Thursday, May 23, 2013

INSIDE LOOK: "Be The Death of Me" Investigation: Near Death Experience

One of our artistic collaborators, Rachel Lerner-Ley, recently interviewed David Bennett, a public speaker, teacher, and author, who survived two near death experiences and stage IV lung cancer. He recently published a book about his experiences, Voyage of Purpose, which you can learn more about HERE. Also be sure to check out David's personal website HERE!  This interview is part of our broad investigation into death, dying, and the afterlife in NY for an installation performance "Be The Death of Me" on June 28th and 29th at the Irondale in Ft. Greene Brooklyn.  Details HERE 

Check out a few excerpts from what David shared: 

In 1983, I was the chief engineer of the research vessel Aloha. And, uh, we were early-March off the California coast. We were two miles off the coast. We tried to beat a storm in so that we could get into the harbor. The captain decided to put a small rubber boat called a Zodiac that we used to retrieve our submarines in the water. So, I, you know, I got in the boat.  We just started heading for shore. Well, we fell off a twenty-five foot wave that a surfer would be envious of. We just fell off of this thing like within a few seconds: Boom! And it folded that Zodiac in half like a peanut butter sandwich. I was in the bow. It catapulted me into the water, and like I said, I was trained as a diver so I'm used to being in the water. But this is nighttime so there was no way of telling what was up or down. I was being tossed and tumbled like a rag doll.

And I never made it to the surface. I drowned. I found myself in this absolute darkness at first. But it was calm, and it was peaceful. And I just had come from this very violent, loud, you know, horrendous environment to this sudden calm, peace, but absolute darkness. Nothing existed. But it didn't feel like I was alone. And I was comfortable. And I was warm. The California coast: the water comes off the North. It's really cold. I wasn't cold anymore.

And then I saw this light. We've all heard about the light, you know, Hollywood's pretty good. They've overdramatized that quite a bit. I saw this light and it was millions upon millions of fragments. And they were all moving and coalescing and working together. And as I got closer, it was like this, there were waves of love that were just wrapping me, enveloping me, and transforming me, this light with love. Just pure love. They were welcoming me home. I grew up in a pretty dysfunctional kind of situation. I was thrown from one family to the next to the next. So, I never had a sense of family, but these beings that were with me they were more of a family than anything I had ever experienced here in life. 

Well, as I was reviewing my life and you're experiencing your life from all these different experiences.  I saw that a lot of times with things in life that were done with loving intention were the cause of some of the greatest ripples because every time we interact with someone we create kind of like these ripples that cascade outward through the people and beyond. And I saw that whenever we did something with loving intention, it created the greatest ripples. So the things that I thought were important like becoming chief engineer had hardly any significance. But when I would do something with loving intention, it created this huge ripple. 

Thanks so much to David and Rachel for sharing. Make sure to catch "Be The Death of Me" June 28th and 29th at the Irondale!  Details HERE 

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