Truths I Learned from Dying

truths from dying picture

Coronavirus has changed the way many of us live our lives.  In quarantine time, many people may be spending more time confronting their thinking. This is a GREAT time to think happier thoughts for yourself, to connect to the timelessness inside of you, and to grant yourself greater love and more peace. Much inner work and healing can be done now.

There is plenty of time for reading, meditation, and prayer. There are no more excuses (unless perhaps you work for an essential business).

Try not to overthink or worry about worst case scenarios. But, if you do take this time to confront your mortality, know that the the process of dying is sacred. While you live, remember to live with love and kindness.

These are the Truths I Learned from Dying

1. Love is all that matters and all that we take with us.
2. Nature can heal us.
3. We are all connected energetically.
4. Joy brings us back to our true self.
5. At the soul level, we care about goodness, honor, nobility, love, and altruistic acts of kindness.
6. At the soul level, we are more godlike than we care to acknowledge. Our light is eternal.
7. Our ancestors, guides, and angels are there for us whether we feel their presence or not.
8. What makes sense in heaven isn’t always translatable on earth, but know that beauty, love, truth, and goodness last forever in heaven.
9. God/Universal Consciousness loves us all deeply.
10. You are personally loved more deeply than you can fathom.

May you be blessed!  The audio book of Angels in the OR is on sale right now if you are interested.  Pretty good price!

Recent Interviews, New Book, and a Blog Post from Kenneth Ring

Hello Beautiful Light-filled Souls!

I was recently interviewed by Michael Sandler on Inspire Nation, and I really enjoyed talking with him about my near-death experience and memoir Angels in the OR.  Thank you for your letters and support.

Because so many readers have asked about my poetry, I will be releasing a book of spiritually inspired poetry in 2020 titled, “The Self, The Other, & God.” These short poems are meditations on moments of wonder, mercy, pain, grief, acceptance, bliss, unconditional love, and pure consciousness.

I’m also grateful to Path 11 Podcasts, Wendy Garrett, Grief to Growth Podcasts, and Karen Noe from The Angel Quest Show for their conversations.

Also, thanks for staying plugged into my YouTube channel and for watching my latest interview with near-death experiencer Louisa Peck. I have also uploaded a recent video about why I think near-death experience stories should be made into movies. Our world is in need of reminders that we are deeply loved by God and worthy to receive this love.

I’m pleased to feature a guest blog post from Kenneth Ring whose latest book is titled Waiting to Die.

Notes from the Ringdom

by Kenneth Ring

Greetings, friends, and welcome to the Ringdom.  I wish I could promise you that you will find it the realm of magic enchantment, but I’m afraid it is likely to be only a source of occasional entertainment and distraction from our dysphoric Trumpian times.  Still, I will do my best to keep you interested enough to linger a while in the Ringdom and hope you will come to enjoy our time together.

Now, as Tonio, the clown in Leoncavallo’s I Plagliacci, who introduces the opera by saying (or, rather, singing) that he is the prologue, perhaps I should introduce myself, if in a less dramatic fashion.  Some of you may already be familiar with me if you were a part of Raymond Moody’s University of Heaven crowd since for some fifteen months or so until December 2019, my essays were posted on that site.  Well, I call them essays, but of course no one writes essays any longer, they blog.  I have always resisted the use of the term although these days it seems we are stuck with it.  I shudder to think of old Montaigne writhing in his grave in posthumous despair over the fate of the form he invented, which had such a long and glorious life in the world of literature.  But I suffer enough as it is from being what used to be called an “old fogy” (someone will have to tell me what old farts are called these days; the only suitable term I can think of is in Yiddish – alter cocker).  I don’t want to risk eliciting even more derision by using terms that are clearly demodé (oops, I seem to have done it again).

But as I have apparently drifted into a confessional mode, I had best own up to one of my most besetting flaws.

I am old.

Very old.

Let’s not get too specific but if I tell you I was born in the year that Babe Ruth hit his last home run, it will give you some idea.  Suffice it to say that if I were a piece of Chippendale furniture, I would be an antique.   But since I live in Marin County, perhaps a better sobriquet for myself would be that I am an ancient mariner (bad joke, I know – I can hear the hoots from here – but I couldn’t resist).

The thing about being old, in case you have never tried it, is that you are on a very short and uncertain leash toward the future, but have a very long tail extending into the distant past.  And in my case, where I find myself in the present is really in the epilogue of my life.  You see, I have had my life; it is over.  This is my afterlife, and it is from my afterlife that I am looking back on my life.  When I look into the mirror of my life, all I see is the past.  So that’s some of what I would like to recall for you here – who I was before I became a has-been.

