Rick: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of conversations with spiritually awakening people. We’ve done over 660 of them now. If this is new to you and you’d like to check out previous ones, please go to batgap.com, B-A-T-G-A-P, and look under the “past interviews” menu. You’ll see it organized in about four different ways. This program is made possible through the support of appreciative listeners and viewers. So if you appreciate it and would like to help support it, there are PayPal buttons on the site. My guest today is Anastasia Wesselink-Mollering. Anastasia is a Reiki master teacher. So in other words, you are a teacher of Reiki practitioners as well as practicing it yourself, right?
Rick: Okay, got that. She’s a meditation coach, an intuitive life coach, corrective exercise specialist, fitness nutrition specialist, and a self-proclaimed “recovering Zumba instructor” that has turned her lifelong pursuit of holistic wellness into a thriving holistic wellness practice, offering services online and at her wellness studio located outside of Chicago. But that’s not why I’m interviewing her. I’m interviewing her because after dozens of profound spiritual experiences, she had a life-changing near-death experience in 2019, and she’ll be explaining that to us in detail. This has given her a fundamental understanding that unconditional love is our natural state of being. With a powerful combination of consciousness, awareness, and intention, Anastasia has worked with hundreds of clients to create access to a transformational force that aids in letting go of mental, emotional, and/or physical pain, in turn creating lasting inner harmony. She is an ambassador of living a fully integrated, balanced, and intuitive life. Okay, good. So I think we’ll just have you plunge right in, unless you’d like to go back even further in time. But if you wish, you could just go ahead and start with your near-death experience, which happened about three years ago, as I understand it, and we’ll take it from there.
Anastasia: Sounds good. Well, thank you so much for having me on the show. I have to say that I actually stumbled across the show shortly after my NDE, and it was an interview that I found to be quite powerful. It was one I think you did in Sedona, so I’m really excited to connect with you and talk about it.
Rick: Is that with Ishtar?
Anastasia: It was.
Rick: Okay, good. Ishtar is a good friend.
Anastasia: Yep, absolutely. So yeah, it’s been almost three years. It was December of 2019, and I had an experience that, quite frankly, I’m still unpacking it. I’m still trying to develop words and vocabulary and a whole host of different analogies and metaphors to really try to even scratch the surface of what the experience was like.
Rick: I think you’ll be doing that all your life, actually.
Rick: It never ends.
Anastasia: I do appreciate these types of conversations. I know, like you and I were talking about before the show started, it feels, from my perspective, like when I tell my story, it’s one more time that I’m telling it, and that it seems a little bit repetitive for me because I’ve told it so many times. But really and truly, what I love about it is each time that I tell it, there’s always another question that’s asked, or a question that’s asked in just a little bit of a different way that provides a perspective that is enlightening, even from my own understanding of it. So I do love these conversations. But in December of 2019, I went in for an invasive dental procedure. I was in a dental chair, and I was getting nitrous oxide. Now, I’d never had this procedure done before. I’ve never had any of this type of treatment done. And certainly I’d never had nitrous oxide. Now, as the dentist was getting me prepped, I had the mask over my face, and I started to feel this really strange sensation in my body. Now, because I had never had this procedure done or anything like this done before, I didn’t know whether it was normal or whether it was something that I should be concerned about because it felt really unusual. And the best way I can explain it was that it felt like with each breath, I was coming out of my body and then falling back into it. And each time, it seemed like I was coming out a little bit more and falling back in. And eventually, it reached a point to where I took this breath, and it felt like I went way out of my body. And it actually created this sense of worry, and I thought I should probably say something at this point. And before I could say anything, I was out of my body, and I was in the ceiling, and I was looking down at my body in the dental chair. Now, this has really been, from this point on, one of the hardest parts to try to describe because in our everyday life, we’re used to time in a linear sense. We’re used to something happening at 9 a.m. and then 10 a.m. and then 11 a.m. But where I was, there was no sense of time. It was as if everything was happening all at once, and my awareness was surrounding it all at once.
Rick: This is a question that I haven’t heard anyone ask you, and it just occurred to me. When you were looking at yourself in the dental chair from the perspective of the ceiling, could you also see the dentist standing there next to you, or was he not even in the room at that point? You were just going under.
Anastasia: I believe the dentist was in the room because the dentist was in the room when I came out of my body. The dentist wasn’t in my field of vision. But what I do remember seeing very clearly, and I’ve never talked about this because no one’s ever asked, is as I was looking down, the dentist had those TVs that are mounted in the ceiling. There’s some sort of harness that holds it down from the ceiling, and then it kind of floats maybe like a foot or so below the ceiling, the TV does, as it’s pointing down to the chair. I was at the point where it was like I was at the corner of the TV, and I could see the mount, and I could see the edge of the TV and the plastic. And I talk about when I flip over how I see the dust in the ceiling, but I could see the dust on the edge of the TV too. And as I was looking down, it was like the edge of the TV was kind of in the corner of my vision. And so I didn’t see the dentist, but I did see that, and that is one thing that always just seems inconsequential, but really interesting at the same time because it was like I was positioned in such a way that I just ended up somewhere in the ceiling. It didn’t seem like it was really purposeful where I ended up. I was just in the ceiling.
Rick: Yeah, and it is, I mean, an obvious question that is fascinating is how is it that we can see without physical eyes, and could blind people tap into that capability?
Anastasia: Well, when I started telling my story early on, I would talk about how my eyes would close, and I left the dentist’s office, which I’ll get to as we get through the story a little bit here. And somebody asked me that exact question, “Well, how is it that you could see if you didn’t have physical eyes?” And I didn’t have an answer for it because I really don’t know how it is that we can see without the physical attributes of our physical body, all of our senses. But it seems to me that the physical seeing that we have is at the soul level, which is what I end up calling this aspect of me that came out of my body. It seems to me that that part of our essence has an ability to see, to hear, to taste in some instances. I personally didn’t experience taste, but since having heard other NBEs, I do know some people did have that experience. But it seems as if our physical body in some way, shape, or form replicates what our soul is able to experience. But from the soul aspect, it’s much more direct, and it’s like you embody the feeling as opposed to processing the feeling.
