I read Mellen-Thomas Benedict’s account of his enlightenment experience following his “death” from terminal cancer some years ago and lost sight of it until finding it posted to Spirit of Ma’at Magazine recently. It rivals Jill Bolte-Taylor’s for uniqueness.
Sometimes the most hopeless situations result in incredible breakthroughs and none was more hopeless than Benedict’s. His account is long and may need to be read in instalments, but it should help us to see that life is continuous and beneficent.
It also encourages us never to give up seeing our circumstances as totally capable of a dramatic breakthrough and turnaround.
A JOURNEY THROUGH THE LIGHT AND BACK
Near-Death Experience Story of Mellen-Thomas Benedict
Spirit of Ma’At Magazine, April 2009
Mellen-Thomas Benedict speaks:
In 1982 I died from terminal cancer. The condition I had was inoperable, and any kind of chemotherapy they could give me would just have made me more of a vegetable. I was given six to eight months to live.
I had been an information freak in the 1970s, and I had become increasingly despondent over the nuclear crisis, the ecology crisis, and so forth. So, since I did not have a spiritual basis, I began to believe that nature had made a mistake and that we were probably a cancerous organism on the planet. I saw no way that we could get out from all the problems we had created for ourselves and the planet. I perceived all humans as cancer-and that is what I got.
That is what killed me. Be careful what your world view is. It can feed back on you, especially if it is a negative world view. I had a seriously negative one. That is what led me into my death. I tried all sorts of alternative healing methods, but nothing helped.
So I determined that this was really just between me and God. I had never really faced God before or even dealt with God. I was not into any kind of spirituality at the time, but I began a journey into learning about spirituality and alternative healing. I set out to do all the reading I could and bone up on the subject, because I did not want to be surprised on the other side. So I started reading on various religions and philosophies. They were all very interesting and gave hope that there was something on the other side. I ended up in hospice care.
I remember waking up one morning at home about 4:30 AM, and I just knew that this was it.
This was the day I was going to die. So I called a few friends and said goodbye. I woke up my hospice caretaker and told her. I had a private agreement with her that she would leave my dead body alone 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 is the beginning of a typical near-death experience. Suddenly I was fully aware-and I was standing up but my body was in the bed. There was this darkness around me. Being out of my body was even more vivid than ordinary experience. It was so vivid that I could see every room in the house. I could see the top of the house, I could see around the house, I could see under the house.
There was this Light shining. I turned toward the Light. The Light was very similar to what many other people have described in their near-death experiences. It was so magnificent. It is tangible; you can feel it. It is alluring; you want to go to it like you would want to go to your ideal mother’s or father’s arms.
As I began to move toward the Light, I knew intuitively that if I went to the Light, I would be dead. So as I was moving toward the Light I said, “Please wait a minute; just hold on a second here. I want to think about this. I would like to talk to you before I go.” To my surprise, the entire experience halted at that point. You are in control of your life-after-death experience. You are not on a roller coaster ride.
So my request was honored, and I had some conversations with the Light. The Light kept changing into different figures, like Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, mandalas, archetypal images and signs. I asked the Light, “What is going on here? Please, Light, clarify yourself for me. I really want to know the reality of the situation.” I cannot really say the exact words, because it was sort of telepathy.
The Light responded. The information transferred to me was that during your life-after- death experience your beliefs shape the kind of feedback you are getting before the Light. If you were a Buddhist or Catholic or Fundamentalist, you get a feedback loop of your own stuff. You have a chance to look at it and examine it, but most people do not. As the Light revealed itself to me, I became aware that what I was really seeing was our Higher Self matrix.
We all have a Higher Self, or an oversoul part of our being. It revealed itself to me in its truest energy form. The only way I can really describe it is that the Being of the Higher Self is more like a conduit. It did not look like that, but it is a direct connection to the Source that each and every one of us have. We are directly connected to the Source. So the Light was showing me the Higher Self matrix. I was not committed to one particular religion. So that is what was being fed back to me during my life-after-death experience.
As I asked the Light to keep clearing for me, to keep explaining, I understood what the Higher Self matrix is. We have a grid around the planet where all the Higher Selves are connected.
This is like a great company, a next subtle level of energy around us, the spirit level, you might say. Then, after a couple of minutes, I asked for more clarification. I really wanted to know what the Universe is about, and 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. Now I came to this with my negative view of what was happening on the planet. So as I asked the Light to keep clarifying for me, I saw in this magnificent mandala how beautiful we all are in our essence, our core. We are the most beautiful creations.
