One year after loss…

Jesus Shrine

Jesus Shrine in honor of Tim
Click on photo to enlarge

This is offered in honor of Timothy Paul Kretzmann, and also as an inspiration for all those who have suffered profound loss.

I share this today because a friend in another community was crying daily over the loss of Swamiji and some other members… She needed encouragement in finding a tangible way to transcend that feeling of loss and grief.

This ceremony, below, could easily be adapted in suitable ways.  It could even be done in a home with a candle, a burning bowl, a photo of the beloved, and some sacred symbol that is dear to your soul. It could be done inside, or on a deck, or in a garden.

August 6

…I wondered how to honor him this day… My beloved, my husband, Timothy… What is the best way?

I lit a votive candle at a special altar in our home and kept it lit all day. I had quiet time, and also some supportive phone talks with friends, and gently relived some memories of when we first met over 38 years ago… I also wrote out some notes on how I would try to move forward, and serve others in new ways, in the name of loving and honoring him, and in gratitude for our life together.

We had a fire and flower ceremony at the special Jesus shrine dedicated to Tim’s soul (where months ago some of his ashes were placed beneath the boulder). I had been doing these sacred fire ceremonies quite frequently at a shrine on my deck, all through this year…So it was fitting to include the family now, and it was helpful to them, and to me.

  1. We traveled to the site, at Ananda Meditation Retreat, and first tended the shrine, and trimmed a bush that was blocking it.
  2. We each wrote a letter to God and to Tim’s soul – to express our love, and also to include a special prayer for ourselves and for the family – especially for Guidance on how to best proceed in our lives in a way that honors God, and this beautiful gift of having shared life with Tim, as Husband and Father.
  3. After a prayer – these letters were offered into the flame, to be released to God, and to Tim’s soul. We sang a very simple chant as this was happening – “God, Christ, Guru.”
  4. We sent quiet blessings to each family member, and for their private prayer intentions, as they offered their letter into the flames.
  5. We then sprinkled the shrine with beautiful rose petals, and then closed with chanting of AUM AUM AUM and AMEN AMEN AMEN

We were choked-up during the ceremony, and my grandson Bodhi’s eyes looked very concerned.  Our hearts were then touched to watch little Bodhi, age 10 months, so sincerely join in those AUMs…

After the closing, the family eventually wandered off to show Bodhi the other statues in the peaceful, forest garden, but I felt a strong urge to stay put… I sat on a bench where I could gaze at the shrine bedecked with flowers, and felt surrounded by love and gentle, comforting blessings… That love lingered for days… And I knew we had found a way meaningful to heart, mind and soul, to address this sacred-yet-sad anniversary.

May all hearts be comforted and blessed.

In Love,

Mary Kretzmann, and family

PS – Please feel free to offer your experiences of sacred remembrance for loved ones in the comment field, below. They may be of help to others… Perhaps in the future I will collect them together in a special booklet.

  • Lisa Powers told me that years ago she had heard that Master said it was very important to honor the one-year anniversary of a soul’s passing, so she offered a kirtan and short mediation at the Crystal Hermitage Chapel for Hassi and her family of four children, at the one year anniversary of the death of Rich Bazan

AUM AUM AUM for Swamiji…

Dear Ones,

Most of you have already heard the news of the passing of our beloved Swami Kriyanandaji… But some of my subscribers may be outside the normal Ananda circle…

Swami Kriyananda, aged 87, Ananda’s much beloved founder and spiritual leader, left his body and merged into the Infinite last evening (April 20) at 11pm Pacific time. He died in his home in Assisi, Italy (8am April 21 there).

God bless you all,

Mary Kretzmann

Newsletter, March 2013 EASTER

 

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January Newsletter

Dear Ones,

Scroll down to download and print.

God bless you all.

Mary Kretzmann

 

Vision after death

Paramhansa Yogananda

Paramhansa Yogananda’s adamant remark, below,  “This is no mood!” will touch the heart of any one who felt deep sorrow at the loss of a loved one…

Conversations with Yogananda, by Swami Kriyananda

~ 172 ~

“…To those who grieve over the death of a loved one, the following words of the Master’s should offer deep consolation.

“Departed relatives and friends sometimes come to one in dreams. Be open to that possibility, especially if you deeply miss your loved ones, for such dreams can be true experiences.

“When Woody’s mother died of breast cancer,* I became very withdrawn for a time.

“‘Don’t be moody,’ someone said to me.

“‘This is no mood!’ I exclaimed. (How can genuine sorrow over the loss of a friend be called a mood!) I prayed deeply. Then at last I saw her in the astral world.