Rick: Yeah, and you’re going to say something in a minute about how beautiful the dust was on the ceiling. And that actually brings up another interesting point. So why don’t you continue with your story and get into that?
Anastasia: Yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely. So as I’m in the ceiling, it is as if the notion of time doesn’t exist. Now, I do talk a little bit about how, you know, in that place, time not existing is something that unless you experience it, you really just can’t. You can’t understand it because we don’t have any experiences here where time doesn’t exist. But the really interesting thing is, is that it is as if we are able to kind of tap into that kindlessness in our physical body when we do certain things, which I just want to put that in there so that way when we get later on, we can talk about that a little bit. Because I think those are the elements that are really interesting about these types of experiences that I’ve heard through other NBEs and my own experience as well. How do you get back to that experience? How do you bring that experience into the physical when you’re awake and not dead? Because, you know, what good does it do if we have to die to have that wonderful, profound experience? So I’m in the ceiling and I’m looking down at my physical body.
Rick: When you say in the ceiling, you mean up near the ceiling, right?
Anastasia: Yeah, I’m up near the ceiling. And I’m looking down at my physical body. And even though it’s been a couple of years or a few years of processing, this is still by far the most profound takeaway that I have from my entire experience. And when I was looking down at my physical body, I said to myself, “what am I doing up here?” I didn’t say, “what am I doing down there?” And on the surface, that seems like a pretty logical question to ask. It really is one I think anybody would ask. But what I realized in that moment was that by asking that question, I wasn’t asking the question of what was I doing down there where my physical body was. I was asking the question of what am I doing up here? That means the I that I was identifying with was not my physical body. It was the part of me that was in the ceiling that, again, just for the sake of simplicity, I’ll call it the soul. And that was the part that I identified with. That was the I am that I understood to be who I actually am. My next thought, again, without this idea of time, was am I dead? And those two thoughts combined did something. Because I flipped over, and this is the part you were talking about with the dust in the ceiling. I flipped over and the ceiling was so close to my face. It was like, I don’t know, inches maybe, maybe even less than an inch. And I noticed all of the cracks and the crevices and the dust. And I just found it to be so beautiful and miraculous. And it had this excitement to it, this awe that would be as if you were seeing a beautiful mountain scene or a waterfall or something that was just awe-inspiring. But it was just dust. And yet it created the sense of wonder inside of me. And with that, my eyes closed or something came down, and I was out of the dentist’s office, and I was gone.
Rick: Yeah, the point on the beauty is I was reminded of William Blake, you know, cleansing the windows of perception. And it’s like, there’s something in the Bible also about seeing through a glass darkly, you know, and then eventually the glass gets clear and we see through the clear glass. But I think everyone’s familiar with this concept, especially people who are on a spiritual path, that we’re all shrouded over with layers of whatever, some crud by various names, which dim and cloud our perception, not only of the world but of ourselves. And the whole spiritual enterprise could be thought of in one way of as clearing away all that detritus so that our senses and all our inner vision are clear and unobstructed. Anyway, I just wanted to add that little commentary. And then, you know, you find a dusty ceiling to be beautiful, or, you know, as people report to me, just like they’re in the grocery store and, you know, picking out vegetables and they weep with the bliss of the beauty of what they’re perceiving, you know, because it’s just so profound when we’re not clouded over.
Anastasia: That’s a really good analogy and it kind of makes me think about how, because I noticed so intimately, I had this experience so directly that my body is not who I am, that I am this essence that uses the body basically like a vehicle. It seems like our body serves as a mean, and this is one of the things that we’ll talk about, you know, speak it toward the end of my experience, that our body is a physical sensory tool. And it serves the purpose of carrying us so that our souls can have this experience in the physical. And your explanation that you just used kind of makes me think about, you know, the soul. If you could imagine the soul getting into a car, an actual car, and when you get into the car, the windshield is all dirty. And so you can’t see life clearly because the windshield’s a little dirty. And so the act of seeing clearly through the soul is actually like cleaning the windshield off the car so that you can see everything just as clearly through the body as you can through the soul.
Rick: Yeah. In the Bhagavad Gita, the soul in this sense is often referred to as the dweller in the body. And the body is actually compared with a vehicle, or sometimes it’s compared with a suit of clothes that, you know, you discard when they become worn out and put on a new suit of clothes. But in any case, then they have the concept of sukshma sharira, it’s called, which is the subtle body, which actually contains all the senses, the mind, intellect, all those faculties, but just not necessarily in a physical body. It can be, and it is as we speak now, but if the physical body dies, that carries on without the physical body.
Anastasia: Yeah, it’s interesting. Ever since my NDE, I have listened to a lot of other NDEs. I’ve really found myself completely drawn and magnetized to them. But one of the things that I have not wanted to do, and I’ve made it a very specific point to not do this, is not read any spiritual texts. I don’t want to muddy my experience with spiritual terminology that’s out there where I think it could be really easy if we’re not really sure about something we’ve experienced, to try to find the closest thing and then put it in that box. And even calling experiences NDEs, I think are still a box that we use to try to understand something that’s bigger than just our physical experience. And so all of these ancient texts and books and kind of new age spirituality, I haven’t read any of them. And I try really hard to not get invested in that because I feel like we were talking about earlier, it really feels like the ability to build a vocabulary and understanding around this is something that isn’t about the past. It feels like it’s something about that moment, that experience, and putting an understanding to that that isn’t somebody else’s understanding. Like, it’s personal to me, so it has to be reflective of the words and the experience that feels right based off of what I went through. But that’s hard to do because there’s a lot out there.
Rick: Yeah, it might muddy it if you read a lot of stuff, or it might clarify it, or both, depending on what you read. And I wouldn’t necessarily say this is a universal prescription that no one should do it, but I respect your choice of doing it. And maybe five years from now, you’ll be reading this stuff because you’ll feel like it’s appropriate at that time, but who knows?
