The Website of PMH AtwaterOne of the internet's most comprehensive sites on the near-death phenomenon!

One of the internet's most comprehensive sites on the near-death phenomenon!

Ken - "The River of Life"

When the first rescue squad arrived on scene they saw two injured people. They checked us both and believed I would die and put all their efforts into the other victim. When the second rescue squad arrived they came to me and believing I would not survive, transported me in great haste to the emergency room running over curbs and at high speed. In the emergency room the doctor on duty did not think I would live. I was unconscious and the extent of my injuries was unknown. I had blood in my mouth and was breathing shallowly and gurgling. Both of us who were injured had protruding fractures. The Orthopedic surgeon decided the other victim would more likely survive and took him first. I was not x-rayed beyond my extremities due to fear of internal injuries killing me. It was 2 months after the accident that the final severe breaks were x-rayed and diagnosed. A State Trooper was present in the emergency room and questioned me. I did answer a couple of questions and have memory of doing so. It was just after my near-death experience.
Going into the experience:
Last recollection before impact was lights of car First recollection after accident was laying on gurney in hallway of emergency room. With my awakening on the gurney, I understood I was alive. Moments later, I knew I was dying. I knew the moment of death. There was pain during this brief awake period between unconsciousness and death. I could see my surroundings and people around me.
The experience:
There was an immediate cessation of all feeling. Unlike the previous unconscious state, I was aware. My eyes were open but did not see. I had the sensation of moving through a dark space (tunnel) then suddenly was in light. I was across the emergency room by the counter and could see the gurney flanked by a State Trooper. I was on the gurney and I could see myself as though looking at myself from several feet away over my left shoulder. There was no pain or physical sensation of any kind. I was then swept by an euphoric feeling. I had a feeling of great peace and calm. I knew I was dead but had no adverse feeling, no fear. I felt completely at peace and without need or want of any kind. I had the feeling of complete contentment, total relaxation, and of being home.
I began to have understandings. As though someone had communicated with me but without an audible sound. This was a pure communication process with my comprehending and understanding without the use of verbalizations. There was no entity visible to me providing the messages but I assumed a presence. I was very comfortable with this and did not question or feel shocked by the occurrence. I was not afraid nor did I have a desire to see the presence. Indeed, I had no desires or wants of any kind.
The understandings I had were:
I no longer had any need or want, these included food and drink, companionship, or entertainment. I was without emotion except for the euphoria I was feeling.
I had no desire to ask questions, being so totally at peace with myself and my surroundings. I was not interested in my body or what had happened to cause my death.
I was made to understand I was to return. At this point I had my only desire. I wanted to stay. I made an inquiry, the same way I was made to understand. I knew my desire to stay was understood without my having to speak. The wall beyond my gurney became transparent and I was shown what appeared to be a flowing river. It was silver and shimmering as it flowed. The drops in the river were each a different color yet all flowed together as one body of water. Nothing gave me the impression this was actually water or a river but this is the best descriptive example that can be given of something I witnessed for which there are no words.
I understood (I use this term because I did not actually hear) the drops were the experiences of all who had lived. The experiences existed as separate items yet belonged to the whole. The whole was the collective knowledge of all. I understood there was no individual, just one, yet each experience was individual making up the whole. This concept of ONE is so foreign to any description I can give, there seems to be no way now of describing it. My previous understanding of one was a single uniqueness. In this case one is something else. Many being one and one being many, both existing simultaneously in the same time and space. I further understood that the collective experiences are omniscient knowledge. Everything that has been spoken, heard, and experienced.
There was no fear, or joy from this stream. I use the term river of life to describe the stream. There was an understanding of complete peace, happiness, and contentment without need or want, coming from the river of life. I had a strong desire now to join the river of life and felt this was home.
I understood I was not to join the river of life at that time, I was to go back. At this understanding I began to have fears and questions. I again reiterated I did not want to go. I understood I was to go back. I then was made to understand there would be great pain. I did not want to face the pain that awaited me. I understood the pain would be great and it would change and mold me. I wanted to know why and what I was to do. I was flushed with two sensations, one after the other. One sensation was of a sense of an action being right that brought a brief moment of the total peace and comfort I had experienced. The other sensation was one of an action being wrong. The sensation for wrong was a darkening of the light and cold.
