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Dead Again

Around age 12 I had an unusual experience. An active child, I had gone with my older sister to the beach. I was swimming in the ocean, where the waves were delightfully ferocious on occasion. All us children and teenagers in the water shouted gleefully at the biggest waves, and we would dive underneath them to avoid their breaking on us.

This went on for some time, and after awhile the waves had grown calmer. I was looking toward shore to see my sister when I heard my water-mates shout "MONSTER WAVE!" I turned, realized a gigantic wave was about to crash right on me, took as deep a breath as I could and quickly dove deeply under the water to escape.

The sound of several tons of water crashing down on you is loud, even from underwater. I hadn't dived nearly soon enough. The wave abruptly got me, but this time it was different than when this sometimes happened. Suddenly, one second the sound and force was just unbelievable --

-- and the next micro-second, the vast crashing-roaring sound had totally vanished. Everything was absolutely still; absolutely peaceful; and I felt an absolute calm. I don't think I had ever in my life experienced such a *complete* lack of sound or physical sensories. I was just "there," in a there-ness that seemed to have no sound, no motion, and no time. I was distantly aware that my body was a few feet over to the left of where "I" was.

Into my mind came the clearest thought and understanding, the most calm realization I had ever had, an accepted recognition. I said:

Oh. I'm dead again.

I vaguely remembered having been "dead" many times, over what seemed like an impossible measure of time. This was just another time. They all seemed the same to me in some way. Natural and unremarkable. My life was as interesting but as temporal, as transitional, and as fleeting as a book I had just finished reading.

Perhaps half a second later, I "shifted back into" my body. There was this incredibly distant sound, as if it were millions of miles away yet I could hear a whisper of it. The sound "rushed toward me" at an indescribable speed, getting louder and nearer and seemingly larger until suddenly WOW! -- it was all around me and I was twirling underwater, realizing I was in my body and the worst part of the wave had passed. My feet scrambled to find the ocean bottom and I pushed to the surface of the water.

Coughing a bit from the water, I looked around. Everything was as it should be. Children and teenagers laughing and calling in the swells. I could see my sister sunbathing on the beach. Nothing seemed different on the outside. And yet, I felt markedly different. The profound sense of knowing was so much "fuller" than anything I had ever experienced. A kind of knowing that no intellectual assumption about the word can begin to describe. I understood that I was "I" -- and that "I" was a lot more than I seemed, or could even describe.

I was moved to silence. I quietly swam to shore and curled up on a towel in the sun until my sister decided we'd go home.

I didn't tell anybody about it. It was personal in a way nothing had ever been to me. I didn't really even think about it. It was such a given that I felt no wonder, no curiosity, no confusion about it. I understood. That's just the way things were.

(Small note of humor: A movie some years ago had the interesting title, "Dead Again." It was about reincarnation, or so I'm told, I didn't see it. Since then I have wondered if others have had the same "realization" I did, and if that's where that title came from.)

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