The Near-Death Experience Of Cami Elizabeth RenfrowJan 21
Cami Elizabeth Renfrow
When Cami was 22, she lost control of her car and was crushed when her airborne car landed on top of her. It shattered her sacrum, fractured her skull, and devastated much in between. Cami’s survival and ultimate thriving surprised many medical professionals who worked with the severe injuries. Cami subsequently experienced long, ongoing periods of altered states of consciousness. These experiences illuminated the suddenly self-evident fact that our physical bodies and experiences are manifestations of Consciousness. Years of oppressive chronic pain took their toll, with arthritis and fibromyalgia pain syndromes settling in after the initial trauma recovery. Over time, during moments of quiet, mystical visions and spontaneous healing unwound these layers of pain. Following the path unfolding before her, and with the help of shared information from many wise professional sources, nutrition, homeopathy and changing my thought and movement patterns, the tide turned. Cami’s perceptions and body felt more clarity and freedom than had ever been a part of her experience. Following many personal miracles of recovery, she came to recognize that she was channeling healing energy with focused concentration. This included channeling energy through her hands. By diving into the darkness, Cami’s life has become brighter than ever. She now views her tortuous car accident and its aftermath as the greatest gift she’s ever received and is driven to share what she’s learned with all who want to learn it.
Websites & Background Information:
Excerpt from the detailed, informative, and deeply insightful summary that Cami has posted on NDERF’s website:
“I left my marriage as soon as I could walk again. I experienced ongoing mystical states of consciousness to the point of greatly disrupting my life. I began sensing other people’s emotions and physical states. I dropped birth control and influenced my fertility instead through communicating with my unborn children. I experienced major, major neuroendocrine changes, major electrical disruption to the point I had to stop wearing a watch and many holistic medical tests that rely on the electricity of the body do not work on me. Healer after healer in various modalities said they had never seen what they saw was happening in my body (i.e. shaman, clairvoyant, naturopath…). I got stopped on the street more than once to be asked what the light was around my head, or from light healers who just wanted to make contact. I dropped western medicine — despite a shattered pelvis my children were born at home because they made it clear to me ahead of time that’s how it would be safest and healthiest for all of us. My sexuality/libido radically shifted and orgasms began to fill the room around me rather than my body. My family shifted from a middle class normal house to giving our belongings away and living on the road, following intuition rather than society’s shoulds. I discovered I could heal with my hands (and we ALL have that ability). When I began going to professional holistic medical conferences without any previous training, the teachers called me aside for encouragement, praise of my questions (the most insightful in twenty years of teaching) etc. without any previous training — I seemed to know about healing from the inside out. Everything I’ve learned since has seemed to be remembering rather than learning. We have handled *almost* all of our health challenges as a family with plant medicine, or with our hands. (My healthy five year old son has never needed a doctor — we’ve handled all normal emergencies with energy/spirit/plants). I end up running into person after person who is experiencing difficulties with ‘kundalini awakening’ and I like to help them through.”
CAMI R NDE
Written by Cami Elizabeth Renfrow
Posted on the NDERF Website
Accident: Direct head injury
After the initial life-threatening trauma, days later in the hospital during a period of laser-focus on the breath for hours over days was when the greatest shifts occurred — I drifted off between breaths into much deeper states of consciousness than I had reached during the NDE itself. This state seemed to seep in during a long period of time rather than in one swoop as the initial NDE had apparently happened.
Similar states returned many times over the years following, when I would have to rush to privacy before dropping to my knees in gratitude, tears, and revelation/vision/burning-bush quality experiences. They returned full force whenever I was alone in the mountains for years. I had to spend lots of time alone because this ‘other’ world was so much more real and present than this earthly one for a long time and I never knew when the state would hit — not good to be in a grocery store when this happens! People don’t get it when you’ve got tears running down your face and you’re staring at your hands as if you just tried them on for the first time!
I think many of the states that occurred are described in other questions. I will add one portion here that was not addressed:
“Between breaths, I simply slipped from one form of consciousness into a much more spacious and connected and powerful one. From this state I felt honored to keep the body breathing and endure this particular blazing burden. It wasn’t suffering, it was fuel. I was filled with the sheer joy and gratitude of experiencing this particular delicious incarnation, this body and personality. This joy of Self has returned over and over through the years, at times gracing me with a sense of being blessed at every pleasure and pain of being in the flesh. I believe now that this space of being is our birthright and available in any life, once we let go of our definitions and expectations about what we are. In hospice volunteer situations I have seen people in what I believe to be this state in their final days and months, talking with long-gone friends and startled by unexpected visions and messages, as the veil slowly becomes more permeable. It is a gift to us. I don’t believe life and death are binary states.”
Here’s what I’ve gleaned from what was learned during the experience:
LEARN HOW TO DIRECT YOUR WILL AND ENERGY CONSCIOUSLY
The experience of the web of consciousness brought tremendous weight to bear in my own efforts to tame and become aware of the energies I am putting out there. They slip right out and shape consciousness into reality, and if you are fooling yourself about the subtle emotions you’re allowing yourself to have, they are still causing ripples in your life. Our self-honest intentions matter more than we know. The way I like to deal with slippery intentions is not to ignore or suppress them, but to be aware, to notice, to fully experience and listen and digest, then to align and transform the energies through genuine personal emotional alchemy, raising the issue up into the light and beaming the emotions out that would instead be healthiest, integrating the experience into myself. I have found that if you can resolve the situation within you, it usually resolves outside of you as well.
BECAUSE EVERYTHING IS CONSCIOUSNESS, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE
There isn’t anything you can imagine that can’t be, because it’s all a play of consciousness. Us included. The further I go along this route, the more strange things I hear and see. Nothing is impossible.
