01/07/14 Class Notes
By David Sunfellow
As always, the class began with a few moments of silence. After our quiet time together, I started the class with a video that featured the Dalai Lama, a gutsy reporter, and a cute joke gone bad…
National Geographic: Life After Life
While I didn’t play this National Geographic special during the class, I wanted to be sure everyone knew about it. It features near-death experiencers Christine Stein, Dr. Eben Alexander, and Anita Moorjani and includes comments from Dr. Jeffrey Long, Dr. Lakhmir S. Chawla, Dr. Kevin Nelson, and Peggy Kay, PhD.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSfNSTB-Xd8
A backup copy of the above video can be found here.
The Fourth Annual
Afterlife Awareness Conference
June 5-8, 2014
This year’s conference features 18 speakers, including Dr. Raymond Moody and Dr. Eben Alexander. For more information, go here:
Panel Discussion: ‘Experiencing Death: An Insider’s Perspective’
This is another video that I told the class about, but didn’t play during our class time. Here’s a brief description:
“For millennia, human beings have wondered what happens when we die. What is the first-person experience of dying and being brought back to life? Technological advances in resuscitation science have now added an intriguing new chapter to the literature of ‘out of body’ or ‘near-death experiences’ by eliciting detailed and vivid accounts of those who have approached the threshold of death. However we might seek to explain such phenomena, it is no longer tenable to simply dismiss this accumulating body of firsthand experiences. Can these experiences be explained through the lens of biology and neuroscience? What can we learn from the transformative accounts of those who have crossed the threshold of death? How have their experiences affected their sense of self and identity? Join neurologist Kevin Nelson, psychiatrist Peter Fenwick, orthopedic surgeon Mary Neal, and emergency medicine expert Sam Parnia as they share some of these remarkable stories and discuss how they analyze such experiences in light of their own backgrounds and training.”
For additional information, including original links, sister videos, background information, and related NDE links, go here.
Stop Worrying! There Probably Is an Afterlife
By Greg Taylor
“Steve Jobs have a vision of the afterlife on his death-bed? Does quantum physics suggest that our mind might survive the physical death of our body? How do some near-death experiencers ‘see’ outside of their bodies at a time when they are supposed to be dead? In ‘Stop Worrying! There Probably is an Afterlife’, author Greg Taylor covers all these questions and more. From Victorian seance rooms through to modern scientific laboratories, Taylor surveys the fascinating history of research into the survival of human consciousness, and returns with a stunning conclusion: that maybe we should stop worrying so much about death, because there probably is an afterlife.”
Alex Tsakiris interviews author Greg Taylor
December 10, 2013
For additional information, go here.
“In his latest book, Return to Life, Associate Professor of Psychiatry Jim Tucker details some of the more compelling American cases he’s researched. He also outlines his argument that discoveries within quantum mechanics, the mind-bending science of how nature’s smallest particles behave, provide clues to reincarnation’s existence…”
For additional information, including an informative article about Jim Tucker, his work, his previous book, “Life Before Life: Children’s Memories of Previous Lives”, Tucker’s website, and the UofA School of Medicine: The Division of Perceptual Studies website, go here. To review NHNE’s resource page on past life research, go here.
Colton Burpo Movie: Heaven Is For Real
We watched the trailer for the movie about Colton Burpo’s near-death experience in a previous class. We watched it again this week to introduce an interesting interview with Tood Burpo, Colton’s father and the author of “Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back“, which describes the near-death experience of his son. Scheduled to be released on April 16th, Easter weekend, the film was written and directed by Randall Scott, who brought “Braveheart”, “Pearl Harbor” and “We Were Soldiers” to the big screen.
“Heaven Is For Real’ Movie Coming Soon
By Diane Wetzel
January 2, 2014
When Hollywood came calling with a proposal to turn the best-seller into a major motion picture, Todd Burpo and his family did a lot of praying.
“I didn’t know anything about making movies,” Burpo said. “I had to learn to trust. God has to bring a lot of people to the project so the story can be told well and told right.”
“It was weird watching someone portray you,” Burpo said. “He [Greg Kinnear] played a better me than I do. There are some incredibly talented people involved, so it was easy for me to support [the project.] I did spend a lot of sleepless nights to get to this point.”
The movie is about a family that is embedded in Nebraska life, Burpo said.
“I was in high school when the movie ‘Footloose’ came out and it kind of made fun of small-town folk and the small-town way of life,” he said. “This movie is the opposite. It’s about people from the Heartland and it will make the Heartland life look pretty good.
