|Lynnclaire Dennis had a near-death experience in 1987 while hot-air ballooning in the Swiss Alps. During her experience, she came into contact with what she calls “The Pattern“, a mandala which she describes as “primarily a matrix of personal and global healing.” Seeing the Pattern, she knew she was looking at life itself. It was light; it was time and space. It was the energy of all matter, the heart of all that mattered. What follows are excerpts by permission from her book, The Pattern.I recall precisely the moment that I broke the bonds of this inimical world and was immersed in the warmth of the light. Suddenly I was safe, warm, and basking in the luminous sunlight high in the luminous sunlight high in the alpine meadows of Mt. Rainier. I was no longer over the Alps – I was in Washington State. Somehow this made perfect sense.
Here, in a place filled with vivid and joyous childhood memories, I took extraordinary comfort in the firmness of the ground beneath my feet. With gratitude and wonder, I wandered through the valley, suffused with a certain knowing that I had crossed a cosmic frontier. Was this heaven, or was it perhaps some place beyond that celestial other-world I’d always hoped to be good enough to enter? All I knew – and knew for certain – was that time and space were nothing more than attenuated wisps of human invention. Both were webs of light created in my consciousness.
As my being expanded I saw the cords of years that bound me to the planet. The bond, which was braided from strands of days, bands of months, and ribbons of years, fashioned a nexus between then and now. No doubt this was the mountain of my childhood, but it was essentially different. It was real, yet it was out of sync with the abstraction of linear time. As I stood there I realized that if time was all here now, then it could not be a straight line. This could only mean that there could be no such thing as a beginning, a middle, or an end. Furthermore, it was here that I determined that I was out of time as well, even though I had a corporal existence.
Never before had I considered that there might be such things as coexistent realities. Never had I imagined that there might be concurrent realms. Never in my wildest dreams had I thought there might be a way to remember and feel different times and events as if they were happening right now. I realized that in life, death is merely the other side of a threshold over which I could not “normally” see. So, too, in death, life and the land of the “living” were on the other side of a very thin veil.
It struck me that perhaps neither heaven nor Earth is as black or white as I had heretofore believed.
It was then that I looked down at my body and with amazement wondered, “Where did this gown come from?” I was no longer bound in heavy, restricting layers of winter wool, but was wearing an exquisite white gown that appeared to be fashioned of a fabric some master designer had created by splashing star dust on filigree spider webs. I watched as it seemed to float above my skin. It was as if a million tiny wings kept it from putting even the weight of a feather on my body. A sense of lightness permeated my being to what I thought must be a cellular – indeed a “soulular” – level.
And then I heard the MUSIC. It was a tone so sublimely perfect that remembering it still brings me to tears. I knew then, and know now, that I was hearing the symphony of angels, the song of the universe, what some have called the “Music of the Spheres“. All thoughts melted in its melody and everything else ceased to be of any importance. I closed my eyes and began to dance, moving to the resonant vibration that coursed through my essence. The melody seemed to issue from a single point and was composed of one verse, a song whose mystical tone my entire being knew and sang. I bathed in its melody as utter joy filled my being, and as the sound washed over my spirit, I felt all confusion purged from my consciousness.
Standing beneath this euphonious canopy of grace, I knew love was being awakened at the depths of my soul. Moving with this aria of elegant mercy, I began my return to the dawn of totality as a growing sense of Oneness swelled within my heart, mind, and soul.
Unspeakable joy filled my heart when I saw my paternal grandmother walking down the mountain. She approached me and enveloped me with open arms. The last time I had seen her was the summer of 1963.
For more than twenty years I carried an inconsolable grief in my heart because I never got to say good-bye.
Now we were together again in a magical place where time held no meaning. As we talked of love, I realized that it alone was real. We walked hand in hand in a vacuum beyond the boundary we call time. My grief disappeared as our love was redeemed from what I had believed to be oblivion. We walked in a sacred space where earthly memory pictures were hung without physical frames. We traversed a realm that for many in the here and now defies logical explanation or reason. Yet, I know that it is a realm that is exceedingly real. It is a space where grace knows no bounds and only infinite love abounds. We only have to remember to make it “real.”
