Joe Bill Schirtzinger, that's me, nearly died in the year 1996. I am also the original administrator of The Royal Rainbow. When I say that I nearly died, what I mean to say is that I might have actually died because the line between being alive and dead is a lot blurrier than you might imagine. As will be seen as per my near death experience, I was given some options.
I got sick rather quickly, but the truth of the matter was that my grandfather was also sick, and I was very close to him. Although I was not suicidal in the sense of “Let us see if we can make this thing happen,” I was in a state of “I don't especially care if I am here or not.” In my instance, that was apparently enough, because within a period of one day I became extremely ill. The disease itself felt like the flu complete with diarrhea and vomiting. Fevers and chills were also present, and I remember my throat burning profusely. This was, however, not especially new territory as I had had the flu before. What made this situation bad is that neither of those two symptoms would turn off, and so dehydration was quickly setting in. What I remember is that I went to school not feeling all that well, and by about fourth period during American Literature, I had to go to the office to see about going back home. The next day I would be admitted to the hospital, and from there it was about a three week adventure of rapid weight loss and renal failure.
I just felt “pretty sick”. I did not even notice I had not urinated in an abnormally long time until someone reminded me. I could tell when people came to visit me, however, that their reaction suggested something was terribly wrong with me. Though I was in a high level of discomfort, I did not think to myself that I was close to the line of no longer being. I was not hungry because I could not keep anything down, and my senses ramped up into something superhuman. My BODY was hungry, because it could smell food several rooms away. My stomach, though, was not. I faded in and out of sleep. At one point, though, I got the distinct impression that my body no longer hurt. I was suddenly aware that everything that had been racked in pain had ceased so being. I had at first thought this was a sign that I was healing, but then I looked down and noticed I was missing hands. Instead of hands, I had these long wisps that were black. My vision was also panning around in a 360 degree way which I did not have control concerning. This had the result of my being concerned and I suppose I spun around in a circle for awhile until I heard a voice say something like “Calm down” from elsewhere. I could not place the voice, but I knew it was somewhere up. Though I could have chosen to disregard the voice, in the position I was in it sounded authoritative and definite, and that was rather important since I had little idea what was happening. Though I didn't look about much where I was, I got the impression that it was a place that was very shadow-like. I am sure there were other “shadow-like-things” present wherever this was, but I was too busy feeling uneasy about my own situation to make any meaningful observation. I was then taken “in an upward fashion” from where I was.
The upwards movement was odd. Many things I had been worried about were stripped. I could see matters such as grades and homework being “left behind”. I remember thinking that was just as well, because I had some pressing questions for God or whatever this was. As I was going up, certain questions I had were being answered. Pretty soon, they were being answered before I fully asked them. By the time I arrive where I was going, there were no further questions from me. I was somewhere very blue and blissful.
There was a sense of other “beings” in this blueness, though I don't remember any shapes. It was more like an inner knowing and camaraderie. This bliss and oneness feeling stopped though, because all the decisions I had made in my life were about to be under review in perfect clarity. Each situation I had been in was replayed as though it were happening in real time. The only difference was, there was no sense of illusion or separation or agenda. I was seeing the choices I had made in perfect 3-D. Some of those choices I was quite happy with, but some of them were very embarrassing. When you understand what was driving you in a specific way in perfect clarity, the result is that you judge your own self and you are highly embarrassed. I was then given a choice at the end of this sequence to either be done there and then with the understanding of having to come back at a later time, or else head on back. Although I was extremely reluctant to leave, I knew that my choice had to be to return. I was told something about not remembering what happened to which I remember answering “We will see about that”.
As I was coming “back down” there was a loss of the bliss I had felt when I was in the blue place. I was also having a harder time remembering everything that had been said, but I remember as I plummeted downwards saying to myself, do not forget, do not forget, do not forget. I remember thinking if I could recall that there was a place that had made me feel blissful, the rest would be more likely to be retained in my memory. Instead of focusing on details, I was more focusing on a location. That, I figured, would help me recall the broad occurrences that had transpired.
I also knew my body was not going to be pleased about this return. It had taken quite a beating, and I think there was some part of me that was somewhat glad to be out of the thing at least initially. When I came back, it was somewhat like having to get back into a Ford Pinto. In other words, this vehicle might get you around downtown, or it might break down on the side of the road at any given moment. It mostly held together, but as I recovered I could tell that the strengths I had enjoyed before were different now. My body had been changed as a result of this intense experience.
Since I had been raised in Southern Indiana and Kentucky, I had been raised around various Christian traditions. The problem I was having was none of them much talked about visiting a large blue blob area of bliss and then reviewing your own life and getting choices about whether to come back to your beat up jalopy of a body or not. I was not inclined to regard traditional Christianity as having all the answers anyway, as the churches I had been a part of had not impressed me with the willingness of people to achieve the promises spoken of in books such as the Bible. I therefore began an intensive process of trying to figure out what had happened to me and why. The final outcome of that process was an arrival at Messianic Judaism. The fruit of this process was the production of a Church in a style of James or the Church of Jerusalem.
Along the way to the ultimate outcome stated above, I read many books on classical philosophy and spirituality. I developed my own system of Astrological Natal Chart reading, as well as refining a Tree of Life Kabbalah spread. I also published a book on meditation for Messianics, Buddhists, or whomever it is that feels that meditation can be beneficial. Combined, this experience is a unique path which is uniquely created and participated in by me. None of this understanding is likely to be found elsewhere as it is here codified. It is my hope that this process can serve as a form of groundwork for others to build upon or else create their own paths. We do, after all, come from the same tree sooner or later.