Act 3 : A stroke under the sign of grace
You can read Act 1 : A storm in my meninges and Act 2 : Nothing impossible to the valiant heart before reading this article. This will give you a better perspective on how presence manifested itself during the meningeal hemorrhage I experienced.
Life doesn’t work against us, even if sometimes it feels like it does. It’s just a matter of perspective : on the one hand, mental feels permanently threatened and closes itself off to life, on the other hand, presence says « yes » to life.
« Always say « yes » to the present moment. What could be more futile, more senseless, than to resist internally to what is already ? What could be crazier than opposing life itself, which is now, always now ? Surrender to what is. Say « yes » to life and you will suddenly see it working for you rather than against you. » 
Being into this presence releases unsuspected potentials because, since then, energies of life can serve us freely, totally and openly. What they’re really made for. Then grace can appear.
The experience I had on 19 December is of that order for me. I cannot explain why – or rather I can only explain it by the serene presence that manifested itself in me – I surrendered myself to what was. I really let go, and even if it was just for a moment, that moment was enough to change everything.
« Letting go is a purely internal phenomenon. This does not mean that, in terms of the concrete external dimension, you do not take action to change this or that situation. In fact, when you let go, it’s not the whole situation that you have to accept, but just that tiny segment called present moment. » 
For me, it was as if this « updating » of consciousness reorganized everything.
Between two states of consciousness
A new dynamic was created, forces were activated outside, which could then serve me by exerting a beneficial influence on the situation. Thus, everything followed one another in the most favorable way for me, in a most unfavorable context. Indeed, we can’t really say that statistics were on my side : at the time the meningeal hemorrhage started, I had only a 50% chance of arriving alive at the emergency service, and about a 30% chance of coming out of it in good health .
Finally, what presented itself as an obstacle – the aneurysm rupture – turned into an opening, giving way to grace. This grace that only manifests itself in the present moment, that knows how to bring the right amount of energy at the right time, that rhymes with power, confidence, balance and love. And miracle too. But at the time of the facts, I can’t imagine that I need miracle…
8:00 pm – I am sitting on the sidewalk and I exist, so to speak, between two states of consciousness. In reality, I can’t be outside of the only state of consciousness there is, presence. But my mental, which believes itself to be the strongest, creates the illusion of its own state of consciousness. That is to say the exact opposite of letting go : resistance. And this one is not long in coming. I’m trying to get James on the phone. No answer. Even though I know he’s going to be here soon, I’d prefer that he knows what’s going on as soon as possible. There is an emergency. So I call again – maybe ten times – and finally he answers. In front of my insistence to come near me, he drops the purchase of his sandwich.
The right timing
This momentary resistance reflects a fairly recurrent theme between the two of us : my mental, believing that time is time, often clashes with its, which draws its power from repeated delays. Of course no one is right in this story, especially from the point of view of presence, which is out of all temporal conception. But that evening, in this case, I should almost have to thank him for being late, because who knows if I would have experienced that moment of « presence to me » in his own presence ?
Anyway, that’s the way it turned out. Paradoxically, the help I needed, the most appropriate sequence of events for me, manifested itself first and foremost through him.
8:10 pm – He’s finally here and takes me to sit on the terrace of the nearest cafe. He asks me what my symptoms are. At that time, I still have an unbelievable headache, as well as a slight nausea and tingling in my hands, which are symptoms of meningeal hemorrhage. In view of my condition and my obvious lack of assurance to get moving, he considers two options : take a cab, go home and monitor the situation, or call the emergency directly.
The middle way
My mental doesn’t give up, it has already resigned to the fact that the evening is ruined, it doesn’t want to consider that something serious might happen to me and that I might be in danger. It doesn’t want to consider it, it is its way of keeping control. In fact, it is looking for an explanation and a solution, and to do so, it needs to have clear ideas. This is why it classifies the experience of presence as « I didn’t understand anything, but I’ll see that later », while believing, without really knowing why, that « it’s going to be all right ».
So, on the one hand, I’m not so sure it’s necessary to call emergency. But on the other hand, wisdom tells me that something is really wrong and that maybe I’d better pay attention to what’s right in front of me, James’ intuition in this case. Which also happens to be a pretty good counsellor in general. Then I consider a third option in order to clarify this story : calling Madeleine .