Rick: I mean, people have been experiencing this kind of stuff for thousands of years, and so there are some pretty good things out there where they describe their experience and the understandings they’ve developed based upon it.
Anastasia: Yeah, and absolutely. I think that’s a really important point, too, is that one experience, my processing of it right now is not going to be the same in a year from now. It’s not the same as it was a year ago, and it’s going to be probably something I am processing for the rest of my life.
Rick: Yeah, I think we all are. I don’t think anybody’s finished, but that’s a whole other topic. Anyway, continue on. We’re breaking this up in little bits, but I want you to tell your whole story.
Anastasia: Yeah, so I left the dental office, and I talk about it as closing my eyes, and that’s what it felt like. It felt like I closed my eyes, and I opened them, and where I opened them was this place of immense, complete, total bliss, love, comfort, every word you could possibly use to describe something that feels so loving and warm beyond anything that we could experience in a physical body.
Rick: So when you say you opened them, do you mean there in the dental chair when you came off the nitrous oxide, you opened them and you were experiencing bliss, or do you mean that you opened them when you left the body and experienced all kinds of bliss in a disincarnate state?
Anastasia: Yeah, so when I was in the ceiling, I closed my eyes, so I wasn’t in my body, and when I opened them, I was no longer in the dental office at all. I was in a place that I have come to call the void, or the oneness.
Rick: I see, okay. And you’re saying eyes. Were you able to see things in that void?
Anastasia: Yes, but because it was completely black, it was as if I was seeing blackness. Now, what is really, I think, the hardest thing to get across about what I experienced in this place is that when we hear the word void, we tend to think of something that is undesirable, or scary, or lacking, and this was anything but that. This was completeness, and I’ve come to describe it as it was actually the void of anything not complete. I did see, but what I saw was just total darkness. It was as if I was in, somebody had used this word, and I loved it. It was as if I was in potential. I was in absolute creation or potential, and everything in this place, what I felt, what I knew, and this is a really important distinction to talk about this idea of the void. We talk about this idea of understanding and knowing, but in this void, everything that had ever happened, will happen, going to happen, has happened, was all there. It was as if every possibility, but everything that was complete existed in this place, and I was a part of it. I was intimately a part of this void, which is why I ultimately call it the oneness, because although I did have a point of awareness in there that seemed to be individual to me, I was very much one with the entire void or oneness that I was experiencing.
Rick: And you knew this then, as you were experiencing it. It wasn’t something you just recollected later on when you came out.
Rick: Okay. And when you say everything that ever happened was there, were there actually specifics, like all the great symphonies and all the world wars and all the crazy stuff, and then the dinosaurs? Or was it more of a sense of just complete fullness, which must necessarily, by its nature, contain all possibilities, past, present, future, whatever?
Anastasia: So I found myself becoming really, like becoming one with it. It felt like what I was in this place was expanding into this oneness or this void. And as I expanded, my understanding of what was available there, the completeness and the knowing, the all-knowing that was there, was something I was expanding into. And so as I was expanding into it, I found myself wanting to know more and more and more. It was this, like, euphoric bliss of connecting with an all-knowing, but also realizing that I was part of it as well. And so I didn’t have specific, like I didn’t see the dinosaurs roaming that I can remember, but when I came back, I came back with like one very, very specific knowing that I was able to retain. But it was like when I came back, you know, this aperture or my eyes or whatever you want to refer to them as, as it closed, it felt like all of that knowing that I had was kind of closing down with this aperture. And so since then, I’ve tried to understand why is it that I wasn’t able to bring all that knowing back? Why is it that all of that understanding wasn’t something that intellectually I could know here in my physical body? And I think that’s a question I’m going to be answering for a long time or attempting to answer. At this point, what I can tell you is that what I feel to be the case from my experience and from being in that oneness, the void, the completion, is that our physical bodies are not at a place where we can understand what is in that place. I’ve used this explanation before, and it’s not a great one, so I’m going to preface that right now. This is not a great analogy, but it would be like going back to a primitive culture that has no concept of our modern technology, has never been exposed to the internet, to Wi-Fi, to skyscrapers, to cars. And talking about your commute to work with your navigation system and your self-driving car, there would be no ability for that civilization to understand anything we’re saying. There would have to be a process of building upon and understanding after understanding to get to the point to know what all of these things mean that we use today in our everyday life that just seem everyday. It felt to me like this is the same thing. All of that knowing, all of that infinite understanding wouldn’t be something that I could even begin to understand because I don’t have enough, I don’t have the stepping stones in between to really understand what that means. There’s no place for me to bring it back into my physical brain to be able to communicate about it. So what I feel like what I brought back was the one thing that I was able to connect with that I could understand and make some sense of it. Now every time I talk about this, it does seem like there’s a little bit more that I begin to understand because like we were talking about before, every time a question gets asked it might get asked a little bit different and that opens up a new understanding. But in this place, since we’re talking about the words understanding and knowing, in this place it wasn’t like our physical brains where when we learn something we have to process it, we have to maybe do something several times to understand it or we may have to hear something several times to understand it. In this place it was instantaneous, it wasn’t understanding, it was just knowing and it was a knowing that you would never doubt it because in the knowing you just knew it was truth, you knew it was all complete. And the thing that I find the most interesting about being in this oneness or this completion, void, is I couldn’t ask a question. I could only be curious about something and then it would come into my awareness and I had this curiosity that continued to amplify sort of like an avalanche, it just continued to pick up speed. And coming back, reflecting on that, I believe the only reason that I could feel like I could not ask a question was because everything was already known. And to ask a question would infer that there’s something unanswered and in this place everything was answered and known.
Rick: That’s great. Let me recapitulate and see if I got it right. So, you were in this sort of field of all possibilities, home of all knowledge state, and the dense, the gross, dense world that we inhabit as human beings, just as a poor reflector of that, it takes a lot of refinement to culture the mind-body system to be able to reflect that more clearly, and we’re all working on that. And this thing about not being able to ask a question, the way I understood what you said there is that it would be too gross or explicit to articulate an actual question as I might articulate right now. All you needed there was a faint intention, just the faintest impulse of curiosity and the knowledge would come without having to bring it to a gross level. Is that a fair way of describing what you said?