Some of you will know that those essays I wrote for Raymond Moody’s website were on the theme of “waiting to die.”  As you will shortly learn, I had spent a good part of my life researching what it is like to die (it’s not bad, and is actually much better than you could ever imagine).  But what I was writing about in those essays was what it was like for me waiting to die.  (It wasn’t bad, and was actually much better than you could ever imagine.)  But the thing is, in the end, I was an abject failure at it; I just didn’t seem to have the knack for it.

But I digress.

I was going to introduce myself to you, wasn’t I?

Well, suppose I start by telling you how I first found myself spending a lot of time in the company of the once nearly dead.  I was young then – in my early forties – and I was about to have the time of my life.  Here’s the story:

It all began with two little purple pills.  But they weren’t Nexium.

They were two LSD capsules, but I didn’t know that then.

I had better back up and explain.

In the early 1970s, just after I had turned 35, I was a newly appointed full professor of psychology with tenure at the University of Connecticut.   And I was discontented.  Not with my personal life, but with the field of social psychology in which I had been trained and hired to teach.  I had recently published a critique of experimental social psychology, castigating it for the pursuit of merely clever and flashy research of the “can you top this” variety, which did not make me many friends.  In any event, I was suffering from a sort of early career crisis, having become disenchanted with this domain of psychology.

In March of 1971, when my wife and I went off to the Berkshires to celebrate our anniversary, I happened to pick up a book that my wife was then reading – Carlos Castañeda’s first book, The Teachings of Don Juan.  It looked intriguing and after she had finished it, I read it.

I was then a typical Jewish professor – wedded to rational thought, committed to science and atheistic in my worldview.   I had no interest in religion and very little knowledge of mysticism.   But I was open to new experiences, and what had particularly excited me about Castaneda’s book was his discussion of what he called “seeing the crack between the worlds,” which he had apparently effected through the use of mescaline.

At the time, I had never considered using psychedelic drugs and my only familiarity with anything close was having smoked marijuana a few times.  But since I had never been a smoker, even that was difficult for me, and my experiences with it, though of the usual kind, did not have any particular impact on my life.

Nevertheless, since there was a colleague in my department at the time who I knew was familiar with psychedelics, I approached him to tell him about my interest to take mescaline and why.  He had read Castañeda’s book and knew what I was after.

I came to the point.  Could he provide me with some mescaline?   He could.

By then it was early May.  The semester was just about over.  He told me not to read anything further on the subject and just come to his apartment on the following Saturday.

That day turned out to be a rare beautiful sun-splashed day with everything beginning to bloom.   My colleague lived at the edge of a forest.   He suggested that I take the mescaline in his apartment, wait just a bit and listen to music and then go outside and into the nearby woods.

And then he gave me two purple pills to ingest.

I did not know my colleague well, and as I was soon to find out, he was not only impish, but embodied the trickster archetype.  While he gave me to believe I was taking mescaline, he had actually given me 300 micrograms of LSD.

I will not bore you with an account of the next twelve hours.  Suffice it to say that all the pillars of my previous ontological categories soon began to crumble into dust. I had the undeniable feeling I was seeing the world with pristine eyes as it really was for the first time.  At the time and afterward I realized that this was the most important and most transformative experience of my life – and nearly fifty years later, I still feel the same way.  Nothing could ever be the same.

The one portion of the experience I will allude to here   — because it eventually led me to the study of near-death experiences –- took place when I was sitting on a log near a stream in the woods.  I don’t know how long I was there, but at some point for a moment outside of time I – except there was no “I” any longer– experienced an inrushing of the most intense and overwhelming rapturous LOVE and knew instantly that this was the real world, that the universe, if I can put this way, was stitched in the fabric of this love, and that I was home.  However, again I have to repeat:  There was only this energy of love and “I” was an indissoluble part of it, not separate from it

I spent the next three years trying to come to terms with what had happened to me.

Before this, I had been very active as a young professor – I had published a fair amount, I had been promoted pretty fast and I was the head of my division of social psychology and served on important departmental committees, etc.

Afterward, I didn’t publish anything for three years.  During that time, I was engaged in a spiritual search for understanding, and there were consequences.

My wife could no longer relate to who I was and to the kind of company I was keeping, which eventually led to a very painful and traumatic divorce.  My departmental colleagues didn’t know what to make of me either.  A very distinguished clinical psychologist, who had always taken an avuncular interest in me, put his arm around me one day and said, “We’re just waiting for you to come back to us, Ken.”

