01/08/13 NDE Class Notes


Previous Class Notes & Materials


01/08/13 Class Notes
By David Sunfellow

This week’s class began with a few minutes of silence. Then Ken Froessel offered a prayer for Carolyn Jones, who recently passed away. Carolyn, who had attended many classes and been an important part of the Mustard Seed Venture’s work, will be dearly missed. A Memorial Service will be held to honor her on Sunday, January 20, 2013, 4:00 p.m., at the Circle House. Call 928-282-0293 for more information.

After praying for Carolyn, we spent a few minutes talking about Carolyn’s life, her passing, and what her passing brought up for us. Then I shared the following news…


Well Wishes From Poland


A small group of people from around the world have been following our classes in Sedona. Last week we heard from Magdalena Pastucha-Gaur, who lives in Poland. Here’s what Magdalena had to say:

“What a wonderful idea you have, to meet, to share and to grow together. I live in Poland and I feel we are all one, it’s amazing!

“Ms. Becki Hawkins — you are an angel, you say thank you to all your patients, well I say big thanks to YOU. You touched my heart and it feels like home, it’s all love. Blessing to everyone!”

To read Magdalena’s message, go here. To watch the presentation that Becki Hawkins gave in Sedona (that Magdalena was referring to), go here.


Nancy Evans Bush: The Sandy Hook Shootings & Near-Death Experiences of Children


During our last meeting, which took place on December 18th, we spent most of the meeting discussing the Sandy Hook Shootings from an NDE perspective. Since then, other members of the NDE community have commented on the shootings. Among those who wrestled with this horrific episode was Nancy Evans Bush. As an experiencer, researcher, and past president of IANDS, Nancy offered her thoughts in a column she published at the end of December. Here are two excerpts:

After Newtown: Children and NDEs
By Nancy Evans Bush
December 29, 2012


Original Link

Since the horror of the slaughter in a Connecticut elementary school, it has been difficult to know what to say about almost anything. Unreality is not limited to the so-called supernatural or paranormal, and hell walked into that school as surely as it is said to exist in any terrible afterlife.

What can one say? What could I say? At last it dawned on me that the voices which might be helpful are those of children about their near-death experiences.

Back in the olden days, when NDEs were still relatively fresh as a phenomenon, there was a certain amount of disbelief that children could have such an experience. For sure, there was curiosity about the possibility. At the time, because I spent my days in the IANDS office and saw the mail and processed entries into the archives, it was a simple matter to see what could be found.  The result, which took about six months of research and correspondence, was an article in one of the early volumes of what would become the Journal of Near-Death Studies.

So far as I know, none of the experiences of the children in that study originated from being shot. At the same time, I have heard more than a few accounts of NDEs from teens and adults associated with criminal assault, combat, sexual attack, physical abuse, and other types of violence. They sound the same as NDEs related to ordinary illness and misadventure. And all of them sound the same as reports of deathbed visions.

This post, then, offers a link to a slightly edited version of that original article about how children experience being close to death or, in some instances, believing themselves on the other side.


Original Link

Despite the small number and retrospective nature of the available accounts, certain conclusions appear justifiable.

1. Near-death experiences can and do occur in children, quite possibly even among youngsters in pre-linguistic developmental stages. Data collection from the very youngest experiencers will present interesting, though probably not insurmountable, challenges to researchers.

2. Childhood experiences appear to follow patterns similar to those encountered with adults. With the exception of the absent life review and sense of judgment (at least in the experiences surveyed here), the features of children’s experiences are comparable to those reported by adults in content, affect, and perceived significance, though wide variances have been noted in frequency of certain features.

3. Within the childhood population, age is unrelated to the type or complexity of experience. In an all-child population (as contrasted with the adults writing retrospectively), attained language development may affect the likelihood of capturing complete and accurate descriptions, as may the development of conceptual abilities. In the accounts presented here, it is not possible to determine how much of the affective interpretation is an adult overlay, though the specificity of memory detail in some cases (see “Knowing; the feeling of wisdom” section) suggests that this is not a major issue.

4. According to the writers of these retrospective accounts, the aftereffects of childhood experiences may be subjectively perceived as strongly as those that follow adult experiences. With little “before” and much “after” in the lives of the experiencers, examination of this issue will be muddied as developmental changes mask clear identification of most behavioral aftereffects. However, Jer’s experience alone is sufficient testimony to the need for thoughtful study of NDEs in children, with careful attention given to their aftereffects and the development of interventions that will support the children and their families as they work through integration of the experience.



