In Bill's Own
On August 10th, 1965 a
profound metaphysical experience changed my life and the lives
of those around me.
I was 26 years old, one month shy of
my 27th birthday. The day was bright and sunny. With four friends I
was surfing in the Atlantic Ocean near Bethany Beach,
Delaware. The waves were waist high, crisp and
clean. A few strokes put me into a wave with my board trimming
across the face. The wave was breaking over a shallow bar and I felt
my board slip. Knowing the water was shallow I dove as flat as I
could, arms outstretched to protect myself in the
In the time it takes a passing
seagull to make a single wing beat, my forehead hit the sand.
The impact fractured vertebrae in my neck injuring my spinal cord
and paralyzing me completely. A following wave swept my body
face down into deeper water inside the bar. There I floated,
conscious, my lungs filled with air but unable to
My first thought was that maybe a wave
would turn me over so I could breathe. More than a minute
passed, perhaps two. The vivid sensation of a child's hand caressed
my cheek. Involuntary muscles sucked seawater between my teeth which
I swallowed into my gut until it was full. I was drowning but the
touch to my cheek prevented panic.
Then salvation. A voice asked,
"Are you all right?" A moment later a friend's arms turned me over.
"Get me the hell out of here," I gasped. My companions carefully
slid me on a surfboard and carried me up the beach where a crowd
Like the view from a surgical
amphitheater I saw my body surrounded by people, heard someone say,
"Call an ambulance." There was a soft, all encompassing white light.
No tunnel, no one beckoning me from beyond. After
while I returned to my body and began a completely different
life than the one previously lived. The person I knew as Bill Wise
was gone. It took a very long time to find the new me.
Today I celebrate. It is an
anniversary of wonder, discovery and acceptance.
It is a coincidence that today someone
expressed their concern about death. Before my near-death experience
I was the same way. Abject fear is the best I can describe
my feelings. My out of body experience and the sensation of a
child's touch I cannot explain. However I firmly believe from that
time, I gained an understanding that our spirit, our soul, the very
essence of our being is separate from our physical bodies. From then
on, for me, fear of death was no more.
I am not here to preach nor to attempt
to convince anyone to alter their beliefs. This is only my personal
experience. It was a powerful beginning on another path.
Life is sweet.
How did this
happen? Do you wonder? So do I.
That an inland boy was drawn to the ocean, and for a few brief
years engaged in an activity usually reserved for seaside
dwellers, stretches understanding. My 1965 life-altering
surfing accident should have ended the
fascination. Certainly the ebb and flow of tides,
the pulse of waves, is deeply rooted in my inner being.
Has the inexorable movement of oceans captured my soul
only recently in this lifetime. Was
it there before.............before me, before past lives,
I simply know that waves
are with me, on and on, neverending in my dreams.All Good,