In February, 2014, I was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit at Valley Hospital in Melbourne. My condition was critical but the near death experience that followed changed my life. This is that story.
On 11th February I was rushed to hospital by ambulance. My body was shaking uncontrollably and my temperature was very high. I could not stand on my own and, when getting out of bed at 7.30am, I collapsed. I told my wife that I could no longer take the shaking and would soon die. Fortunately she telephoned an ambulance and within 30 minutes I was in the Emergency Department of a nearby hospital.
It was at that stage that I discovered that I was suffering from acute renal failure and, if my arrival at the hospital was 15 minutes later, I would not have survived. The Emergency Department was able to stabilise my condition and I was then transferred into the ICU, Intensive Care Unit. I arrived in the ICU early in the afternoon and was soon connected into all their necessary systems. My wife was there with me and I was lying in my bed with my eyes closed and trying to maintain steady, calm breathing.
Although my body was struggling to survive I felt very calm and then I felt a very small hand fit into my right hand. It held my right hand not tightly but very gently and softly. A voice spoke to me, and this is some of the outcome of that discussion. The first words I heard were:
“You are very tired.”
Yes I am.
“Can you look upwards for me?”
I opened my eyes but the voice told me, “No – keep your eyes closed but look upwards towards the top of your forehead.”
I did as I was told and looked upwards.
“What do you see?”
I can only see blackness but in the distance I can see a light.
“Tell me more.”
I can see a gap in the distance and it is slowly becoming larger.
“Good. Do you know why I am here?”
I think you have come for me.
“Yes, that is true. I am here with you, holding your hand to guide you and help you. Together we will go upwards. Your body will stay but the real you will come with me. Are you ready to come with me?”
Yes I am ready.
How do you feel?
Very calm and at peace. Who are you?
“I think you know exactly who I am, don’t you?’
Yes I do, but where are you?
“You could say that I am deep within your heart. This is where you can find me, but in reality it is not me who is within you but rather you are within me, but your heart is the way to find me. Are you sure that you are ready to come with me now?”
Yes I am sure – I have been ready for a long time.
“I can see that you are ready but perhaps you have not completed all that you have to. I think you have some mission left to complete.”
Maybe I do but I am very tired and it will be a relief for me to go with you. I do not want you to leave me. Have you always been with me and will you always be with me even into my future?
“Understand this – if in your heart you know that you have to complete some important mission, then you have to do your best in this regard, because if you leave something unfinished it will be very problematic.”
Maybe there are a few things, but I do not want you to leave me. I want you to continue holding my hand and tell me more about you. (At this stage my right arm was rising slowly towards the ceiling. This was witnessed by my wife but I was unaware of it, but I was aware that I was rising towards the light above me.)
“I will never leave you. I have always been with you, for you reside in my heart. You are within me.”
Where were you before I was born and where will you be after I die?
“I have always been. Before there was even existence I was. You are within me.”
Are you my spirit or my soul?
“I am not your spirit. Remember you are within me but temporarily you live in this physical existence for a short time. Do not worry. You will leave your body behind and then be one with me. It is impossible for it to be any other way, but at the moment I think it wise that you will stay and complete your purpose in this life.”
Are you God?
“I am no more God than you are. This is just a word that you use to describe something which you think is beyond you. Human beings have a very strange concept of God and look for this creator in all kinds of places and religions, but of course they do not find this God because it is within. A heart that is not at peace and not pure can never find this God. No one will find this God by looking externally. This external world that you see around you is only an illusion – the truth lies within you which lies within me. Remember you are within me.”
I do not want you to leave me. How can I contact you in the future?
“Although I am deep within you I can tell you that you are also within me. The real you is within me. We are close and there is no separation. I can say that we are one. There are not two – it is not that you are separate from me. It is not that there is a you and there is a me. There is only the one. It is beyond all physical things. I am so close to you. There is the physical closeness you can feel now as I hold your hand, but there is a deeper closeness, a closeness that goes beyond all that you can understand or imagine. From now onwards your health will improve, but do not forget this moment.”
Will you come for me again at the end of my life?
“Of course I will because it is impossible for it to be any other way. This is the way of all things. I have been through this many times. All will be well.”
Before you leave me I would like to know exactly who you are and what I am. Can you tell me this please? Is there a God? Is there a one true religion? I would like to understand all these things please before you remove your hand.
In answer to these questions the essential message was this:
“Human beings have a lot of potential but it is usually wasted with greed, arrogance and ignorance. You have been given many opportunities to learn from the wisdom of great teachers but often their words are distorted and abused. There is no such thing as one true religion. In the whole history of human beings there have been hundreds if not thousands of religions teaching many things but central to all of them has been the concept of selfless love, but we do not see the benefits of this in your world. We see only suffering, poverty, hunger and diseases all brought about by man’s inhumanity and lack of interest. Human beings say they follow a certain religious ideal, but generally this is not true because they do not practise it – they do not follow the simple principles that are core to every religious idea. Do not waste your time looking for a God outside yourself. See only that which is in front of you all the time: care for each other; put others before yourself. You should always practise being calm and peaceful and spread your goodwill to all beings. Do not look for things of a spiritual nature outside of yourself – with humility look within and then you will find the truth about all that you need to know. Having said that you should also understand that there are things that you do not need to know. It is enough that I know them and when we are one then you will understand.”
In summary I felt as if I was within the embrace of this Being who had come for me. It is difficult to describe the voice – neither male nor female but tending more towards female, but I do recall thinking that it was beyond such things as being male or female. To attempt to translate the information provided into words is very difficult.
It is true that within the following three weeks I began to recover very rapidly and today I feel better than I have felt for the past 20 or more years. My mission is to tell people about this incident and to give hope to those who are uncertain and to give comfort to those who are fearful of their own mortality.
Dr Anthony Foster has had a long career in the corporate world and today is a lecturer and published author on noble leadership. He has travelled throughout the world and currently lives in Melbourne.
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