Anastasia: Yeah, that seems to be pretty spot on. And it was instantaneous. And the thing that I want to make sure that I’m really clear about with this is that when I was there, it wasn’t like I was having these thoughts about the fact that I couldn’t form a question. I recall that as I was in this place and I was expanding, I had this very acute sense of individuality that expanded and began to dissolve. So I was acutely aware of my individual self, but then it became like I just didn’t care about it. It was inconsequential as I was dissolving into the something else that I called the void or the oneness. And so it isn’t in that time, like I was sitting there going, “Oh, this is really interesting. I can’t ask questions. I just need to be curious.” And so I wasn’t having that thought process. It was when I came back and I was experiencing it again that I became really profoundly just kind of speechless. When I came back with this idea that I couldn’t ask any questions. The only thing I could do was be curious. And that curiosity was what pulled in the knowing into my awareness.
Rick: Well, do you remember what you were curious about and what knowings got pulled in?
Anastasia: So I do remember and I don’t remember the specifics of this in terms of, again, like I didn’t see the dinosaurs walking the earth or anything. But I was acutely aware of the vastness of our soul. I was acutely aware of the fact that it was almost as if in this place, you could see through the eyes of every soul that has and does ever exist. And that our experiences from the soul perspective are so big, so numerous, and so outside of time as we understand it. That you could take every soul that’s on the face of this planet and if you were to put it in relation to this place that I was at, the oneness of the void, it would be as if it all existed on one grain of sand in comparison to just how big our soul experiences are. And so it felt like this physical experience, although, and I want to be really careful when saying this, because I never want to minimize our physical experience. We are here. It’s profound. It’s meaningful. It has value. In relation to the whole soul experience, this life, it’s not even the blink of an eye. It’s like the thought of a blink of an eye. It is so fast in relation to the totality of our soul and the totality of experiences that our soul is having. And I use the words having very specifically because what we’re experiencing here right now in the physical is one experience that our soul is having right now. Our soul is having infinite other experiences. Some here in this life that we call earth in a physical body. And some in embodiments that we don’t even understand because our ability as humans to understand what’s beyond our existence just hasn’t evolved yet. And that the soul, this void, this completeness is just that. Our souls are absolutely complete. And that is a very clear knowing that I brought back that there is nothing that we can do or not do in this physical life that would make our soul any more or any less complete. And so when I talk about what I brought back in terms of like a really kind of like clear, succinct understanding is that in this physical life, when we think about the things that we do day to day, they have meaning here. How we feel is incredibly and vitally important. And the impact that we have on other people in terms of our contributions to how they feel is also incredibly important. But there is no translation, and I want to be really clear, this is from my experience, there is no translation of doing good here and having good in an afterlife. Or doing bad here and having bad in an afterlife. That there is absolutely nothing that we can learn as a lesson that’s going to alter the completeness of our soul. And so the beauty of our physical experience, in many respects, it kind of lets a lot of people off the hook who really live a life where they feel like they’re constrained by their actions in the past that they can’t change. And a fear that that may result in something in an afterlife. The idea of a heaven or hell, from what I experienced, is absolutely a possibility. You can create an experience for your soul to have heaven or hell. Because as a soul, we’re creative beings. But you are not sent to a heaven or hell by something outside of you as a result of what you do in this physical life. And to say that, you know, something that is just that fast has ultimate sway over the immense totality of our soul is really, really more reflection of where we are with our understanding of the soul here in the physical. If I were to kind of boil it down, I would say this. That the life that we live here, it’s not that we’re living to give the soul or the spirit value. It’s that we’re living this physical life in order to give the physical life value by allowing more of that soul to be awakened within us in the physical life.
Rick: Good. So, when you use the word “soul,” the way you’re describing it, in my conception of things, it sounds like you’re talking about universal soul, this vast, unbounded, all-inclusive totality. And in that respect, there aren’t 8 billion of those, you know, representing 8 billion people on Earth. There’s one of them. And we all share that foundation in common, the way trees are all planted in the same ground in a forest. Am I with you on that, or are you actually suggesting that each of us has a soul that is as immense as you have described, and that there are billions or trillions of them?
Anastasia: So, there’s two ways that I’ve come to describe this, because it is both. It’s both. But that’s not an easy thing to really wrap our head around. So, the two ways that I’ve come to describe this is, white light is a combination of millions of different colors of rainbow. And if you were to refract that white light in a prism, you would be able to see each individual color. Each one of those colors is like our individual soul experiences. They’re individual, they’re distinctive, but yet they’re still part of that original white light. The other way I like to explain it is a symphony. A symphony is made up of many different notes and instruments, each one playing a different role. And when you listen to it, you might be able to pick out different instruments, but it’s the totality of the music that you really hear. And so, the totality is the oneness in each individual instrument’s playing in harmony or dissonance is our individual soul.
Rick: Good. I know you don’t like traditional terminology much, but that pretty much jibes with the traditions who say that, you know, there is ultimate reality, Brahman or Atman, and then there are individual jivas or, you know, beings, but those ultimately are none other than that totality, Brahman. They just kind of divorce themselves from it, apparently, temporarily for a while and have experiences forgetting that they are actually the totality in their true nature.
Anastasia: And that is really, you know, my experience where I was expanding into this oneness would be like me going from that point of an individual light, say a red or yellow, going back into the totality of all the lights combined, creating a white light. And so, because everything in this place had already been complete, was already known, it was really clear that if any one of those points of light, any one of those colors, any one of our souls didn’t exist, that that completeness or that oneness also couldn’t exist. And so, each one was vitally important, no matter how bright, how dim, what color, if you will, using that metaphor, they were all vitally important because without it, that totality could not exist.
