understanding.
Then one day not long thereafter I went swimming at the YMCA. After swimming while cooling off in the lounge, I noticed a small booklet on the table. I picked it up and began reading it. It was rubber stamped on the front of the booklet you may take this booklet, so I did. I finished reading it, and found it interesting, and it mentioned another book called, 'Science and Health with key to the scriptures' by Mary Baker Eddy. So I went out and bought the book and began reading it. Half way through the book my heart leapt with pure joy; I felt absolutely without question God had answered my prayer.
To me all of 'Science and Health' points to one page and one paragraph; page number 468, the Scientific Statement of being. In Mary Baker Eddy's own words:
"Question. -- What is the scientific statement of being?
Answer. -- There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter. All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all. Spirit is immortal Truth; matter is mortal error. Spirit is the real and eternal; matter is the unreal and temporal. Spirit is God, and man is His image and likeness. Therefore man is not material; he is spiritual."
I see all the rest of 'Science and Health', and the lives of those who live by it coming back to this one scientific statement of being. What is extremely interesting is that lesson number 167 in the ACIM makes the same statement using different words, but it is unmistakably the exact same premise.
You would be dead wrong if you thought I was a Christian Scientist. I don't even like Christian Scientists. But I am convinced by grace of God, that I was lead to the understanding of what I experienced at fourteen. Furthermore, I am absolutely convinced that whatever we seek we find (this is the only thing I would teach). If you are already convinced that substance is Mind/Spirit my experience only validates your experience.
What I've learned and value most highly came to me accidentally rather than through design; by being in the right place at the right time. As I said before, I am absolutely convinced that whatever we seek we find. But I should try and explain this.
If I say I desire wealth and prestige consciously, what does wealth and prestige represent to me subconsciously? It represents happiness. I may be pursuing happiness in the wrong places, but eventually by accident rather than design, happiness will find me. Then I would say to myself, "Oh, Yes! This is what I was seeking all along."
In this sense teaching and learning can really muddle things up, but eventually we do arrive at what we seeking. I believe this to be an immutable law of creation.
(Thank you for a wonderful experience, there are as many ways to enlightment as there are people. Each discovers the "divine within" in their own way and acknowledges the Oneness of all things. Near Death Experiences are just one of these ways.)