I never did.

At that time, there was a graduate student in my department named Bob Hoffman who, I soon discovered, was engaged in a similar quest of his own – a search for a new identity since mine had effectively been sundered.  It was Bob who introduced me to the work of the English Theosophical researcher, Robert Crookall, whose books discussed phenomena that were, as I would only later realize, cognate to what would come to be called near-death experiences.  And in 1972, Bob drew my attention to an article by the psychiatrist, Russell Noyes, entitled “The Experience of Dying,” which recounted several examples of near-death experiences, though again that term was not yet in use.  I remember how much these accounts affected me – I think in part because I recognized that they were describing revelations similar to those that had come to me during my LSD trip.

Also in that same year, Bob told me about a conference that was to be held up in Amherst, Massachusetts, on something called “transpersonal psychology” of which I had never heard.

“I think we should go to this,” said Bob.   And since Bob was leading me by the nose in those days, I quickly assented.

It was then that everything started to come together for me.  As my LSD experience had been pivotal for me, so this conference would be.

I don’t remember all the speakers who gave presentations that day – I do recall Stan Grof and Joan Halifax, Jim Fadiman, and I think Ram Dass may have there as well, and maybe even Stan Krippner – but I do remember my feeling of joy at discovering all these eminent professionals had been through something similar to me (only of course in far greater depth and with a level of erudition that was so much beyond my ken – or Ken – that they were really intellectual heroes to me) and had built new professional lives for themselves which stemmed from their own psychedelic experiences.  And more – that I was, without having known it, a transpersonal psychologist!  I had contemplated leaving the academy and psychology altogether, but now I saw I could remain a psychologist after all.  Except I would have to teach a new way, learn a new subject and somehow undertake research in this emerging field of transpersonal psychology.

I returned to the university on fire.  I was starting over.

Fortunately, I had a fair degree of freedom to teach at least one course of my own design, so I put together a graduate course on transpersonal psychology and offered it the next academic year.  It attracted an unusual assortment of students and even a couple of professors as well as a Catholic priest.

Over the next few years, my involvement and investment in transpersonal psychology continued to grow, which did not please my colleagues, but since I now had tenure and was a full professor, there was little they could do but shrug their cold shoulders at me or look at me somewhat sourly as if I were guilty of having left “real psychology” behind as well as my senses.  They were, of course, right about that.

During that period, I made several extended trips out to California, then the epicenter of the nascent transpersonal movement.  It was then that I was able to meet and spend time with many of the luminaries of the field, including Tony Sutich, now no longer much remembered, but then venerated as one of the two progenitors of transpersonal psychology (along with Abraham Maslow).  I can still vividly remember when Tony, who suffered from severe rheumatoid arthritis, was once brought on stage at a transpersonal conference, still lying supine on a gurney of sorts, and placed behind a speaker who was giving a lecture.  It was during these years, the middle 70’s, that I also met and in most cases was befriended by many others who played significant roles in the development of transpersonal psychology – Stan Grof, Joan Halifax, Charley Tart, Jim Fadiman, Jean Houston, Stan Krippner, and others too numerous to mention.

And naturally as a result of these contacts and conversations, and my continued study and personal explorations of what Charley Tart had famously labeled “altered states of consciousness,” I began to publish some articles in The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, speak at conferences, the usual….

I don’t have the space here (and you won’t have the patience to read it) to continue to provide an account of my “spiritual adventures,” so to speak, and related professional pursuits over the next few years that eventually led me to the study of near-death experiences, so let me just fast-forward to the spring of 1976.  I was sitting outside my house, just after the spring semester had ended, and was reading a little book that I had come to my attention through a journal review by a new friend of mine.  The book had been brought out by a small publisher in Georgia and was entitled Life After Life.

Written by a psychiatrist named Raymond Moody, Jr., it was an anecdotal account of what Moody dubbed “near-death experiences.”

By the next year, after it had been picked up by Bantam Books, it was an international bestseller and the term near-death experience had entered the language of ordinary discourse.

I am holding a copy of the book now and I see all the excited marginal notes, exclamation points and underlinings that I made at the time.  What I remember thinking was:

“This is it!”

