Everyone had given up on David Morris. At 45, he lived only for cocaine, and nothing was going to change that. His family once intervened and sent him to a 30-day treatment, all of them so happy and hopeful when he graduated! But then he used again, immediately hopeless as ever. When his brother opened his home to David and gave him a job with his business, David took him up on the offer and managed to stay clean for two months. Family and friends’ hopes were raised: surely this time David was on his feet! But then he used again was back to his old ways.
What ways? Living in his mom’s house and employed in a family business, David’s life had shrunk down to nothing but cocaine. “In those final months, I had to be high all the time. My only concern was to get cocaine, get back to my room, and just be high. I’d stay awake most of the night doing coke, sleep a couple hours, wake up and get high to go to work, and then buy more on my way home — over and over and over.”
This went on until David died — probably from a heart attack brought on by overdose.
“I’d brought home an 8-ball. Every time I got high, I got extremely paranoid. That evening, after I’d done not quite half, I felt sure the police were hiding in my closet. I could see the walls around my second story windows begin to crack and bulge, the cracks spreading, and I knew they were going to bust in and take my drugs.
“So I did everything I had — another two grams, which was an extreme amount. I didn’t mean to die. I just didn’t want anyone else to get my drugs! Then I felt myself fading, and I fell onto my bed.”
That should be the end of the story — but it’s not. Today David has 12 years clean and sober, lives a life filled with joy and relationships, and knows to his core that he will never use or drink again — all thanks to his experience on the other side of death.
“My spirit, my essence, rose up out of my body, and I could see my body lying on the bed. From there I moved very fast downward into a deep, total darkness. I felt shocked, frightened, confused, until I came to a place with an enormous stone slab. And lying on that slab was my lifeless body. I went into a panic; I had no idea what was going on. I, my essence, could move about, but that body was not going to move.
“I can tell you, if I had stayed there, this story would be very different. But I made a choice — a choice that I did not want this, that I hadn’t lived as I wished to. And with that, I began to hear distant voices calling to me, trying to guide me. Later on, after the experience, I recognized them as the voices of loved ones who had passed. But at the time, I just knew I wanted to get closer to them.
“They guided me up from the darkness, until away in the distance, I could see the light coming toward me — or me toward it. The light grew and grew until I was engulfed in its presence. Everything became perfect. The light, as so many have said, is beyond description, beyond words — that totality of bliss.
“In the presence of this cleansing of the light, everything happened in telepathy. And the biggest gift conveyed to me by that presence was the message to just love. That’s it! The most divine intervention that could possibly have happened – for me and to me. That gift and so many others came to me in the light’s presence.
“But as beautiful and blissful as it was there, I knew I wanted to come back – and I very strongly asked to do so. I didn’t want to leave this life the way I was leaving it. And then I knew the light was going to allow me to come back.
“Meanwhile on this plane, my aunt, who lived downstairs with my mother, heard whatever commotion my body made upstairs – a seizure, I don’t know – and called 911. My first memory is of being put in an ambulance outside the house. I remember a moment or two in the ambulance, then waking up in the hospital.
“The E.R. doctors told my aunt they had no medical explanation for why I’d survived. My heart rate, blood pressure, other complications when I arrived should have killed me. But later that day, I was sent home. My sister, with whom I’d always been close, was visiting that weekend. She told me, ‘I’m done. I’ll pray for you. Goodbye.’ And she left.
“I’ve never again had the urge to get high. For so many years, I’d struggled, unable to stay clean for even a day. When I first came back, I wasn’t sure what had happened, but I knew — I knew I wasn’t a drug addict anymore.
“I didn’t know anything about Near Death Experiences. I was so eager to understand what had happened to me, I read tons of books, one after another.” The first of these was Lessons from the Light by Kenneth Ring. “These NDErs’ stories were so similar to mine, and the after-effects of ways I was seeing things – all in that book! So that started to bring some clarity. Roughly two and a half months after my NDE, on a Sunday afternoon, I decided to give my sister call, not to ask forgiveness, but to let her know, however long it took for her to heal was okay. We cried together, and our healing process began. Our bond today is as strong as ever.