“We all go through things, and I don’t think anyone will not be able to connect with it,” Burpo said. “When you have a little guy and just about lose him, how heart wrenching that is. Then that little boy starts to say things. There is a discovery of life that is incredible. Children are the purest, most innocent witnesses you are going to get. He wasn’t preprogrammed, he just told us what he saw. The movie is about us coming to terms with what he saw.”
The decision to go public with Colton’s story was a risk, Burpo admits.
“We knew some people would doubt it, attack it and criticize us,” he said. “We knew that would happen. We knew how much our son’s sharing helped us. We had to ask ourselves if it was right to keep that to ourselves. I had to make a decision. We took a risk, and with God, it’s worth it.”
It’s been three years since Burpo was first contacted about doing a movie, a rather fast track for the average Hollywood production.
“Most of it was filmed this summer,” he said. “It took about six weeks of filming from start to finish. There are so many steps involved, all the layers that go into a movie make it incredible. Each layer has its own quality of work that goes into it.”
Burpo talked with Scott many times while the screenplay was being written.
“By the time I saw the screenplay, it was very well done,” he said. “My input was on minor things.”
Burpo said he was nervous about seeing his book made into a movie.
God was with the project every step of the way, he said.
“A lot of the people who worked on the movie are people who weren’t people of faith,” Burpo said. “Yet at the same time, I really feel that everyone came together to tell Colton’s story in Colton’s way. I feel good about their commitment.”
Despite their fame, the Burpo’s are still living in Imperial where Todd is pastor of Crossroads Wesleyan Church.
“We struggle to stay as normal as possible,” he said. “I am still a member of the volunteer fire department, still the chaplain for the Nebraska State Volunteer Firefighters.”
On the decision to go ahead with the movie, Burpo said his motivation was the same as it was when he wrote the book — to share Colton’s story in the hope of making a difference in people’s lives.
“If the original feeling was to help people, then when do you stop?” he said. “If you’ve done something that has made a difference, when do you stop? Until God says it’s time to stop … until then you keep moving forward.”
For additional information, including photos and graphics from the movie, links to the movie’s website, more information about Colton Burpo, and related NDE links, go here.
The Near-Death-Like Experience of Yvonne Sneeden and ThinkHeavenNow
In 2008, a life crisis lead to Yvonne Sneeden having a near-death-like experience. During her experience, Yvonne entered a heavenly realm and encountered Jesus and various angelic beings. Yvonne is the creator of ThinkHeavenNow (THENOW), a member of both IANDS (International Association for Near Death Studies) and ACISTE (American Center for the Integration of Spiritually Transformative Experiences). She is currently working in collaboration with Sabine Van Den Bulke, psychotherapist and movement therapist with expertise in NDE Experiencers, in bringing spiritual and emotional support to help near-death experiencers cope with NDE after-effects.
We listened to a portion of an inspiring interview — from 22:15 until 25:06 — that Yvonne did with Lee Witting of NDE Radio.
Here is a transcription of the portion of the interview that we listened to, and discussed, in class:
“I know that other people have not seen Jesus – they have seen a being of light. Jesus is a being of light; it’s the same; he’s the light of The Creator to me, according to my experience. He said to me, ‘Yvonne, I love my babies.’ And when he [said] ‘my babies’, he meant… ‘I love humanity, I love humanity, I love my babies…’ It means every one of us regardless of where we come from – our life, our gender, our race, anything happening in our life, he loves everybody completely, and perfectly. And I said, ‘Oh yeah, I know, you were Jesus. You came on Earth to teach love, so no wonder.’ That’s what I was thinking. And then he said to me, ‘I’ll show you how.’ And when he said that, he took my heart and put my heart into his heart and we became one. And it was a complete oneness… we merged together, as one. For a few minutes I could actually feel each emotion Jesus had for humanity. And that’s the moment I cannot express with human words. It is way beyond any vocabulary we have. Imagine billions and billions of waves of compassion and love and forgiveness and kindness and goodness and light and purity — waves going for Earth and carrying us through, lifting us through. It’s difficult to explain that one experience. It was just beyond this world… There’s a prayer Jesus said when he was on Earth. He said ‘God let us be one like you and I are one…’ And that is exactly what I felt and experienced.”
To learn more about Yvonne and her work, go here:
ThinkHeavenNow Mission Statement
– Collect all available information on the knowledge and learning gathered during an NDE or NDE-like experience and assist others by sharing the new ‘heaven’s bound’ findings and change the world around us, connecting even those who did not experience a near death or spiritual transformative experience but are open souls ready to embrace a new way of living by taking the ultimate destination as starting point for this inner change.