AS LONG AS LIFE ITSELF GOES ON, YOU DO TOO
As long as life itself does, in any form, in any world, in any plane of existence, you go on too. Only the frame for the witness shifts. We go on. We exist as life itself, as divinity itself, and we ARE the face of God in this world, every single messed up one of us, every single rock and tree. We Are God.
We Are Divine. At the same time, we’re inherently limited and blemished as humans. Just do the best you can.
AS A PART OF DIVINE CONSCIOUSNESS, YOU ARE DIVINE
“I celebrate myself, and sing myself. I exist as I am, that is enough.” – Walt Whitman
We each have within us the same light that shined within Krishna and Jesus and the Buddha and everyone who’s ever carried the torch. We are each Divinity’s opportunity to experience and create a unique face of life, to allow it to shine right through our inevitable, insufferable flaws. And when that particular life form is done, we recycle back into the ocean — a wave that dances and melts back in, to re-form and experience anew, moving our way higher and higher up the spiral of lessons.
FEAR NOTHING – LEAST OF ALL DEATH
“To die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier.” — Walt Whitman
It’s all chosen — by you — through love. There is always a healing path right through the middle of it. The worst you can imagine — the very worst — may even be rejoiced on the other side, and none of it ever goes unnoticed. You have infinite support available to you, whole worlds cheering for you to weather it well and grow with love so you can come home. BE BOLD.
JOY IN INCARNATION
Your higher self incarnated because as a sensate, embodied being you can have experiences your spirit alone cannot. Don’t be afraid of desire. Don’t be afraid of passion, of adventure, of a little sin, of failure, of living in your own unique way. Don’t be afraid of anything. Life truly is a big play — have fun with it, don’t take it so seriously. Life in all its glory goes on, no matter how messy it looks from here and now.
TACKLE IT NOW
You know that part of yourself you’re putting off thinking about? Maybe it’s a relationship or habit. The part you know down deep isn’t quite lined up with the rest of you? Tackle it now. The pattern’s not going to go away without your attention, and eventually (maybe after a few more lives) you will resolve it. Wouldn’t it be more pleasant to just do it now and move on up the spiral?
SELF-HEALING IS YOUR BIRTHRIGHT: THE KEY IS PAYING ATTENTION
We each have the power to heal with our hands. We each have the power to immerse ourselves in direct communication with nature, receiving revelation and insight. We each have the power to use sexual energy as a sacred transformational force. We each have the power to interact with the subtle energies that make up our bodies and world. We have the power to control our fertility and contraception through communication with our unborn children.
KNOWING you have the power makes the difference. And practice, because that will bring it into manifestation. Examine your shadow fearlessly, bringing your unconscious energies into new relationship and alignment with the whole. When we can lovingly recognize our dark and light, and respect the information brought to us by our dark, our flaws, our challenges, our pain, we can begin to channel the energies more effectively and put their power to work for us.
THE MACROCOSM IS THE MICROCOSM
As within, so without. Once you decide to recognize the mirror, you will see how to change its reflection. At this time of increased social, political and environmental change it is even more important to tend to the fires within. We can make the greatest changes in the world by starting with ourselves. Whenever I have an outward situation catch my attention, like a sprained ankle, or strained relationship, it means it is time to settle and look inward for the cause. There is always an energetic root, and it’s an effective place to leverage change.
THE BODY ALWAYS WINS – YOUR BODY IS THE TEMPLE
Our bodies can often signal the way through a sticky situation. Sometimes it’s through a sense of uneasiness in the gut, a sense of ‘Yes’ in the heart, sometimes a tightness in the throat from holding back my own truth. Once you begin decoding it, your body holds infinite information. It is our radar, our antennae, for moment to moment guidance through life. And you can try to overrule it at your peril. I see so many people who refuse to listen to their emotions, their physical symptoms, because they are needed in many other directions. They discount the signals their body is giving because — down deep — they know what it is going to ask them to do and are not ready to face it. So ultimately, the body takes them down with a chronic pain syndrome or disease until they listen and make the changes demanded by the higher spirit working through the body. They can offer self-care early, when it will involve pleasure. Or they can wait to make changes until they’re forced to, when it will involve pain. But ultimately, the body always wins because it is the domain of the subconscious. Nourish and cleanse it with food and movement every day, listen to its wisdom, and feel free to negotiate for clearer communication.
PRACTICE TURNING YOUR THOUGHTS HIGHER
To my great surprise at some point during the near death experience, the smallness of my last thoughts on earth stood out as one of the few things that would be a shame about my death — “Oh, this is going to be a big one. I’m costing us money again.” The death itself wouldn’t have been much of a loss to the fabric of life itself, but those poor, tiny last thoughts were a loss. It seems like we need to hold the highest state we can — ideally through every moment of life, but at least as we pass through the needle. So I try to practice bringing my emotions to the highest space possible — boundless love, a keening gratitude, joy and peace. Surround yourself with books, music and other art that uplifts you, that brings you to a better self, and practice getting there in an instant. Just in case the mountainside comes at you fast.
WE ARE NEVER OUTSIDE THE LIGHT
Blessed be those who are cracked, for the cracks are where the light shines through. The veil just makes us think we have dark within us. We may turn away, hide our faces. But the source of all keeps shining on us anyway, waiting for us to look up and notice. Every day I try to remind all the parts of me to let the light stream through despite unending flaws, despite every day still weaving myself through the human impulses that distract from the stronger desire to be in Oneness. If you squint just right, ugly turns beautiful. When I think of that primal desire at the root of all others, I picture all of us humans like salmon leaping upstream, each in our own way, choosing our own path, our own thrust (maybe even secretly tsk-tsk-ing a neighbor salmon’s trajectory). We’re all after the same thing whether we know it or not.
