Notes from Sedona’s 06/04/13 NDE Class
06/04/13 Class Notes
Jeff C. Olsen Class Notes
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church
Notes from Sedona’s 06/04/13 NDE ClassJun 05
06/04/13 Class Notes
By David Sunfellow
As always, the class began with a few moments of silence. Then I reported the latest NDE news…
2013 IANDS Conference
The 2013 International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS) Conference will take place August 29 – September 1 at the Sheraton Crystal City Hotel in Arlington, Virginia. Featured speakers include Eben Alexander, MD (neurosurgeon and near-death experiencer, author of Proof of Heaven), Anita Moorjani (near-death experiencer and cancer survivor, author of Dying to Be Me), Mary Neal, MD (orthopedic surgeon and near-death experiencer, author of To Heaven and Back), ill Guggenheim (author of Hello From Heaven), and PMH Atwater (author of The Rest of the Story).
For more information, go here.
The 2013 ACISTE Conference
The 2013 The American Center for the Integration of Spiritually Transformative Experiences (ACISTE) Conference will take place October 3 – 5 at Hilton-Crystal City, Arlington, Virginia. This conference is for all mental health professionals and spiritual counselors of all faith backgrounds interested in learning how to support individuals who’ve had spiritually transformative experiences.
For more information, go here.
New Book: Near-Death Experiences as Evidence for the Existence of God and Heaven
• The common naturalistic explanations for NDEs.
• Evidence that NDEs point to God and heaven.
• The results of 35 years of research into NDEs by doctors and other professionals, fully documented for those who want to study further.
• A comparison of NDEs with Christian teachings.
• Recommendations of key books, researchers, and publications for further study.
“For some time we’ve needed a well-researched, compelling introduction to this exciting field that focuses on the evidence. Miller delivers!”
— Jeffrey Long, MD
NHNE’s NDE Resources Continue To Grow
NHNE now has the largest self-contained NDE community on planet Earth. Our Ning network currently has 443 members, 115 of whom report having near-death experiences, 17 report having near-death-like experiences, 4 report having shared-death experiences, and 89 report having spiritually transformative experiences. This vibrant network also has the largest collection of hand-picked, first person NDE video testimonials on the planet.
Our YouTube Channel, which is the most comprehensive and best organized NDE channel on YouTube, currently has 405 subscribers. We also have several fantastic playlists, including:
Must Watch NDEs (42 videos)
Especially Interesting Near-Death Experiences (96 videos)
Hellish or Distressing NDEs (17 videos)
Celebrity Near-Death Experiences (9 videos)
Outstanding NDE Documentaries & Presentations (19 videos)
Near-Death Experience Researchers (33 videos)
Anita Moorjani (14 videos)
Dr. Eben Alexander (9 videos)
Dr. Mary Neal (3 videos)
NHNE Pulse contains many important NDE resources, including our main NDE resource page, a celebrity NDE page, a historical NDE page, a quick list of prominent NDErs, an NDE quote page, and this very important page: NDEs Absolutely, Positively NOT Caused By Malfunctioning Brains.
NHNE also runs an Amazon-based NDE bookstore, full of the best-of-the-best NDE titles.
And, finally, NHNE’s NDE Stories website is now keeping track of 26 prominent near-death experiencers!
Reverend Peter Panagore Shares His Near-Death Experience
After sharing how NHNE’s NDE resources are growing and deepening, we listen to Reverend Peter Panagore describe his near-death experience.
NDEr Jeff C. Olsen
The remainder of the class was spent discussing the profound and deeply inspiring life and near-death experiences of Jeff C. Olsen. I began by playing a recent interview that Jeff did with Donnie Morris. We watched from 00:00 until 08:58. The editors mixed up the first and second parts of this two-part interview, so Part 2 is follower by Part 1, rather than the other way around.
After we listened to this interview, I passed out a study sheet I created for Jeff’s book (pdf). After reading the list of the main points that Jeff makes in his book, we spent the rest of the class reading and discussing the quotes contained in the study sheet. We were able to get about half way through. We’ll take up where we left off in our next class. As we read through these provocative quotes, I pointed out that many of the things Jeff experienced and learned through his life and near-death experiences were abundantly present in “The Formula for Creating Heaven on Earth” that we’ve been working with and developing.
After learning about Jeff’s book, many members of the class wanted to get their own copies and read it. I agreed to purchase several copies of Jeff’s book and have them available at our next class.
What follows is a web version of the study sheet.
Jeff C. Olsen Class Notes
Prepared by David Sunfellow for NHNE’s Sedona NDE Class
Highlights from Jeff Olsen’s Book
• “To what degree have you learned to love?”