I knew that I wanted to find a way to do research that would help me understand what had happened to me during my LSD trip – and that my own spiritual explorations weren’t sufficient for me.  I had always enjoyed doing research and needed to find a way to satisfy that need of mine.  I also knew that I was not cut out to be a “druggie,” and that for a multitude of reasons psychedelic research was not an option for me.   And from reading Moody’s book, I could see, with increasing clarity, that his near-death experiencers had indeed encountered the same realm – and so much more – that had so shattered me.  I could learn from them.  They would be my teachers.

You see, I was never interested in death per se, much less with the question of life after death.  What animated me and drew me to study near-death experiences was my desire to understand the state of consciousness and the transpersonal domains that I had begun to experience when I took LSD.  Even then, of course, I could understand that NDEs were a kind of transpersonal experience in their own right since, according to Moody’s account of them, they clearly transcended space, time and ego.  Thus, researching NDEs, I immediately saw, could marry my spiritual search with my work as a transpersonal psychologist.

The rest, as the risible cliché goes, is history – for me the personal history going on two score of years now of studying, researching, thinking and writing about NDEs.  There’s no need to recapitulate that long sojourn in NDEland here.  All I really wanted to express was how an adventitious LSD experience was the critical turning point for me that led, seemingly inevitably, to my life’s work as an NDE researcher, which indeed has been the blessing of my life.  And for that reason alone, though to be sure not the only one, I will always feel supremely grateful for what I was able to see and understand on a certain day in May in the woods of Connecticut.

—Kenneth Ring, Ph.D. is a retired Professor Emeritus of psychology at the University of Connecticut and an internationally recognized authority on the subject of near-death experiences. He is the co-founder and past president of The International Association for Near-Death Studies

 

If Love Is All That Matters….

 

 

If love is all that matters, then some lives need to be re-tuned and readjusted in heaven. I’m not saying that as a judgment, more a commentary on modern life and relationships.

Truths are often simple.  Love is of God.  All of our actions that flow from a place of love, flow from God.

Imagine heaven as a reprocessing center.  The life review is a way for each soul to clearly see what was of God and what was not of God. In heaven, a particular relationship might be sent through the reprocessing center and only a few moments might remain—a conversation about God, a moment in church, and holding hands while walking through a beautiful open field.

All the awful screaming of obscenities gets reprocessed into a calm conversation about life, details, and compromises in the physical realm, as if those moments never existed. Those moments disappear into the darkness. Abusive moments are not of God.  Abuse (psychological, spiritual, and physical torture) could never be of the light.

Maybe anyone who has suffered abuse would prefer to see karmic retribution—one’s guardian angels holding the abuser’s head under water until the ego of that person relents and knows God. But, God does not work that way. God heals through unconditional love, of course, even in the most extreme cases of cruelty.

What if you could turn your eyes to God, and simply shut the door to all negative energy that isn’t of God.  Leave it behind.  Banish it in another realm. Imagine a huge door made of iron and shove all the negativity far away behind that door.

Human beings can often create a hell of heaven, and if that is the realm that some people want to play in—leave them to it (behind an iron door).  Keep that door shut, and live in a realm of lighter things—butterflies, green grass, and happy thoughts.  What if you could love yourself the way you wished you had been loved as a child, the way you wished others had loved you?  What if you and God could do that together?

Abraham Hicks says that there is no happy ending to an unhappy journey which means you must find a way to focus on happiness and satisfaction, not on what you are missing in your life.  Additionally, it might mean that you can’t force others to change.  However, you can change your outlook and choices.  You can change your story completely.  You can turn away from all that harms you and walk into the light of God.  You can create a new story in the light. At first this might only start as a meditation, but the light will filter into the reality of your life.

Angels in the OR is as much about transforming the suffering of this planet as it is about a near-death experience. My near-death experience was a profoundly beautiful moment, but so much of what I have survived and witnessed in my physical world is in need of transformation by that light of God.  One of the main questions I receive from readers is how to transform this world with the knowledge of heaven. I think change begins with letting God’s love heal all the painful memories we hold inside of ourselves and shift these thoughts to thoughts of truth, beauty and goodness.

 

 

Many Thanks and Future Plans

big group tattered cover

Many thanks to the Tattered Cover Book Store in LoDo and For Heaven’s Sake Book Store in Lakewood.  I had a fabulous week in Colorado connecting with readers of Angels in the OR

I wish I had more time with each group to walk in the mountains, meditate, and have long conversations about spirituality.  If one of the messages from the afterlife is to “remind them to go to nature,” then I long to have some events in nature in the future.  The events were blessed, and it was wonderful to meet people I know from social media who are working to bring more light to this world.  Frequency Riser is a great website and blog which reviews many spiritually themed books, so you might want to check out the link.