From the sublime artist to the drunk to the emotional manipulator, we are all seeking reunion. Our decisions make their own logic within the context of where we are and what’s in our way to get back home, and it’s easy to hurt each other by misreading this pure universal desire.
BAD THINGS AREN’T ALWAYS BAD
I believe when we are struck with challenges and suffering and we weather them with the most open heart we can — without blame or recrimination, without grasping, accepting responsibility for all of our own circumstances — we are each claiming a small win for the whole of life. We freely and joyfully chose our family, our flaws, our recurring fights, for our own good.
THE MAP IS NOT THE TERRITORY
For the first ten years after the accident I had rare words for any of this and it remained a burning, insanity-producing secret inside of me that I had no way to unlock. It was physically difficult to open my mouth to discuss it! When I first was experiencing these states, not only did my lips not want to move (it can’t be put into words), but I couldn’t even make the conceptual part of my brain move (it can’t be put into concepts). All of me resisted, wanting nothing to disturb the pervading peace. And as soon as a word started in my mind space, even a nice word like ‘Truth’ or ‘Love’, it diminished the Whole. It implied there was something (truth) and so carved part away from the whole, inherently implying that there is also not something (untruth). It is partially for this same reason that for years afterward I had difficulty using the word ‘I’ without inwardly grimacing at the lie of it all . There is no ‘I’. The sense of I can be shifted to be limitless — it’s only a sense of boundary and perspective. So right here, in this very sentence, I’m lying despite my best efforts.
Do you see the problem here? How simple questions like “How are you?” can become a trap if you’re trying to be painstakingly truthful? Not one of those words can be parsed unambiguously. There was no longer a perspective from which to solidly answer innocent questions. One. Everything we ever need to know comes straight from that one inescapable thing. Call it the Tao, the unity, collective consciousness, or God. Labels only confuse the situation. The map is not the territory.
If anything I say doesn’t resonate with you, toss it out. YOU are the only one who can decide truth for yourself. Take nothing at face value, no matter the authority. They may be speaking truth at their level, but only you can decide if it’s a paradigm that’s useful to you. We are all using the metaphors and perspectives and senses and cultural overlays available to us, and there are hundreds of beautiful books describing similar experiences in modern cultural concepts and terms. Once we break the code of reading metaphorically, most of the world’s sacred books can partially be read as deeply informative symbolism for this same living process as it moves through the various layers and energies of a human being’s life and body.
God is too big to fit inside one religion. Refuse to cling to any definition of what “God” is! It’s certainly not an embodied being or a masculine entity. (The systemic imbalance of a single-gender God is absurd on the face of it.) Even the word “God” felt like sacrilege to me for years, like condensing the ultimate force into a shoebox with sides: there were so many cultural projections onto the concept of “God” of personification, and my experience was not of God as a separate paternal force. Instead I interpret this potent word as the underlying, glorious, intelligent, sublimely loving force that simply IS, leaping again and again into existence through all of us. By this definition, and by my experience, there is nothing that is not God.
Every religion has a branch devoted to the mystical perspective — the Christians have the Gnostics, the Jews the Kabbalists, Muslims the Sufi, Hindi the Jain. I had to reach out to the writings of the mystics and the sacred texts of other cultures, ones who have not separated the body away from the spirit, to understand the process that was beginning to open up in my body electric. I recognize a little inherent kinship with some of the principles of Vajrayana Buddhism: the path of using everything in life — including the dark within us, those things we like to stuff into the shadow — as fuel for burning off the veil. Obsessive reading of archetypal Jungian psychology was crucial in building the dictionary of my own inner messages. But these are labels. Volumes of reading can offer comfort in gaining cultural reference for similar experiences.
Reading and sharing help us know we’re not alone in our human journey. But ultimately, you must bow only to the guru within.
THE GURU IS WITHIN YOU
Everything you ever want to know can open up with enough intense focus. A breeze moving a leaf, birdsong at just the right moment, running water, that soft sense of warmth in your heart…. it is your birthright to learn how to hear the answers springing from the fabric of life around you.
Throw out your books and allow the living spirit to devour you.
Thanks again for all your work on this important subject.
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
At the time of your experience was there an associated life-threatening event?
Yes. Crushed under a car — head fracture, shattered pelvis, not breathing or conscious, many other broken bones. (Kind of a traditional NDE — love, light, reunion with love, reincarnation was obvious, imparting of some wisdoms and truths, life review, life planning, return)
Then the deeper more fundamental parts happened later that week during the hospital stay when I doubt my life was in present danger. At that point the catalyst was probably intense pain and an intense focus on the breath for a very long time.
Was the experience difficult to express in words?
Yes. It took me 10 years to begin discussing it, and 16 to finally write it out in a fuller form. Incredibly, incredibly difficult to express. Here’s a snippet from my little eBook about the difficulty of putting these things into words:
Speaking of ‘difficult to express in words’ — I can’t answer your next question because there WAS no time or space. Thoughts couldn’t be sped up because time disappeared. I have no idea the time period this all happened in. All of these questions are incredibly hard to answer because they are using a framework I would not use for the wording.
Here are some of the things I wrote about the futility of words in the eBook Dance Through It available for download at http://barefoothealing.net/dance-through-it .
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness?
AFTER the initial life-threatening trauma, days later in the hospital during a period of laser-focus on the breath for hours over days — I drifted off between breaths into much deeper states of consciousness than I had reached during the NDE itself. This state seemed to seep in during a long period of time rather than in one swoop as the initial NDE had apparently happened.
How did your highest level of consciousness and alertness during the experience compare to your normal everyday consciousness and alertness?