“An angel was leading her away from me. I saw her pause briefly and smile at the beauty of the flowers in a meadow. I called to her, and she turned. At first she didn’t recognize me. But then I touched her on the forehead, and she cried, ‘I remember!’ She parted the gown she was wearing and said, ‘See: no more cancer!’ She was free, and wonderfully happy.”

* Woody was a close woman disciple of the Master’s.

Paramhansa Yogananda as quoted in the book, Conversations with Yogananda, by Swami Kriyananda

To see more quotes from the book, please click here.

Life After Death

I received these 2 instructive stories in an email yesterday and I am passing them along. (Swamiji was very impressed with these stories …)  The second story, about Gloria Polo, has some very deep insights regarding healing prayers…

NDE = “near death experience”

There Is Life After Death

from: Compelling Reports From Those Who Have Glimpsed the After-Life

By Roy Abraham Varghese

  • Howard Storm

Howard Storm, a professor of art, described himself as a selfish man who not only did not believe in God, but detested those who did. While on a trip to Paris he passed out in a hospital with a perforation of his intestines. His NDE, partially recounted here, changed his beliefs and his life. He is now a minister.

On June 1, 1985, I was concluding a three-week art tour of Europe with my wife and a group of students. At 11 that morning, which was a Saturday, without any warning I had the most severe pain I have ever experienced in my life right in the center of my abdomen, which knocked me to the ground screaming and kicking and yelling. It was terrifying, because there was no warning. It just happened. I actually thought I had been shot by a bullet. That was the only thing I could think of. My wife called the hotel desk and they called an emergency medical service and a doctor arrived. He got me off the floor and examined me and said that I had a perforation of the duodenum. He called an ambulance and they came and took me across Paris to a hospital, to an emergency room. And I was examined by two more doctors. They confirmed the first diagnosis and told me I had to have surgery right now, immediately.

I was sent to a surgical hospital. Unfortunately at the surgical hospital there was no doctor available to do the surgery, but I didn’t know that at the time. I found out much later. So I was put in a room to await the arrival of a surgeon. But because it was a Saturday they had, unbeknownst to me, no luck in finding a surgeon willing to come in to do the surgery. So I was left in that room and not seen by a doctor. I was not given any medication and I was begging for relief from the pain. But the nurse couldn’t do anything because there was no doctor available and they can’t give any medication at all. So I wasn’t given anything. Nobody took my blood pressure or my pulse or my temperature. I had a sheet on the bed, I didn’t have any pillow. I was just put in this room to wait for someone to do something. But with no doctor nothing happened at all. Every few hours the nurse would come by and ask how we were doing. I would tell her that I was dying because I felt like I was. And I had a roommate who was a very kind 68-year-old retired Frenchman who had a good position in the French Government in aviation. He was sympathetic. He was trying to intercede for me. But he was powerless to do anything either.

At 8:30 that night—this had begun at 11 in the morning and I had come to the surgical hospital by noon—the nurse came into the room and said they were very sorry. There were unable to locate a doctor to do the surgery and they would try to find one the next day. My doctors in the United States, this was of course weeks later, told me that my life expectancy was five hours from the beginning. It is like having a burst appendix. What happens is that the stomach acid, and the bacteria and the enzymes migrate through the perforation in the stomach into your abdominal cavity and you become very septic and extreme peritonitis sets in and then you die. And that’s what was happening to me. The hydrochloric acid which is the primary ingredient in your digestive juices was actually trying to digest me. It was leaking out of the stomach into my abdomen and then migrating all the way up into my shoulders and down into my pelvis. The sensation of burning was very real.

After the nurse announced that there would be no more doctors she left. And I told my wife that I was going to die. And the reason why I could make that declaration is that for hours and hours and hours I had been trying to fight with all of my will, all of my ever declining might. This sense of death was overcoming me. I was an atheist and I didn’t believe in God obviously and didn’t believe in life after death or anything. So to me death was the conclusion of my life. I was 38 years old and I was an artist and I had a wife and children and family and career and lots of ego. It seemed like a disappointment that I wasn’t ready to deal with—all of it just coming to an end and such an ignoble end. There wasn’t anything heroic about it: it was just lying on a metal bed in a hospital. No importance, no consequence, just fading away into oblivion. I didn’t want that to happen, but I couldn’t take the pain any more. At this point I was approaching 10 hours and I wasn’t survivable any more. The doctors in the United States were [later] surprised I was still alive at 10 hours.

So I closed my eyes and went into oblivion. It’s very easy to do, just let it run its course and stop breathing. And I did stop breathing and went unconscious.