• We are all one
• God knows and loves everyone very personally
• We are loved, cherished, and honored
• Everything happens for a reason; there is purpose in every circumstance; there are no accidents
• We help create our experiences
• We are all here to learn
• We experience life in a way that makes us more godlike
• Everyone is on their own unique journey
• Don’t judge anyone
• In every situation we encounter, especially the challenging ones, choose joy; choose to see every experience positively; as opportunities to learn, grow, deepen, love
• Treasure the simple things
• True peace can only be found from the inside out (looking to people and things to fill the emptiness of our souls is painful and futile)
• One of the best ways to ease our pain is to reach out and be fully present for others
• In order to know another person’s heart, we must first know our own
• Our bodies are temples of the divine
• Our hearts know the answer to whatever questions we have
• No one truly dies; no one is ever lost
• Glimpses of eternity sometimes make things more difficult in this world
• Pay attention to dreams (this is not said, but implied by the significant role dreams have played in Jeff’s journey)
Quotes from Jeff Olsen’s Book I Knew Their Hearts
The Most Amazing I Have Ever Heard
“Since 1965, I have interviewed thousands of people from all over the world who had profound near-death experiences. Jeff Olsen’s story is one of the most amazing I have ever heard.”
— Page ix (from the Forward by Raymond Moody)
To What Degree Have You Learned To Love?
“As smoothly as I had ascended to that place of peace, I was away again. There had been no judgment and no life review. It had only been a brief peak into something profound. And I drifted away, there was only one overwhelming question, not asked by a voice, but with energy that echoed into every cell of my being. The question was simply: ‘To what degree have you learned to love?’ ”
— Pages 33-34
I Knew Their Hearts
“I felt the hustle and unrest of the hallway of a hospital. I watched the doctors and nurses as they went about their duties. I moved with ease all around them. I realized none of them were aware of me. They could not see me, but – wow – could I see them!
“My perceptions were expanded. I knew each person I saw perfectly. I knew their joys and their sorrows. I knew their love, their hate, their pain, and their secrets. I knew everything about them, every detail, every motivation, and every outcome. I knew every emotion they were feeling, and I knew intuitively why they were feeling it. In an instant, with no contemplation, I knew them as well as I knew myself. I knew their hearts…
“… I felt spontaneous, intense love for each and every one of them. Not a romantic love, but a perfect, compassionate love…”
“I moved about the hospital with ease, pausing to take in the beauty of the people I was encountering. I felt their true essence and marveled at the connection I had to each of them, even though I had never met them before…
“Most of my life, I had actually avoided people. Now, everyone I saw was truly my brother or sister. In fact it went even deeper than that. THEY were, in a strange sense, ME! We were all connected pieces in a huge puzzle of oneness.
“Words Jesus had said rushed to my recollection: ‘Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these brethren ye have done it unto me.’ Was he talking about the awareness I was experiencing? Did he feel the same thing I was feeling? Was this how he walked the earth, in the consciousness of knowing each individual soul at this deep level of love?
“I realized he didn’t see himself as better than the beggar or the prisoner; he knew he was one with them. He knew them perfectly, in the same way I was experiencing the strangers I saw. We are all linked and equal in God’s eyes. I was seeing it, feeling it, and experiencing it.”
— Pages 35-37
Feeling Someone Beyond How They Look
“I felt progressively more sick and quickly began to fade again into that semi-consciousness state of delirium… I felt the souls of all the people who were working on me in that same intense way I had experienced when moving through the hospital right after the crash. I could feel each person’s energy as he or she came into the room, but I was very much in my body this time…
“Fully encountering people’s spirits this time was interesting. It reemphasized what I had experienced before. I felt each of them and recognized them as they continued my care over the next few days. They were such beautiful souls. Some of the most wonderful spirits I felt were not necessarily the most attractive people. I learned not to look on someone’s appearance but instead to feel his or her soul. I found myself closing my eyes as the doctors or nurses entered the room to feel who they REALLY were. Feeling someone beyond how they look is a profound experience. Even now I often close my eyes to recognize the character of someone’s soul beyond what he or she looks like.”
— Pages 72-73
A Higher Perspective
“My left leg now smelled so badly of rotting flesh that it stunk up the entire hospital ward. Gangrene was slowly destroying my body… I was literally going rotten right there in front of everybody. I had to end the whole nightmare.
“Why had I been sent back? Why couldn’t I die? I’d lost my vision of being Spencer’s dad. All that mattered was that I end the pain… I screamed at him [Justin, Jeff’s younger brother], “Please get me a gun! I can’t go on!” … I continued to scream at them both [Justin and Jeff’s mother] to get me a gun, and to get it now.
