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Quest for Love

My experience is not an NDE, but it was very much like one, and it had the same long-term impact on my life than an NDE would have had. It took me many years of reading about NDEs, and many years of exploring spiritual ideas and writings to realize the significance of my experiences. I say "experiences" rather than "experience" because there have been a number of them of varying degrees and impact on my life. But one stands out above the rest as being the one which has shaped my journey, the one which sent me on a desperate "quest for love".

When I was a child, I didnít believe in God. I thought that God was for weak people. My parents didnít have any religious beliefs, so I was free to form whatever beliefs I wanted. I decided that God was a fabrication—a figment of peopleís imagination. I guess God had other plans for me.

When I was around 19 years old, I had a dream. I was walking on a beach at sunset, hand-in-hand with a male who seemed to be around 25 or 30. He had longish hair down to his shoulders, and it was a dark blonde color. As we walked in "silence", he was communicating things to me. He was communicating his unconditional acceptance of me as well as other things which I canĎt remember.

As we walked along, I had the feeling that he was my best friend. I began to feel unconditional love all around me within all the particles of the universe, and it was the most wondrous feeling. It was so powerful and overwhelming that after a few moments it was all I could feel, and it washed over my soul and satisfied every part of my being.

Then I woke up. And as soon as I did, I began to cry, because I had been "cut off" from that feeling. I was completely grief-stricken. I didnít want to be alive or in the world, which now felt like a cold and hostile place to me by comparison. All I wanted was to go back to that place and stay there feeling the unconditional love all around me. I had absolutely no idea what that place was. It took me many years to realize it seemed an awful lot like heaven. And the person walking next to me did resemble that guy called Jesus (who, by the way, was terribly embarrassing to talk about).

With no religious background at all, I assumed that such a wonderful love could be found here on earth, and it became my "mission" (read: "obsession") to find it. I began by trying to find it in other people—specifically from romantic relationships. After several years of searching desperately, I began to feel that I would never find it. But that intense longing never left me. It dominated my life.

Fast-forward to my attempt to become a "Christian". Eventually my journey led me to Christianity (or it came and got me, depending on how you look at it). The story is very long with many twists and turns, but suffice it to say, the journey has been excruciatingly painful and arduous over the years. I would not wish such a painful journey on my worst enemy, but this is where my search for "unconditional love" led me. A strange paradox. The more I suffered, the more I had to wonder where God might be in all the suffering. The more I "tried" to believe in God, the more difficult each test became, and the less it seemed like there was really a God. If he loved me, I wondered, why did he allow so much suffering to come my way over and over again? All my attempts to be a "good Christian" were proving quite unfruitful; no matter what summit I reached, it seemed that there was a more difficult one beyond it.

Somewhere along the way, after I had heard the phrase: "the unconditional love of God" enough times, I began to wonder if thatís what I had experienced in my dream of many years earlier... Eventually, I realized that, yes, it had to be one-and-the-same. I realized that just because it came through a "dream" didnít mean it was any less real than any other encounter with Godís unconditional love and acceptance. Finally I "got it". I realized that I could never feel that kind of love from another person. If I really wanted to experience it again, I had to seek it from God. More importantly, I had to seek God, and I had to let go of the desire for the "experience" of being unconditionally loved again—a process which, in itself, also took many years.

Anyone who has experienced this unconditional love will know how hard it is to let go of and to come to a place of living life fully without it. It hurts something awful to let go of what you crave with every cell of your body. It feels like death. Many times it felt like more than I could bear—to let go of it, to surrender myself to this life. It was when I read Embraced by the Light that I saw meaning to my own bewildering experiences. Now everything made sense. The book was the greatest blessing and the greatest gift during a time of desperate need. It literally saved my life.

Whether here or in the life after, I pray everyone will one day experience what I had a sweet taste of in my dream—the unconditional love of God. It is real, and it makes all the difference.





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