In luxuriant warmth we moved on, drawn higher into the valley, moving toward the Source of the light. I made a single turn, and the meadow suddenly became an amphitheater. On a stage that seemed to be suspended in front of me, I witnessed, with my grandmother, what seemed to be an encore performance of my life.
Ninety degrees to my right was what I perceived to be a doorway, just within the range of my peripheral vision. It was from this doorway that every character who had played in my life’s drama emerged. In turn they walked to center stage, where they faced me. As they greeted me, I inexplicably seemed to understand the highest purpose of our earthly connection. It was love. I saw each person for who he or she was apart from the descriptions I had previously used to define each of them. As they taught me love, I realized what an important role we play in the development of one another’s personality. I saw how judgment, blame, and shame distort or destroy one’s sense of self. For the first time I saw the depth of the impression we make on one another’s lives.
I was greeted by acquaintances, friends, my grandparents, my father’s best friend, as well as a school chum from seventh grade.
One of the most wondrous encounters came when my maternal grandmother approached me carrying a baby. I knew this child was the son I had miscarried in the seventh month of a difficult pregnancy in 1977. Seeing him brought a new peace to my soul as I finally realized that this child of my heart had fulfilled his purpose to absolute perfection. Both then and now, in what was truly a magical moment, his tiny presence awakened a new measure of life within my being. It was only upon this sacred mountain that finally my highest self was endowed with the peace required to end my grief and grant this innocent infant his wings.
I soon realized that time is not linear, but rather composed of life’s lessons, all of which I had passed through. This panorama flowed over me like a river of living water. As my previously shallow awareness of love and life deepened, I knew that nothing in my life or my death was an accident.
After each person shared his or her message, the meaning of love, each one turned and exited through another door located to the left of the stage. I knew without a doubt that I would soon walk through that door and join them on the other side.
The last person to walk on the stage of my life was a man unknown to me. As he walked to the center of the stage and turned to face me, I noticed that my vision was no longer clear. Although I was certain this was not someone I knew, I could feel him at the depths of my soul. He began to speak, communicating directly to my heart. The message he shared that day was engraved on both my mind and my soul:
“Lynnclaire, you will be a catalyst for change, for love. You will bring forth, hold, and honor remembrance. You will bring to conscious awareness the realms, realities, and remnants in order that the spirit may remember the dance.”
I knew this was Truth. I also knew that I had never felt so remembered, recognized, understood, or loved. Yet, when he turned to leave, instead of following the others and walking off the stage through the door to my left, he turned toward the right. As I watched him return through the doorway from which he had entered, I clearly recall thinking this was important.
Since that day I’ve identified him as the presence. Suddenly, the stage was gone and I was once again out of time. I was a witness, observing myself as a child … I watched as my innocent child-self … began to dance across the meadows.
Then, as I contemplated this celebration of life, I saw that in a single turn in my-her waltz, I-she was no longer a child, but a thirty-five year old woman dancing alone in the Hofburg Palace … I was once more in my magical gown, moving alone in harmony with the MUSIC. In that moment I chose to merge with that self and began to dance. Each step drew me closer to the light.
Then, in a sacred place somewhere before the light, I found myself being held, gently rocked, nurtured, and embraced in the arms of the one I believed to be the presence. Whether this was a guide, a guardian, a human man who has the ability to walk between the worlds, or even an angel, it does not matter. For still today this memory is alive. The presence vibrates within my senses and daily infuses my sentient memory archives with love. I knew then, and remember now, the warmth, serenity, and comfort I felt as I was embraced in the arms of a long and still-remembered love. As I was cradled in this serene embrace, I was bathed in light. My spirit was imbued with a sense of peace, and my soul was engraved with the remembrance of a timeless love.
As the experience dissolved into the light, I found myself again moving higher up the mountain. When I paused to look back into the valley I saw myself as a child again, this time picking a bouquet of wild alpine blooms. As I-she waltzed through the meadow, I heard myself-her singing, calling out to the mountain, “I love you. I love you. I’m home.”
