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Henry Bates

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The Way to a Wonderful Life, Sunday, March 9, 2014 

Listen to the Radio Broadcast of this Message:  click here
           Someone in Canada sent me an email message this week and included a link to a YouTube video of a speaker talking about her NDE (near death experience), and it got me to thinking about my own OBE (out of body experience) experiences which I hadn't thought about for several years.  I am bringing this into my message this week as I believe that it will provide a greater understanding of mind as spirit.  As I have stated in many previous messages, I believe that the Spirit expresses uniquely through every living thing based on the filter in which we are receptive to It.  It is our receptivity to this Intelligence, Power and Spirit that we call G-d that gives us our peace, our love, our joy, our strength and our awareness of the beauty that fills the universe in which we now live.

        My experience with OBE came to me as part of an accident that happened to me when I was four years old.  I was with my brother and we were waiting to cross Main Street in the small town of Paris, Missouri which was the nearest town to the farm on which we lived.  I broke away from my brother and began to run across the street and was hit by a car.  My body was slammed against a concrete abutment to the street and I was knocked unconscious.  All I could remember immediately afterwards was watching someone pick me up and carry me to the local doctor's office which was about a half block away.  I was watching not from my body but from an arms length distance from my body.  I stayed within reach of my body throughout the ordeal of having the doctor examine me and bring me back to consciousness.  Within a mini-second within my body I felt the excruciating pain of being in the physical in a body that had been injured severely.  I thought of what it was like observing my body from the outside and what it was like being in it and I wanted to be out of it yet the movements of the doctor and what he was doing somehow prevented me from doing so.  Amazingly enough I did not end up in the hospital thanks to the skill of this small rural town doctor.  I was sent home and the doctor told my father that he and my mother were to watch over me for any signs of problems.

        I was unable to walk for several months and during this time my parents fixed me a small bed in their bedroom so they could watch over me.  I wanted to tell my mother about the out of body experience but at four years old I didn't really know the words to say and then I began to think perhaps it was something that was odd about me and best kept to myself.  In the year to follow I would have black-outs where I would just lose consciousness for no apparent reason that the doctor could explain.  In these short periods of loss of consciousness in the body I would be, once again, within arms length of my body but outside of it.  And then it stopped happening and I never experienced an OBE again until I was in my 20s, but by then I was mature enough to not dismiss it without wanting to know more about it.

       One night I was in bed but unable to sleep thinking about a friend of mine and a situation that created thoughts that would not allow my mind to be peaceful.  I had prayed about the situation for hours and still I could not find peace with it.  I knew that only G-d had the answer that would make this situation right for me and for my friend.  And then it happened so suddenly that I was not aware of the process beginning ... that is, the initial impulse of the spirit within to begin to ascend or rise up out of the body.  I was startled to find myself in a familiar room of my friend's house some 15 miles from where I lived at the time.  Knowing where I was at and in the realization that I was not there in the physical but outside of my body caused me to be gripped with fear that perhaps I could not get back to my body.  In that moment I was frozen in fear unable to think or move.  I could see the light from the screen of the television in the next room when all of a sudden the entire area behind me was illumined in light and a hand touched my shoulder from behind and a wave of love and peace flowed through me as if a gentle breeze had swept through me.  I could see the hand.  It appeared as white, so white that it shined, and I could see that it wasn't flesh and bones, but the form was a hand nonetheless and it was all that I could see as the light blinded me to that which was beyond it.  I felt as though I was being carried back to my body on a gentle wave and I could feel the actual physical intake of my spirit as I reentered the physical.  I lay in bed and opened my eyes and I felt the wetness of tears streaming down my face ... tears of gratitude in the realization that I had experienced something so beyond anything that I could have imagined ... I had experienced "unconditional love" ... and the hand that touched me may not have been G-d, but I was filled with the conviction that It was a part of G-d.

        The first thing I turned to for information regarding this what I will call a "spiritual experience" was the Holy Bible.  I could only find one statement in Ecclesiastes (12:6-7):  "Remember him—before the silver cord is severed, and the golden bowl is broken; before the pitcher is shattered at the spring, and the wheel broken at the well, and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it."

          These words speak of out of body experience, but not to the experience I had had and I found nothing in the Bible that described the "hand" that I had seen.  My mind was filled with a million questions yet I did not want to discuss this with anyone.  I began to question my religion at this point.  I was Catholic and I began to see so much in the theology and dogma of the Church that I no longer felt could be true.  I had felt that wave of unconditional love and I certainly was not a saint, and yet the evidence of G-d's love for me was so real that I couldn't imagine that either myself or anyone could possibly do anything that could suppress this love.  I was in love with the love of G-d but losing my religion all at the same time.  Then one day while shopping for music at The Galleria in downtown Portland, Oregon, I was drawn like a magnet to a small bookstore and I immediately went to a book written by Robert Monroe titled "Journeys Out of the Body" ... and in this book for the very first time I found validation for what I had experienced.  Monroe referred to the "Hand of God" and I knew without a doubt that what I had experienced was not unique to me nor was it a mental cloud filling my mind.  And in this revelation I felt for the first time that I was not only loved by G-d but that we are all loved by G-d and that we are in truth "Spirit having a human experience."  In this realization that theory had become Truth to me, I knew that I could never accept the dogma of religion as truth again.  The unreality of a heaven and a hell filled my mind and I found for the first time that Jesus' teaching of "the kingdom of G-d is within you, not lo here or lo there" became fastened to my mind, my heart and my soul and I have never doubted the truth of his words from that moment on.  I know and I know that I know that the Spirit of G-d is within us and the spirit in which we recognize this and identify with it, will determine our experiences of heaven or hell right where we are.

      When I look back at my youth and I reflect on the fact that I was always attracted to the Holy Bible and other religious and spiritual literature, I realize that this created a receptivity within me to go beyond religion and the opinions of others and realize the truth of the words from the book of Jeremiah 29:13 "You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart."


Keep the faith!
. Henry Bates

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