A Profoundly Inspiring Near-Death Experience Story
Mellen-Thomas Benedict is an artist who survived a near-death experience (NDE) in 1982. He was dead for over an hour and a half. During that time, he
rose up out of his body and went into the light. Curious about
the universe, he was taken far into the remote depths of existence, and even
beyond, into the energetic void of nothingness behind the Big Bang. Eminent near-death experience researcher Dr. Kenneth Ring has said, "His story is one of the most remarkable I have
encountered in my extensive research on near-death experiences."
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Near-Death Experiences: The Mellen-Thomas Benedict Story
In 1982, I died from terminal cancer. My condition was non-operable. I chose
not to have chemotherapy. I was given six to eight months to live. Before
this time, I had become increasingly despondent over the nuclear crisis, the
ecology crisis, and so forth. I came to believe that nature had made a
mistake—that we were probably a cancerous organism on the planet. And that
is what eventually killed me.
my near-death experience, I tried all sorts of alternative healing methods. None helped. So I
determined that this was between me and God. I had never really considered
God. Neither was I into any kind of spirituality. But my approaching death
sent me on a quest for more information about spirituality and alternative
healing. I read various religions and philosophies. They gave hope that there
was something on the other side.
had no medical insurance, so my life savings went overnight on tests.
Unwilling to drag my family into this, I determined to handle this myself. I
ended up in hospice care and was blessed with an angel for my hospice
caretaker, whom I will call "Anne." She stayed with me through all
that was to follow.
Into the Light
I woke up about 4:30 am and I knew that this was it. I was going to die. I
called a few friends and said good-bye. I woke up Anne and made her promise
that my dead body would remain undisturbed for six hours, since I had read
that all kinds of interesting things happen when you die. I went back to
sleep. The next thing I remember, I was fully aware and standing up. Yet my
body was lying in the bed. I seemed to be surrounded by darkness, yet I could
see every room in the house, and the roof, and even under the house.
A Light shone. I turned toward it, and was aware of its similarity to what
others have described in near-death experiences. It was magnificent and
tangible, alluring. I wanted to go towards that Light like I might want to go
into my ideal mother's or father's arms. As I moved towards the Light, I knew
that if I went into the Light, I would be dead. So I said/felt, "Please
wait. I would like to talk to you before I go."
The entire experience halted. I discovered that I was in control of the
experience. My request was honored. I had conversations with the
Light. That's the best way I can describe it. The Light changed into
different figures, like Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, archetypal images
and signs. I asked in a kind of telepathy, "What is going on here?"
information transmitted was that our beliefs shape the kind of feedback we
receive. If you are a Buddhist or Catholic or Fundamentalist, you get a
feedback loop of your own images. I became aware of a Higher Self matrix, a
conduit to the Source. We all have a Higher Self, or an oversoul part of our
being, a conduit. All Higher Selves are connected as one being. All humans
are connected as one being.
was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. It was like all the love
you've ever wanted, and it was the kind of love that cures, heals,
regenerates. I was ready to go at that time. I said "I am ready, take
me." Then the Light turned into the most beautiful thing that I have
ever seen: a mandala of human souls on this planet. I saw that we are the
most beautiful creations—elegant, exotic ... everything.
I just cannot say enough about how it changed my opinion of human beings in
an instant. I said/thought/felt, "Oh, God, I didn't realize." I was
astonished to find that there was no evil in any soul. People may do terrible
things out of ignorance and lack, but no soul is evil. "What all people
seek—what sustains them—is love," the Light told me. "What
distorts people is a lack of love."
revelations went on and on. I asked, "Does this mean that Humankind will
be saved?" Like a trumpet blast with a shower of spiraling lights, the
Light "spoke," saying, "You save, redeem and heal yourself.
You always have and always will. You were created with the power to do so
from before the beginning of the world." In that instant I realized that
we have already been saved.
thanked the Light of God with all my heart. The best thing I could come up
with was: "Oh dear God, dear Universe, dear Great Self, I love my
Life." The Light seemed to breathe me in even more deeply, absorbing me.
I entered into another realm more profound than the last, and was aware of an
enormous stream of Light, vast and full, deep. I asked what it was. The Light
answered, "This is the River of Life. Drink of this manna water to your
heart's content." I drank deeply, in ecstasy.
The Void of Nothingness
Suddenly I seemed to be rocketing away from the planet on this stream of
Life. I saw the earth fly away. The solar system whizzed by and disappeared.
I flew through the center of the galaxy, absorbing more knowledge as I went.
I learned that this galaxy—and the entire Universe—is bursting with many
different varieties of life. I saw many worlds. We are not alone in this
Universe. It seemed as if all the creations in the Universe soared past me and
vanished in a speck of Light.
a second Light appeared. As I passed into the second Light, I could perceive
forever, beyond Infinity. I was in the Void, pre-Creation, the beginning of
time, the first Word or vibration. I rested in the Eye of Creation and it
seemed that I touched the Face of God. It was not a religious feeling. I was
simply at One with Absolute Life and Consciousness.