More consciousness and alertness than normal. Everything I describe except the rather mundane out of body experiences, involved a much, much higher level of awareness and exquisite alert sensitivity than ever before. And remaining with me after was a higher presence and intelligence (for lack of a better word) that has never fully left.
All of these experiences make this worldly life look like just a drama or dream. They were all more real than anything I could tell you about this person who still exists, like her name or…
Please compare your vision during the experience to your everyday vision that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience.
Vision was not necessarily part of my experience. Bliss overruled it. Feeling and knowledge and sensation and dazzle overruled it.
Please allow me to comment on #6 above – I can’t answer it truthfully because there was no such thing as time.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience.
I didn’t remember much in the way of hearing. Other senses (Gnostic revelation, receiving wisdom, feeling bliss and love beyond words) took hold instead, rather than sight and sound.
I need to answer the following question, #10, here because it is unanswerable for me the way it is written.
During one part of the experience I left the body in a traditional OBE — seeing it from the outside, but not with any mystical quality, just a factual shift in perspective of seeing things from three places at once. So the answer would be the third choice for this part.
During one part of the experiences (the NDE) my body/personality was left behind like clothes dropped onto the floor. I actually had to look around to pick it back up for the life review (and felt only a distant fondness for it — that life wasn’t very important to me anymore). So the answer here would kind of be the second answer.
During one part of the experiences (in the hospital, the greatest shifts and wisdom) I was fully, expansively human much, much greater than the body and not confined to it but very much innately related to it and in charge of making it breath (had to return to the body repeatedly to force it to inhale, then drift away, then return to exhale, then drift away — an eternity between breaths). I was in fact at the time in crushing pain so that certainly would have confused my senses quite a bit. Yet although I was greater than the body, it seemed to be a crystallized/manifest form of the greater human, so I certainly claimed it as mine. Strangely, even the horrifying pain felt like bliss because it was INCARNATION — I was deeply honored to be undergoing it and treasured that mess of flesh I was in charge of. So the answer here would be kind of #3 and also #1. It became clear the body is just a tangible representation of the greater being. I loved it and treasured it and in fact valued every sense it was experiencing as beauty but was not even slightly confined to it. This state returned many times over the years. Bliss.
Did you see or hear any earthly events that were occurring during a time that your consciousness / awareness was apart from your physical / earthly body?
Yes. During the least-mystical parts (the OOB experiences) I watched what was happening — in one part, the car was being lifted off me and I watched from two perspectives (above and below) while in fact being face down and unable to see it at all — and in another part, being above myself in the ambulance.
Later, in the hospital, returning between breaths I was in a state of non duality (perfect oneness) and sensed everyone and everything as all together ONE, playing a scene together. For instance, one time I watched a nurse come in and turn my body over (carelessly) causing such pain I begged silently to die but was unable to force my voice out loud to tell her to stop moving me. Yet at the same time, I saw her as me and saw that she was acting exactly what she was supposed to. As she walked over to me it was as if I was doing it myself, and time and space suspended. These OBE-type or non duality type states were ongoing off and on for years and tremendously confusing.
What emotions did you feel during the experience?
Bliss, belonging, gratitude, joy, connection, pure transmission of knowledge, expansiveness, divinity, infinity, omni-sentience, omniscience, unlimited, lack of time and space, perfection, clean. There was no blame or recrimination and nothing but love. Deep, deep, deep familiarity that makes everything else look like temporary theater.
Did you pass into or through a tunnel?
Uncertain. I am not a person who notices what is going on around me in a tangible, sight and sound sense. I instead sense energies and abstract concepts usually, and always have. And the experience reflected this — my memory is very fuzzy about the transitions, but the wisdom imparted was the most real thing I’ve ever experienced, making the remainder of this life look like a dream.
Did you see an unearthly light?
Uncertain. I FELT the light, rather than seeing it. It was felt as indescribable joy, peace, love, acceptance, connection, infinity, belonging, power. It felt *clean* and there was perfect whole communication between any energies that could be distinguished from each other.
Did you seem to encounter a mystical being or presence, or hear an unidentifiable voice?
I encountered a definite being, or a voice clearly of mystical or unearthly origin. This is tough. There were not only one but many ‘beings’ but at the same time they were just me because we were all one. I didn’t see or hear them but sensed them. And when I came back at first I really just experienced it as ONE and they were various flavors or whispers of the one but I was them and they were me and we were all together ‘God’ — all the details took time to trickle back in.
Did you encounter or become aware of any beings who previously lived on earth who are described by name in religions (for example: Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, etc.)?
No. No, however I experienced the certainly that we all have Krishna/Christ consciousness within — that we are all divine. When I ‘returned’ it was with the knowledge that I was Christ (yes, I know how crazy that sounds and I am a highly flawed person) because we all have that potential within us. Christ is a reality within me, and yet I don’t really know if the person himself ever existed — and it doesn’t matter, because the Christ-love itself is a burning reality / potential within all of us. SO experienced love that you could identify as that if you wanted to, but that’s not the interpretation I had.
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings?
Yes, I experienced every loved one I had ever known (and the ones I didn’t think I loved too) all there. The ones who were still incarnate on earth were there (seemed to be split — part of them in the human form, nearly unreachable, and part remained there in the higher form, fully within me and me within them). It was more Going Home than I have ever experienced in this actual life on earth.
In addition, I was given a vision, one of the few that took visual form even though I experienced it mainly as feeling/knowledge. Here is a snippet from my little ebook about this subject:
“I was shown a ‘bank’ of recently dead people (who were no longer people of course, and couldn’t even be seen — they were just energetic entities I could sense — and in fact seemed to be part of me — part of this Force of Love — as much as they were separate beings). Many had died tragic, unexpected deaths.
