May 30, 2014 by Open Center
Dan Rhema, former President of El Centra, a not-for-profit international training center on the Gulf Coast of Mexico has a compulsion to make art. As soon as he goes to sleep, he’s overtaken by a heightened consciousness that feeds him otherworldly visual images. Burning stars, third eyes. Shamanic faces. These cycles of image downloads last up to six months and take over his life, until he’s spent in a overwhelming cycle of art production. Dan has been making art compulsively for the last 15 years.
“At night in my dreams, I’ll be in my basement and I’ll be pulling things out and putting them together. Stuff that cognitively I probably wouldn’t do. And the next day I’ll just go down there and start pulling it all together.”
This is the beginning of Dan’s visionary art process. It’s a direct result of his near death experience (NDE) twenty years ago, which arose from his battle with three different strains of Denge fever, meningitis and encephalitis. When his wife Susan asked the doctors for Dan’s prognosis, they said, “We don’t know. We can’t find any literature on anyone who has survived this.”
“I thought I was going nuts,” Dan said, “because I’d never done art before. My degree is in Geology. I do what I do because of my experience and I just try to keep myself out of it as much as I can and let the dreams happen.”
“I keep waiting for this compulsion, the energy, to stop. But it never does. It’s all just coming through me and I’ve just got to stay out of the way.”
Dan’s experience left him with a gateway into a reality unlike anything he experienced in his former life. Yet, this paradigm shift he says, is ‘more real than reality itself.’
Dan’s profound shift is just one of a handful of NDE after effects. Others include shifts in attitude towards careers and materialism, changes in attitudes towards death, and a heightened interest in spiritual values.
Yet Dan and other NDE’ers are not the only ones capable of experiencing this shift. We all have the potential to have a transformative experience. Perhaps not an NDE, but an STE—a spiritually transformative experience—that can lead to an improvement in the quality and purposefulness of our lives.
The question is “How?” Here are six ideas:
Meditation: Stillness is always there between your breaths and helps us to release the ego and experience gratitude.
Yoga: Timing your breath with your movement and reminding yourself that this is “practice.” The emphasis is no longer on striving but only doing what you are capable of in the moment.
Drumming: The rhythms and volumes impact our vibrational energy, allowing our consciousness to enter the altered ‘theta state’. Theta waves allow us to reduce stress and experience faster healing from illness.
Chanting: Helps to slow down the thought process, achieve inner peace and remain in the present moment. Chanting has the ability to heal the subtle energy fields that surround our physical body.
Sound immersion through crystal or Tibetan bowls, bells: Ancient cultures recognized the power of ritual music. Sound immersion can lead to out of body travel without having to leave the actual physical location.
Dance: Dance expresses feelings and puts us in touch with universal energy. In a community, it can be a form of communal prayer and shifts our energetic body further outside our physical bodies.
Each can produce altered states allowing us to experience ourselves as fundamental consciousness and connect with the metaphysical.
I’ve been meditating for years, you say, yet I haven’t experienced anything like this. How long does it take for this to occur?
Many report the shift happens “spontaneously.’ Others, after many years of practice. Some experience a shift through religious experiences, hallucinogens or through a paranormal event.
And that’s why I’ve heard something surprising—people telling me that I want to have an NDE when they learn about the positive after effects. The opportunity to return newly awakened and to experience the divine in all is seductive. According to the American Center for the Integration of Spiritually Transformative Experiences (ACISTE), many NDE’ers report newfound feelings of peace, living with purpose, being present, feeling connected, and experiencing greater love and acceptance.
It’s not all auras and angels, I tell them, although I understand their desire for the lessons of the NDE, including the most compelling takeaway: The message of unconditional love.
One NDE’er, whom I’ll call Barry, is typical of this expression of love. “What I do now, I spend my time doing unconditional love to the lowest possible level. I do it without expectation because unconditional love is defined as my memory of being in the light and expecting nothing in return”
That’s all well and good, you say, but since I haven’t had an NDE, how can I apply these lessons to my everyday life?
Living with intent is available to everyone. Seeking heightened values, above our earthly realm, can manifest in time. The message of being in the light is that it leads to a permanent unity in every facet of our being.
Divinity is within all of us.
This post is written by Open Center contributing author Debra Diamond.