Several years ago I died and came back. This is my first attempt at a non-verbal word vomit about my Experience:
It happened in a dream. It was one of those crazy intense REAL ones, with thousands of people at dozens of locations, all of it the most absurd of cartoons at the most freakish of circuses – everything bounces back and forth between euphoric and terrifying.
In this dream, throughout all the various locations, I was hallucinating that my friends and loved ones were actually other people – people who were either trying to hurt me, or people I saw hurting or neglecting others. My loved ones literally became different people, sometimes crossed genders and/or race. If I wasn’t hallucinating that they had turned into other people, I was hallucinating that they were doing horrible things. I found my partner in a dilapidated crack den of a room, engaging in an orgy with my relatives, while a small child played with sharp knives on the floor; yet as I’m on the verge of a panic attack over the unattended child, they’re fully clothed and comforting me, telling me there’s no child anywhere, there’s nothing wrong here, that it’s all in my head. At one point I was on a bus, hallucinating that a scary bulky hooded man was attacking me. We struggled and I managed to throw him off the bus. But the instant I did so, the hallucination cleared and I realized I’d just thrown my partner’s sister off the bus.
There were many scenes like these. I felt in a perpetual everlasting state of fear and gripping anxiety, lost in the hallucinations around me, sad and fetal and helpless that this might be my new reality. I remember walking with my partner outside in a parking lot of a health facility, being guided like I could barely even walk. We walked up on a few masked men robbing someone. As we walked up on the scene, one of them turned his shotgun on me and pulled the trigger. The bullet made impact right between my eyes, and everything in Existence slowed down drastically.
Each tiny detail of what is to follow took me years to experience, AND no time at all.
The first thing I remember from the moment the bullet made contact was my head whipping from the force of the impact, and seeing a super slow-mo blur of colors and light from the sunny day outside in the parking lot. I remember a physical sense of being heavily knocked off-balance, and then I remember starting to fall to the ground. There was a realization that I had been shot, but I didn’t feel any pain in my head. Somewhere during the beginning part of the fall (not even half-way to the ground), dazed in the whiplash of colors, everything slowed down even more, to the slowest of slow.
I asked a question without speaking: “Is it time? Am I dying?” I didn’t direct it toward anyone in particular, I just asked, as if to direct it toward everything. I remember using those words, but the feeling and Intention behind it was more like “Is this an opportunity for death?”
A voice that seemed to somehow come from a Presence next to me, within me, and within the Everything, replied: “Yes.” If the Voice had a face to show me, there is no doubt she would’ve said it with a motherly, comforting smile. She was warm, profoundly loving, patient, kind, familiar; like she had been with me throughout every moment of my entire existence.
Immediately I was relieved. I’d been experiencing such pain throughout this damn dream and I was ready to be free of it. With the warm loving support and guidance of the Presence with me, and her confirmation of this Invitation, I welcomed Death with a profound gratitude…
The important thing to say about this welcoming of Death: it wasn’t sad or helpless or anxiety-ridden or fear-based, or anything like that. It wasn’t a dramatic kill-me-now-I-can’t-go-on kind of a thing, nor was I scared or in any physical pain. Yes, I wanted to be relieved of my burdens; but at this point in the dream, I had pretty much accepted the fact that I was basically a drooling, catatonic psych patient, so I wasn’t experiencing any “emotional drama” at that point. Death simply extended an invitation, and I made the choice to go. I was ready to be free of all of my burdens and the welcoming of Death was as simple and innocent as finally getting to set down the ten heavy bags of groceries you just brought in from the car in one trip after a long day of working at a high-volume restaurant. Kinda like “Ahh, yeah, finally, that feels nice!”
Time/space slowed even more drastically.
I have detailed memories of a lot physical sensations between the time I received the Invitation for Death and the precise moment I chose to go. During this “dialogue” with the motherly Presence, I think was “technically” still in the process of falling to the ground after being shot in the head; so I was lost in the infinite motion-blur of colors that was the parking lot and the people around me, and felt a perpetual sense of gravity pulling me to the ground.