« When a log that is just beginning to burn is placed right next to another log that is burning brightly and after a while they are separated, the first log will heat up much more fiercely than it did at the beginning. After all, it is the same fire. Playing the role of fire is one of the functions of a spiritual master. Some therapists can also perform this function, provided they have gone beyond the mental plane and are able to create and sustain an intense state of presence while they are taking care of you. » 
How do I introduce her ? At the time, I’ve known her for almost twelve years, and even after all this time, she remains a bit of a mystery to me. She is a therapist, clairvoyant and practices energy medicine. She has a deep and sincere compassion for human beings. I have immense respect for her, for her patience, wisdom and love. Kindness, discernment and vigilance are permanent states for her. She probably arrived in this world having already passed the mental plane, having already been in presence. She helps people to identify all facets of mental, to become aware of their patterns and to go beyond them, to enter the space of the heart.
I very rarely call her outside of our appointments because I know that she is very much in demand and has a lot of work to do. For me, only a real emergency can justify that I solicit her. On that night, we could be in this situation. For her part, she rarely answers the phone, « unless it’s urgent, » she often says. That’s why, at this point, as much I would like her to answer me, because I would like her clear-sighted, fair and full of love opinion, as much I hope she won’t pick up the phone, because if she do, it will really mean that I am in an emergency.
I call. She’s not picking up. I leave her a message, in a voice I barely recognize, so much so that I feel like it belongs to someone else. As a result, James finally decides to play it safe by calling the firemen. So determined that I surrender.
Between Being and appearances
8:25 p.m. – The firemen coming and getting us into their truck. They ask me a series of questions. They check my blood sugar and blood pressure, which are completely normal.
« Mental cannot grasp the reality of the tree. It can only know facts and information about the tree. Mental cannot grasp the reality of who you are ; it knows only labels, judgments, facts, and opinions about you. Only the Being apprehends reality directly. » 
Armed with these controls, labels and facts, firemen make the decision to take me to the emergency room. My phone rings at the same time : it’s Madeleine calling me back. Seeing her first name on my phone screen makes me less optimistic about how things will turn out.
At the very moment that I enter into communication with her, the pain due to my headache decreases significantly. While explaining the situation to her, I know from the reaction in my body to our simple phone contact that she has an idea of what is going on. She knows what is happening because her Being directly apprehends the reality of mine.
A strange coincidence
I also know that, as wisdom and discernment dictate, she will not spontaneously tell me what it is all about. She always prefers to have people in front of her to check what she feels. But we’re not there yet : I just called her to get her opinion. I don’t think my condition requires her to come, she may not even be in Paris. And she must have more essential things to do anyway.
So I continue quietly with my inventory of the situation, and tell her that we are on our way to St. Theresa’s Hospital . While not realizing at all that the said hospital is on the same street as her consulting Cabinet, 200 meters further. It’s 8:30 at night, she’s still here and she offers to come see me in the ER. That’s when I remember this sentence she once said to me : « I am where I am needed. » Of course I say yes. Of course I tell myself – I don’t believe in chance – that it’s a very strange coincidence that I go near her home and soon in her company. And of course I’m thinking that the situation must really be worse than I realize.
I’m hanging up, the headache’s coming back. And always, somewhere, that real certitude that « no matter what happens, it’s going to be okay ».
A tailored intervention
We’re in the E.R. I’m sitting on a gurney. At 10:30 p.m., I still haven’t moved, I haven’t seen any doctor, nor Madeleine for that matter. I send her a SMS about the situation and tell her that the pain is still unbearable. She immediately answers me : « I am close to you and try to calm your pain ». Having already experienced this, a real bodily relief manifested itself when I solicited her without her being physically by my side. I wonder what that pain would be like without her help. At that time, I don’t know that « this pain » is caused by the recurrence of the bleeding, so it’s better I feel it with some intensity, otherwise I risk misleading the doctor on his diagnosis. Nevertheless, I am waiting in confidence. If she’s not here yet, she has good reason.
