I turned in to Bograchov Street. Ahead of me I had to pass the skeleton of a new building under construction. The sidewalk was torn up, piles of sand covered the area, and there were pieces of wood and other debris scattered about. A short way up the street a large woman with curly blonde hair approached.

Then it happened. Suddenly, I felt a violent blow strike my head. I fell flat on the ground in front of the woman. A heavy eighteen foot wooden beam, plunging from the scaffold atop the five story-structure, hit me and sailed into the street as if thrown by a catapult.

All at once, I felt I was outside my body, floating upward about twelve to fifteen feet above the sidewalk, watching the scene below. I did not know how I left my body, or how I got up there. Everything happened so suddenly that I was caught completely by surprise. I saw the large woman bending over my body, trying to detect a sign of life in my motionless form. Then she started screaming for help.

This is my body, I thought, but I am not inside it. I am looking at it from above. How is this possible? With what eyes am I seeing this, and where are my ears? How could I be hearing all this noise in the street?

I was baffled. Obviously, I existed, I was real, I was conscious, but not inside my frame. I always thought that "I" and my body were identical. I did not know I was a being that was more than just a physical body.

A gradual change began to occur in my status of "observer". The events in the street began to fade away into darkness, and through this darkness, I perceived a glimmer of brightness. As the radiance came closer it grew in intensity, becoming a glorious, powerful light, radiating an abundant flow of exalted spirituality.

In harmony with this flow of illumination, the events in my life began to pass before my eyes. The images were three-dimensional, and I saw myself taking part in them. My entire life flashed by, from the day I was born until the very moment I fell to the ground.

The magnificent stream of light was accompanied by a flow of sublime love, the kind of love I had never before experienced. Faced with this overpowering love, I felt incapable of remaining an independent entity; I simply melted away. No words can describe the enchantment, the wonder, the incomparable, infinite goodness. I discerned in it qualities of compassion, spiritual pleasure, strength, happiness and beauty, all in infinite profusion.

I felt a powerful bond with this marvelous presence. This was the will of a higher Power, a Being of infinite might. I felt a strong pull to become part of this wonderful eternal flow.

The pull of the powerful love of the benevolent light was almost irresistible. I felt my willpower crumbling and melting away. Faced by this outpouring of goodness and love, I was losing my will to be a separate individual. It felt as though a loving mother embraced my individuality and pulled my "I" towards a state of perfect happiness, toward an elevated state of being that ensured everlasting sublime delight. I was filled with great compassion for my loved ones who would remain in this world, for my body, for the life I had wasted. A wave of pity swept over me.

I felt that this force of compassion brought me back into my body. Overcome with tenderness, with a boundless sense of compassion, I burst into tears. The woman bent over me, and grabbing my hand, she coaxed me to get back on my feet.