IANDS Beginning to Post Videos from 2012 Conference

The International Association of Near-Death Studies, Inc. (IANDS) held their annual conference in Scottsdale from August 31st through September 2nd. Three of the presentations from that conference — by Nancy Evans Bush, David Bennett, and Scott Taylor — have now been posted on the IANDS YouTube Channel. Here they are…


Nancy Evans Bush

Abstract: The conventional understanding of hell is as a place of eternal torment after death. This view, which is generally believed to be historical and biblical, colors the publicÕs interpretations of distressing NDEs, producing enormous fear or outright rejection of the entire concept of hellish experiences. A review of the roots of Western hell shows that the familiar concept is neither historically stable nor biblically accurate. How, then, can hellish visions be interpreted? I contrast the conventional literal/materialistic understanding (external, factual, time-space orientation) with a symbolic/spiritual interpretation (internal, imaginal, occurring in mythic timelessness). By de-literalizing and reframing the interpretation of common hellish symbols (e.g., fire, snakes,monsters), such an experience can be understood as precipitating a developmental thrust, rather than as a vision of punitive torment. This approach opens the most distressing NDEs to being understood as intensely personal events that nonetheless share in the great Mystery of the human unconscious. It can be read in both religious and secular terms.

To find out more about Nancy, her NDE, her new book, and her life work, go here.


David Bennett

Abstract: I had two near-death experiences (NDEs) that showed me my future and during the integration of those experiences I was able to see the potentials of what lies ahead for our world and humanity. I will briefly share the portions of my veridical experiences that dealt with the future and then relate the communication I received about potential struggles and possible solutions. I would like to challenge the audience to look at the bigger picture of the world we live in today, realizing that only a few environmental disasters could push our already stressed social, political and economic structures into a very serious condition. The governments of the world could not support their citizens and communities in the ways we have come to rely on. Yet, the spiritual community embodies the qualities to overcome these challenges. Also, through my connection in social media I have found there is hope in the message that spiritually transformative experiencers (STErs) around the world are conveying. I will share the ways given to me to circumvent these dire conditions and begin to deliver support that will reduce the stressors before a crisis occur.

To find out more about David, his NDE, and his new book, go here.


Scott Taylor

Abstract: When Near-Death Experiencers leave their physical body, something unique happens. They leave the world of duality and enter a world of Unity…full of ways of being that are quite unlike what we know from our physical world. Embedded in the experience of Unity are “rules” that can guide us on how to be more fully human and navigate consciously in our uncertain future. Join us as we explore what these rules are and how our choices can powerfully affect the future experience of an individual, society and the human race.


Surviving Death, A Documentary

Heather Dominguez is seeking funds for new movie called “Surviving Death, A Documentary.” What distinguishes Heather’s documentary from other movies that have been made about near-death experiences, is that Heather plans to focus on what happens to people who have had NDEs after they return. Here’s a trailer that Heather created to introduce people to her project. We watched the first two minutes in class:


To date, nine people have stepped forward to help fund Heather’s project. Altogether they have pledged $746.00. Heather is seeking $4,900.00. If you would like to help, Heather’s KickStarter Fundraising Page is located here.


2002 BBC Documentary: The Day I Died

Speaking of NDE documentaries, one of the best NDE documentaries ever made is now available online. Called “The Day I Died: The Mind, the Brain, and Near-Death Experiences,” it was produced by the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) in 2002. Highly recommended, IANDS reports that this documentary is “the most compelling, up-to-date video on NDEs… [it] features in-depth case studies of NDEs including a dramatic veridical (verifiably accurate) out-of-body experience, the most recent research studies, and balanced interpretations of NDE experiences from both skeptical and ‘believer’ perspectives — virtually everything an inquiring mind would need for an introduction to NDEs.” Here it is:



Other Movies About the Afterlife

While we are on the subject of movies that deal with the afterlife, here’s a quick list of movies gathered by Celestial Travelers:

Hereafter (2010) PG-13
Charlie St. Cloud (2010) PG-13
Ghost Town (2008) PG-13
The Lovely Bones (2009) PG-13
Enter the Void (2009) NR
The Invisible (2007) PG-13
Stay (2005) R
Five People you Meet in Heaven (2004) NR
The Dust Factory (2004) PG
The “I” Inside (2003) R
My Left Eye Sees Ghosts (2003) NR
Dragonfly (2002) PG-13
The Cuckoo (2001) PG-13
Donnie Darko (2001) R

You can find a description of all of these movies, along with links where they can be watched online, posted here.