The human soul, the human matrix that we all make together, is absolutely fantastic, elegant, exotic, everything. I just cannot say enough about how it changed my opinion of human Beings in that instant. I said, “Oh, God, I did not know how beautiful we are.” At any level, high or low, in whatever shape you are in, you are the most beautiful creation.
The revelations coming from the Light seemed to go on and on. Then I asked the Light, “Does this mean that Mankind will be saved?” Then, like a trumpet blast with a shower of spiraling lights, the Great Light spoke, saying, “Remember this and never forget; you save, redeem and heal yourself. You always have. You always will. You were created with the power to do so from before the beginning of the world.”
In that instant I realized even more. I realized that WE HAVE ALREADY BEEN SAVED, and we saved ourselves because we were designed to self- correct like the rest of God’s Universe. This is what the second coming is about. I thanked the Light of God with all my heart. The best thing I could come up with was these simple words of total appreciation: “Oh dear God, dear Universe, dear Great Self, I Love My Life.”
The Light seemed to breathe me in even more deeply. It was as if the Light was completely absorbing me. The Love Light is, to this day, indescribable. I entered into another realm, more profound than the last and became aware of something more, much more. It was an enormous stream of Light, vast and full, deep in the Heart of Life. I asked what this was.
The Light responded, “This is the RIVER OF LIFE. Drink of this manna water to your heart’s content.” So I did. I took one big drink and then another. To drink of Life Itself! I was in ecstasy.
Then the Light said, “You have a desire.” The Light knew all about me, everything past, present and future. “Yes!” I whispered.
I asked to see the rest of the Universe, beyond our solar system, beyond all human illusion. The Light then told me that I could go with the Stream. I did, and was carried through the Light at the end of the tunnel. I felt and heard a series of very soft sonic booms. What a rush!
Suddenly I seemed to be rocketing away from the planet on this stream of Life. I saw the Earth fly away. The solar system, in all its splendor, whizzed by and disappeared. At faster than light speed, I flew through the center of the Galaxy, absorbing more knowledge as I went. I learned that this Galaxy, and all of the Universe, is bursting with many different varieties of LIFE. I saw many worlds. The good news is that we are not alone in this Universe!
As I rode this stream of consciousness through the center of the Galaxy, the stream was expanding in awesome fractal waves of energy. The super clusters of Galaxies with all their ancient wisdom flew by. At first I thought I was going somewhere, actually traveling. But then I realized that as the stream was expanding, my own consciousness was also expanding to take in everything in the Universe! All creation passed by me. It was an unimaginable wonder! I truly was a Wonder Child; a babe in Wonderland!
At this point, I found myself in a profound stillness, beyond all silence. I could see or perceive FOREVER, beyond Infinity.
I was in the Void.
I was in pre-creation, before the Big Bang. I had crossed over the beginning of time/the First Word/the First Vibration. I was in the Eye of Creation. I felt as if I was touching the Face of God. It was not a religious feeling. Simply, I was at one with Absolute Life and Consciousness.
When I say that I could see or perceive forever, I mean that I could experience all of creation generating itself. It was without beginning and without end. That is a mind expanding thought, isn’t it?
Scientists perceive the Big Bang as a single event which created the Universe. I saw during my life-after- death experience that the Big Bang is only one of an infinite number of Big Bangs creating Universes endlessly and simultaneously. The only images that even come close in human terms would be those created by super computers using fractal geometry equations.
The ancients knew of this. They said God had periodically created new Universes by breathing out and recreated other Universes by breathing in. These epochs were called Yugas. Modern science called this the Big Bang. I was in absolute, pure consciousness. I could see or perceive all the Big Bangs or Yugas creating and recreating themselves. Instantly I entered into them all simultaneously. I saw that each and every little piece of creation has the power to create. It is very difficult to try to explain this. I am still speechless about this.
It took me years after I returned from my near-death experience to assimilate any words at all for the Void experience. I can tell you this now: the Void is less than nothing, yet more than everything that is! The Void is absolute zero, chaos forming all possibilities. It is Absolute Consciousness, much more than even Universal Intelligence.
The Void is the vacuum or nothingness between all physical manifestations. It is the SPACE between atoms and their components. Modern science has begun to study this space between everything. They call it Zero point. Whenever they try to measure it, their instruments go off the scale, or to infinity, so to speak. They have no way, as of yet, to measure infinity accurately. There is more of the zero space in your own body and the Universe than anything else!