I am also grateful to those of you who attended The Second Annual Online Near-Death Experience Summit.  I loved those three hours with your questions and the answers from the researchers and near-death experiencers.  You can still purchase the 13 hours of interviews, and the replay link of the live stream (which was three hours).

This week I have been resting and contemplating my next project which is a book to help college students succeed and heal from issues that holding them back from being all that they want to be in life.  My next book will be more research based and focused on a generation which is completely immersed in social media.  If you want to check out an hour long podcast by Richard Grannon on the dangers of social media for this generation, you can click here.

In late August, I will be facilitating a writing workshop at IANDS  and partnering with a publisher who will be at the conference to bring you the most up-to-date information about writing and publishing your future books. I’ll also be leading a panel presentation and giving a speech. I look forward to seeing you in Valley Forge.

As an English professor, I know that reading teaches others greater empathy. I read voraciously as a child and teenager and this helped me see from the perspectives of people around the world and those living in different time periods.  As George R.R. Martin said, “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies….The man who never reads lives only one.”

Or, as said another way, “When we pray we speak to God.  When we read God speaks to us.” —St. Jerome.

I enjoyed talking on podcasts recently about grief and dying.  Part of the beauty of having a near-death experience is being able to support others who have lost someone or are facing death themselves.  The Death Dialogues Project is a great podcast.  You can check out my interview or one of the other powerful interviews on this podcast.  I also enjoyed talking with Nina Impala about grief on her supportive podcast titled Tutoring for the Spirit.

I look forward to seeing you in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Georgia. I’ll announce more dates soon!  Much love and many blessings, everyone!

 

Coast to Coast Interview, Midnight in the Desert, and Sunny in Seattle

I’ve had a fun week of interviews with three amazing radio show hosts. I am grateful for the interview with George Noory on Coast to Coast AM earlier this week, and I wanted to say a few things to the callers who had questions for me.

First of all, thank you for sharing your experiences.  I was moved by your stories. I would love to answer more of your questions and connect you with other experiencers and researchers at The Second Annual Online Near-Death Experience Summit.  Please check out this online event if you are interested in near-death experiences and near-death experience research.

heaven

To learn more about The Second Annual Online Near-Death Experience Summit, please click here. https://www.theuniversityofheaven.com/NDE-Summit2019

Secondly, there was a woman who called in who was searching for her purpose and had been through many hardships.  I didn’t have much time to meditate on her situation, but I saw that on an energetic level that she is giving away too much of her personal energy. Matt Kahn’s latest video titled “You Are The Way” might help her and other empaths find a better balance between taking care of their own needs and caring for this world.

Also, a man called in who recently lost his brother.  I didn’t have time for a full reading, but I hope he might consider reading Annie Kagan’s book The Afterlife of Billy Fingers. From what I hear from my father and others in the afterlife, there is much learning that can still be done after death. There is much light, love and understanding that can occur in the afterlife. Healing between family members can occur even after a death, so do not give up on the light of understanding, forgiveness, and release.

If you aren’t familiar with Sunny in Seattle, you can listen to my episode with her and some of her other interviews.  She asked great questions about my book that I haven’t been asked before, and she asked me about my work with Lisa Smartt and Raymond Moody on The Second Annual Online Near-death Experience Summit.  Here are two video clips from Lisa Smartt and Raymond Moody’s talks.

I also really enjoyed my interview with Dave Schrader on Midnight in the Desert

Thanks for the calls from across the country.  I especially loved hearing about your own out-of-body experiences and spiritually transformative moments.  Many blessings to you all!

 

Reflections about Angels in the OR

audible angels in the or

I am a fan of Audible books, especially on long road trips, and I’m happy to hear that people are enjoying Angels in the OR as an Audible. Years ago as an English major in college, I dreamed of writing a book. I didn’t imagine that a car wreck at the end of my senior year in college would be the starting point of my future book.  As an agnostic, I never imagined angels would feature in my story either, but I am grateful that they showed up in that operating room and changed everything about my life.

People often ask me if I am still in touch with the angels. I didn’t talk frequently about this connection until many years after my near-death experience, but they are in my life and the energy they send is healing, encouraging, and loving.  Picking up on their energy is often the link to knowing their presence. I notice, sometimes after the fact, how they connect me to certain people who help me accomplish a particular goal, usually one that focuses on education, healing, and unconditional love.