Then as Death settled itself over me, there seemed to be a thin reddish/pinkish tint start to settle over my vision, like the red side of 3D glasses or like someone had turned on one of those red colored light bulbs. As the tint settled over, I felt my whole body tense – every single muscle I had, all over my body. My whole body was contracting, every muscle tensing itself hard. I felt no pain at all. Instead I felt my self extending out of my body somehow.
As my muscles tightened and the reddish hue settled over my vision, I felt my insides, my inner being and warmth…my Me…somehow start to extend out, passing through my skin. I was about to shoot outward at any moment in all directions, at inconceivable speeds. Then as I could feel the start of it (the Invitation), the Presence confirmed the Choice; I welcomed it and said “yes.”
At that instant, all that I am was immediately released outward in all multi-dimensional directions, and into a spinning fractal of pure white light. It felt like I was being pulled in every possible direction at super-sonic speeds into this light, via the mother of all magnets. I can still feel the “physical” sensations of it all, it was like being on all the roller coasters and carnival rides I’ve ever been on simultaneously. It all happened so fast, I was out of my body and through the light in an instant.
What I found through the light is something I will never have the “right” words to convey, no matter how many times I recount it or how many people I tell this story to. It is simply impossible, our puny human brains just don’t have the gig capacity (yet). MY brain certainly can’t wrap itself around any of it – in fact, I’m in a perpetual state of utter fascination and awe over what I went through, and my inability to wrap my puny human mind around it is the whole motivation for this big ‘ol word-vomit. But anyway, in an attempt to describe it…
There was Nothing. Simply Nothing. The richest, most bountiful Nothing there is. It was an eternal black void, a vast and endless emptiness…simultaneously just overflowing with ENDLESS possibilities of what could be. It was THE canvas, empty and ready for painting on.
And I was the center hub of it all, the Source of All That Could Be, the Ultimate Creator.
I had within me all of the memories and experiences and stories of every last living and “non-living” thing there ever was or will be, throughout all conceivable and inconceivable time/space dimensions. All of the Stories. I was eternal, limitless, formless, existing as Existence itself in this rich Void. It was as though I contained all of the blueprints necessary to create whole UNIVERSES! This wasn’t just something I knew in my mind – I didn’t have a mind, I had no body. It wasn’t an instinct, or a gut feeling, or anything like that. It was TRUTH. It was the only Truth there was.
I could go on and on about the lifetimes upon lifetimes that I had experienced while in the Void. Everything I felt in the Void was so instantaneous/simultaneous yet so forever, that it’s challenging to “stop” and put my focus on one experience or another (at one point during this experience I begin to “zoom in” on Dana Perry’s Life Story in a little more detail, but I’ll get there later). I experienced very detailed lifetimes of all that had ever existed or will exist – but in a world where time isn’t a thing, all of these experiences were happening simultaneously, and throughout eternity.
It’s the Void, the Silence Where All Sounds Are Born, the Space Where All Things Are Placed, The Nothing Where All Somethings Begin – and I was the Creator.
I had basically become thought. The source of thought – the Ultimate Creator, containing all of these blueprints for Existence, able to instantly think anything into reality, simply by becoming the thought. My being – all that I was now– encompassed all the Stories of the Universe, and they all radiated from within me simultaneously, unless I made a Choice to focus or “zoom in” on one Story or another (I had access to the “files” on the full-sensory, first-person experience as “Dan” or “Clara” or “Oak Tree” or “Kitchen Chair”).
And if I was focused on all stories of Existence at once…
Encompassing all Stories (becoming all of Existence, everyone and everything there ever was or will be; not focusing on specifically being “Dan” or “Clara” or “Tree” or “Chair”, and instead having all of those experiences at once) seemed to have caused me to essentially “exist” as nothing but two very real and powerful, very distinct thoughts, and the feelings that come with them. All that I was, all that Existence was, was somehow distilled down or compressed into these two sensations: I call them the What-If and the Whoa.
