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Observations placeholder

Cash, Johnny – Has a rebirth experience in a cave



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Cash – the Autobiography of Johnny Cash

I just went on and on. I was taking amphetamines by the handful, literally, and barbiturates by the handful too, not to sleep but just to stop the shaking from the amphetamines. I was cancelling shows and recording dates, and when I did manage to show up, I couldn't sing because my throat was too dried out from the pills. My weight was down to 155 pounds on a six-foot, one-and-a-half-inch frame. I was in and out of jails, hospitals, car wrecks. I was a walking vision of death, and that's exactly how I felt. I was scraping the filthy bottom of the barrel of life…………..

He decides he wants to die and decides to go to some caves where others had died, some from getting lost

…. it was my hope and intention to join that company. If I crawled in far enough, I thought, I'd never be able to find my way back out, and nobody would be able to locate me until I was dead, if indeed they ever could.

I parked my Jeep and started crawling, and I crawled and crawled and crawled until, after two or three hours, the batteries in my flashlight wore out and I lay down to die in total darkness. The absolute lack of light was appropriate, for at that moment I was as far from God as I have ever been. My separation from Him, the deepest and most ravaging of the various kinds of loneliness I'd felt over the years, seemed finally complete.

It wasn't. I thought I'd left Him, but He hadn't left me.

I felt something very powerful start to happen to me, a sensation of utter peace, clarity, and sobriety. I didn't believe it at first. I couldn't understand it. How, after being awake for so long and driving my body so hard and taking so many pills - dozens of them, scores, even hundreds - could I possibly feel all right?

The feeling persisted, though, and then my mind started focusing on God.

He didn't speak to me - He never has, and I'll be very surprised if He ever does - but I do believe that at times He has put feelings in my heart and perhaps even ideas in my head. There in Nickajack Cave I became conscious of a very clear, simple idea: I was not in charge of my destiny. I was not in charge of my own death. I was going to die at God's time, not mine.

I hadn't prayed over my decision to seek death in the cave, but that hadn't stopped God from intervening.

I struggled, feeling defeated by the practicalities of the matter. There I was, after all, in total darkness, with no idea of which way was up, down, in, or out of that incredible complexity of passages and chambers so deep inside the earth that no scent or light or sensation from the outside could possibly reach me. How could I escape the death I'd willed?

No answer came, but an urging did: I had to move. So I did. I started crawling in whatever direction suggested itself, feeling ahead with my hands to guard against plunging over some precipice, just moving slowly and calmly, crablike. I have no idea how long it took, but at a certain point I felt a breath of wind on my back and knew that wherever the breeze was blowing from, that was the way out.

I followed it until I began to see light, and finally I saw the opening of the cave. Then I walked out, June was there with a basket of food and drink, and my mother.

I was confused. I thought she was in California. I was right; she had been.

'I knew there was something wrong, 'she said. 'I had to come and find you.'

The next few paragraphs are about he came off drugs with June’s help

Then, on March 3, 1970, John Carter Cash was born, and my happiness grew and grew. Sobriety suited me. God had done more than speak to me. He had revealed His will to me through other people, family and friends. The greatest joy of my life was that I no longer felt separated from Him. Now He is my Counsellor, my Rock of Ages to stand upon.


The source of the experience

Cash, Johnny

Concepts, symbols and science items



Activities and commonsteps



Extreme unhappiness


Sensory deprivation