“I began to vomit again, harsh green bile. The puking was so painful. The bile burned my throat and mouth as it came up; brown, green, putrid acid mixed with blood. I felt like I was on fire from the inside out.
“The room began to close in on me as I tried to yell through the vomit. All the edges closed in, and it was like I was looking at the whole scene through a thick, round, glass portal. I became tiny lying on the bed. Like a bug being observed through a magnifying glass. I looked down on myself. Everything focused in on me, yet I felt alone and small lying there on the hospital bed.
“I continued to rise above the scene as my body became smaller and smaller. It was as if I were high above the room, looking down at myself. Everything was dark except my quivering body on the bed. It looked as if there were a spotlight on my convulsing physical form, which continued to become smaller and smaller as I rose higher and higher above the entire scene.
“I heard a hissing sound, and I was suddenly swept away from the horror of looking at myself to a more peaceful place outside in the still night. It didn’t hurt anymore, but I found myself observing an even darker scene. It was like I had broken through a time barrier somehow and was now standing in a garden, but it was no heavenly place. I could feel despair coming from an isolated spot. There I saw another man shivering and convulsing in tremendous pain. I heard his pleas and whimpers as he asked for his cup to pass. I watched from a distance, but could actually feel his anguish, and watched as he trembled and bled. I heard the words: ‘The son of man has descended beneath it all. Are you greater than he?”
“I knew the man’s sorrow and grief. I could hear it, taste it, and feel it in the core of my soul. I shuddered. I was standing there, actually watching and feeling something awful yet sacred. I wanted to rush to him. It was the same feeling I had experienced in the crash when I wanted to get to Spencer. I witnessed the suffering of this soul and knew I was not separated from it. The feeling of being connected and one with everything and everyone rushed over me again. It was the same connected feeling I had experienced as I walked around the hospital shortly after the accident.
“My consciousness raced back to my hospital room and into my body. Immediately I began to vomit violently again. However, something about what I had seen gave me higher perspective. I now viewed my situation differently. I no longer felt so sorry for myself. My thoughts rushed to Spencer and why I was here. I was willing to fight, I decided. I had been sent back, and the suffering I was experiencing was mine alone to bear. Somehow, peace filled my soul. I began to feel calm and comforted. I found renewed strength. A new courage filled my heart, knowledge that Jesus himself understood what I was going through personally. I was not alone… I’d been sent back to learn something. I too must rise again, having been made more whole by all of it in some way.”
— Pages 50-53
By Being Still… I Found Power, Comfort, and Peace
“I was too sick to read. Too sick to even sit up. I was a prisoner in a hospital bed with no escape from my mind, no way out of my thoughts, nothing to take me away from the feelings that hurt so much. The only escape was the next surgery or the occasional few hours of sleep. I offered a silent, constant prayer for comfort and healing. I learned in those moments, however, that prayer had become a much different process for me. Instead of doing so much asking and talking, I was learning to be still and listen. I was meditating, pondering, and visualizing more than pleading. In the past, prayer had been an active process, one of actually kneeling down and saying something, either aloud or quietly to myself. Now it was different. I couldn’t kneel, nor could I speak, but I was finally communicating. By being still and being willing to receive rather than thinking about what I might say, I found power, comfort, and peace.”
— Pages 57-58
I Dreamed I Was Drowning
“As I slept, I dreamed I was drowning. The current was whisking me away uncontrollably. In desperation, I reached for anything to hold on to, a branch, a reed, or even just grass. The water was rushing over me, pulling me swiftly down stream. I continued to scramble, holding my breath. I thrashed in the current in absolute panic. Suddenly, over the sound of water rushing into my ears, I thought to stand up, to stop thrashing and stand up in the water. I stopped fighting the current and let it carry me. I became calmer. I let my legs sink down beneath me and felt them plant on a solid riverbed. I calmly stood up in the water to find that I was really only three or four feet deep. With my feet on firm ground, I was able to withstand the current. I felt the water rush around my waste and chest. All I had to do was stand up in the water and the threat disappeared.
“ As I stood there, my hands dragging in the current as the water rushed by, I realized how simple my self-rescue had been. I wasn’t drowning at all. The water wasn’t even that deep. I stood there in my dream, having shifted from absolute panic to complete peace.”