Rick: Yeah. So, you’re like a raindrop falling into the ocean and realizing, “Oh, I am the ocean,” I guess we could say, if you like that metaphor. And that thing you said, “If any one of us didn’t exist, the totality couldn’t exist,” it reminded me of a quote from theologian R.C. Sproul who said, “If there is even one maverick molecule in the universe, there is no God.”
Anastasia: And you know, the idea of the drop in the ocean is something that I had heard as I explained, like, you know, to my closer circle what had happened to me. And somebody used that drop in the ocean and it didn’t fit, and only for this one specific reason. Because when you take the drop out of the ocean, the drop and the ocean are still the same. The important part of this is that each light in a prism is different. So, a pink light is different than a purple light. And when you put it all back together, it creates a white light. When you take a drop out of the ocean, it’s still the same drop. Each drop is the same, because it’s all the ocean. There is no individuality to it. It’s just all, like, dividing a piece of the whole. The really important part about what I experienced was that the individuality is there. It isn’t, my drop isn’t the same as your drop. My color is different than your color. My sound, my pitch, my instrument is different than yours. But when you put them all together, it makes the whole.
Rick: Yeah. Well, every snowflake is unique, they say. And yet, if you melt them all down, they’re all H2O. You know, it’s all water.
Anastasia: That’s another beautiful one. I’m going to save that one. Thank you. I needed another one to explain it.
Rick: Yeah. So, I mean, we appear to be different, but ultimately we’re all one. There was an incredible string band, had this line, I think it might have been from a Rumi poem, “Light that is one, though the lamps be many.”
Rick: Nice. I won’t sing it for you. Spare you that. [Laughter]
Anastasia: Maybe next time.
Rick: I’ll have to look it up. On this point of, you know, there’s no good or bad, we’re not learning lessons here, and there’s no sort of ultimate consequences to what we do here, that one I have to chew on with you a little bit. So, I don’t know, let’s say that Mahatma Gandhi and Adolf Hitler die on the same day, although they died several years apart. And, you know, they get to the other side and they’re greeted, “Oh, Adolf, oh, Mohandas, good to see you both. How did it go? Congratulations, you both did a great job.” I mean, you know, it just is intuitively grating to think that there are no consequences, you know, between such different lives as those two examples lived.
Anastasia: What I experienced, and again because of this expandedness, it’s hard to say that it was any particular one point after I left the dental office, but what I experienced was that we feel everything that we experience, that we live through, but we also feel that in relation to our relations with other individuals and the way that we impact how other people feel. We feel all of that as well. And so, it is felt, but it’s felt without this mental process that we might assign to it here in the physical. Like in the physical, we think about it in terms of this person did these really heinous things and we’ll judge them as bad and we put them in a box as being that. There, it was more like you had this experience that created these feelings for you and the people that you interacted with in your life, and you’re going to share that experience then. It’s almost as if everything has to come back and be complete on the soul level. Everything that you experience in the physical life comes back and you experience it, even if you didn’t feel it yourself directly, you feel it in relation to those that you interact with. So, if you create environments that are joyful in nature, you will experience the joy that other people have felt because you were connected to them in that way. If you create experiences that are painful, you’re going to experience the pain that everybody else experienced as well. But the thing that makes people really uncomfortable, many people, not everybody, is that there should be some segregation of that on the other side. It would be impossible because everybody is part of the oneness. Everybody comes back into this place of complete and total love. When those experiences come back into this oneness, everybody is made complete again. Everybody is renewed and the physical life and the things that happened in the physical body, you expand outside of them. They become inconsequential. We’re really involved with them now because we’re in a physical body. But as you expand into this oneness, what happens here is no longer within your awareness as you expand into more and more and more. It becomes a part of the experience or the completeness, but it isn’t what we use to… We don’t segregate souls on the other side like we segregate people here.
Rick: So if as you expand into this oneness, you are no longer cognizant of the things you did in your life, at what stage do you experience the consequences or the feelings that your actions had inflicted or blessed other people with? Because you mentioned that also. Is that like a transitionary phase where you experience that and then you expand into the oneness and all is forgotten?
Anastasia: This is what’s really interesting about my experience. When I came back, I did a lot. I hit the internet doing research, trying to figure out what it was that I experienced because I didn’t have any words for it. It’s through working with IANDS and getting on different Facebook groups that I began to…
Rick: IANDS meaning the Association for Near-Death Experiences, right?
Anastasia: Yes. Thank you.
Rick: What is it called? International something.
Anastasia: International Association of Near-Death Studies.
Rick: Right. Yeah. I’ve interviewed a bunch of those folks. But anyway, continue.
Anastasia: I did have…
Rick: So you started putting everything together. You’re researching on the internet and….
Anastasia: Yeah. I didn’t have any vocabulary at all for that. And so, one of the things that is often talked about with near-death experiencers is this idea of a life review. Now, I did not have what I’ve heard as a traditional life review. What I had was this idea of choosing to experience everybody’s feelings. But it felt like… This is a hard thing. I’ve never really tried to articulate this before. So bear with me here. So this is me trying to come up with the vocabulary. It felt like I had the ability to choose to have that life review. And if I did have a full life review, then my outcome would have been different. Meaning, I may not have come back to the dental chair. And I chose at some level to come back, but not in a way that I brought back that understanding. There’s like this knowing inside of me. But it wasn’t like there was somebody that greeted me and said, “Okay, you can have a life review. You can come back.” It just seemed to be this understanding that’s within me.
Rick: Yeah, that makes sense. I mean, perhaps we could say of everyone who has had a near-death experience that it’s still not quite the same as a death experience. Like, you can only go so far, you know? And then you have to come back. And if you were to actually die, you might go farther than anybody who’s gone in a near-death experience. I’m just speculating, but maybe that’s the way it is.
Anastasia: Yeah, and I think that’s where even the term “near-death experience” is one that I suspect is going to be evolving for us. The terms that we will use, I don’t know that we will be using “near-death experience” to describe these for a very long period of time.
Rick: Yeah. When you were studying all these NDEs, did you ever read Danny and Brinkley’s books?