– Be an open platform for near death experiencers to share how their life is lived today, how they cope with the after effects and linked them to others who shared a similar life changing event.
– Create a support center for Experiencers to connect with NDE specialist who can provide a timely assistance related to the specific needs.
– Connect NDE and NDE-Like experiencers globally and bring a public awareness to help change the way we see and live life with the knowledge of our next destination.
The End-of-Life Epiphany of Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert passed away in April of 2013. Here is a quote I shared in class that comes from his wife, Chaz, who described Roger’s last few days in this world:
“Roger looked beautiful. He looked really beautiful. I don’t know how to describe it, but he looked peaceful, and he looked young.
“The one thing people might be surprised about — Roger said that he didn’t know if he could believe in God. He had his doubts. But toward the end, something really interesting happened. That week before Roger passed away, I would see him and he would talk about having visited this other place. I thought he was hallucinating. I thought they were giving him too much medication. But the day before he passed away, he wrote me a note: ‘This is all an elaborate hoax.’ I asked him, ‘What’s a hoax?’ And he was talking about this world, this place. He said it was all an illusion. I thought he was just confused. But he was not confused. He wasn’t visiting heaven, not the way we think of heaven. He described it as a vastness that you can’t even imagine. It was a place where the past, present, and future were happening all at once…”
To read Chaz’s complete account, go here.
Documentary: ‘The Redemption of Howard Storm’
The remainder of our time together was spent watching, and discussing, a new documentary that features near-death experiencer Howard Storm discussing his life and what he learned from his near-death experience. The documentary is currently posted on YouTube in three parts. I can’t include it here because the filmmaker, Matt Cline, is not allowing the documentary to be shared on other websites. I will, however, share the trailer for the film and then list the three parts we watched in class. Here’s the movie trailer:
Part III: 03:00 – 10:25
The first segment we watched together in class comes from Part III. We watched from 03:00 – 10:25. Here’s a transcription of what Howard said:
“When he [Jesus] told me that I had to come back to the world and I was trying to convince him not to send me back…, I asked him what would I do if I came back… Before he had a chance to answer, I said you know I am an artist and I would like to build a shrine for you… I would make this shrine so big and beautiful and bizarre that people would come from all over the world out of curiosity to see what it was about. And what they would find was it would be about you. And that would make them think about you. That’s what I would like to do if I came back.
“He said, I would rather you didn’t do that.
“And I said, WHAT?!! People have been building shrines to you forever. There are lots of shrines. Why can’t I build a shrine? I would like to build a shrine.
“He said you spent so much of your life hiding out in the studio, avoiding people, I would prefer it if you didn’t avoid people by building this big shrine… I don’t really care about shrines. People like to build shrines. I understand that. It makes them feel good. It does absolutely nothing for me or for God. We don’t have any use for them whatsoever. If that’s what amuses you, I guess that’s what you gotta do. But don’t do it for me. Don’t deceive yourself into thinking it’s something I want or need, because I don’t.
“I’m like, OK, you shot down my idea, what’s you’re idea of what would I do?
“And he said, love the person that you’re with.
“And I said, OK, great, I’ll do that. No problem. What do you want me to do?
“He said, I just told you what I want you to do: love the person that you’re with.
“And I said, Yeah, but after I do that, what do you really want me to do?
“No, that is what I want you to do: love the person that you’re with.
“I said well, that’s simple enough, that’s easy, I can do that.
“And he said, oh really. Well, that’s what I want you to do. That’s enough.
“And I said, how is it enough?
“He said, if you do that, you’ll change the world.
“And I said, oh, you want me to change the world?!
“Exactly, that’s why put you in the world in the first place: to change the world.
“Well you know there’s been a lot of people that have tried to change the world and they usually turn out really pretty badly. I can think of examples like Adolph Hitler, and Joseph Stalin, and Mao Tse-tung. All of them wanted to change the world and they made it worse. If I go back and try and change the world, why isn’t it possible that I could a lot of terrible mistakes and make the world a worse place?
“The way that I want you to change the world is by loving the person you are with.
“Wait a minute, that’s a contradiction. You want me to change the world but you just want me to love the person I’m with?
“Yes, that’s the plan; that’s The Big Plan… If you love the person that you’re with, then they will go out and love the person that they’re with, and they will go out and love the person they’re with and it will be like a chain reaction and love will conquer the world and everyone will love one another. That’s God’s Big Plan.
“It’s not going to work.
“Why won’t it work?
“I love the person I’m with. They walk across the street and get run over by a truck. Everyone gets angry and upset.