— Page 82
Getting Outside Of Myself Turned Out To Be The Best Medicine
“I was in the hospital gym one day for my regular rehab routine when I encountered a young man in a wheelchair who looked about my age… he explained that he had played [football] for Park City High, a nearby rival. He recalled that we had opposed each other in a hard-fought game sixteen years earlier… He explained that he had also been in an auto accident, which had broken his spinal cord, leaving him a paraplegic… He… told me the sad tale of how when he returned home from the hospital, his wife was packing up to leave him, taking his only son with her. She couldn’t handle his paralysis…
“My heart went out to this man from my distant past… It felt better, and far healthier, to hurt for someone else for a change. It was a huge epiphany for me that day at the gym. I had been so preoccupied with my own battles that I hadn’t even considered anyone else’s.
“I began to ask nurses, doctors, visitors, and other patients how they were doing, how their day was, and then really listen to their replies. I spoke to my family differently and addressed their pain and loss over all that had happened. I discovered that a big part of my pain could be swallowed up in kindness to others. By taking a genuine interest beyond what my own struggles might be and investing in someone else, my struggles actually diminished.
“I realized I had shown little concern for how my family members were doing while they had been so focused on me. I had been selfish and self-centered. Getting outside of myself turned out to be the best medicine I could possibly take for the lingering pain in my heart.”
— Pages 75-77
Everything Happens For A Reason
“As I slept, I dreamed again. But this was a real and vivid dream. I found myself in that place again, that place of love, light, and peace where I had said good-bye to Tamara right after the accident. I knew this place like no other. The feeling was so overwhelmingly joyful, and it was my home…”
“I saw purpose in every event of my entire life. I saw how every circumstance had been divinely provided for my learning and development. I had the realization that I had actually taken part in creating every experience of my life. I knew I had come to this earth for only one reason, which was to learn, and that everything that had ever happened to me had been a loving step in that process of my progression. Every person, every circumstance, and every incident was custom created for me. It was as if the entire universe existed for my higher good and development. I felt so loved, so cherished, and so honored. I realized that not only was I embraced by deity, but also that I myself was divine, and that we all are. I knew that there are no accidents in this life. That everything happens for a reason. Yet we always get to choose how we will experience what happens to us here… Everything suddenly made sense. Everything had divine order.”
— Pages 84-87
“I was overcome with sadness and regret… the depths of all that had happened swept over me… I poured my heart out to God, not asking for anything or even expecting anything, simply gushing out my soul to the only listening ear that could possibly ever understand me. As I finally shed all the tears I had left and became quiet, a strange thing happened. I don’t often hear voices, but I heard this one… It was not a harsh voice, but the loving voice of a Father who knew me, and knew me perfectly. He only said two words, but they were as loud and clear as I have heard anything. He simply said, ‘Choose joy.’
“It was a simple request yet all about my choice, Joy was there if I only decided to see it and grasp it. The universe was giving me that option. I may not know life’s challenges or trials, but I always get to determine how I deal with them.”
— Pages 94-95
The Things That Stretched My Heart
“I have experienced miracle after miracle in my life. I have the scars to prove where I’ve been and what life has taught me, but I wear them proudly. If it weren’t for the things that stretched my heart, how would I ever know what I am capable of?
— Page 100
Knowing Unconditional Love Left Me Feeling Empty
“I was fortunate to have a glimpse into that oneness, and yet my life has not been easier because of it. Some of my most trying times came over the years after the accident. Knowing that such unconditional love existed beyond the veil left me feeling empty at times in this realm. I found myself searching for the same love I had experienced in my brief visits to the hereafter. The gaping hole in my heart yearned to be filled. Too often I looked to external influences to fill the void inside me. I expected my new wife to fill me up and make me whole. I expected my children to heal me, and in many ways, they all have, but looking outward for wholeness was a losing and painful battle… Not until I remembered the divinity within myself did I become whole. Only in that reality did I truly connect with others around me.”
— Page 101
I’ve Learned Not To Judge Others
“I used to embrace the belief that we are separate, when in reality we are not. I’ve learned not to judge others’ lives or compare them to mine. I have no idea what their journey is about. I know each soul is on his or her individual path. They have come here to learn. And they will learn in their own way, on their own terms. I can honor their individual progression. I learned to forgive, especially myself, which has inspired me to love at a deeper level.”
— Pages 101 – 102
The Simple Things
“I’ve learned to treasure the simple things, like holding my child’s hand, or watching my wife as she sleeps.”
— Page 102
Our next NDE class will take place on Tuesday, June 11th 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.”
“The Formula for Creating Heaven on Earth” or “The Formula” was introduced in David Sunfellow’s two-part YouTube presentation called “How Near-Death Experiences Are Changing The World.” The goal has been to identify the universal truths presented by near-death experiences and wrestle them into “a formula” that we can use to transform our lives. Version 1.0 can be download here (pdf). The Formula’s Circling Worksheet can be downloaded here (pdf).
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