by Beverly Brodsky
When I was 7 or 8 years old, I was taken to the hospital with my sister, Ruth Singer, who is a year-and-a-half older than me, to have my tonsils removed. I had no previous problem; this was done "preventively" since doctors then believed the tonsils to have no function. Since I am now 45 and have long since seen both parents cross over, I can't say the exact year or which hospital we were taken to in order to check their records, should they still exist. Only Ruth has survived and she was too young to note such things.
I have no conscious memory at all of the time that passed between sitting in the back seat of my parents' car to go to the hospital and awakening from a strange dream in the room that I shared with my sister. In the dream I was in a heavenly landscape in which I walked through clouds which touched the ground in a field filled with delightfully beautiful flowers. I had a feeling of great peace and joy. I didn't see Ruth there, but when I "woke up" I said something to her and she shot up in bed, in great alarm and asked me: "Bev, are we dead?". I was surprised by her question and teased her a little that I thought we were, although I didn't really believe this to be true. She then started to cry and went to the mirror to look at her face to see if she was really there. At some point later my parents came into the room to see what was going on. I remember telling my mother that I had "amnesia." She was surprised that I knew such a big word. Ruth eventually calmed down.
I don't remember much about my early childhood, so I can't answer the question as to whether or not I changed at this time. I can only report what happened from this point on. I was very precocious and serious. I read the encyclopedia from cover to cover, first the children's edition, then the adult World Book. I devoured books that were supposed to be far above my level. I think I was in third grade when I was accused of plagiarism by my English teacher for spicing up a paper with an analogy to a Greek myth. I explained that I was reading a book on the topic (Bullfinch's?), knew all the characters and saw the similarities to the situation. She was stunned but convinced that this really was original writing. In my early teens I read a great deal of Shakespeare. I remember my best friend warning me to not let other kids my age see this. Somehow I couldn't disguise this completely. Everybody despised me as an intellectual and "too smart" for a girl.
At age 8 or 9 I became very depressed about the subject of evil and injustice. Being Jewish, I was shocked to hear about the Holocaust, although I didn't understand its full import until I was much older. I never could understand why history was full of wars, hatred and prejudice. I remember spending many sleepless nights mourning the fate of mankind.
I was also a very absorbed and imaginative person. I loved to lose myself in fantasy worlds of my own or other's imaginings. At some point in my teens I stopped reading novels because I found my boundaries so porous that I would immerse myself into all the characters to the point of feeling all their pain, joy and desires. This was true even for murderers or other "bad" characters. However, with real people I was painfully shy and self-conscious. As I grew older I became friendless and increasingly tormented. I often thought I had an inferiority/superiority complex. I felt inferior because some connection was missing inside, but I was so smart (and competitive) in school that I knew I was superior intellectually to my peers.
In my late teens I began reading about Edgar Cayce, parapsychology and Eastern religions. I loved the psychedelic era, with its radical politics and music. I really thought we were going to change the world overnight. Naturally I was a Vietnam War protester. When I was 19 I left home, estranged from my then-widowed mother, who was distraught at the changes taking place in her rebellious daughter. At 20 I moved out to California, planning to hitchhike up the coast from Los Angeles to San Francisco, when I had a motorcycle accident which led to my adult NDE and a complete transformation of the person I had grown to be.
I have often wondered what happened during the missing time and what events preceded the dream in the heavenly garden. Nearly two years ago I was a client of my cousin, Susan, who was attending the Barbara Brennan School in New York City, which taught healing techniques described in her book "Hands of Light." Susan is a former psychologist and had done other types of spiritual healing prior to these studies. Since the sessions involved entering a state of calm and openness similar to that used in hypnosis , I tried to regress back to the hospital stay and lost week. The following is taken from notes from my journal dated December 31, 1993:
I remember counting down for the anesthesia, from 10 down to 7 or 6. I was on a cold table or stretcher. Then I floated into a radiant world filled with flowers--layered in slightly sloping hills. There was a Hall of Knowledge, like a cathedral. I was told I had to go back. I asked if I could remain a little longer. I was told I could be in both places at once. This is what I did for that week. I saw myself out of my body on the ceiling, then saw Ruth waiting on a cart like I had been on for anesthesia when they were done with me.
So, where was the fear? (I had been so terrified of these memories that I had resisted going back in a previous session). I went back to the Hall of Knowledge. I saw and felt a black wave coming to cover the Earth, like in the Dylan song "A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall"--the roar of the apocalyptic ocean. Within this wave, which I felt was created by human thought, were fear, anger, pain, rage, injustice, despair and all negative things. But I saw a small white circle inside--like a bubble in the wave. I recognized this as the escape, like the Yang circle within the Yin darkness. I think what happened afterwards was that I didn't understand this message or got "swallowed up" by the wave, hence the negativity of my teen and early years.
To change the ending I took my younger self through the bubble in this session. We were now into a realm of beauty, love and light--original perfection. Although it didn't seem so in the darkness, this is the realm of true power. I then saw the sun move up next to the Earth and bathe it in Light. Then I saw that both the dark wave and perfect Light exist simultaneously--it's all a matter of what you choose to focus on! So I took the sun and smashed through the wave.
Susan said she felt the blackness is a forgetting, a thought form given power by millennia of suffering people. It is also a part of our experience of life, with the body's limitations, our apparent separation from spirit and instinctive behaviors like fear and anger.
At the end of the session I gave myself a symbol to remember this truth. I came up with a curtain--black, thick and velvety, which descends on consciousness, blocking out the more powerful light. I created a string to lift it up, like the shining of the mind as perfect mirror in the Chinese sutra, so that I could ask the Light for help in the midst of my own darkness in life situations.
I asked my sister if she remembered anything unusual after our surgery, and she didn't. I then told her what about the dream and her reaction, and she didn't believe it. She thought the whole thing was part of my dream. If it was so important, she asked, why didn't I talk about it before? Of course I did, but everyone ignored me. Neither she nor my mother believed my more classic NDE which occurred when I was 20, and I didn't talk about it to anyone again until I hooked up with IANDS in 1989.
© Beverly Brodsky, April 1996
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