There was no explanation of why I was to go back nor was there an explanation of what I was to do. I was made to understand that my knowledge was not for everyone.
At that time I passed into a dark place (tunnel) and emerged into light. I was back on the gurney, conscious, and in great pain. I recall briefly answering one or two questions from a State Trooper standing beside the gurney. I passed out and was unconscious for more than 30 hours. There was no further experience like the one occurring during my death.
The following are my interpretations of my experience:
I believe my actual physical existence resides in the river of life as its natural form when not present in this reality or life. As a drop taken from a cup of water and then returned, so the individual drop exists, yet is part of the whole. I believe there is a retained knowledge of life experience that becomes part of collective knowledge yet remains intact as a unit. There is no body in the sense we know one, no love, hate, or any emotion as we know it. In a perfect existence devoid of need or want, all needs and wants, positive and negative, do not exist. The one-ness I perceived was what is referred to as God. We are of God and God is of us. The purpose of our physical existence and life is to provide every possible variation of action so an omniscient knowledge base can exist.
There is no heaven and hell, as we perceive it. There is no punishment for wrong behaviors, nor rewards for right behaviors. There is no judgment process. This is the reason people anguish over why would God let that happen. All experience, good, bad, mixed, is part of omniscient knowledge. In our present life, we have control over our lives to create perfectly unique combinations of experience, memory, and knowledge. Some people have memory of past lives or deja vou because of our connection to the river of life. The collective knowledge knows what brings feelings of well-being, peace, and happiness as well as what brings turmoil and pain. Our reward for moving in the direction of peace and contentment is the experience we create will have more positive feelings associated with it. I note here also that no matter how horrible the action and horrible the experience, all experience must exist to make up omniscient knowledge. This is why there is no precognition. The collective knowledge is so vast, likely results can be predicted. Thus, premonition is not magic, but informed estimation. In a sense we create our own hell here in this life when we take actions which bring pain and turmoil into our lives. We can also create an existence closer to the perfect peace of after-death existence by living in such a way as to bring peace and harmony into our lives.
There is no love in the river of life, as we know love here in this existence. Since there is no want or need and a feeling of total peace, there is a sense of perfect love in the existence. There is also not a sense of desire to be with someone nor is there anyone to be with. All are part of the whole which is the common denominator of the universal existence we call God. In that sense we are God and God is we.
I did not wish to relate my experience for a long time. I felt very comfortable with this. It was a right action. A situation occurred 2 years later and I was suddenly compelled to tell a person. The feeling surrounding that was right also. Since that time I have come to rely on this intuition. It guides me in much of my decision making. I know when I am to tell a person about the experience when this right feeling becomes very strong. Likewise, when I logically think I should tell someone and the feeling is wrong, I do not hesitate to heed the intuition. I do not feel compelled to tell everyone about my experience. In fact, I still feel the need to be careful about who I tell. My father developed a fear of death as he got older. I considered telling him to comfort his fears. My intuition told me not to and I heeded that feeling. At the instant of my fathers death I was many miles away in route to the hospital where he lay very ill. I felt a brief return of that very peaceful feeling, devoid of want or need and I felt perfectly calm and happy. I looked at my watch. When I arrived at the hospital, the time I looked at my watch coincided exactly with the time my father died. Three years after that, I felt an overwhelming desire to tell my experience to a friend of mine at church. I also wanted to get her thoughts on sharing my experience with terminally ill patients and their families. She was head of a hospice agency. Talking to this person was an intense right feeling and I had an unexplained sense of urgency. When I related my experience the young lady cried and told me how I relieved fears and feelings of loss and grieving with the recent death of her mother. I had suggested I share my experience with terminally ill patients, but expressed concern about doing so would be a double edged sword attacking their belief systems already in place. She concurred and said the conflict may be more harmful than helpful.
Post-NDE and written document additional info.