Since I started blogging and making YouTube videos in 2016, I have talked with many people who have been inspired to ask the angels to help them during surgeries. At book signings, I am meeting medical professionals who are open to assistance from the other side and this is encouraging too. There are many amazing people walking this earth doing wonderful work in a variety of situations. One of the messages from the other side is that we need to make a conscious choice to acknowledge the goodness that surrounds us.  Too much of a focus on tragedy and negativity weighs down our spirits.

I hoped to spread healing and strengthen other’s faith with Angels in the OR.  While writing, I imagined that a soul who was deeply hurting might open up to a light from the heavens that would change his or her life. I understand deep grief.  Before and after my near-death experience, I have experienced situations that challenged me deeply; however, difficult situations can teach us how to use our compasses differently.  When you point your compass in the direction of God, challenges become much easier. And, when your focus is on adding God’s love to the world, your own healing deepens and expands.

This week, I have begun to change some of my YouTube interviews into podcasts. I hope you might check out some of these interviews. I have been blessed to connect with many amazing light-filled souls who shared their stories with me.

In fact, these interviews prompted me to create The First Annual Online Near-Death Experience Summit last year. This year, I have partnered with The University of Heaven in the creation of The Second Annual Online Near-Death Experience Summit.  We have a great line-up of speakers who will certainly inspire and encourage you.

 

Angels in the OR Launched Yesterday!

 

Hey Everyone!

Thanks so much for making my launch day fun by letting me know that you stayed up late reading  Angels in the OR or listening to the book on Audible.

I mean it when I say that my favorite part of this journey is connecting with you and hearing about your lives, your spiritual experiences, and your hopes for a more loving world.  I’ve interviewed many near-death experiencers the past couple of years, and I keep thinking about how Howard Storm was told by Jesus that love could spread across this planet in small moments with each other.  You simply love the person you are interacting with at any given moment. Love is the force that changes this world for the better.

I can’t wait to hear from more of you! Have a beautiful week, and if you happen to live in Sedona or near Sedona I would love to see you at my event on Saturday, April 20, 2019 at 4 p.m. the Unity of Sedona.

UnityofSedonaFlyer

 

 

Angels in the OR Launches on April 16, 2019!

book over river.jpeg

Thank you everyone for your support on my journey.  I have several more interviews with near-death experiencers available on my YouTube Channel.

Also, Angels in the OR, which covers the story of my near-death experience and life after that moment, will launch on April 16, 2019— 25 years after that massive car accident I experienced in Austin, Texas during my senior year of college.  The near-death experience during spinal surgery at Brackenridge Hospital altered my life forever,  and I have never lost the memory of the light or the vast, unconditional love from the other side.  I have never forgotten the insights communicated to me.

The river that I saw during my near-death experience was strikingly similar to the river that flows outside of TCC’s beautiful Trinity River Campus, and I have spent the last ten years teaching English and Creative Writing here.  I’ve loved this job and all the wonderful students, staff, and faculty members that I have met over the years.  Many of our building’s beautiful classrooms and balconies overlook the Trinity River.

Last week, I shared some advance copies with people on our campus, and I can’t wait to hear your feedback on the book.  It is almost every English major’s dream to have a published book in print.  I have loved books since I learned to read the year before Kindergarten, and part of the reason I worked to accomplish this goal was to inspire my students to believe that they can achieve their dreams.

I hope you will pre-order  Angels in the OR  or purchase it on April 16th when it launches.  I am enjoying the feedback I’ve already received and can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

A Spiritual Perspective on Depression and Suicidal Idealization

Update on 1/19/19:  My memoir, Angels in the OR: What Dying Taught Me About Healing, Survival, and Transformation, can be pre-ordered now. It is a #1 new release in several categories.  I would love it if you helped me make near-death experiences more mainstream.  My memoir does reflect on my suicide attempt and how the love of the afterlife later showed me how to bring more love and healing into my life.  I want to share that healing with others.

A Spiritual Perspective on Depression and Suicidal Idealization

With the holidays coming up soon, I thought it might be important to talk about depression and suicide and offer my perspective.  I know that many people who have survived abuse, neglect, or trauma in their families are often ostracized by these family members.  Holidays become all the more of a painful reminder of how alone they might feel in the world.  Those who are awakening and realizing spiritual truths that may transcend the perspectives of their family members might also feel some disconnection.

Whatever your situation might be during the holidays, I hope that you might treat yourself with great love and compassion during this time of year and through out the rest of the year.