All were full of joy. Of all the beautiful agony we could see in the loved ones remaining on earth, all of it appeared noble. All of it appeared purposeful. These recently dead were trying to comfort and communicate with the earthly human part of those left behind, nearly laughing with compassionate outreach. It was as if they were trying to wrap their arms around those left behind and say, “Can’t you feel me? I’m right here with you even more than in life because my half of the veil is lifted. No body or personality holds me back from you. I did my job, I died when I was supposed to. Your job is beginning. We are a team, we chose this together, it’s your turn to grow from this and transform it with your open heart. After this life we’ll plan another together as we have so many times. In the meantime let’s get this one right and make good use of your pain for the benefit of all of life. Everything is exactly as it should be and I wouldn’t change it if I could. The only shame of this whole mess is if you let it destroy you and waste the chance for growth. Are you sure you can’t feel me?” It was almost a sense of coaching and cheering and reassuring.
This sense was so powerful that for years after I returned to a more normal type of consciousness, anytime I heard of a tragedy too big to recover from (losing three children in one day for example) my instinctive first emotion was a genuine sense of gaping awe and respect for the people involved, admiration that they would sign on for such difficulties, and for the potential for growth and useful power in proportion to their pain.
In addition, some of this communication seemed to go on between recently dead and people back in the world who were NOT loved in this life but perhaps nemeses(!). They were part of the soul group and beloved teammates in growth nonetheless, and the sense of love between them at that higher level was equal to that between people who had played a pleasant role in each other’s lives.
Did you become aware of past events in your life during your experience?
Yes. During the life review this was what happened:
Here I could see the whole picture, how every thought and motivation of the previous life passage snaked tendrils of manifestation into the world and how each tendril rolled out to affect other people and all of life. I felt everything. Every little kindness. Every subtle dig, each moment of carelessness, the wasted potentials, the comfort passed on to others, the secret joys, impatience, self-pity, a genuine smile to a lonely person at the right moment…. Ripples from a tossed pebble, I experienced how everyone experienced my actions and intentions, and how everyone they affected felt, and so on down the chain of action and reaction flowing even into nature itself. More importantly, I could see the bar — how things could have been if enacted with pure love. Each action was balanced by its effect on the life force in total. The chain ran from my link back up, retracing and revealing why I made the choices I did, why my full intentions were not in alignment with my professed goals, saw the causes and effects throughout multiple lifetimes. It was as if the web of this incarnation was a soft silk and we were holding it up to examine thread by thread, seeing how it draped in all directions from each point we lifted, seeing where the tensions ran through other layers and other lifetimes.
With this review there was no blame, no shaming, no rejection. The supportive sense around me remained lovingly, fully understanding, as if actively trying to both celebrate the successes and compassionately witness the total alongside me.
Regardless of who we are, we’re ALL embraced with loving compassion at death and throughout our lives. We are never out of the light, not any part of us. I saw that imagining ourselves to have parts that are hidden from the light is its own punishment, but the light is always there, patiently and fully shining on anything we’re willing to expose. We are our own judge, and the dark of our separation must be its own hell in the end. The review was overwhelmingly a time of gratitude, ecstasy, joy and surprise from the chain of good effects from small loving actions. I saw how easily our most subtle intentions ripple through the life surrounding us, and how kind acts must be accompanied by self-honesty to have their full power, how good acts lose their power if they are accompanied by misaligned intentions. I could see that the same joy of heaven on earth can be created as a living force while we’re alive.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world?
A clearly mystical or unearthly realm. The moment of transition from this life is utterly alone, for each of us. But as my body launched through the windshield, it pitched me headlong through the limits I had known in life as a human being, and I emerged into the deep familiarity and recognition of the Tribe of Life itself. Peace permeated my awareness, and a love that for years brought a cry of gratitude just from the memory.
From Dance Through It:
A primal space within recognized this state of being from before birth, from between lives. (Lives! There were so many of them!) I felt the bright embrace of being recognized, truly known and understood, and fully actively loved in spite of it all by the flavors and whispers of life present. I was clean, and I was home. Time and space fell away as the constructs they are, and I expanded into a sense of connection and simultaneous awareness of the inner intentions of every energetic body there. Although these energies could be distinct, the overriding truth was clear: together we were one intertwined, infinite Being, connected through full innate awareness and sentience of all life at once. So dazzling and convincing was it all that my current life and identity dropped away unnoticed like clothes carelessly shed onto the floor.
It seemed the whole of existence and human experience permeated the air, retrievable with the flick of intention: every language, every tear drop, every shed skin cell, every body of music, every story, every loss, every secret. It was everything I’d ever wanted to learn, everything there was to learn, right there ready to spring into awareness with the slightest intention. More vivid and self-evident than anything I had experienced in life as a human, it still is the most undeniable thing I’ve ever witnessed. I’d trust the knowing that came from this, before answering the simplest fact like What’s your name? or When did you start your current job?. As much as those things seem like they have a straightforward answer, this deep level of knowing made them look like fun trivia you’d memorize about a character in a book. So this was death. Now I remembered.
Did time seem to speed up or slow down?
Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning. There was no time or space during the NDE itself or in the state of experiencing pure consciousness that came later. Here is what I write in Dance Through It:
This (having my attention called to the life review) was the only part of the experience that had a sense of time — a realization that it was now time for a transition. Otherwise time seemed to be only an occasionally useful construct rather than part of the fabric of reality. To break the flashes into stages I have to narrate its shape with space and time, because that’s the way we conceive our world. But it didn’t happen in any special order or place. Heaven isn’t ‘up there’. It isn’t even a place. Even when we leave our bodies we aren’t really even going ‘up there’ except in the more material, earthly perception. There is no ‘up there’. There is no first this, then this, then finally that. Cause and effect, the path taken and the path untaken, the before and after, fate and free will, inside and outside, me over here and you over there… they are all illusions of the one piece of fabric that weaves it all together. Time and space are necessary constructs to tell the story.