Then I wasn’t unconscious any more. Not only was I conscious, but I was more conscious than I had ever been in my entire life. My sense of sight, taste, touch, hearing, hot and cold, smell, were all greater than they had ever been. And I was absolutely amazed that my senses were so heightened. I was standing up by my bed and I could feel the texture of the floor at the bottom of my feet so intensely that it was almost overwhelming. The tactile sense where I could feel the air movement in the room on my skin. I could smell myself, I could smell my roommate, I could smell all the smells in the room like never before. I could taste my mouth—awful, terrible, bitter, stale. I hadn’t had anything in my mouth for more than 10 hours.

One of the things I noticed, because I was interested, was that I had total focus, total depth of field. I could see clearly everything near and far simultaneously. I was also aware that my field of vision was greater than it had ever been. The normal field of vision is 160 degrees and my field of vision was way bigger than that. And I was kind of troubled: Why could I see so well? Now [there was] one thing that was counteracting all of this positive sensation of hyper-life. I was trying to communicate with my wife and with my roommate. My impression was they were ignoring me: they refused to respond to me. Of course, they couldn’t see me, they couldn’t hear me at all. What they were aware of was the body in the bed which I was also aware of, which I refused to believe was me, although I recognized it as resembling me.

Then I heard people calling me outside the room. I went over to the doorway of the room and they were saying to me in English, plain simple English, “Hurry up, let’s go. We’ve been waiting for you.” And I said, “Who are you?” And they said, “We don’t have time for your questions. We know all about you. We’ve been waiting for you a long time.” I assumed by the things that they were saying that they were hospital personnel sent to take me to the surgery. I said to them, “You’re here for my operation.” They [responded], “We know what’s wrong with you. We know everything about you. Let’s go.” I said, “Well, that would be an affirmative.” And I left the room.

I had a very bad feeling when I left the room. It was nighttime, but the room was well lit. It was very bright and clear. We left the room and went to the hall. It was quite the opposite. It was very dank, very gray, and lacking in definition. Kind of like a fog, a lot like a very very bad TV picture, what one would describe as snow on a TV picture. And the people were unclear. This group of people that were commanding me to come with them. Not asking me. Commanding me. They were very authoritative.

I presumed that they were hospital personnel, because they didn’t contradict my question/statement that they were hospital personnel.

So we proceeded into this unclear space and walked and walked and walked. Over this journey, I became aware that my sense of timing was gone. Having been a teacher, I had acquired over my career an innate sense of time. As a matter of fact, one of my weird things was, since I didn’t wear wristwatches and I didn’t have clocks in the classrooms that I taught in, I could judge time very well. I always had an ability with time, a sort of sixth sense about time. You could say to me what time is it and I would say, Oh, it’s 2:30, and I would be within a few minutes. [But here] I had this acute sense that there’s no time. I didn’t know what time it was. So when I say I walked on this long journey, people say, “How long was it?” And I say, well, kind of like walking a couple of hundred miles. They say, “What are you talking about?” It just went on and on and on.

One of the things that I became aware of was that I was never tired, although I had been so sick that I was dying and wasn’t even able to lift my head. I couldn’t even lift my hand to scratch my nose. I was weak. Now I was up and walking with these people and I had no fatigue. The pain that I was experiencing before was gone. I was very aware that I was sick and was theoretically in a hospital, walking with these people and going to have surgery. But I didn’t have pain anymore. I was exceedingly happy about that.

So we’re going along and I’m trying to ask these people questions and they wouldn’t answer any questions. They kept saying, “We don’t have time. Don’t ask questions.” Eventually, as I asked them questions, they would say, “Shut up. We’re sick of you. We’re tired of you.” And they became more rude. I began to get a little worried about [them]; who are these people and why are they so rude and lacking in simple information like where are we going and how come this is taking so long?

Eventually I realized that we were in darkness. It had gradually gotten dimmer and dimmer and now we were in darkness. They were shepherding me along and I said, “I don’t want to go any further,” They said, “You will go further. You’re almost there.” And I stopped. They started to push and shove and I tried to resist physically. And they began to push and pull. I tried to get them off me. Then they started to scratch and bite and tear. I was screaming and yelling and trying to defend myself and hit back. There were more of them now. I don’t know how many. Because of the level of noise that they were making, I know that there were a lot of them. Maybe hundreds or thousands— I don’t know how many. Hundreds or thousands. Literally they wanted a piece of the action.