Rick: He’s this guy, he’s still alive, he’s in his 80s now, but he had been a sharpshooter in Vietnam, and he had killed people. And he has had four near-death experiences, twice because of getting struck by lightning, and I think another couple ones were heart attacks or something. But in every case, he had a life review in which he experienced the feelings not only of the people he killed, but of their families and everyone in their sphere of influence. He kind of had to process all the ramifications of his actions in that way, and then he came back. And it made him a much more compassionate person. He ended up working in hospice care with people who were dying and stuff like that.
Anastasia: Yeah, that’s a really great way to explain this notion of we feel what we have had an impact on for other people, whether it be what we would call positive or negative. I mean, we have to use those words because ultimately our physical nature is to want to desire things that are wonderful and joyful and avoid those things that are painful and hurtful. And so we label those things that are enjoyable good, and we label those things that we want to avoid as bad, because it’s just simply how our physical nature is. On the other side, it just all is. It’s all an experience that we have, and the feelings that we have in this soul experience are a part of that whole.
Rick: Yeah. This thing about people not being compartmentalized on the other side, obviously there are various traditional understandings. I know you haven’t read a lot of that stuff, but in the Christian world, it’s eternal heaven or hell, which never made sense to me. If there’s a compassionate God, why would he burn you in flames forever for some minor infraction in the big picture? And then in the Hindu view, they have kind of a more nuanced view that there are like 14 different levels, seven higher, seven lower, but none of those are permanent. You go there for a while, and then you come back or you move on or something, but you never get stuck because evolution has to continue. And no soul can ever be kind of stuck in some halfway stage. It’s inevitably got that has to continue. So, I guess, you know, and these are just philosophies. Who knows? That one resonates with me more than the eternal damnation thing, for sure. But I guess, you know, your reflections on that, if you wish, and also, you know, how certain can we be about any of these things? I mean, do you feel like you’re having had a near-death experience gives you certitude with regard to the things you’re saying now? Or is it just like your best hunch or your best intuitive insight based on what you have experienced so far?
Anastasia: Yeah, those are two really, really big topics. Let’s start with the hunch or the intuitive knowing, if you will, because I think that’s a really, really important piece to talk about. What I experienced is just that. It was my experience. Do I have any doubt about what I experienced? Absolutely not. It is as real to me in this moment as it happened almost three years ago. It is a part of me. It would be like you being on the Titanic and it’s sinking, and then you survive it, and somebody says, “You know what? It didn’t actually sink. That was fine. You didn’t experience anything.” I mean, you know because it was so profound. You know what you experienced, and you know everything that you brought back from that experience. No one had to tell you it. You didn’t have to understand it. You experienced it firsthand.
Rick: Sure, and I just want to say I don’t doubt your experience for a moment. I’m not suggesting, you know, I’m not sort of doubting it. I fully am on board with what you experienced. I guess I’m just questioning how do we draw conclusions from such experiences, and to what degree can we be sure that the conclusions we’re drawing actually reflect the way the universe works?
Anastasia: So that is the, kind of the “but” I’m going to put to all of this. So this is my experience. It is without a doubt, it is my experience. And I think any time we share these types of profound experiences, we all need to listen to them with the idea that they add to the total story. I believe what I experienced is a piece of the total story. It would be impossible to say that what I experienced is the soul’s infinity and totality in a one hour or two hour podcast, or even if I could write volumes and volumes of books before I pass away. It would be impossible to say that that would encompass the entire soul experience. I believe, and this is my belief, not from my experience, but this is my belief as I understand and process things today, that because I came back with the understanding that we are attempting to bring the bliss of the soul into the physical experience, that all of these experiences are contributing to us as a species, as humanity, to get us closer to that.
Rick: “All of these experiences” meaning NDEs like you had or all the experiences we have?
Anastasia: Mine, other profound experiences, everything. Everything is really, I mean if you boil it down, everything is spiritual. There isn’t anything that isn’t spiritual in nature when we use that as our definition. But just like that early, you know, primitive culture that we talked about wouldn’t be able to understand if we were to describe technology and Wi-Fi to them today, the way we’re talking about this now is going to sound very primitive to our understanding if we were having the same conversation a thousand years in the future. And so, my experience is one piece of that understanding and what I came back, and the way I try to talk about it is I do try to make sure it’s really clear that this is my experience. My desire is not to push, you know, a belief system out there. I don’t think we need any more belief systems, any more dogma. I believe that we have the opportunity to choose peace, love, and joy. And we also have the opportunity to choose things that are not peace, love, and joy. And ultimately, what we are experiencing here is the most important aspect of our human existence. It is our experience. It is our feeling because it’s the feeling that we experience again when we’re on the other side. We don’t bring our cars with us. We don’t bring our, you know, homes with us. We bring the connection and the feeling almost as if we can replay those feelings like a movie. That’s what we take with us. The experiences that we have here is the whole reason why we’re here. That’s what I came back with understanding. And to kind of pick up a little bit to wrap up the NDE experience, when I came back into my body, I had this like aperture that was closing to this void, this oneness, this completeness. And I was trying to hold on. I just remember I wanted to hold on to this knowing that I had. But the only thing, the only specific, like if I could write down like verbatim, knowing that I brought back was that our bodies are like sensory tools. The whole point of the physical body is it’s like a sensory tool collecting sensory information that the soul then understands the physical experience. There is that’s why I come back saying there is no good or bad. There is no right or wrong. And there are no lessons to learn in a way that translates to what we experience on the other side. It’s because the entire experience of being a physical body is so that we can understand what it is like to be a physical body from the soul level. And I know words are really important, especially when we talk about what something means versus maybe a kind of a figure of speech. I really am very specific when I say there are no lessons to learn as a way of punishment or reward. What we are doing in the physical body, though, is we are learning to evolve our understanding of what it means to be more than a physical body. It doesn’t mean it’s a lesson to learn so that we can have a great afterlife. But it means that we’re evolving to understand generation after generation so that our souls can have these very direct, clear windshield experiences of what it’s like to create in the physical.