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything?
Everything about the universe. Actually I shouldn’t say everything. It was instead everything I turned my attention to that I understood — it was all available but not at once, needing my intention and attention to bring the wisdom in.
I very strongly know that any language, song, memory…. in history is available to us in the ether – at various times in my life since this experience I have felt any and all knowledge was available to me with the flick of intention. Not to say I can actually manifest it, but they’re all out there and available. In fact in later years much of the healing work I learned came in this way — dense scholarly works on obscure holistic methods made perfect sense deep within me, as if I had already read or written them.
Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure?
Uncertain. Things are *still* coming back to me(!) after all these years but I don’t remember I boundary. I do remember resignedly slipping back into duality/polarity/the veil at one point, described below. I also remember that back in the ‘real’ world in the hospital later, at one point I begged (within) to die and got a solid, resolute rejection of NO because the choice had already been made. This felt ridiculous because death/life already felt so porous, no solid boundary between them.
Did you come to a border or point of no return?
I came to a definite conscious decision to return to life. I don’t remember the decision itself but do remember this:
Here, in reviewing the past, we planned the future. As part of the life review I willingly laid out the challenges and flaws of the next stage of incarnation (which ended up being in the same life and body). Like all spirits in the review process, this benevolent team of energies and I chose together to leverage past strengths for the good of others and for future growth, to put certain obstacles in place for the better flow of the stream. I worked out with my soul group what roles we were to play in the coming life this time, cruel antagonists appreciated equally to tender lovers. This was co-choreography of the life ahead, a complex dance planned with a bit of room for improvisation. Although we were aware of the difficulties we were taking on and certainly didn’t desire them for the sake of suffering, we yearned for the growth and ultimate reunion the lessons would bring us. No one I saw was eager to again experience the separation brought by the veil of illusion — the veil that makes us believe we are all distinct, finite beings, the veil that offers us the narrative of time and space.
Despite the reluctance to slip again into the confusion of duality, separation and polarity, I felt a sense of resolve, determination and honor and an eagerness to enact my mission. (Oh, but to figure out what the mission is once back in duality! That’s another book!) Cheering well-wishes rose from behind the curtain as I headed out to take the stage.
Also, during one of the stages to come later in the hospital I distinctly remember being lowered back into duality as if from the feet up, like being dipped into a distasteful but necessary swamp. I felt the pure awareness split into polarities as I slipped into the swamp — bad and good, light and dark, male and female all split off from the whole, making a big mess I had chosen to undergo once again. I DO NOT REMEMBER if I made the choice or if it was made for me. I certainly agreed to it and planned for it eagerly but don’t know if there was ever an option to truly die or if this was always planned for me life as a re-set for the next stage. So my answer to this question is meaningless since “I don’t know” is not an option.
Did scenes from the future come to you?
Scenes from the world’s future. This is tough, because I’m not sure these things came in during the NDE itself. I think they may have come in afterward. Many insights about the nature and future of humankind came in but not in a Nostradamus-type way.
During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness suggesting that there either is (or is not) continued existence after earthly life (“life after death”)?
Yes. It was self-evident that we go on as long as life in any form on any plane does. We are unlimited, unbounded, divinity, and only our frame of awareness shifts at the moment of death. (to a much more pleasant state, by the way!)
During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness that God or a supreme being either does (or does not) exist?
Yes. There is nothing that is not god. Here is what I wrote in Dance Through It:
God is too big to fit inside one religion. Refuse to cling to any definition of what God is! It’s certainly not an embodied being or a masculine entity. (The systemic imbalance of a single-gender God is absurd on the face of it.) Even the word God felt like sacrilege to me for years, like condensing the ultimate force into a shoebox with sides: there were so many cultural projections onto the concept of God of personification, and my experience was not of God as a separate paternal force. Instead I interpret this potent word as the underlying, glorious, intelligent, sublimely loving force that simply IS, leaping again and again into existence through all of us. By this definition, and by my experience, there is nothing that is not God.
During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness that you either did (or did not) exist prior to this lifetime?
Yes. Reincarnation was self-evident, so much so that when it was ‘time’ for the life review I actually had a jolt when trying to remember which life it was I had just discarded that needed to be reviewed. We go on forever, and there is no time — so there is no such thing as ‘prior to this lifetime’.
During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness that a mystical universal connection or unity/oneness either does (or does not) exist?
Yes I AM. There’s no other way for me to answer this. The whole experience was in this state of unity, and this sense of one/non duality lasted a long time afterward, washing in waves and confusing the hell out of me when trying to navigate in this earthly life! I had a very hard time fitting my boundaries back to something we call ‘I’ because ‘I’ had been completely wiped out. It is just a matter of shifting boundaries.
During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness regarding earthly life’s meaning or purpose?
Yes. Horrible things were celebrated (by OURSELVES!!) as beauty and opportunity. Please see my writing above about the recently dead trying to contact loved ones to see more about this. Bad things are rarely actually bad! We chose it ALL ourselves from the highest level of wisdom and omniscience, not with eagerness for suffering but for growth and reunion (the lifting of the veil).
During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness regarding earthly life’s difficulties, challenges, or hardships?
Yes. Horrible things were celebrated (by OURSELVES!!) as beauty and opportunity. Please see my writing above about the recently dead trying to contact loved ones to see more about this. Bad things are rarely actually bad! We chose it ALL ourselves from the highest level of wisdom and omniscience, not with eagerness for suffering but for growth and reunion (the lifting of the veil).