U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R)-Illinois Sees Three Angels In Near Death Experience

During the first week of January, many news sources reported that U.S. Senator Mark Kirk had seen three angels during a near-death experience. Here’s an excerpt from a story that appeared in the Huffington Post:

Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), who will return to Congress on Thursday one year after suffering a major stroke, said that he saw angels while recovering in the hospital last year.

In an interview with the Daily Herald published Wednesday, Kirk said that before he woke up from a medically induced coma, three angels appeared at the foot of his bed and asked if he wanted to come with them.

“No,” Kirk said. “I’ll hold off.”

Kirk told the paper that he wasn’t sure if the vision had been a dream or a near-death experience, but acknowledged that his stroke and subsequent recovery had impacted his faith.

“I would say that I definitely became much more religious,” Kirk said.


Moslems Discussing NDEs

While the world is full of educated, thoughtful, deeply spiritual Moslems, the Western media tends to caricature Moslems as uneducated, tribal-minded, fundamentalists. Here’s a video that shows Moslems in a deeper, more positive light. An Islamic program called “Let the Quran Speak” features host Safiyyah Ally asking Shabir Ally, President of the Islamic Information Centre, what he makes of different people describing different kinds of religious experiences during NDEs that seem to confirm their particular faith. During the class, we watched from 08:38 until the end.

“In the end, it is possible that God is drawing to Himself people through many different religious paths. The path that people are choosing for themselves are, in a way, leading to God, and God is making that path continue to serve the purpose of leading the person towards God. It may be that one religion will not actually fit all people. People are many different kinds. Many different persuasions. Many different historical origins and upbringings. To present one religion with its total system as the one for everyone may not be actually be practical. And God is doing what is practical and drawing people to Him through the vehicles that they have started out with.”


Regrets of the Dying

NHNE Pulse regularly reports on near-death experiences, after-death communications, death and dying, and many other end-of-life issues. Once recent story by Bronnie Ware has been “liked” over six thousand times by Facebook readers. Bonnie article was about the regrets people had when they died. When she questioned her dying patients about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Echoing NDE themes, here are the most common five:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

To read Bronnie’s thought-provoking article, go here.


NHNE on Relationships


In an effort to shine an increasingly bright light on one of the core truths presented by NDEs, namely that our relationships with one another and the rest of life are exceedingly important, NHNE has a new page up on Facebook that focuses exclusively on this important topic: “NHNE’s relationship page is dedicated to conscious, caring, healthy relationships — with God, with ourselves, with others, with the rest of life.” To check it out, go here.


The Gift of Near Death: Lewis Brown Griggs at TEDxAmericanRiviera 2012

After sharing all of the above, it was finally time to dive into the main event. We watched the first half of Lewis Brown Griggs’ talk. At about the 10:40 mark, we stopped to discuss several things that Lewis talked about:

• How he had a near-death experience because he was not doing his work

• How it was NOT God’s work that Lewis was being called to do, but his own work, which revolved around his own life experiences and personal challenges

• How the gifts we receive from the challenges we face are “at least” as great as the cost and loss we experience (so all challenges should be welcomed as opportunities)

• And, finally, Lewis mentioned how he was asked this important question:

“What is it that keeps you from being all that you are capable of being?”

After listening to Lewis describe how he answered this question, I passed out a sheet to everyone in the class with this question written on it. Our assignment was to take this question home with us, ponder it, and return next week with our answers.


Future Classes

Our next NDE class will take place on Tuesday, January 15th from 7:00 PM until 8:30 PM at St. Andrew’s (see below for directions).


A Newly Emerging Spiritual Path

Unlike spiritual paths that arose from the ideas and inner experiences of lone, isolated human beings, the path presented by near-death experiences is emerging as a direct, grassroots revelation that millions of people from all over the world are receiving and sharing. If we explore this newly emerging path deeply enough, we discover that all religions, philosophies, and cultures are honored; that science and spirituality are celebrated; that both the human and spiritual side of our natures are cherished and embraced. In short, near-death experiences present us with a universal, all-inclusive, perfectly integrated spiritual path that revolves around three core truths: 1. We are all one; 2. Love is the essence of life; 3. We are here, in this world, to become perfect embodiments of the divine. 


Donations & Discussions

The materials created for this class are available, free of charge, to whomever is interested. If you would like to support this work, you can make a tax-deductible donation by clicking here. If you would like to participate in conversations with other people who share an interest in this work, we encourage you to join The Mustard Seed Venture Network. This ongoing, evolving, cutting-edge work is co-sponsored by NewHeavenNewEarth (NHNE) and The Mustard Seed Venture.


St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church
100 Arroyo Pinon Drive
Sedona, AZ 86336
(928) 282-4457


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