I had been aware since the experience that the light I saw from the gurney and the light in the room during my OBE were different in some way. I knew the light during the OBE was a little brighter but something else was different. Yesterday, 7-9-2001, while driving to work, it dawned on me. The difference was there were no shadows in the room during the OBE.
Today, 7-10-2001, I was trying to reconcile two differences in my nde and what I had been told about my experience. I remembered seeing myself on the gurney during the OBE in a reclining position with head raised. A State Trooper was on my right side between the gurney and the wall. I remember seeing myself with a dark shirt. During the week immediately following the accident I asked someone about my position on the gurney (trying to verify my experience for myself) and was told I was recumbent the whole time. I distinctly remember reclining when I came back from the nde and the Trooper asked me a question before I blacked out for 30 hours. I also remember the Trooper being over my right shoulder. The other difference was the shirt I was wearing. I was wearing a pale yellow shirt. I remember seeing my left shoulder from behind during the nde and I remember the shirt as being dark. It is possible the shirt was very dirty and bloody, I had a bad abrasion on my back on the left side.
Today, 7/12/01, I began reading other experiences and books about NDEs. I admonish myself not to filter jargon into my recounting of my experience.
Yesterday, 07/18/01, Dianna and I visited with the International Association for Near Death Studies group in Charlottesville. This chapter of I.A.N.D.S. meets monthly. I felt very comfortable sharing my experience there but learned even more about my experience and dealing with it by listening. This was a very right feeling.
More about the aftereffects
Now, about aftereffects, there may be some. I mentioned the street light phenomenon. This does not occur often and has diminished over the past 2 years. The most common occurrence was at work.
I shifted from a faith-based belief system to a knowledge-based belief system. For some reason, I am warned against sharing my experience with my minister. I have lost all fear of death. When I was in my faith-based belief system, I actually practiced what I would say to this wise, old man in robes sitting on a throne when I stood before him after death.
I am more sensitive to the effects of alcohol now.
I have a very annoying tendency to wake up at the same time each morning. Sometimes this is 12:40 and sometimes it is 3:10 am. I will go several nights in a row at one of these times and then sleep well for a week or more. The next time it happens it may be at the other time or the same as last episode. My usual waking time is 4:30 am. My best guess at my time of death would put it around the 12:40 time.
During my recovery, I was evaluated by a Psychiatrist because of a severe blunt head trauma. I saw him 3 or 4 times and had one test session with his assistant. I was, of course, concerned about my mental health and asked him how I was. He said, "There is no way to tell, you will be whatever you want to be to us." I asked him if he checked my IQ. I was concerned about my difficulty in concentrating after the accident. He said my IQ was immeasurable. I did not consider myself to be exceptionally bright prior to my accident, and I don't consider myself to be now. I do seem more aware and have a greater capacity to absorb material and a greater desire to learn. I think the doctor was patronizing me a bit.
Since my initial recovery from the accident, my general health has been excellent. My blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and heart rates have been at ideal levels since then. In fact, my "good" cholesterol level is the same as a woman's and (I understand) quite extraordinary for a man.
Just to fill you in on the accident. I had 10 identified broken bones. My left leg was shattered and the tibia has a steel rod and 4 bolts imbedded. The fibula was destroyed. My right shoulder blade was shattered and cracked into the rotating cuff. My collarbone was broken, as were 4 ribs, 2 fingers. The blow to the head occurred across the bridge of the nose. My olfactory nerve was severed and I have permanently lost my sense of smell. The nerves controlling my esophagus were damaged and this has left me the rare condition known as achalasia. I work out several times a week to keep myself as fit as possible. Although I lost 60 pounds after the accident, I have a ways to go to really be as healthy as I would like. I was in a wheelchair for several months and several more on crutches. When I went to using a cane, my orthopedic surgeon believed this would be as good as I would get. My left leg was shortened almost a half inch.
About 8 months after the accident, I took up fly-fishing. I had a strong desire (and still do) to be standing in a flowing stream and feeling the rhythm of the fly rod and connect with nature. This contributes to my health and I work at therapies to keep my body agile enough for this.
NDE Cases