The What-If thought/feeling is the raw craving for pure Discovery. It’s a curiosity so thick it makes you drool, and tingles the insides. It’s a feeling of I-wonder-what-happens-if that is so intense, the brain is on fire at the need to KNOW. It wants to Learn, to Discover, to intake and throughput data. It’s a child ready to play, wiggling with excitement and anticipation over the possibilities of what her playtime will be, what kind of character she’s going to become and what crazy adventures she’s gonna get into.
The Whoa thought/feeling is just that: fucking WHOA…
It’s the full range of “reactions” to things, all rolled up into one big great reaction. It’s the thought/feeling that happens as a result of satisfying that curiosity. It’s the learning that happens as a result of craving Knowledge. Discovery has happened, the child is in full play, it’s the full scope of reactions after any curiosity has been satisfied, and all possible outcomes rolled up into one. And it seemed to have caused the most intense “WOW!” feeling there ever was…in fact, consider it the source of all wow.
BOTH of these sensations are simultaneous – I was existing as these two thoughts/feelings at the exact same time: the What-If and the Whoa. And through the veiny network of it all…around them…through them…within them…there was a third VERY powerful sensation, the most powerful yet…
It was CHOICE. A Choice, an action, a spark, a decision to Move, to manifest, to Create, to bring into being. It was the life blood that flowed through the veins of the What-If and the Whoa – the Choice, the tool of manifestation, the hands of the Ultimate Creator.
Typically in our world, Creation is a somewhat chronological experience. We start with a wonder, a curiosity, a picture, a craving to know/discover, a Question (a What-If). Then we make a Choice, we make a move; we create, put into an action, attempt to satisfy that craving for Discovery. Then we Observe what has been created/manifested in order to learn, to give ourselves that “eureka!” moment; after being the author of the Story that has been written, it is being read like an excited child. Learning happens and we achieve Discovery. We have our full scope of reactions to the different parts of the Story, our full range of feelings and reactions and drawn conclusions that can happen after Knowledge is gained (the full spectrum of reaction all rolled together is what I call “the Whoa”). Typically, this is the Creative/Discovery process, and in our world it seems to be just that – a process, somewhat chronological.
But in this Void, when I was the Source of All That Is, I existed as all of these at once. I was the What-If, the Creator, and the Whoa. I was the blank canvas, the artist, and the Observer. I was the blank pages of a book that had yet to be written, the author that is actively writing the book on-the-spot, and the reader that is reading the book on-the-spot and being taken on the adventurous journey brought on by the Story. Basically, I was a complete paradox…the most perfect and complete paradox there ever was. Utter perfection in pure chaos. I was the Question AND the Answer AND the Space that lingers between/within/through them. I was the flame, the spark that caused it, the oxygen that fed it.
I Existed there for forever, living all Stories simultaneously, writing them and reading them all at the same time, throughout all forms of time and space. I felt every tiny detail of all of it.
At some point though, I chose to “zoom in” on just one Story in particular. I’m not sure what sparked it to be honest, but it was a curiosity about my life – about “Dana Perry’s” life. I was the Original Author and Reader, and I was wanting to read one of my favorite books: The Life Story of Dana Perry. Then I felt the Presence again – the person that was with me when Death first embraced me, the one that told me I was dying and that it was ok to go. I felt the Presence come to me like a very nurturing mother-figure, about to guide me through the Story like a child being read her favorite bedtime story, as if side-by-side on a warm comfy couch.
As we “sat”, the Presence started to show me the Story of my life. What I saw was like watching a movie:
The most beautiful piano music I had ever heard started to play as the scene started with the “camera” focused the top right corner of a room with blue walls and some kind of white criss-cross/diamond/checkered/maybe plaid patterned lines. As the music played and the “camera” started to slowly pan down and out over the rest of the room, I knew I was being shown the Story from the beginning – from conception and childhood – all the way through to my death. But my very child-like wonder came forward once again, and I inhabited a new thought:
“Hmmm…I wonder about the part when I died though, what did that look like?”