And then they were saying things and doing things to invade and violate me. I don’t talk about this any more. It’s too awful. I really can’t go there emotionally. Now I am lying on the floor of that place and I’m pretty much ripped up. Some of my organs are lying on the ground next to me and stuff like that. I really can’t assess the damage. But what I was feeling was more the emotional and psychological violation. The physical was bad enough, but the emotional was worse.

I heard what sounded like my own voice say to me, and this was audible, I could hear this, “Pray to God.” And I thought “dumb idea. I don’t pray.” Then I heard the same thing, “Pray to God.” And I thought, I don’t know how to pray. I couldn’t pray. I wanted to pray. A third time I heard, “Pray to God.” When I was little I prayed, when I was a child I prayed. But I didn’t remember how to pray. I was simply trying to think of what had I said when I was a child. I was trying to remember the prayers I had been taught as a child.

It was all getting mixed up with things that I had had to memorize as a child. So there were bits of the Pledge of Allegiance, Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, The National Anthem, Lord’s Prayer, and 23rd Psalm. Just bits and pieces of this stuff all mixed up. I kept trying to compose something and I couldn’t manage it. In my frustration I was muttering some of these things.

The people around responded violently to any accidental mention of God in my attempt to simply remember a prayer or compose a prayer. They were saying to me, accompanied with great obscenity which I won’t repeat: There was no God; nobody could hear me except them; and for saying these things they were really going to hurt me like they hadn’t hurt me before. This was going to be much much worse than what they had done. In their threatening me I was encouraged to try and make mention of God, because I finally found a weapon to use against them. And it became quite evident that not only were they not touching me anymore, but they were literally retreating back into the darkness away from me, because the mention of God was unbearable to them.

It occurred to me that part of the reason why they were in this place and why they were trying to bring me into this place was because these were people who hated God and denied the very existence of God. People ask me all the time, “Were they demons?” and my answer is, ‘No they were not demons. They were people just like me who had hated God for whatever reason.”

Eventually I was trying to make my prayer by shouting things about God, crazy stuff. They retreated. I realize that I’m all alone. They’ve gone so far away, I don’t know how far they’ve gone, I can’t hear them or sense them any more. I stop. I’m thinking about my situation and in that place without time I had all the time in the world to think about my situation. In eternity I thought about what I had done with my life and how I had ended up.

And to sum it all up in a nutshell, I concluded that I had led a lousy life. I had failed as a man, as a husband, as a son, as a brother to my sisters, as a husband to my wife, as a father to my children, as a teacher to my students, as an artist, as a human being. Somehow I had flunked the course. And on my report card it was all “F”s. I don’t need to go into detail why I came to this conclusion, but that’s the conclusion. This was my own assessment of my life.

To say that I had regret.. .1 can’t begin to describe how I felt. I felt like such a failure.

As a consequence of the kind of life that I had led, I had been flushed down the toilet of the Universe into the cesspool. And that’s where I was: with all the other garbage lives, with all the rubbish lives, I was in the cesspool. What I concluded was that, although I was in a cesspool, I was still on the surface and what these people were doing was processing me to take me down deeper into it where it would get much worse, much more intense, which I can’t imagine, don’t want to imagine. I just knew it would get much worse the deeper I went into it and where I went was still very superficial somewhere in the processing department, the welcoming committee.

The horror of it was that I certainly didn’t want to go any further and I didn’t want to be part of these people. But I also thought, how could I possibly get out of this situation? There was no hope at all; the despair of being stuck with absolutely no hope and feeling like my life was just the most miserable waste. I recalled my childhood and a Sunday school classroom song: “Jesus loves me.” There were both the words Jesus loves me going through my head, but also a very intense recollection of being a child and believing that there was this wonderful being of God, from God, who loved me and cared about me and would protect me and rescue me from harm.

When I was a child I had been taught that and I had believed that. And I started to wonder about that. And I thought, “I don’t have time or energy to go through that speculation any more.” I had done enough of that in my life. I am going to try it, I am going to take a chance on it. And I called out into the darkness, “Jesus please save me.” I didn’t have any idea whether there was a Jesus, or if he was real, but I was sure hoping that it was true. All I had was hope, but no faith.

To my astonishment, in that darkness, a light appeared. And that light got very bright, very fast, and came upon me. And, out of that light, hands reached down to me lying on the ground and touched me. In that light I saw what a horror I truly was. And it was utterly repulsive seeing myself in that light. As the hands touched me, all the gore and filth kind of drifted away as if it was just dust, and I was restored to wholeness. But much more importantly than any of that was, as I was being touched, I felt sensations of being loved that I had never experienced in my entire life and cannot possibly begin to describe because of its intensity. And the hands that touched me now reached under me and were touching my back and picked me up. I was lifted up very gently and then I was embraced, and being hugged and held up against a very strong man whom I knew at that time was Jesus. And later when we began to converse I knew that it was he. Anyway at this time, I was just crying. I wasn’t thinking. I was just so happy that the only way I could express my joy and happiness was crying. And he was rubbing my back like a father with his son or a mother.

