Near-Death Transformation: Unleashing the Journey to Coming Alive


Near to Death, A Plan for Coming Alive

Michael Shaun Conaway
Publishing Editor
August 9th, 2023

A self induced near death experience without the threat of death.

I am hovering above my body lying on the side of the road. I look to the sky and see the most amazing blue color that I have ever experienced. It is so blue I can smell it and taste it. It penetrates to the core of my being, washing away everything that I ever was. I float upwards and begin to see a spot of brightness in the blue field. Light breaks through brightness as I float upwards. Soon I am engulfed in whiteness. Peacefulness. Then I hear a thought, “You are not yet done with this life.” And just like that I am back in my body starting up at the Earthly sky.

We have all heard stories of personal transformation that start off with a near death experience. Many people who have experienced near death experiences no longer fear death. They have a knowing that the death experience is nothing to be frightened of. This changes their appreciation of their life and their appreciation of friends, family, food, walks in nature, art and even mundane experiences in life. Everything becomes precious. The next thing that happens is they change their lives, often striking out in new and before unprecedented directions. Many become spiritual or religious feeling a connection with something greater than themselves in the universe.

As a child I was very fascinated by these stories. I wondered what lies beyond the white light? And why were these experiences so similar? Today I understand the phenomenon in a very different way. Whereas when I was a child I wanted to know what happened after death, as an adult I wondered how we might have the transformative effects of a near death experience without having to come near to death. In my early twenties I set out to discover how to how to do this.

I sought out experiences that brought one to or near to ego death: psychedelics, sweat lodges, fasting, meditating etc. Various psychedelics came close. LSD at high doses obliterated my inner voice, leaving me to walk amongst the clouds. I was transformed into a spiritual being. Yet when I came down off the substance I was still the same me — maybe more experienced but still me. I keenly felt that psychedelics could only approximate the experience I was seeking.

In 1995 and 1996 I worked on a video game project with Timothy Leary. At the time Tim had inoperable cancer. We knew that the game project would be released after he had passed. In the game Tim inhabited the bardo, the post death state, as a guide in the game. He thought it was fascinating to be able to talk to people from beyond the grave while digitally they traveled a landscape beyond the grave.

Tim argued that the ego death from LSD was a true ego death. And that although the ego came back, was resurrected, when the drug left the system, we still practiced the ultimate letting go of our death to come. He was very vocal about his excitement to get to know what happened after death. I hear that he was that way right up to the last moments of his life. If I could go beyond the veil, I might have a chance to ask him how it was on his last ego death journey. (Note, the game never came out, Phillips New Media shut its doors before we were able to complete the project).

From psychedelics my journey took two paths, study of ancient wisdom traditions and meditation. The history of religion is filled with stories of gods and men who return from the dead. In the 24th and 23rd century BCE (4700–4800 years ago) a story appeared in the Pyramid Texts in Egypt about Osiris’s rebirth. These texts are the oldest known religious texts in the world. In the story Osiris, who was the son of the sky goddess and earth god. He was the ruler of Egypt with his wife Isis at his side he ruled with justice bringing civilisation to the people of Egypt.

His brother Seth was jealous and tricked Osiris into lying in a coffee which Seth sealed and threw into the Nile. Isis found his lifeless body and hid it in the reeds by the shore while she went to get to help. Seth discovered the body and chopped it into fourteen pieces, scattering them across Egypt. Again Isis searched for her husband assembling all of the pieces and bringing him back to life. Together they conceived a son Horus, before Osiris was compelled to go to the underworld where he became the king. Life, death, resurrection, and again death, this is the near death experience played out on a divine stage.

This story of death and rebirth then becomes central to many ancient and modern religions. Dionysus, Ishtar, Baal, Tammuz, Krishna, Adonis, Baldr, Quetzalcoatl and Jesus Christ, all journey beyond the veil to return for some time to the land of the living. All of these stories share some common elements:

There is a journey through a dark place.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

There is an encounter with the divine

There is life after death.

And finally there is transformation.

The transformation in these religious stories has the reborn being gaining new insights, ability or taking on new roles in the cosmic order.

These steps are more or less the same for a near death experience, which begs the question if these stories are remnants from the near death experiences of individual people of these times or are they in some way a part of the collective unconscious of humanity.