Rick: That’s great. Yeah. And not only generation after generation, which hopefully will be happening, like you said, a thousand years from now, it might be a lot better than it is now. But we as an individual, insofar as we are an individual, we are growing and evolving. And if you and I are around a thousand years ago and years from now in some body, hopefully we will have amassed a lot more wisdom by then. At least that’s the way I see it. I mean, do you? Are you on board with that notion that we perhaps reincarnate or whatever we are continues on and continues to grow and evolve? Or you see it differently?
Anastasia: So, the physical body and the soul as two separate entities, the soul doesn’t evolve. The soul is complete. That is my understanding of what I experienced. It is bringing that completeness or that completion into the physical body and opening up the physical body’s senses in such a way that we can bring that all-knowing, infinite connection into the physical. I’m going to use another really bad example.
Rick: So far they’ve been pretty good.
Anastasia: So, this is horrible because nobody likes the idea that we describe the physical body as cars or computers or downloads or any of that. But again, these are the words that we have to best describe as things, as a way that we can understand right now. The physical body, this is how I’ve understood it, the physical body is a product of biology. The emotions, not the feelings, but the emotions that we experience are a product of our physical reaction and our mind. Feelings are the essence of the soul, if you will. They are not emotions. So, it’s not the fleeting happiness or the anger or reaction because somebody cut you off in traffic. That’s not the same thing that is the feeling that is the soul. Those are emotions. Those are biological nature. It feels to me like that biology is what is evolving generation after generation with more and more understanding of how to bring the soul into it. Without the soul, the mind, the brain, our physical brain collects all of our experiences, right? You get up in the morning, you make your cup of coffee, maybe you drive to work, you sit down in front of your computer, you walk your dog, you go to the gym. And there’s a set of experiences that you have and your brain is collecting all of that information. And throughout the course of our lives, the brain is taking each experience and adapting to a better understanding of what it thinks would be pleasurable and desirable and what is dangerous that we should avoid. So, the physical brain really can only understand what it’s been exposed to. It cannot really have any knowledge outside of something that it has, unless it’s taken it in in some way. The soul, on the other hand, is infinitely intelligent, holding all the knowledge. So, I dislike the term download as much as anybody else, but when we connect to the soul, it is as if we are able to capture a piece of that infinite knowledge and knowing and bring it into our physical minds. And there, now we’ve learned something new. It’s like another input of knowledge to be able to connect to that infinite all-knowing oneness. And it gives us more understanding and it gives our body and our biology another layer that gets passed down to the next generation and the next generation and the next generation.
Rick: I’m good with all that. I would just add something to it, and that is that just as biological entities evolve, both over long spans of time and over the course of multiple lifetimes, if we believe in reincarnation, we might be incarnated into more and more refined bodies. I would say that there’s an intermediary piece that you might be missing here, which is the sense of the jiva, or the subtle body, which I agree with you that the soul in the absolute sense probably doesn’t evolve, because it’s absolute. Evolution means change, how can it change? It’s already full. But there’s a sort of an intermediary connecting link, which is the individual expression of that, which resides in body after body, and that can evolve. St. Teresa of Avila said, “It appears that the Lord himself is on the journey.” So, there might be some level of universal intelligence which itself is evolving, and I like your expression that we’re like sense organs of the infinite. I forget exactly how you put it, but that’s the way I put it. We’re each ultimately one with the infinite, and yet having this physical experience as a sense organ which has a limited range of perception and experience, but somehow all of us collectively are like sensory mechanisms of the vast collective universal intelligence. And I’m getting a little wordy here, but somehow the whole universe in the way I’ve sketched it out seems to me like one giant evolution machine. There is completion and perfection and fullness, and at the same time there’s growth, paradoxically. Okay, good enough. That’s all I’m going to say. You can probably comment on that.
Anastasia: I think that if I were to translate what you’re saying into my experience and try to make that parallel or connection, that would be the color that you are when the white light refracts into those multiple millions of rainbows of color. Like your prism or something. You could choose to be a purple, you could choose to be a pink. The music analogy, you could choose to be an A, a G, a B, a B flat. You can choose which one you want to be. Right. And it’s through having experienced all of them, which is infinitely expanding, by the way, so there really is no completion in that respect. But by experiencing every single one of those colors, every single one of those notes, from that perspective you could say there’s a soul evolution. Because the soul would go from being this color to this color having had those two experiences. And those experiences may show up differently. Here in the physical body, that’s what it is, it’s a physical body. In another incarnation it could be something completely different that we can’t even conceive. And so, the soul is having these individual experiences because there is a point of individuality. But it goes right back into its full. It has this return back to a oneness that happens with each one.
Rick: With each lifetime? Or with each individual?
Anastasia: With each soul experience.
Rick: In the course of a lifetime. In other words, we live 80 years, we return back to the oneness, is that what you’re saying?
Anastasia: The soul having the physical experience would return back to the oneness.
Rick: And then what?
Anastasia: And then it has multiple experiences.
Rick: In other words, it does it again, has more experiences.
Anastasia: It’s not again, it’s simultaneous.
Rick: Ah, that’s right.
Anastasia: From what I experienced, it was all simultaneous.
Rick: People say that, yeah.
Anastasia: If you were to imagine a hub and a spoke, imagine that the center hub is the oneness. And then imagine millions of spokes coming out three-dimensionally, right? Not just one or two-dimensionally, but three-dimensionally. Millions of spokes coming out. And they all came out to a point. And I’m using this as a metaphor. This is just strictly a metaphor. So, please, nobody imagine that this is exactly how it is. But imagine that at each point, at the end of each spoke, was a soul experience. So, it’s connected. It’s separate because it’s individual. It’s having this individual point of awareness. But when it’s done, it goes back in and another one comes out. Now, that soul experience could be what we call reincarnation. It could be another lifetime experience here. But that soul experience has infinite number of different experiences it can choose from. It can be in this reality, dimension, universe. Those words don’t mean the same thing, but I’m using them interchangeably. Or it could be in realities that don’t even exist here. And that is the difficulty for us to try and put an understanding to it right now because we don’t have the words yet that explain what is outside of what we have as our known universe.