IMMEDIATELY, the very moment I became that thought, the Presence and I were “hovering” over the scene of my death. We were back in the parking lot, my lifeless body was on the pavement, lying in a small pond of blood, my curls gooey and matted. People were standing over me, around me, but time was essentially frozen. I observed the scene with my child-like wonder, not saddened or frightened by any of it, just simply looking and inhabiting pure wonder. I felt the Presence there with me, watching me like a mother watching her infant discovering for the first time what fingers and toes do. Pure. Innocent. Warm and Loving. Supportive. Encouraging.
As I observed the scene of my death, there was just something about it that didn’t seem…correct.
It just didn’t seem like that’s how the Story was supposed to end. I didn’t like it, and I didn’t not like it, it just…didn’t seem like it was the right ending to the Life Story of Dana Perry. I was fine with the Story’s ending, but at the same time, felt as though there were other possibilities that might be more…fitting.
Then, the Presence once again presented me with a Choice: I could re-write that ending if I wanted to, but it would require going back and playing the character of Dana Perry in order to do so. Instead of existing in the Void as Existence – as all life stories at once – I would need to “plug in” to the first-person experience of Dana Perry if I wanted to alter any part of her Story. And so, in the very same way that I was presented with an Invitation from Death, I was now presented with an Invitation from Life. The Presence with me made it known that I have a Choice, and so I made the Choice to come back and continue writing The Life Story of Dana Perry.
The moment I made the Choice, I awoke. I shot straight up, gasped for air like I had been drowning or suffocating for hours and could finally breathe again. I felt my heart pumping fast and hard in my chest, felt my blood flowing hot through my veins. I weirdly became aware of other organ systems doing their things – tubes and veins and muscle contractions, internal organs twitching, fiery pulses of electricity in my brain. It felt as though my body had been literally shut down and re-booted. As “reality” came back into focus and I realized I was at home in bed, I immediately broke down in a heavy sob.
For about 2-3 weeks following this experience, I wanted to die. I wasn’t depressed or anything, I just felt so…contained. My body felt like a cage. I felt uncomfortable in it, so much so that I remember the sentence, “Dude, bodies are fuckin’ weird,” almost escaping my lips. And I was also very aware that I was tasked with inhabiting the role of “Dana Perry” once again (plus all the little Stories that come along with that character) and it brought a weight back onto my shoulders… which made me even more uncomfortable in my body.
I let myself cry easily and often. At one point I remember being outside, asking out into the Big Everything “why am I back? What’s the point?! What am I supposed to be doing here?!” Then I felt a warmth settle over me, and a voice came into my head saying “well…you ARE something of a fine musician, are you not?” It felt to me like that very same Presence was there with me, in my head, giving me a little motherly nudge, encouraging me to go play, that everything is taken care of. I felt a great big confirmation that I was put here to keep making more music.
Life is an Adventure. A ride. It’s a Story, unfolding as you live your life. The Story has love and adventure and trials and triumphs and gripping terror and heart-pumping action and heavy loss and joyous gains… You are the Author, the Main Character, and the Reader, experiencing from all points of perspective, simultaneously, reading the book as you’re writing it. You are a Masterpiece. A walking, talking, holographic, interactive Story. And there are countless Stories on this planet – and the Earth herself is a Story, among countless other planets’ Stories throughout space/time. Embrace your humanity, and love it. Being human can be fun, we can build shit and call for pizza afterwards.
That is our purpose. To just BE. We are here to Create, and to Experience that which has been Created. Live your Story, you’re the only one that can. The very fate of the Universe depends on it.
This experience was several years ago, and The Life Story of Dana Perry has definitely taken some wicked heavy turns that I certainly didn’t see coming. But I suppose that’s the way every good Story should be.