During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness regarding love?
Yes. Love is the primal force. Love is the light. Love heals.
And of course the Golden Rule is the only rule that matters in the life review.
During your experience, did you encounter any other specific information / awareness that you have not shared in other questions that is relevant to living our earthly lives?
Yes. I write extensively about the ‘gleanings’ in Dance Through It.
But here is what I wrote about the most important, transformative part of the experience, watching intention move across consciousness to create form.
I crossed into a state that was deep, fundamental, irreducible. An ocean of exquisite sensitivity, of Omni sentience (sensing everywhere at once), turned me inside out to reveal itself at the core. Losing every sense of distinction, I floated as part of this gloriously intelligent web of light. Even the awesome flavors and energies from previous states of consciousness looked trivial compared to this luminous irreducible force, this field of existence. It seemed to be an order of magnitude different from the earlier experiences. This was the force of consciousness itself. There was no ‘I’ left whatsoever, not even the broad perspective from the life review. My boundaries as a human and as a spirit were completely erased. Witnessing from a localized single point, my perspective was simultaneously spread through the multidimensional, nonlocalized perspective of the entire web. There was no end and no beginning, like the lake underneath the forms that dance through our lives. This was beyond bliss, beyond truth, beyond peace and ecstasy and all the searing emotions of the previous stages. It was stillness in the middle, consciousness without form.
In the distance a gentle wave swelled up, moving across the ocean of light toward the point of perspective assigned to me. As it arose I became aware that this wave was the concerns, prayer, and emotions being streamed toward me from hundreds of people I knew in this life and from many others who had only heard about my situation. My point of perspective rose as the wave reached it, and correspondingly I was lifted, just a little, from the pain in my body. It became a little lighter to bear.
I had just viscerally witnessed prayers and intentions became physical, tangible reality. (In using the word ‘prayer’ I mean something an atheist could easily do as well as a theologian û no special form, just focused will propelled by the power of love and concern. ) It was made known to me that this was Consciousness creating Form through Intention. Nothing exists until it rises into form on this field. Every single bit of material in the world — even the computer or paper you’re reading this on, and the stardust that nourishes your marrow, and the paint on the wall, and the dog you love, and each single hair on his loppy ear must have begun there on the sacred field of consciousness, shaped by the impulse of intention. There is no ‘there’ there. Coming back into this human life, this is the single most vision that set my mind back to zero, like a child, as I struggled to understand how to interact in this world again — this world of imaginary objects and entities. For the rest of my life I have watched as the most fleeting and buried intentions — the ones we don’t even think we have — manifest in external situations within our health or circumstances or in others. Undigested impulse and well-suppressed emotion snake out to wreak havoc externally. They create material situations and tangible real-world repercussions. I see that one of the greatest jobs I’m given in this life is to wrestle these very human energies into unified, directed control of a heart- and mind-empowered will.
This is why in our physical and emotional health, healing modalities from the spiritual or energetic level — the level of intentions taking form — are often the most effective approach. Intervention at this higher level stirs change through all the layers of our being at once, and allows us to integrate the power from our health challenge rather than trying to cut it out or suppress it.
Did you have a sense of knowing special knowledge or purpose?
Yes. This sounds nuts but I came back feeling as Krishna/Christ, that I needed to churn and transform energies on behalf of the world, and that we EACH have this within us. It is my job to help other people wake up. Not to mention help myself fully wake up!
What occurred during your experience included:
Content that was both consistent and not consistent with the beliefs you had at the time of your experience There was one point of specific surprise, and that was that my final thoughts when dying mattered tremendously to life itself and to my own continuation. The state of emotions when passing through the needle seems to matter. I was actually surprised by this at the time I realized it. I had always believed that our overall life mattered more than any one second of it but that moment of dying does seem to matter. ( I cover this better in Dance Through It) SO now I always practice turning my thoughts and emotions higher so I can get there in an instant — just in case.
How accurately do you remember the experience in comparison to other life events that occurred around the time of the experience?
I remember the experience more accurately than other life events that occurred around the time of the experience Most of my life events at the time are a blur. I was in a huge state of pain and disability and it’s all a jumble. This stuff I’m writing about today is all more real to me than anything that happened in my life before, during or since.
Discuss any changes that might have occurred in your life after your experience:
I left my marriage as soon as I could walk again. I experienced ongoing mystical states of consciousness to the point of greatly disrupting my life. I began sensing other people’s emotions and physical states. I dropped birth control and influenced my fertility instead through communicating with my unborn children. I experienced major, major neuroendocrine changes, major electrical disruption to the point I had to stop wearing a watch and many holistic medical tests that rely on the electricity of the body do not work on me. Healer after healer in various modalities said they had never seen what they saw was happening in my body (i.e. shaman, clairvoyant, naturopath…). I got stopped on the street more than once to be asked what the light was around my head, or from light healers who just wanted to make contact. I dropped western medicine — despite a shattered pelvis my children were born at home because they made it clear to me ahead of time that’s how it would be safest and healthiest for all of us. My sexuality/libido radically shifted and orgasms began to fill the room around me rather than my body. My family shifted from a middle class normal house to giving our belongings away and living on the road, following intuition rather than society’s shoulds. I discovered I could heal with my hands (and we ALL have that ability). When I began going to professional holistic medical conferences without any previous training, the teachers called me aside for encouragement, praise of my questions (the most insightful in twenty years of teaching) etc. without any previous training — I seemed to know about healing from the inside out. Everything I’ve learned since has seemed to be remembering rather than learning. We have handled *almost* all of our health challenges as a family with plant medicine, or with our hands. (My healthy five year old son has never needed a doctor — we’ve handled all normal emergencies with energy/spirit/plants). I end up running into person after person who is experiencing difficulties with ‘kundalini awakening’ and I like to help them through.