I have a unique perspective on suicide because I viewed my suicide attempt while in the afterlife.  At the end of college, I had a profound near-death experience after a car wreck and was clinically dead for over two minutes during emergency spinal surgery.

During my life review, I saw my suicide attempt (which occurred a few months prior to my near-death experience) through the loving gaze of God. God had enormous love and compassion for me during this sad time in my life.  I felt completely supported by this loving force of God, and I could hear some of God’s thoughts about that time in my life.

When God viewed my suicide attempt, I felt that God wanted me to love myself more and know that I am deeply loved and supported by the universe, even when it does not seem that way.  God wanted me to place a high priority on my health and healing.   There were a myriad of choices available to me besides making an attempt on my life. I saw all these choices spin out around me as various light-filled paths.  I could have contacted friends, acquaintances, certain family members, called a hotline, looked for free or affordable resources through my university, searched for help at churches, or joined a recovery group.  There were many options I had besides the one that I picked in that moment.

At twenty-one, I did not know how to walk through the painful parts of my life, but if I reached out to others, I might have made a choice other than swallowing a ridiculous amount of painkillers and washing these painkillers down with a decanter of whiskey.  Amazingly, I woke up 36 hours later and realized that I had vomited, which probably saved my life.

At twenty-one, I didn’t realize that I could’ve tried new things I had never tried before.  Help might not have come from the people I wanted it to come from, but help and healing was available to me, and it is available to you too.  If you are suffering from a deep depression, keep walking through the pain and know that you are not alone on this journey, no matter how alone you might feel at the moment.  Find connection somewhere.

Through my life review, I saw that God also wanted me to be kind to others and ask them more questions about their lives.  An obsessive focus on myself led to greater depression and sadness.  Getting out of myself and listening to others would have brought more joy to their lives and to mine.

Suicidal plans and thoughts should be taken seriously.  If you are very close to taking your life, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.  If you are not in the U.S., please look up a local or national hotline and talk with someone immediately.  Utilize all resources available to you, and reach out to someone you know who is a safe, caring person in your life.  If you are not suffering from depression but know someone who is, encourage this person to take healing, self-care, and therapy seriously.

If you suffer from depression but have energy to focus on your health and want to apply the deeply loving force of God to your own situation, I can offer you some ideas.  Every journey is an individual one, so please keep searching for what works for you.  These are only suggestions.

  1. Self-Love: Read everything you can get your hands on about self-love.  Louise Hay is a great resource with many mantras that might begin to change some of your negative thought patterns.  Ingest a daily diet of uplifting material—posts, podcasts, videos, and books.  I can personally recommend the book How to Love Yourself (And Sometimes Other People) by Lodro Rinzler and Meggan Watterson, especially if you struggle with romantic relationship difficulties.  Here is a blog post I have written about self-love.  Self-love is essential and necessary.  Too often we are much hard on ourselves when we could offer ourselves great compassion instead.
  2. Start a Healing Journey: Every healing journey is individual, but consider researching diets and supplements that can help your mood.  Reference books like Prescriptions for Natural Healing might be a place to begin.  Focus on simple healthy pleasures each day.  Exercise and get vitamin D.  Try new things.   Depending on your financial situation, invest in a therapist and try out various healing modalities.  Everything from eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) which might help with PTSD to energetic healing modalities might offer you relief.   Addressing subconscious blocks through modalities like Psych K can be beneficial. Even if you do not have the funds for some of these modalities, you might be able to trade with certain practitioners if you have skills in a certain area.  You can learn specific yoga moves or Tai Chi exercises online that can improve your mood.  You might also be able to learn more about healing modalities and practices, and find comfort in the talks and free information from healers.  Start with therapy and work outward in the directions that you are led.
  3. Commit to a Spiritual Practice: Commit to a support group, recovery group, spiritual practice, church, or gathering that makes you feel connected to love.  Do not go somewhere or stay somewhere where you feel judged and bogged down by the negativity of others.  During my near-death experience, I clearly saw that love is all that matters.  Go somewhere where you feel love, optimism, joy, and release from your struggles.  I highly recommend a meditation practice, but like a healing journey, a spiritual journey is an individual one.  I can only emphasize the importance of commitment and practice.  A spiritual practice is beneficial when you commit to it over the long haul and through the many ups and downs of life.
  4. Volunteer: There is usually someone who is less fortunate than you.  Even if you are in a dire position in life, you can volunteer at an organization that already helps you.  While volunteering, you might meet others and listen to them with love and with hope.   The point of volunteering is to do something to make the lives of others easier or better in some way.  As you give what you can give, your troubles lessen and you feel connected to a greater whole.  Like exercise or any other activity that we know is good for us but we resist, volunteering can have a profound effect on our consciousness.  When we feel useful or helpful, our self-esteem and self-concept changes for the better.  Mostly, we simply find joy in being connected to others versus suffering in isolation.  We are communal and need one another.  Find safe people and form bonds.  If you are too anxiety ridden to volunteer somewhere, then find a way to connect with others and do not suffer alone.
  5. Feel the Love of God: Take time in your day to imagine the force of God that near-death experiencers talk about with longing and love.  Try to imagine the most loving force on earth.  What would that feel like to you?  Write down what you would like God to be like for you and what you would like to feel from God right now.  Take those positive feelings and multiply them by 70 million.  Believe in this love as a reality and not a concept.  Close your eyes and imagine what this love would feel like.  Bring this love into every single one of your cells.  Fill your body with a glowing light that is the purest form of love imaginable.  This is your birthright and your true essence.  Know it.  Share it.  Believe it.
  6. Gratitude can rewire your brain:  Keep a gratitude journey and write down what you are grateful for each day.   Watch this Ted Talk and try some of the other suggestions at the end for creating more happiness in your life.  Hopefully, this speaker makes you chuckle a bit.  Laughter is one of my favorite medicines.