He was just gently stroking me. And I was crying and holding on and we just started drifting up. At first we started off slow and then we started going really fast. I knew we were moving. As we were moving in time I saw that we were moving towards a world of light.

And suddenly I was very ashamed, just overcome with shame for who [I was] and what I had done with my life. I knew that God was in that light that we were headed toward.

We were going towards God and I had spent much of my adult life ridiculing and blaspheming God. I just thought in my head: you’ve made a terrible mistake. I’m garbage and you should put me back. [Then] we stopped moving towards God, towards the light. And Jesus said to me, this is the first time he spoke to me, telepathically into my head. In his voice he said to me, “We don’t make mistakes. You belong here.” And I was stunned because we hadn’t spoken before. But, of course, more stunned by the fact that I wasn’t going to be rejected. I just said throw me back. And he said no. So that was a good thing.

We began to converse. I quickly found out that he had a tremendous sense of humor, he was not interested in condemning me, that he liked me. Not only did he convey his love for me, but he conveyed the fact that he liked me and he thought I was interesting, amusing to be with, and we were conversing.

He said he had some friends he wanted me to meet, and so he called out in musical tones and some other beings of light came and surrounded us. I was aware that they were angels who had been part of my life and knew about my life, and as they began to try and put me at ease, build a relationship with me, they said that they wanted to show me my life.

So they proceeded to unfold my life before us in what I would describe as holographic images beginning with my birth and my earliest infancy which, of course, I had no recollection of. So this was all for me a new thing, because I didn’t remember any of it, although it seemed quite familiar, because they were mostly images of my mom and dad and our kitchen and my sisters and stuff like that. It all looked very familiar, although I didn’t remember my earliest infancy, saw all the happiness and things like that. And then in time watched my life unfold and how things turned out the way that they did. As I grew from my childhood into my early adulthood and stuff like that, it was very embarrassing what was going on with my life.

There was a lot of dysfunctional family stuff and just making a lot of really bad choices.

I would say to Jesus and the angels, “You skipped something very important. I got an award you know, I won a prize, I got an honor.” And they would say, “Well, we’re not interested in those things. What we want you to see is this.” And then they would show me how I had talked to my mother or how I had had a fight with my father or how I had shown some real compassion towards my sister, how I had failed to show any compassion towards a student of mine, and so on.

All that they were interested in was how I had interacted with other people. They had absolutely no interest whatsoever in any of my accomplishments. I was very disappointed because I had lived my whole life to achieve things, and I always felt that my interactions were sort of a means to an end. What they were showing me was quite the opposite, that my relationships with people was my life and that my accomplishments were of no consequence whatsoever.

It finally got to the point that I said, “Okay, I’ve seen enough, I don’t want to see any more.” They said, “No, no, you need to see more” and they insisted on showing me more and more of my life. It was very very difficult and I was terribly ashamed at how my life was turning out especially with them allowing me to know how they felt about what we were saying.

Because here I am with my new-found friends who had rescued me from this horrible place that I had been in. I had spent my adult life stabbing them in the heart saying that they were ridiculous, that they didn’t exist and I didn’t believe in them. And that was awful. That’s not going to happen again.

I was so glad when it was over. And when it was finally over, my life review, they said, “Do you have any questions?” I said, “I’ve got a million questions.” They said, “Ask anything you like.” So I proceeded to ask them everything I could think about asking them from the most exquisite philosophical questions to the most ridiculous personal questions. And everything I asked they answered carefully, calmly, patiently, simply. And if I didn’t understand the answer, they would restate it in a more simple fashion so that I could understand it. One of the things that I was very impressed with was them as teachers, because I was a teacher and I was interested in their teaching methods; it was like they didn’t have anything that they had to prove. They were quite confident in knowing what they were. They weren’t impatient with my inability to understand, they weren’t impatient with my ignorance. They simply wanted me to understand to the best of my ability, at the level that I was at, which, if I were to compare my level of intelligence and understanding to theirs, I would be like a little bitty child and they would be very wise ancient people. There was a gap between their understanding and knowledge and wisdom and mine.

But they were anxious to bring me up to speed according to where I was in my ability.

