My Near-Death and Spiritual Visions

by Bob Manrodt

This article was recently published in Rhea White's EHE News, Volume 2, Number 2. The picture is of me at age 20, a year after my near-death and associated experiences.

I originally wrote most of this in reply to Jay Kinney, editor of *Gnosis* magazine, who had asked whether anyone had had experience with alien contact. This discussion appeared on the WELL, an online service.

Since I wrote this, I have been thunderstruck, as it were, through my reading of Dr. John Mack's Abduction. Much of my visionary experience is similar, even identical, to the abductees' accounts in Mack's book. The most astounding aspect of this similarity, to me, is the idea of planetary transformation.

The secret heart of my experience is my participation in the "project" to transform planetary consciousness. To put it mildly, the idea thrills me deeply and powerfully. I've not known how to communicate this stuff through the years since I had the experience in 1969. I would *love* to explore this further. I *need* to explore this further. More about this later, but first, I will relate my story.

My Story

I had a near-death experience in 1969. I fell three stories, landing on a cement sidewalk on my head. I experienced entering another dimension and encountered a presence who knewme intimately and was part of a transformation conspiracy. This was a spiritual initiation.

After physical recovery from my fall, with major surgery to reconstruct my multiply fractured skull and jaw, I began having powerful, full-tilt visions and hallucinations. My doors were blown off. I was unable to function and was committed to six months in a psychiatric facility. Some may say I was psychotic. I was diagnosed as such.

Some might say I am psychotic *still*. After more than 25 years the experiences I had at that time remain extremely meaningful. They are spiritual visions and a sort of living mythology. My experiences are an integral part of my life path, a path that's traversed much of the American/Eastern spiritual landscape. Over the years I've worked extensively with grounding, and essentially re-learning some of the basic human interactions most of us take for granted. Most of the time I easily pass as a "normal' human being, but spend more than a few moments in friendly, open conversation with me and it can get pretty out there.

My core NDE opened a space in me that has never closed down. I should say that this space was *blasted* open. My near death is the most *real* experience I have ever had. Hard headed science types or those of other persuasions who have their opinions on the nature of my experience will never convince me that what happened for me was not real. But when I say "real" here, I mean this only in context. I believe that all is interconnected and that all, even my deeper and more *real* experiences, are essentially illusory.

Reality is dreamlike to me. My experience sitting here at typing at the computer is dream-like. My whole life is a dream. The universe is of another order -- deeper, vaster, perhaps more wholly "other" than what our rational minds can apprehend.

My nde encounter with a Being whom I call wisdom/heart/presence is at the center of the mandala of my "reality" ontology. This mandala is, as the Tibetans relate, multi-dimensional and quantumly interconnected. Even though all is experienced as quite trenchant and meaningful, all of it is fundamentally illusory and empty. Essentially there is no objective reality.

My experience of a "Being" during my nde was of an entity who was of another order of intelligence. He/she knew me intimately. He/She told me that it was not my time to "go", that I was to return to earth. My experience was of being in another dimension. I felt that I was getting core teachings and contacts -- the "real initiation". In the presence of this Being I experienced profound intimacy. He/She knew all of my life. I knew this experience of Presence was the Truth.

This experience sits in me now as I type. I feel its presence. This experience is more than I can articulate. This experience is a Presence, a transcendance in and of itself. As such, this experience is a living source, a fountain. This experience exists beyond time and space.

Following my nde I came to awareness in intensive care at Peter Bent Brigham hospital in Boston Masschusetts. I looked over the right side of my bed and saw a canister of blood. I realized that this was my blood. There were tubes coming out of my ears. My awareness was a state of deep peace and joy. My brother flew up from New Jersey and I saw him walk through the door. He fainted when he saw me. I had fallen three stories onto a cement sidewalk. I underwent a six hour operation to repair and set the broken bones in my skull and jaw.

Over the next several days some powerful energies came on. I was extremely energized and felt in touch with certain cosmic insights. The intensity of these energies grew and grew, coming in great waves. My experiences were like being on intense lsd trips, or lucid dream states 24 hours a day. I had little in the way of egoic reference points; instead, I experienced powerful energies pouring through from the depths of consciousness. All was awash in cosmic imagery. The energies got so intense at times that I literally left my body. I travelled extensively through other realms, other times and other spaces.