“Really, though, for the first five years, it was just me and God. Nothing could touch me, I was flying. I did go to Narcotics Anonymous, not to stay clean myself, because I was done, but to help other addicts. I made a lot of friends I still have today. Since then, I’ve ventured into other areas of spirituality. In my meditations, I’ve extended my own personal adventures with God, in my own ways, just sitting in my chair.”
David eventually Googled Near Death Experiences and found the International Association of Near Death Studies (IANDS), which is how I met him. The two of us will sit on a panel about NDEs and addiction at the next IANDS conference in Philadelphia. Our stories differ markedly in that I, at age 22 when I had my NDE, so strongly embraced atheism and was so far from hitting bottom that I chose to deny I’d crossed over. I needed a series of 14 paranormal events in conjunction with AA spirituality to finally open my heart fully to the reality of god, my guardian angel, and the other side.
Key to most NDErs is the distinction between the anthropomorphic God suggested by various religions and the pure, good, overwhelming energy of the light. The light is love, intelligence, and power beyond our capacity to understand — though it knows and loves us perfectly because we are extensions of it — light sparks embodied in matter. The key to living that the light passed to David — just love — now orients his every thought and has transformed his life into something beautiful.
“Naturally, today I have no fear of death. All the physical and material things most people place so much importance on, finances, wealth – they don’t matter much to me. I really have no needs. I have no wants. I have nothing to achieve. I’ve become as light as a feather!”
David walks this talk every day. As soon as he learned through a CC on an email to conference officials that I wanted to go to the four-day Philadelphia conference but couldn’t afford it, he called me. Knowing nothing about me, he offered space in the Air B&B he’d reserved for his family and said he’d be happy to drive me to and from the airport. So I’ve coughed up the airfare, and, thanks to David’s kindness, I’ll attend at the end of August. I also interviewed him for the Seattle IANDS newsletter.
“I’m completely free with myself,” says David. “I’ll share anything other people want to know and I don’t really care what they think of me – good or bad. I love – really LOVE – being me! I share from my heart, and they can do with it what they want. I’ve become so much about the moment – I’m not about the past or future. The most profound learning of my NDE that has stayed strongest with me, the direction that will never leave my heart, is to just love.”
“One of the most beautiful suggestions I can offer someone who is struggling is to sit still. I don’t mean sit still for half an hour a day. I mean to sit still in life. I spent six months after [a romantic] relationship ended just going to work and suffering, because a big piece of my soul was missing – but sitting still in that suffering. It was a beautiful experience, and it gradually eased.” David feels it’s the flight from pain, not pain itself, that drives many to seek relief through alcohol and drugs.
“Those little 12-step clichés: Surrender – a single word that is so profound, so simple, but not easy. Let Go and Let God — if you could see the simplicity of those five words, you’d see how grand life is, and you’d be free to sit and watch life… caring for life.”
Perhaps the greatest takeaway from David’s story is that the god of our understanding will relieve not only our addictions but our pain, sense of helplessness or victimhood, and whatever else ails us if we seek it earnestly. For those of us who’ve lived locked up in a prison of ego and fear for many years, learning how to just love as a way of consciousness may come slowly. But if we practice it consciously in meditation and throughout our days, it will come.
I’m going to venture out on a limb here to give you the closest description I can offer of my own experience of living in just love. When you were a child, maybe 3 to 5, you still carried a basic faith that the world was fundamentally good — which it is. When I am living in just love, I see again through those eyes. You might think of the children’s book Goodnight Moon; I live in that sort of world, one where I extend a loving relationship even toward trees and inanimate objects. I experience every person as if they, too, were a tender 3 to 5-year-old underneath their slick, thorny defenses, and I dare to love them for it.
Just love. The light will flow through you, healing all that ails.
https://www.nderf.org/index.htm – Near Death Research Foundation
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1642931594 – Tricia Barker’s new NDE book
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyIstVbBhilo1gdUmazkReQ – Tricia Barker’s Youtube interviews w NDErs
Consciousness Continues – Documentary featuring me (Louisa) sharing a bit of my NDE – rent on Amazon for $1.99