And it was delightful to have all of their attention, it was delightful to have their interest and their love. It was just great being with them and all the things that they would explain to me. Eventually I got to the point where I simply couldn’t think of anything more to ask about.

One of the things I asked about was Heaven. What do you do in Heaven? What is Heaven like? They would explain to me and they would show me images, although we had not gotten there. Was Heaven boring? It’s just the opposite. Heaven is the most interesting place there is. Everything good and everything that ever was, is and will be is there. And the centerpiece of Heaven is God, who is the source of everything. Anything you ever wanted to know, do, think, or not do. You can go to Heaven and just relax.

I said I was ready to go to Heaven, I want to go to Heaven. That would be the obvious thing anybody would want, They gave me the first bad news during this whole process of question-answer. “You’re not going to Heaven. You’re going back to the world.” What then took place was a huge argument. And the argument was me arguing for me going to Heaven and them trying to prove to me why it was inappropriate at this time. They won the argument. It was not my time to go to Heaven.

I was actually being given the privilege of having another opportunity in the world to live in the way God had created me to live in the first place. And when I ultimately accepted that and agreed to that, they sent me back to this world.

When I came back, I was right back in the pain that I had left. Only I was back in consciousness. It was very difficult for me even to speak, because going from the bliss to the pain was such a rude shock. They told me that was going to happen. I knew it was going to happen. But it is really hard to accept it when it happens. But I was gasping for my breath because I wanted to tell my wife what had happened to me. The nurse accompanied with several hospital personnel came into the room and said a doctor had arrived at the hospital and they were going to perform the surgery. And this was only a few minutes after I had gone unconscious. They physically removed my wife from the room. They prepped me for surgery and I was taken on a gurney and passed my wife in the hallway.

On the way past her I said, “Everything’s going to be fine now.” She, of course, looked at me in total disbelief. She didn’t know what had happened and I hadn’t had an opportunity to tell her. I had the surgery. And on the next day, which was Sunday morning, when I saw her for the first time, I said to her, “Guess what: It’s all love, just love. And you don’t have to do anything but just accept it and become part of it. There’s more love than you will ever know.” And she looked at me and she said, “Do you need to rest more?” I said, “No this isn’t crazy, I said I’ve got so much to tell you.” She said, “You must be so tired. Do you want to go back to sleep?” I said, “No, I don’t want to sleep. I want to tell you about Jesus.” She’s looking at me like “He’s lost his mind. He’s crazy as a loon.” I could feel her complete total disbelief in what I was saying. I was trying to tell her I just won the lottery of life, I just won the prize. I’m now the richest man in the world. Not materially. I got it. I finally got it. I understand. She says, “He needs to go back to sleep. He’s dreaming.” So from that day on I tried to tell my wife what had happened to me. But she never really accepted and one of the first questions in my mind was, although I knew what had happened to me had happened, there was no way I could rationally explain how it had happened, although I knew what had truly happened.

(To read more about Howard Storm’s NDE, please click hereand it’s well worth the read!)

  • Gloria Polo

Gloria Polo is a Colombian dentist who now speaks around the world about her encounter with eternity. This is an abbreviated version of her story. The link to her full story is listed at the end of this article…

This was at the National University of Colombia in Bogota. I was attending graduate school, along with my nephew, who was also a dentist. My husband was with us that day. We had to pick up some books at the School of Dentistry on a Friday afternoon. It was raining very hard and my nephew and I were sharing a small umbrella. My husband was wearing his raincoat and he approached the outside wall of the General Library. Meanwhile, my nephew and I approached the trees without noticing, while skipping puddles. As we were about to skip to avoid a huge puddle, we were struck by lightning. We were charred. My nephew died there.

In my case lightning came in this way and burned my body in a horrifying way, on the inside and outside. This body you see here, this reconstructed body, is through the mercy of our Lord. Lightning charred me, left me without breasts, practically made my whole flesh and ribs vanish. My stomach, my legs; lightning went out my right foot, my liver was charred, my kidneys were burned, just like my lungs.

Tunnel of Light

Ascent of the Blessed, by Hieronymus Bosch, circa 1500 A.D.

The most beautiful part is that while my flesh was there charred, at that instant I found myself inside a beautiful white tunnel full of joy and peace, a happiness for which there are no human words that can describe the grandeur of the moment. The climax of the moment was immense, I was happy and joyful, nothing weighed me down inside that tunnel. At the bottom of that tunnel I saw like a sun, a most beautiful light. I call it white to name a color, because no color on earth is comparable with that most beautiful light. I felt the source of all that love, all that peace.