My visions/hallucinations lasted six months. At some of the most meaningful points I felt/believed/hallucinated/experienced/WAS part of a transformational conspiracy. I was sent back to be a part of the great transformation, the "mission" possible. I found evidence and metaphor abounding. My experience *was* total metaphor. No line between reality/unreality. There is much to say; I remember much and remembrance often puts me into altered states.

At one point during the visions following my NDE, I looked up in the sky and clearly saw a double loop, the symbol that is commonly used to represent infinity. One loop was colored blue and the other loop was red. Seeing this image, I knew that what I had experienced, and was still experiencing, was only the first part of the fulfillment of my journey. I had experienced the visions, the initiations and the spiritual teachings. What I was to experience, in "coming back to earth", was the grounding and *realization* of these visions, teachings and inititations. My work is with balancing, integrating and coming to terms with what I experienced.

Was this psychosis? Certainly so in the eyes of psychiatry. Shortly after discharge from Peter Bent Brigham Hospital I was remanded to a private psychiatric hospital and treated with massive doses of thorazine and other psychiatric drugs. After a month, when the insurance ran out, I went to Marlboro State Hospital in New Jersey where after six months I washed back to the shores of consensus reality.

My experience of the past 25+ years has been a process of integration, of coming to terms with my sense of who I am and what I am doing on this planet. To put it another way, I'm learning how to be human, learning the great lessons of acceptance and humility, learning how precious and poignant are the gifts of Love....

For the past 25 years I've practiced meditation. I've read and practiced much in my attempts to come to terms with my experiences. My experiences are spiritual experiences. They have constituted a contemporary sort of shamanic initiation. They are rich and deep. I've left behind much of the fear and uncertainly of being seen as crazy. I *am* crazy. And so is everyone else. It's just that my craziness has involved elements that are somewhat beyond the pale.

The idea of "planetary transformation" is intensely thrilling for me. I have very deep and powerful experiences around this stuff. I've had many, many synchronistic experiences in my life. These synchronicities were all consuming during my spiritual emergencies. They continue today in waves. (I seem to more or less hang out in chapel perilous). When I read accounts of NDE's, UFO encounters and other spiritual emergence/emergency phenomena, or what Rhea White has termed "Exceptional Human Experience", I *know* what people are talking about.

And of course, I know about the shams and the cons and I cringe at "new age" media hype. But my experience is my experience. My experience runs much deeper than logical mind. It is apparent to me that logical mind is but a wisp in the vastness of it all.

I can't give any proof. Pedantic debate has become exceedingly tiresome. I get sick to death at times at all the politics, ignorance and insanity happening on the planet. But there also are deep changes happening.

Some days it's obvious that the world is coming apart. (A prelude to planetary near-death?). How science-fiction-y this seems. How credulous. How really crazy. I don't know what is happening, how all the changes on the planet will flesh out, but I know what is in my heart. I've given my life to this path and I give it again and again. Visions I have had have come true.

I'm fascinated by the whole idea of "crazy". Over the years I've worked in several state hospitals as a psychiatric aide. I believe strongly in loving/kindness - qualities that are unfortunately very rare in these institutional environments. I disagree strongly with contemporary psychiatry in both practice and theory.

With the proper telling, features of my experience read like *Revelations* or *Black Elk Speaks*. Even some of the more curious and bizarre aspects of what I experienced are identical to shamanic accounts from cultures around the world.

I figure I've had much of the raw experience common to shamans and mystics. The power was far too much for me to handle. My "coming back to earth" has involved much grounding and basic integration. During my visionary experiences I believed I was in touch with the struggle between the forces of darkness and light. This conflict was happening on many levels.

Over the years I've come to believe that there are deeper integrities. My core NDE was of this deeper integrity. Dark/light dichotomies are essentially groundless. Nevertheless, we must honor the incarnation with its karmas and limitations. We have choice as to our practice. I am grateful for opportunities to practice loving/kindness.

Comments and feedback are most welcome.

My email address is:

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