I rode the stream directly into the center of the Light. I felt embraced by
the Light as it took me in with its breath again. And the truth was obvious
that there is no death; that nothing is born and nothing dies; that we are
immortal beings, part of a natural living system that recycles itself
would take me years to assimilate the Void experience. It was less than
nothing, yet greater than anything. Creation is God exploring God's Self
through every way imaginable. Through every piece of hair on your head,
through every leaf on every tree, through every atom. God is exploring God's
Self. I saw everything as the Self of all. God is here. That's what it is all
about. Everything is made of light; everything is alive.
The Light of Love
was never told that I had to come back. I just knew that I would. It was only
natural, from what I had seen. As I began my return to the life cycle, it
never crossed my mind, nor was I told, that I would return to the same body.
It did not matter. I had complete trust in the Light and the Life process.
the stream merged with the great Light, I asked never to forget the
revelations and the feelings of what I had learned on the other side. I
thought of myself as a human again and I was happy to be that. From what I
have seen, I would be happy to be an atom in this universe. An atom. So to be
the human part of God ... this is the most fantastic blessing. It is a
blessing beyond our wildest imagination of what a blessing can be.
For each and every one of us to be the human part of this experience is
awesome, and magnificent. Each and every one of us, no matter where we are,
screwed up or not, is a blessing to the planet, right where we are. So I went
through the reincarnation process expecting to be a baby somewhere.
But I reincarnated back into this body. I was so surprised when I opened my
eyes, to be back in this body, back in my room with someone looking over me,
crying her eyes out. It was Anne, my hospice caretaker. She had found me dead
thirty minutes before. We do not know how long I was dead, only that she
found me thirty minutes before. She had honored my wish to have my
newly-dead body left alone. She can verify that I really was dead.
It was not a near-death experience. I believe I probably experienced death
itself for at least an hour and a half. When I later awakened and saw the light
outside, confused, I tried to get up to go to it, but I fell out of the bed.
She heard a loud "clunk", ran in, and found me on the floor. When I
recovered, I was surprised and awed about what had happened. I had no memory
at first of the experience. I kept slipping out of this world and kept
asking, "Am I alive?" This world seemed more like a dream than that
three days, I was feeling normal again, clearer, yet different than ever
before. My memories of the journey came back later. But from my return I
could find nothing wrong with any human being I had ever seen. Previous to my
death I was judgmental, believing that people were really screwed up.
Everyone but me.
About three months later a friend said I should get tested for the cancer. So
I got the scans and so forth. I felt healthy. I still remember the doctor at
the clinic looking at the "before" and "after" scans. He
said, "I can find no sign of cancer now." "A miracle?" I
asked. "No," he answered. "These things happen ... spontaneous
remission." He seemed unimpressed. But I was impressed. I knew it was
I asked God: "What is the best religion on the planet? Which one is
right?" God said with great love: "It doesn't matter." What an
incredible grace. It does not matter what religion we are. Religions come and
they go. They change. Buddhism has not been here forever, Catholicism has not
been here forever, and they are all about to become more enlightened. More
light is coming into all systems now. Many will resist and fight about it,
one religion against the next, believing that only they are right.
God said, "It doesn't matter," I understood that it is for us to care
about, because we are the caring beings. The Source does not care if you are
Protestant, Buddhist, or Jew. Each is a reflection, a facet of the whole. I
wish that all religions would realize it and let each other be. It is not the
end of separate religions, but live and let live. Each has a different view,
and it all adds up to the big picture.
went over to the other side with a lot of fears about toxic waste, nuclear
missiles, the population explosion, the rain forest. I came back loving every
single problem. I love nuclear waste. I love the mushroom cloud; this is the
holiest mandala that we have manifested to date, as an archetype. More than
any religion or philosophy on Earth, that terrible, wonderful cloud brought
us together all of a sudden, to a new level of consciousness.
maybe we can blow up the planet fifty times, or 500 times, we finally realize
that maybe we are all here together now. For a period, they had to keep
setting off more bombs to get it into us. Then we started saying, "we do
not need this any more." Now we are actually in a safer world than we
have ever been in, and it is going to get even safer.
So I came back loving toxic waste, because it brought us together. These
things are so big. Clearing of the rain forest will slow down, and in fifty
years there will be more trees on the planet than in a long time. If you are
into ecology, go for it; you are that part of the system that is becoming
aware. Go for it with all your might, but do not be depressed or
disheartened. Earth is in the process of domesticating itself, and we are
cells on that Body. Population increase is getting very close to the optimal range
of energy to cause a shift in consciousness. That shift in consciousness will
change politics, money, energy, and more.
The Great Mystery of life has little to do with intelligence. The Universe is
not an intellectual process. The intellect is helpful; but our hearts are the
wiser part of ourselves. Since my return I have experienced the Light
spontaneously. I have learned how to get to that space almost any time in
my meditation. You can also do this. You don't have to die first. You are
wired for it already. The body is the most magnificent Light being there is.
The body is a universe of incredible Light. We don't need to commune with God; God is already communing with
us in every moment!
Note: The above text is a concise, slightly edited summary. For the full text of this inspiring near-death experience, click here. For another highly inspiring near-death experience from Anita Moorjani, click here. For a rich and inspiring online lesson with other incredible near-death experiences and more, click here. For an excellent collection of near-death experiences and near-death experience resources, click here.
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