The Life Review in a NDE

Update 1/19/19:  My memoir, Angels in the OR: What Dying Taught Me About Healing, Survival, and Transformation, can be pre-ordered now.  It is a #1 new release in several categories.  I would love it if you helped me make near-death experiences more mainstream.

Life-Review:  One of the common experiences during a near-death experience is a brief or extended cinematic view of one’s life.  Seeing our connection to others and seeing life through the vision of another person is a powerful lesson.  During my life review, I saw into the hearts and minds of people I had not known very well.  In life, I had judged them as not particularly interesting for a variety of superficial reasons.  During my life review, I clearly witnessed that a good heart and spiritual connection made these people very beautiful and precious to God.

I learned from that one scene in my life review to connect more frequently with people around me and to see people’s hearts, not their outward appearances, their accomplishments, their money, their charisma, etc.  For instance, wealth can be a tool to bring more goodness and prosperity to many people, or it can be used to use and manipulate others. There is nothing negative about accomplishments, money, or power, but the heart matters more.   Just like the line in the song “Desperado,” it is important to remember that “The Queen of Hearts is always your best bet.”   The same applies for the King of Hearts.

My life review was quick and zeroed in only on what I should learn and what I could do better in life.   I judged myself and my actions mainly because I could see into the hearts and minds of others and observed my limited thinking.  God seemed to be guiding this life review and let me feel what I needed to feel from these scenes.  I understood that people I had written off had love and concern for my well-being, and I wished that I had been more open and kinder to them both in my thoughts and in my actions.  I saw that God sees our hearts much more than anything else.

According to the website www.nderf.com, there are four categories of life review descriptions.  “NDErs categorized them based on  1) how the life review physically happened; 2) content; 3) aftereffects; and 4) other.  Many described the life review like a re-run of a play, a film, or watching it on-screen.  Others commented on the content of the life review.  NDErs generally noted that they were the ones who judged themselves.  During the process, they saw the good, the bad, and cause and effect of their choices.  Many reported that they had a review of feelings, rather than a review of events.  Some say that their review consisted of feeling others reactions to their earthly actions.  The other large category were the aftereffects.  Not only did participants state that it was important to love and help others, but they also indicated that their relationship with God/Jesus was more important to them.  NDErs appreciated life more, and stated that it was important to have a sense of purpose.  The smallest category was ‘other’ in which NDErs reported not learning anything or they had a life review but couldn’t remember it.”  (Quote taken from www.nderf.com)

Throughout my life since the NDE, I have tried to be more open and supportive of others.  I don’t judge people in the same, superficial ways that I once did.  We all are works in progress, but I know that lesson was catered especially for me at that time in my life. Young people can be overly concerned with fads, fashions, musical tastes, literature, and sub-cultures in a way that doesn’t matter as much as we get older.

The heart, however, is the gem, the treasure, the best bet.  

When Carl Jung asked Chief Mountain Lake why he thought all white people are mad, Mountain Lake replied, ‘They say they think with their heads.’  “’Why of course, says Jung, ‘What do you think with?’  “’We think here,’ says Chief Mountain Lake, indicating his heart.

Let us all think more frequently with our hearts.

love