As I was going up I realized I had died. At that instant I thought about my kids and I said “Oh, my God, my kids! What will they say? This very busy mom never had time for them!” That’s when I saw my life truthfully and I became sad. I left home to transform the world, and I couldn’t handle my kids and my home.

And in that instant of emptiness for my children, I looked and saw something beautiful: my flesh was not in this time or space. I saw everybody in a single instant, at the same time, both the living and the dead. I embraced my great-grandparents and my parents, who had passed away. I hugged everyone; it was a full and beautiful moment…. I didn’t see in the same way I did before, where I only noticed who was fat, thin, dark-skinned, or ugly, always with prejudice. Now, out of my flesh, I would see people on the inside. How beautiful it is to see people on the inside. I would see their thoughts, their feelings. I embraced them in an instant and, still, I kept rising and rising, full of joy. At that point I felt that I was going to enjoy a beautiful sight, an extraordinarily beautiful lake. At that moment, I heard my husband’s voice. My husband was crying and with a deep cry, with deep feeling, he called out to me and said, “Gloria, please don’t go! Gloria, come back! The kids, Gloria, don’t give up!” In that instant I took a big glance and I saw not only him, but I saw him crying in deep pain. And the Lord allowed me to come back, although I didn’t want to. What a joy, how much peace. how much happiness! Then, I started descending slowly to find my body, where I found myself lifeless. My body was on a gurney at the medical center on campus. I saw how the doctors gave me electric shocks to pull me out of cardiac arrest. We lay there for two and a half hours. They couldn’t pick us up because our bodies were still conducting electricity. When that finally stopped they were able to assist us and they started resuscitation. I set my feet here, on this part of my head, and I felt a spark that pulled me in violently. I went back into my body. It was very painful to go back because sparks came out everywhere. And I saw me fit into such a “small thing.” My flesh hurt, it was burned. It hurt a lot. Smoke and vapor came out of it. And the most horrible pain was that of my vanity.

When I was under anesthesia, I came out of my body again. I saw what the surgeons were doing to my body. I was worried for my legs. All of a sudden I went through a moment of horror…I saw demons coming for me and I was their prey. At that moment I saw many people coming out of the walls of the operating room. At first sight they looked normal, but with a look of hatred on their faces, a horrible look. At that point through some special insight given to me, I realized I owed each one of them. I realized sin was not for free and that the main infamy and lie of the devil was to state that he didn’t exist. I saw how they were coming for me. You can imagine how scared I was. This scientific and intellectual mind was of no avail to me. I bounced off the floor, into my body, trying to come into it again, but my body wouldn’t let me in. I ran away and I’m not sure when I went through the wall in the operating room. I was hoping to hide in some hallway in the hospital, but I ended up jumping into thin air.

I went into some tunnels heading downward. At first, they had light and looked like bee hives. There were lots of people. But I started descending and light became scarce and I started roaming some tunnels in pitch darkness. That darkness has no comparison. The darkest darkness on earth is like noontime sunlight compared to it. That darkness causes pain, horror, and shame. And it smells very bad. I finished descending down those tunnels and landed desperately on a flat spot. I used to claim I had an iron will, that nothing was too much for me. But that was useless now, because I wanted to climb up and I couldn’t. At that point I saw a huge mouth opening up on the floor and I felt immense emptiness in my body, a bottomless abyss. The most horrifying thing about that hole was that not even a bit of God’s love was felt in it, not a drop of hope. The hole sucked me in and I felt terrified.

I knew that if I went in there, my soul would die. In the midst of that horror, as I was being pulled in, I was grabbed by my feet. My body was inside that hole, but my feet were being pulled from the top. It was a very painful and horrifying moment. My atheism fell to the wayside. I started clamoring for the souls in purgatory to help me out of there. As I was shouting I felt intense pain because I realized that thousands and thousands of people are there, mostly young people. Very painfully, I heard the gnashing of teeth, horrible screams and moans that shook me to the core. It took me several years to assimilate this, because I would cry every time that I remembered their suffering. I realized that’s where people who commit suicide in an instant of desperation end, finding themselves surrounded by those horrors. But the most terrible torment there is the absence of God. God couldn’t be felt there….

After a test on the Ten Commandments they showed me the Book of Life. I wish I had words to describe it. My book of life started at conception, when my parents’ cells united. Almost immediately there was a spark, a beautiful explosion and a soul was formed, my soul, grabbed by the hand by God my Father, such a beautiful God. So marvelous! Looking for me 24 hours a day. What I saw as punishment was nothing but His love, because He didn’t look at my flesh, but rather at my soul, and He would see how 1 was straying away from salvation.