I closed my eyes and wondered, “Am I home? Or am I going home?”
With my eyes closed, as if in a vision within a vision, I saw my mother. I could not understand why she was there. As far as I knew, my mom was very much alive. Wasn’t this “the other side”? I knew I was no longer alive and felt that I was in a space between the worlds…
It was then that I saw the tunnel and knew with absolute assurance that I was on my way home, certain that the home I had long yearned for was in the light at the other end of this passageway.
As I was standing alone with my grandmother, she told me that I must make this part of the journey alone. Filled with peace, I knew I would see her again on the other side.
I was ready, and without hesitation took my first step into the corridor that led toward the light, crossing an intersection that connected now with forever … Once I was inside the tunnel it was as if someone at the other end was calling my name, drawing me forward. I knew that this passageway was taking me to the top of the mountain, leading me home into the light. I was overjoyed to be going to the summit, as all my life I had wanted to climb to the top of Mt. Rainier. I had never made the attempt, believing that I would try and fail, or that I would die trying.
I moved effortless into the passage. Soon I knew I would be able to fly. Fly?
The light was getting brighter and warmer as I moved through the tunnel. The MUSIC, the celestial symphony, continued to fill the air with a psalm of Oneness, played on unseen instruments of peace.
I arrived at the pinnacle and, standing at the entrance to the light, took a single step, leaving my right footprint imbedded in Eternity. I entered a sacred space – a place where I knew I had returned to my most essential nature, where I felt wholly and consciously united with all things and Source, where a soothing balm of peace was poured on my spirit by an unseen hand, an emollient so rich in love that to this day I cannot fully absorb or comprehend it.
And then, in one ephemeral glimpse, I saw the Pattern, the single strand of the tapestry I knew was the essence woven through matter in every reality. Its design was so complexly simple that I knew it could only have been fashioned in the exalted intricacy of infinity.
Seeing the Pattern, I knew I was looking at life itself. It was light; it was time and space. It was the energy of all matter, the heart of all that mattered. It was the very essence of all being. It emanated from Source, illuminated to my mind by “the Source behind the sun” as it moved in perfect harmony with all the universe. As I prepared to meld into the Source of light and absolute love, I knew with all my being that the Pattern was the core of all substance. I knew that the MUSIC emanating from the Pattern was the song of my heart, a testament of unconditional love. The single step I had taken was the first in a dance that would take me into the single point of Infinite light, which contained the power of love that would forever illuminate my mind and heart. I inhaled and prepared to take the next step as the exhalation of love, the Life Force of the Universe, carried me home, when, without warning, the melody screeched. Before I could move, a cacophony assaulted me. A cold wind rushed past me, and I remember crying out, “No!”
I knew I was in a life-or-death struggle, this time with an unknown adversary who had grabbed me by my left foot. I was struggling with an enemy who was attempting to yank me backward, pulling me away from the light. I was enraged. I did not want to leave. Yet, even as I was being dragged back, I knew I had to remember. I twisted to the right to look at the Pattern, knowing I must not forget.
The enemy was my loving partner, Steve. As he frantically administered CPR, he pummeled my chest, forcing oxygen to circulate in my body. Later he would insist that as I reentered my body, my wind-milling fists were empowered with an otherworldly rage.
The exact length of time I was “dead”, in what is often referred to as a near-death experience, remains uncertain. However, making the ascent from twelve thousand feet, where I remember going out of my body, to more than seventeen thousand feet would probably have taken more than fifteen minutes.
Although Steve was successful in reviving me, one thing was certain – the woman he had brought back was not the same one who had left. After learning that I was in essence a Being of Light, I had to come back into this world and reenter a dense, physical body. Furthermore, almost every belief I had embraced only hours before – that I was a physical being, that love was outside of me, that God was some patriarchal monarch sitting on a marble throne somewhere in the sky, that death was something to fear, that I was doomed by my past, that religion and spirituality were the same, that spirituality and science were different – was no longer true to my experience. Virtually every picture of “reality” I had used to define my existence – not to be confused with my life – had been cremated. The ashes of the woman I thought I was were scattered on the wind.