“Yeah, that happens. But it’s really God’s plan and nothing is going to stop it. It’s going to happen.
“Even if you had a million people, I don’t think it’s going to happen.
“There’s more than a million people in the plan…
“Well, from what I know of the world, you don’t have enough.
“Actually, we have all the angels in the plan. There’s a lot of them. There are more angels than there are people in the world… There are millions of people. There are all the angels. There’s God. It’s inevitable. The plan is going to happen.
“If that’s your plan, I’ll do it, but I just don’t really see much hope for it.
“[And Jesus said], you don’t know enough to see how it’s going to happen.
“So, my solution to everything is to love one another. And when I read the Bible and found out that that was written in the Bible as Jesus’ commandment: this is my commandment, that you love one another… that’s the program. I have tried to be part of that program… So, I personally have no big plan other than to be loving.
“The only fly in the ointment was that I thought it was going to be easy, and it turns out to be the hardest thing I have ever done. It sounds so simple, but it’s really difficult. It’s easy for me to love my mother because she was a really nice woman and she was a very loving woman. It’s not hard to love someone who is really good and really loving. But what do you do with someone who is difficult, or really nasty? Those are hard people to love.
“And what does it mean to love someone? Sometimes to love someone means you need to incarcerate them. And that’s not a lot of fun. Sometimes loving someone means you have to put as much distance between them and you as possible and tell them to never call you. And that’s not a lot of fun. Loving someone sounds so simple but it is very difficult…”
Part I & II: 26:00 – 32:06
The next segment we watched in class comes from Part I & II. We watched from 26:00 – 32:06. In this portion of the interview, Howard describes his surprise — and then alarm! — at discovering that Jesus not only knew everything he was thinking on the other side of life, but that Jesus also knew EVERYTHING HE EVER THOUGHT AND DID period. As Howard pondered this, he describes how he realized that this meant that Jesus was also aware of his most private and embarrassing thoughts and actions. And, in spite of this, Jesus still loved him completely. As he continued to work his way through this information, Howard concluded that if Jesus still loved him no matter what he did — or had done — then everything was OK. He could relax. He also describes conjuring up a vision of a naked woman and Jesus delighting in that as well. Howard then began talking about how Jesus (and the angels that Jesus had gathered together to be with Howard) reviewed Howard’s life with him. Howard saw how they loved him no matter what he did, but they were very sad whenever he acted in hurtful ways. And the reason they were sad surprised him. They were sad because they knew when Howard acted in hurtful ways, he was actually hurting himself. Finally, Howard shared a very moving story about how he had acted tenderly and selflessly towards his older sister. Jesus told Howard that this event illustrated how we need to love one another. Be sure to watch this one!
Part IV: 04:00 – 04:32
I didn’t play this segment, but did quote it: “My ex-wife would be happy to tell you that I am the biggest looser in the world…” In this portion of the video — in Part IV, from 04:00 to 04:32, and in other portions that I didn’t share with the class, Howard mentioned how before his NDE he was very successful in the eyes of the world, while afterwards he has struggled in this world.
Part III: 11:44 – 16:16
Finally, I returned to Part III and played from 11:44 – 16:16. In this portion of the interview Howard mentions that he didn’t believe in reincarnation, in spite of the fact that he remembered a life as a small girl living in a concentration camp in World War II. Based on his conversations with Jesus, Howard came to believe that the universe is not only teaming with life, but that a time will come when we can share the experience of beings living in other realms and worlds NOT by traveling to their worlds in space ships, but by sharing experiences telepathically. He felt a similar process was at work with reincarnation. In this segment, Howard also mentioned that he felt the Earth was one of the lowest grades of spiritual development in the universe — like day care — and that there are many other places we will go to learn after our experiences are finished here. The universe is, again, teaming with life and wonderful things await us.
While I shared what I felt were the best portions of Howard’s interview with Matt Cline, I urge everyone to watch all three videos, in order, from beginning to end. Cline did a marvelous job filming Howard, and Howard was delightfully honest, humble, and sincere. I don’t think it is possible to watch this interview and not be deeply moved by Howard and what he has to say.
The Redemption of Howard Storm
Our next NDE class will take place on Tuesday, January 14th from 7:00 PM until 8:30 PM at the MSV-NHNE Community Center.
The Mustard Seed Venture – NewHeavenNewEarth Community Center
82 Saddlerock Circle
Sedona, AZ 86336
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 2.1 can be downloaded 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. This ongoing, evolving, cutting-edge work is co-sponsored by NewHeavenNewEarth (NHNE) and The Mustard Seed Venture.