The darkness was emptiness, not good or bad. It was lacking emotion. But I was comfortable, no longer in pain. I was totally alone. By the time I’d reached this rich black void, I had given up any regrets and stopped thinking about my life, dying, and loved ones left behind. I began to sense a connectedness to this void. The fertile blackness seemed infinite. Yet there was something more, something supportive, and I had a knowing that the state I was in was the most natural thing in the world. I started to feel comforting joy and happiness. Although I could not quite grasp the meaning of this perception, I sensed there was more going on around me. I sensed something bigger, larger than myself, more than myself. I felt as if I should be communicating with this darkness. There was an omnipresent intelligence at hand, and somehow I knew I should move on. The feelings of being supported and joyous kept growing.
Slowly, ever so slowly, light started to appear within the darkness. A dim glow was growing lighter around me and I could see a brighter light off in the distance. As I got closer I started feeling the light. I felt welcomed and loved. As the light got brighter, my feelings intensified. I was being lifted up emotionally as well as moving toward the light and as it got brighter I felt as if it were enveloping me, taking me into what I could only call Love. I was becoming a part of its Love…
Every time I explain my experience in the light I can feel the touch of the Love that accompanied it. It is still incredibly emotional for me even many years later. In the light, without a body, I could handle that level of love because I had left the physical side of emotion behind. It is not that you don’t experience emotion when in the light, but without a physical body, you have no physical reaction. In our physical body we feel excitement in our stomach and love can make us light headed. In the light I felt love, joy, passion, and excitement without the physical sensations. I was simply accepting and awed.
Not only was I in awe of the Love, I also had a greater understanding and knowledge of life’s mysteries. The universe suddenly made sense to me.
When I initially returned from death, I tried to share my experience and received a negative response from my first wife. I certainly couldn’t tell my friends at work. We were all commercial divers and we put our lives in each other’s hands every day. Death was a taboo subject. I felt isolated, yet at the same time I experienced gifts from my time in the light. I could see the divine light in other people’s eyes. I could see the auras that were around everyone and everything and if that wasn’t enough I started receiving intuitive knowings. This was all new and very difficult for my engineer’s mind to accept.
That was the beginning of the unique personal and spiritual challenges with integrating this transformative experience. Besides a commercial diver, I was ships engineer and this experience was an unanticipated introduction into a reality unlike anything I had ever faced previously. I had been in God’s Light and returned to this life for some purpose that I understood when I was there, but didn’t have a clue of upon my return. I wanted my old life back but that wasn’t part of my “Purpose.”
The Light deeply altered my views about living life and about death. My worldview before was to simply survive by what ever means available and make a life for myself. Now there was a sudden urge to be more of service to the world, to humanity, because during my experience my self-awareness had extended beyond the boundaries of my individual personality and I was exposed to the interconnectedness of all beings. I understood the unique and spectacular gift that life was and no longer feared death. This shifted my philosophy to appreciating and squeezing all the juice out of life.
I began a quest for harmony and unconditional love, which was inconsistent with my life before the experience. While on this quest my love changed. The way I expressed and received love had evolved. I was unaware of this shift for a long time, causing additional challenges. Expressing love for everyone and everything confused my family and those I interacted with. I was trying to exemplify the unconditional Love I had experienced while in the Light. I finally came to understand that my love had changed like my worldviews. I learned unconditional love was within all of us and we only have to allow it into our lives, but in certain situations it is best to tone it down so not to confuse those who don’t understand.
The three spiritual experiences I share in “Voyage Of Purpose” build one upon the next all pointing the way toward transformation and purpose, giving me the tools I needed for the future. The process of integrating these experiences became a spiritual journey that gave me the guidance and strength to overcome my life’s obstacles and suffering including stage IV lung and spine cancer.
This path of integration is available to everyone, you do not have to die to have a transformative experience or to glean lessons from life. The purpose of a transformative path is to change our way of being. When we experience a shift in our worldview, we often feel nothing will ever be the same. Like water wearing away stone, integrating transformative experiences into our core way of being often requires patience and inner work.
A recent study at the University of Chicago tells us that close to one third of Americans have had some form of spiritually transformative experience. Because we have had an exceptional experience doesn’t mean we get a pass for a free ride. Instead we have tasted our potential and understand the imperative to grow. It is a call from our authentic self to participate in the transformative process for the world and ourself. This growing portion of our population is quietly looking for paths of integration. Like myself, many feel a duality of being and are looking to become whole. This may be difficult at first. In our book we share ideas and practices that can assist anyone on the spiritual path toward wholeness.
David Bennett is a public speaker, an author, and a teacher. His website, www.dharmatalks.com is a respected resource for those looking for information on near-death experiences (NDE). He has appeared on and consulted for numerous radio and television programs, including Oprah and Dr. Oz, as an NDE resource. Cindy Griffith-Bennett has a diverse background in metaphysics and energetic healing. She teaches Meditation and Psychic Development with clients throughout the United States. They live in Skaneateles, New York.