Near-Death Experiences

With a near-death experience, life changes, love grows, and the universe moves into another world. ~ Petra Hermans

I have long been intrigued by accounts of death and near-death experiences.

In March, 2020, I picked up a copy of Eben Alexander’s book, Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey Into the Afterllife. His book describes his near-death experience in the midst of a physical health crisis. His body was in a coma for a week. During that time, his soul / spirit / consciousness experienced intense realms which he describes in his book.

As I read through the book, I noticed that some of his descriptions about what he observed and felt while his body was in a coma reasonably matched my own surreal experiences from my spiritual awakening / emergency.

I had heard about “ego death” years before, though when I looked into it, ego death most often referred to experiences when people took psychedelics. The ego “dies” and the person experiences other realms and levels of consciousness without the ego limiting the experience.. In most cases, when a person finishes their “trip,” the ego revives from its “death” and begins to function again.

A few months after reading Proof of Heaven, I came across another book written by a anesthesiologist who had a near-death experience while undergoing surgery.

The two accounts described both difficult hellish realms and glowing, loving heaven-like realms — within the same near-death experiences.

In both accounts, the authors indicated that their near-death experiences were extreme, extraordinary, overwhelming, and even miraculous. Both men described significant difficulty in returning to this physical realm (what we call reality). Having experienced something so much “bigger” and so much beyond anything they had ever heard of and imagined, returning to this realm was quite difficult since what they experienced was so magnificent in comparison — and so much more real.

In the early 1990s, I read Betty Eadie’s book, Embraced by the Light, which describes her near-death experience, which happened while she was staying at a hospital after surgery. When I read that book, I loved the imagery of what she described. I embraced her book and the description of her experiences. She, too, struggled for many months after her experience in “returning” to function in this physical world.

Near-Death Experience While Staying Awake

Apparently, near-death experiences are often quite intense and much more “real” than what a person experiences in this realm. And it can be difficult for the person going through that experience to deal with the intensity of that experience when trying to function in this realm.


Typically with near-death experiences, the physical body is immobilized somehow, whether on an operating table or in a hospital bed or sometimes even in a bed at the person’s home. While the person experiences another, extreme form of consciousness, the person is not awake (conscious) to this realm. They are “dead” to this realm. Well, at least immobilized.

In a typical near-death experience, the person is not interacting with the sights, sounds, impulses, and stimulation of this realm. They don’t have to worry about feeding themselves, getting dressed, paying bills, interacting with other people, or other daily tasks. With the body and mind closed from this physical realm, the person’s soul or energy can experiences something exceptional, something that is often beyond description. Those experiences can be positive or negative, very intense, life-transforming, and highly insightful.

Now have that near-death experience without losing consciousness to this realm. That is, have the intensity of a near-death experience while still being active and conscious in the physical realm.

What does that look like?

If someone has a near-death experience without losing consciousness to this realm, that could be quite a mess — and even more difficult to navigate. A person would also have to deal with the intensity and surreality of a near-death experience. AND at the same time, the person would still have to deal with their daily activity of the physical realm. The person is still awake and conscious to this world while potentially experiencing the intensity described in near-death descriptions.

As a result, a person would have potentially clashing realms of consciousness to deal with. And one of those realms is extreme, foreign, and perhaps quite unsettling or even frightening.

When flooded with another, more intense level of consciousness, a person could see the same world through a completely different lens. With the flood of additional consciousness, a person could potentially see, perceive and experience something beyond the physical realm.

Comparing my experiences to a near-death experience clearly wasn’t my first description for my type of experience. In fact, it took over twenty years for me to make the connection to near-death experiences.

I knew my journey had specific elements related to death and the fear of death. Yet I never realized that the overall level of consciousness I experienced was comparable to what others have described while they were near death or immobilized.

As I think about it now, I do see that my type of “awakening” could be described as a near-death experience — yet I was still awake and conscious to this world also. I had to try to function in this world while experiencing something ridiculously intense beyond what I had experienced before.

Compassion and Assistance for Extreme Health Conditions

I have known since the summer of 1998, when I heard the song “Never Tear Us Apart” by INXS that in March, there were definitely “two worlds colliding” — the spiritual world and this physical world. And I was caught in the middle of that collision — and my friends were there with me from the other side to help me as I was buried in that collision

It’s interesting because people who face physical death situations typically receive a lot of compassion and concern. There is no disputing that the person faced some type of emergency. There is physical evidence of the danger. Though the person’s near-death experience may not be believed, at least there is compassion for the health crisis they endured and needed to recover and heal from.

Yet people dealing with an ego collapse and fracture and end up struggling with multiple realms of consciousness often receive no such compassion. Instead, too often, they face condescension, patronization, dismissal of their experience, and added trauma.

As more and more people understand the intensity of these other extreme forms of consciousness, maybe that will change. Hopefully, then people going through such a journey can be better assisted and acknowledged for the nature of their journey.

People’s accounts matter. The people who make the journey are the best to describe the landscape. With regard to these types of journeys, from what I can tell, the landscapes vary widely. Exceptionally so. In my opinion, that is all the more reason why people’s accounts matter, so that we can determine the different types of experiences to help people through them even better. Sure, each person can only describe their own terrain and path, yet it contributes to the overall cartography.