There’s a ton more in the book. Here are a few relevant passages:
From the week of the accident on, I was equipped with a few new unwavering aspects to my perspective: Most of them are common to many people who have had similar experiences. An unraveling belief in any existing paradigm of thought an unrelenting obligation to notice everything within my subconscious space an unquenchable desire to serve the light, to share what I had come to understand within (and the maddening combination of having no way of showing or telling it and the firm conviction that it couldn’t be conveyed to most people most of the time anyway) a sense of peace and trust that the hurdles and difficulties in my life were deliberately and wisely self-chosen for a highly desired purpose. It is hard to express what a gift this awareness was.
So much of our suffering comes from wondering ‘Why?’ and ‘What if?’. Without these poisons recrimination and remorse — I was free to cleanly endure my battle wounds and transform them a sense of higher presence with me that has never left a buoyant sense of wellbeing deep within despite physical and emotional turmoil on the surface. A sense of detachment from the interactions and personal relationships in my life, a sense of pretending to be this person (this came and went for a few years) a sense of having already accomplished and learned whatever the ‘goal’ was in life, while at the very same time being very painfully aware that I had no concept of any of the details that bridge the two ways of knowing. I was unable to manifest even a small part of that kernel of wisdom within, and was an empty and shallow novice in so many things that mattered to living the kind of life I respected. I felt the strangest combination of all-knowing and knowing nothing whatsoever, of having intimate proximity to the ultimate source of power and at the same time having great difficulty getting my hands on top of my head to wash my own hair. The fast food-loving computer programmer from a lumber town had no idea how to work with the clear-eyed, burning-hearted, child-minded devotee that had taken charge within, and the work of rebuilding a broken body and life gave them both something to do while they sorted themselves out.
The Vedics called the sacrum the sacred bone, seat of the soul, where the coiled snake of Kundalini Shakti resides. This energetic force unleashed in my spine when the pelvis was broken open, a force that burns like electricity through my skin and senses and spirit and every decision I make. It has unfolded and intensified in my life ever since, leading inexorably to growth. My antennae — nervous system — is changed forever. My job here is to burn through emotional and energetic burdens, to transform whatever comes up, and there’s no turning away from it. (Plenty of stumbling, but no turning away!) Wherever this leads, I am willfully along for the ride. This path is so much a guiding force that before I could agree to marry my present husband, I had to warn him that I was already essentially married to something I would and could never leave, and that I didn’t know where it would take me. The remarkable man was cool with that.
Almost ten years ago I dropped conventional forms of contraception and began using communication with my unborn children instead. Actively projecting a No in the years we didn’t want a pregnancy, we sensed their desire to join us as if a cosmic window of fertility had opened, and when we were ready emotionally we invited them in. I remember one night silently extending an invitation to my son to join us, as he had been hovering and waiting. Just days later two chatty voices let me overhear “She’s pregnant, you know.” The other said, “Yes, with a strapping boy.” He himself told me he would be born a little early and it should be at home. Without ever taking a pregnancy test or having missed a day of my cycle, we were announcing our son’s upcoming birth to friends and family. And he is indeed strapping, was born a bit early, channels energy beautifully with his hands, and has a knack for communicating with wild medicinal plants. Two talented midwives helped us welcome both my daughter and son in home births because before and throughout pregnancy the babies — and my own inner guide — impressed to me how important it was for them and for my health as well.
(With a pelvis and sacrum that had been shattered, it wasn’t easy. But the natural births left them with radiant health and a gentle energetic entry, and left me with a far healthier pelvis and hips.) Last year we were shocked to witness my daughter at the age of seven doggedly stride off-path in the Sonoran desert, strike spontaneous yoga poses facing the red setting sun, and break down at the moment of sunset in a transcendent experience that left her crying in wonder for hours, staring at her hands as she cried “I’m so happy to be a little girl!, and swearing off birthday parties and ice cream and swimming, as long as I could stay right here forever being part of the rocks and plants. She has found her inner compass.”
My experience directly resulted in:
Large changes in my life.
Did you have any changes in your values or beliefs after the experience that occurred as a result of the experience?
Yes. Just pointed to some of those above.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience?
Yes. Just described some of them above.
Have you ever shared this experience with others?
Yes. 10 years before first speaking of it in any depth and beginning to manifest the healing talents. 15 years before able to give a speech on it, 16 before able to put it onto paper in Dance Through It.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience?
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened?
Experience was definitely real. More real than everything else — blew it all out of the water leaving me completely confused about how to interact in this world.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience at the current time?
Experience was definitely real . Same — and it has become a useful force now, instead of just a bewildering one.
Have your relationships changed specifically as a result of your experience?
Yes. Love, love, honesty, growth, love.
Some detachment from personal relationships.
Have your religious beliefs/spiritual practices changed specifically as a result of your experience?
Yes. Described above and in the book with more depth.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience?
Yes. Ongoing states afterward that were only semi-predictable (could feel them coming and get to a place of privacy before they hit)
Did the questions asked and information that you provided accurately and comprehensively describe your experience?
No. Some were very hard (and dishonest-feeling) to answer given the words you used. But then no words are adequate. The multiple choice ones feel particularly dishonest but I answered as closely as I could. For example, the word ‘God’ is meaningless and culturally loaded. The question “is your life significant” is complicated.
Please offer any suggestions that you may have to improve this questionnaire. Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience?
THANK YOU for this important work!!!!