What mystics call the Void is not a void. It is so full of energy, a different kind of energy that has created everything that we are. Everything since the Big Bang is vibration, from the first Word, which is the first vibration. The biblical “I AM” really has a question mark after it. “I AM-What am I?” So creation is God exploring God’s Self through every way imaginable, in an on-going, infinite exploration through every one of us. I began to see during my near-death experience that everything that is, is the Self, literally your Self, my Self. Everything is the great Self. That is why God knows even when a leaf falls. That is possible because wherever you are is the center of the Universe. Wherever any atom is, that is the center of the Universe. There is God in that, and God in the Void.
As I was exploring the Void during my life-after- death experience and all the Yugas or creations, I was completely out of time and space as we know it. In this expanded state, I discovered that creation is about Absolute Pure Consciousness, or God, coming into the Experience of Life as we know it. The Void itself is devoid of experience. It is pre life, before the first vibration. Godhead is about more than Life and Death. Therefore there is even more than Life and Death to experience in the Universe!
When I realized this, I was finished with the Void and wanted to return to this creation, or Yuga. It just seemed like the natural thing to do. Then I suddenly came back through the second Light, or the Big Bang, hearing several more velvet booms. I rode the stream of consciousness back through all of creation, and what a ride it was! The super clusters of Galaxies came through me with even more insights. I passed through the center of our Galaxy, which is a black hole. Black holes are the great processors or recyclers of the Universe.
Do you know what is on the other side of a black hole? We are; our Galaxy, which has been reprocessed from another Universe. In its total energy configuration, the Galaxy looked like a fantastic city of lights. All energy this side of the Big Bang is Light. Every sub atom, atom, star, planet, even consciousness itself is made of Light and has a frequency and/or particle. Light is living stuff. Everything is made of Light, even stones. So everything is alive. Everything is made from the Light of God; everything is very intelligent.
As I rode the stream on and on, I could eventually see a huge Light coming. I knew it was the First Light; the Higher Self Light Matrix of our Solar System. Then the entire Solar System appeared in the Light, accompanied by one of those velvet booms.
I could see all the energy that this Solar System generates, and it is an incredible Light show! I could hear the Music of the Spheres. Our Solar System, as do all celestial bodies, generates a unique matrix of light, sound and vibratory energies. Advanced civilizations from other star systems can spot Life as we know it in the Universe by the vibratory or energy matrix imprint. It is child’s play. The Earth’s wonder child (Human Beings) make an abundance of sound right now, like children playing in the backyard of the Universe.
The Light explained to me that there is no death; we are immortal Beings. We have already been alive forever! I realized that we are part of a natural living system that recycles itself endlessly. I was never told that I had to come back. I just knew that I would. It was only natural, from what I had seen during my life-after-death experience.
I don’t know how long I was with the Light, in human time. But there came a moment when I realized that all my questions had been answered and my return was near. When I say that all my questions were answered on the other side, I mean to say just that. All my questions have been answered. Every human has a different life and set of questions to explore. Some of our questions are universal, but each of us is exploring this thing we call Life in our own unique way. So is every other form of life, from mountains to every leaf on every tree.
That is very important to the rest of us in this Universe; because it all contributes to the Big Picture, the fullness of Life. We are literally God exploring God’s Self in an infinite Dance of Life. Your uniqueness enhances all of Life.
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 just did not matter. I had complete trust in the Light and the Life process. As 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.
There was a “Yes.” It felt like a kiss to my soul.
Then I was taken back through the Light into the vibratory realm again. The whole process reversed, with even more information being given to me. I came back home, and I was given lessons from my near-death experience on the mechanics of reincarnation. I was given answers to all those little questions I had: “How does this work? How does that work?” I knew that I would be reincarnated.
The Earth is a great processor of energy, and individual consciousness evolves out of that into each one of us. I thought of myself as a human for the first time, 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 estimation 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.
I went through the reincarnation process expecting to be a baby somewhere. But I was given a lesson on how individual identity and consciousness evolve. I was so surprised when I opened my eyes. I do not know why, because I understood it, but it was still such a surprise to be back in this body, back in my room with someone looking over me, crying her eyes out. It was my hospice caretaker. She had given up an hour and a half after finding me dead. My body was stiff and inflexible. She went into the other room. Then I awakened and saw the light outside. 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 very surprised and yet very awed about what had happened to me during my near-death experience. At first all the memory of the trip that I have now was not there. I kept slipping out of this world and kept asking, “Am I alive?” This world seemed more like a dream than that one. Within three days I was feeling normal again, clearer, yet different than I had ever felt in my life. My memory of my near-death experience came back later. I could see nothing wrong with any human Being I had ever seen. Before that I was really judgmental. I thought a lot of people were really screwed up. In fact, I thought that everybody was screwed up but me. But I got clear on all that.