At 11:00 no one’s come to take care of me yet. She has just arrived. Even though I waited for her with impatience and relief, when I see her coming towards me, the anxiety is overwhelming : if she is there, it’s because the hour is really serious.
A small weld…
Looking back, one of the most beautiful things I experienced that night was to realize that the Presence I touched inside me was literally and almost instantly reflected outside. Madeleine really embodied for me that « something infinitely more powerful [that] takes over”.
That evening, she walks towards me, takes my hand, with that look I know her so well, the one that scans. I’m asking her if she thinks it’s serious. She replied by gently passing her other hand over my head at the site of the bleeding : « We have to make a small weld. We’re going to do a small weld, and everything will be alright. » No matter how hard I think, I have no idea what that answer means…
11:10 pm — A doctor finally comes to take care of me. I tell him what happened and estimate my pain at 7/10. I pass a scanner and an intern comes in and tells me the result : meningeal hemorrhage. At the time she tells me, this diagnosis doesn’t mean much to me, and certainly not stroke. In front of my probably interrogative air, she tries a more down-to-earth explanation : « There was a small bleed in the head and we’ll have to intervene to ‘repair’ the damaged vessel… « Ah, okay, they have to do a small weld » I said to myself…
…and two scanners
1:00 am — Five hours after the bleeding started, so we just have a scanner. I mean, the medical team has a scanner, I have two ! The second confirms Madeleine’s.
I have no memory of my transfer to the second hospital except that James followed the ambulance in a taxi. I don’t even know that Madeleine stayed with him. She won’t leave until around 3:00 am, and he won’t leave the hospital until around 4:30 am, because I’m asking him to go home.
I only remember the neurosurgeon from the second hospital. That man inspired me confidence. He calmly explained to me what he was going to do, before starting the general anesthesia. I also remember the nurse who was there when I woke up. She told me that it is « very rare » for a bleed of this nature – i.e., recurrent – to stop spontaneously.
Warning signs of meningeal hemorrhage …
Vessel bleeding can occur in several stages, during which it will stop spontaneously. As far as I’m concerned, the first step probably happened 48 hours before. On December 17, I felt an unusual headache. It wasn’t very intense, but it went down to the right sinus and didn’t look like a usual headache to me in that sense. I didn’t worry, I just took paracetamol and the pain went away.
In fact, this headache was certainly a sentinel headache, i.e. a brief bleeding from the cracked aneurysm, heralding a more or less imminent rupture. The same thing happened again, with much more intensity, on December 19 at 8:00 pm. In other words, the aneurysm was not completely ruptured and there was still time to take action to limit the damage. But a recurrence, this time permanently damaging the aneurysm, occurred later that evening. By the time I was examined, the bleeding was becoming too severe to stop naturally this time.
Another reading of events
Hearing the nurse’s words, I realized that if everything seemed to go relatively easily given the urgency of the situation, it was because the bleeding that was not supposed to stop… had actually stopped. Or that someone or something made it stop…
I remember the day when Madeleine said to me : « That’s it, I figured out how to stop my heart beatings ». I think three things went through my mind at that point : firstly, I didn’t know it was possible. Secondly, I have no idea how to do it (and I’m not sure I want to know). And thirdly, even though it is completely beyond my mental, I have learned and experienced so many « irrational » things with her that I know it is true beyond a shadow of a doubt. I would add that this is the kind of challenge I’m looking for anyway : to go beyond the mental and its structure.
At this point, if you wish to continue your exploration of consciousness, three paths are possible. You can read :
- the articles in the Consciousness, thoughts and emotions section. On the one hand, they describe mental and its links with consciousness, and on the other hand consciousness from a philosophical point of view.
- the articles in the section Consciousness and universe, which deal with consciousness from the point of view of physics.
- the article Is the universe deterministic ?, related to my experience
Notes and references
 TOLLE Eckhart, Le pouvoir du moment présent, Québec : Ariane Editions, 2000, p.31, free translation
 Ibid., p.40, free translation
 See the website of the French Society of Neurosurgery.
 The first name has been changed.
 TOLLE Eckhart, Le pouvoir du moment présent, op.cit., p.34, free translation
 Ibid., p.40, free translation
 The name of the hospital has been changed.