Before I finish I have to give you an example of how beautiful the Book of Life is. I was very hypocritical. I would tell someone, “You look beautiful in that dress, it looks great on you,” but inside of me I would think “What a disgusting outfit and she thinks herself the queen!” On the Book of Life, it would show up exactly as I had thought about it, even though my words also appeared, as well as the inside of my soul.

Do you want to know what the Lord kept on asking me? About lack of love and charity. That’s when He told me about my spiritual death. I was alive, but dead. If you could have seen what “spiritual death” is, it’s like a soul that hates. Like a terribly sour and fastidious soul that injures everyone, full of sin. I could see my soul on the outside, smelling well, with good clothes on, but my stench on the inside, living deep in the abyss. No wonder I was so depressed and sour! And he told me: “Your spiritual death began when you stopped hurting for your brothers!” I was warning you by showing you their plight everywhere. When you saw media coverage on murders, abductions, refugee situations, and with your tongue you said, on the outside, ‘Poor people, how sad,’ but you didn’t really hurt for them. You felt nothing in your heart. Sin made your heart into a heart of stone.”

You can imagine my deep sorrow when my book closed. I had deep sorrow with God my Father for having behaved like that because, despite all my sins, despite all my filth and all my indifference and all my horrible feelings, the Lord always, up until the last instant, searched for me. He would always send me instruments, people. He would talk to me, He would yell at me, He would take things away from me to seek me. He looked for me up until the very end. God is always “begging” each one of us to convert.

I couldn’t accuse Him of condemning me! Of course not. Out of my freewill, I chose my father, and my father was not God. I chose Satan, he was my father. When that book closed I noticed I was heading down into a pit with a door at its bottom.

I thought everyone back on earth was probably thinking I had died a Saint, perhaps even waiting eagerly to ask for my intercession. And look! Where was I headed? I lifted my eyes and they met the eyes of my mom. With intense pain I cried out to her “Mommy, how ashamed I am! I was condemned, Mommy! Where I’m going I’ll never get to see you again! At that moment, they granted her a beautiful grace. She was still but her fingers moved and pointed upward. A couple of very painful scales fell from my eyes, that spiritual blindness. With that immense shame and pain I started to cry: “Jesus Christ, Lord, have compassion on me! Forgive me, Lord, give me a second chance!” And that was the most beautiful moment. I have no words to describe that moment. He came and pulled me out of that pit. When He picked me up, all those creatures threw themselves on the ground. He picked me up and he pulled me onto that flat part and told me with all His love: “You will go back, you will have a second chance,” but He told me it wasn’t because of my family’s prayer. “It’s normal for them to pray and cry out for you. It’s because of the intercession of all those foreign to your body and blood who have cried, have prayed, and have raised their heart with immense love for you.” I began to see many little lights lighting up, as little flames of love. I saw the people who were praying for me. But there was a big flame, it was the one that gave out the most light. It was the one that gave out the most love. I tried to see who that person was. The Lord told me: “That person you see right there loves you so much that he doesn’t even know you.” He showed me how this man had seen an old newspaper clipping from the previous day. He was a poor peasant who lived in the foothills of the “Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta” (in northeastern Colombia). That poor man went into town and bought some processed sugar cane. They wrapped it for him in an old newspaper from the previous day. My picture was there, all burned. When that man saw the news, without even reading it in full, he fell to the ground and started crying with the deepest love. And he said, “Father, Lord, have compassion on my little sister. Lord, save her. Look, Lord, if you save my little sister, I promise you I will go on pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lord in Buga (in southwestern Colombia), but please save her.” Imagine a very poor man, he wasn’t complaining or cursing because he was hungry, but instead he had this capacity to love that he could offer to cross an entire country for someone he didn’t even know. And the Lord told me: “That is love for your fellow man.” And then He told me: “You will go back.”

When each one of you gets his Book of Life opened in front of you, when each one of you dies, you will see that moment just as I saw it. And we will see each other just as we are…the only difference being we will see our thoughts in the presence of God.

  • Her complete story is written here; you can more easily see why the darkness was ready to swallow her up, but also why she was given a chance for the Light to redeem her. … GLORIA POLO’s WITNESS : Taken from one of the interviews done to Dr. Gloria Polo by Radio Maria (Colombia)
  • The power of words:
  • “…And look, brothers and sisters, I learned that words do not go away empty. When my mom was giving me a hard time I would say, “Mom, if I’m lying to you, let a lightning bolt strike me!” And although the words faded in time, it is through the mercy of God that I’m here, because in reality lightning hit me, practically cutting me in half and burning me…”