The Tibetans seem to say that these stories and experiences faithfully recreate the post death state. If you recall, Timothy Leary in my game was speaking from the Bardo, the Tibentan name for the post-death state inhabited for the first 49 days after death. This is much like the underworld of the Egyptians. And like the Egyptians it has a very detailed description of the post death experience, The Tibetan Book of the Dead. After death, we first experience the consciousness separating from the body. Then we begin to have visions of peaceful and wrathful deities. If the deceased can recognize these as projections of the mind and practice, they can become free of their attachments and desires and ultimately from the cycle of death and rebirth. Finally if the deceased does not find liberation they enter the last state of the Bardo when they begin to be attracted to potential parents and thus they take a new birth starting the cycle again.

It’s worth noting that Richard Alpert, Ralf Metzner, and Timothy Leary’s 1964 book The Psychedelic Experience, a guide book for psychedelic journeys is patterned on the Tibetan book of the Dead, aiming at helping people experience ego death and rebirth.

The Tibetain Buhhdists teach us to meditate so that we can in this life separate out our mental projections from the self-existing consciousness that we have within. If we can do that in life, we will be practiced enough to do that in death when it is most easy to become liberated.

It is here that I have to stop the story of this journey. If you have made it this far, I am going to tell you the quickest way to have the profoundly transcendent effects of a near death experience without any threat to your life.

Separate your mental projections from your self-existing consciousness.

If you know how to do that and have practiced it for a lifetime we’re done here. For the rest of us we will have to continue along the journey to find our own kind of transcendence. To do this let’s break the process of a self induced near death experience without the threat of death into a few key concepts and steps.

  1. Self existing consciousness or awareness is the source of all of your thoughts and being. It is the unobscured root. It is not a separate thing from who you are. And it does not rely on you for existence. It is self-existing, universal and fundamental. See my story on this idea in What Is Real? The Authentic Ontological Essence of Being.
  2. A near death experience somehow switches off the constant flow of mental projections, thoughts, opinions, beliefs, and the named emotions which are different from the energy of the emotions.
  3. This state is awe and wonder inspiring.
  4. When you return from this state you are born anew. You can create anything you want for your life and your future.

There are two levers that we can pull to induce this kind of experience. One is meditation practice. The closer we are to a moment by moment experience of our natural state, self-existing consciousness, the easier it is to pop free of the obscured mind.

The second lever is pressure. As I discussed in Is Change Really Hard?, from time to time we experience crucible events where we are either transformed, as in a near death experience or in some cases we are broken.

A crucible is a place of great pressure.

How could we induce a crucible experience you are asking. Have you ever run a marathon? Or skied down a mountain at a high rate of speed? How about climbing a cliff face that is at the edge of your ability? Im thinking of Free Solo and Alex Honnold. Maybe you’ve negotiated a very challenging agreement where the focus of the work was otherworldly. These are all experiences that bring with them great pressure and thus great focus and performance.

The final ingredient to your self induced transcendence experience is motive or inspiration. If we are to practice enough to have the ability to experience pure consciousness. And if we are willing to put ourselves a the position or situation of great pressure. Then there has to be a reason that is powerful enough to propel you forward.

And here is the lesson I learned from this whole journey of discovery:

Where you are going, the transformation you seek, the future you wish to transcend the now for, that is what we have been longing for all along.

We wish to be free. We wish for someone or something to come along and change things. A so we wait for that to happen. If something like a near death experience or a crucible experience breaks us open, we are no longer capable of waiting for change to come. Rather we stand up and make the changes we always wanted and we move forward with our life renewed.

If you can imagine where you are going. If you can imagine the transformation you want. Get up right now and start walking in that direction. You don’t need a near death experience to get there.

You are an emanation of self-existing consciousness.

You are love.

You are compassion.

You are infinite and free.

In the meantime, we’ll be looking for PROOF of a thriving future for humanity.

The Generative Futurist
Editor PROOF

P.S.  I would love you to follow our Podcast, subscribe to us on Youtube, sign up for the PROOF email and subscribe if you love reading PROOF

Proof 59 – Near-Death Transformation: Unleashing the Journey to Coming Alive

May this information inspire you to generate a thriving future for humanity and a thriving life for yourself. For more resources please check out our Podcast and Youtube channel.

-The Now Team

BOLD.LY NOW is a movement of co-creative up-levelers who have a burning desire to step free of our collapsing world & take the most daring leap forward to a thriving world.

Follow us

PROOF is a Generative Futures Initiative Project

The Generative Futures Initiative
Generating a Thriving Future for All

PROOF is a digital magazine published by NOW and the Generative Futures Initiative.  The mission of the magazine is to shine a light on people, organisations and ideas that stand as Proof of a Thriving Future.