About three months later a friend said I should get tested, so I went and got the scans and so forth. I really felt good, so I was afraid of getting bad news. I remember the doctor at the clinic looking at the before and after scans, saying, “Well, there is nothing here now.” I said, “Really, it must be a miracle”‘ He said “No, these things happen; they are called spontaneous remissions.” He acted very unimpressed. But here was a miracle, and I was impressed, even if no one else was.
During my near-death experience I had a descent into what you might call Hell, and it was very surprising. I did not see Satan or evil. My descent into Hell was a descent into each person’s customized human misery, ignorance, and darkness of not knowing. It seemed like a miserable eternity. But each of the millions of souls around me had a little star of Light always available. But no one seemed to pay attention to it. They were so consumed with their own grief, trauma and misery. But, after what seemed an eternity, I started calling out to that Light, like a child calling to a parent for help.
Then the Light opened up and formed a tunnel that came right to me and insulated me from all that fear and pain, That is what Hell really is. So what we are doing is learning to hold hands, to come together. The doors of Hell are open now. We are going to link up, hold hands and walk out of Hell together. The Light came to me and turned into a huge golden Angel. I said, “Are you the Angel of Death?” It expressed to me that it was my over soul, my Higher Self matrix, a super ancient part of ourselves. Then I was taken to the Light.
Soon our science will quantify spirit. Isn’t that going to be wonderful? We are coming up with devices now that are sensitive to subtle energy or spirit energy. Physicists use these atomic colliders to smash atoms to see what they are made of. They have got it down to quarks and charm, and all that. Well, one day they are going to come down to the little thing that holds it all together, and they are going to have to call it…God. We are just beginning to understand that we are creating too, as we go along. As I saw forever, I came to a realm during my near-death experience in which there is a point where we pass all knowledge and begin creating the next fractal, the next level. We have that power to create as we explore. And that is God expanding itself through us.
Since my return I have experienced the Light spontaneously, and I have learned how to get to that space almost any time in my meditation. Each one of you can do this. You do not have to die or have a near-death experience to do this. It is within your equipment; you are wired for it already. The body is the most magnificent Light Being there is. The body is a Universe of incredible Light. Spirit is not pushing us to dissolve this body. That is not what is happening. Stop trying to become God; God is becoming you. Here.
I asked God: “What is the best religion on the planet? Which one is right?” And Godhead said, with great love: “I don’t care.” That was incredible grace. When Godhead said, “I don’t care,” I immediately understood that it is for us to care about. It is important, because we are the caring Beings. It matters to us and that is where it is important. What you have is the energy equation in spirituality. Ultimate Godhead does not care if you are Protestant, Buddhist or whatever. It is all a blooming facet of the whole. I wish that all religions would realize it and let each other be. It is not the end of each religion, but we are talking about the same God. Live and let live. Each has a different view. And it all adds up to the big picture; it is all important.
I went over to the other side during my near-death experience with a lot of fears about toxic waste, nuclear missiles, the population explosion, the rainforest. 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. It, more than any religion or philosophy on Earth, brought us together all of a sudden, to a new level of consciousness. Knowing that 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 in to us. Then we started saying, “we do not need this anymore.” Now we are actually in a safer world than we have ever been in, and it is going to get safer. So I came back from my near-death experience loving toxic waste because it brought us together. These things are so big. As Peter Russell might say, these problems are now “soul size.” Do we have soul size answers” YES!
The 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. It is part of a larger thing.
Earth is in the process of domesticating itself. It is never again going to be as wild a place as it once was. There will be great wild places, reserves where nature thrives. Gardening and reserves will be the thing in the future. 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.
After dying, going through my near-death experience and coming back, I really respect life and death. In our DNA experiments we may have opened the door to a great secret. Soon we will be able to live as long as we want to live in this body.
After living 150 years or so, there will be an intuitive soul sense that you will want to change channels. Living forever in one body is not as creative as reincarnation, as transferring energy in this fantastic vortex of energy that we are in. We are actually going to see the wisdom of Life and death, and enjoy it. As it is now, we have already been alive forever.
This body, that you are in, has been alive forever. It comes from an unending Stream of Life, going back to the Big Bang and beyond.
This body gives life to the next life, in dense and subtle energy.
This body has been alive forever already.