Rick: That was good, though. That resonated with me. I mean, to a certain extent, we’re just playing around here with possibilities and trying to conceive of things that are outside the range of our immediate experience. But it’s fun to do that. And it’s fun to be open to all possibilities and not to be dogmatic about any one of them because, you know, who knows. But another quote from the incredible string band, it was, “Whatever you think, it’s more than that.”
Anastasia: Mm-hmm. I love that. That’s another one I’ll take note of here.
Rick: I’ll send you the song later that I’m getting these quotes from. A couple of questions came in. Let me ask these questions.
Rick: So question one, Deborah Schwartz from Chicago, probably knows you, although Chicago is a big place, really enjoying the interview. Did you see any deceased relatives during your NDE?
Anastasia: What I felt was that I could connect to anybody at any point in time. In the immediate move from the dental office to the oneness, it felt like I could connect to, from a feeling perspective, to anybody that I was connected to in my physical life. But as my experience evolved, I had no desire to. I had no desire to stay connected to the physical life. And my awareness and understanding of it dissolved as well. So the way I like to explain it is, is that if I were to have stayed in the void, it feels like I would have reached a point where my individual awareness of my physical life would have been something that I could never have explained. That I would have been so far from it that I would not have been able to talk about my individual experience the way I can here now, talking about, you know, when I was a kid and teenage years and even talking about my NDE. There, it feels like I would have reached a point to where I would have had to have had something trigger me to be curious about all that physical life that I had as Anastasia.
Rick: Yeah, what was that like again?
Anastasia: And then my curiosity would have brought that knowing back. But only in that immediate right after did it feel like I had the connection to where I could feel anybody. I did not have, because I was in the void. And some people have said the void is like the place that you go to in between something else where you go through the void. It’s the absolute potential. And that is where your soul makes the decision as to what experience it wants to have next. And that’s where you go out and have the experience. Whether that’s the case or not, I am not going to speculate on that. But that is one explanation I’ve heard. And in that place, I didn’t go have another soul experience. My soul decided to come back into the physical experience that I just came from.
Rick: Right. Did you ever read Michael Newton’s books? He’s a life-between-lives guy. And I interviewed a guy who was a student of his, Rob Schwartz. But anyway, he was a psychologist who was into regressing people hypnotically. And he got into some past life regression stuff. But then he found that people were starting to experience the period between lives. And so he specialized in that. And he probably interviewed or hypnotized a couple thousand people into that experience. And there was a lot of consistency in what they said. And he mapped it all out. And he has a book, I think, called Life Between Lives. And there was another one. But interesting stuff. I don’t know if you want to sully your understanding by reading these different things. You’re trying to stay innocent. But if you feel like delving into something, check out that one. Here’s another question from Mike. Oh, did you want to respond to that before I go on?
Anastasia: No. I think there’s probably many experiences of the same thing. But this is also something to keep in mind for anybody who’s watching this interview or any profound experience that we have outside of our physical body. Just like when we come into the physical life, no two people have the same physical life. We’re all here living. We’re all in physical bodies. That is universally the experience we’re all having. But your experience in the physical body and my experience and everybody’s experience is unique to that individual soul in that individual body. And so just like there are no two lives that have had the exact same experience, there are going to be no two NDEs that are going to be exactly the same. Every NDE, think about it as every NDE story being just like every person telling their own personal physical story. You’re never going to hear the same two. It’s always going to be a unique perspective of what it was like to have that experience. But just like if you were to set us all down, all seven or eight billion of us, we would all collectively say, “Hey, we’re having a physical experience here. We’re on this planet called Earth.” Well, maybe all of us would say that. I don’t know. Assuming we would all say that. We’re on this planet on Earth and we’re physical bodies and our heart beats and we have these attributes that are universal across all of us to buy and large. That is the same sort of thing on the other side. There are attributes that are the same on the other side, but the experience of it is going to be as varied as there are number of people telling their stories.
Rick: Yeah, which is not to say there won’t be overlap, just as there is overlap among human beings. We’re talking about what life is like. But everybody has their own flavor and their own unique insights. I mean, if you read all the different NDE books, there are commonalities and then there are also uniquenesses, which are…
Anastasia: Yeah. It’d be just like if I were to… I’ve never been to Paris, but if I were to go to Paris and see the Eiffel Tower for the first time, and I think it’s beautiful. And I come back and I tell you about it and I’m like, “Oh, it’s so gorgeous. It was just awe-inspiring structure.” And you might say, “Yeah, I’ve been there. I really didn’t think it was that big of a deal. It’s just a hunk of metal.” Right? We both did the same exact thing, but we came back with two very different types of experiences.
Rick: Yeah, yeah. That’s an important point in general. I mean, two people can be sitting on the rim of the Grand Canyon looking at it, and one of them is in a real blissful state and the other is depressed. And one of them is thinking of jumping off the edge, and the other is just in rapture and awe at the beauty of it.
Anastasia: That’s right.
Rick: Yeah. That was one of my big ahas when I was a teenager when I experimented with drugs for about a year, which is I kind of assumed unconsciously that everyone more or less saw the same world. And all of a sudden, I was seeing the world so differently, and I realized, “Whoa, the name of the game is to change the way you see the world, not to change the world.” Although changing the world is good, too, but I think it was Gandhi or somebody said that it’s a lot easier to put shoes on your feet than to cover the earth with leather.
Anastasia: I love all of these. I’m going to come back and watch the replay of this, and I’m going to jot all of these great little analogies down.
Rick: Okay, good.
Anastasia: Analogies and metaphors, I love them.
Rick: Another question came in. This is from Michael Moran in Ireland. “The instinct not to read scriptures is a curious one for someone that has had strong mystical experiences. Mother Mira, who’s an Indian holy woman or teacher, reports seeing visual images of Hindu stanzas in meditation as a young teenager. She says that the message was not to read the scriptures, but rather direct experience was more important for her. Perhaps this is a trait of old or developed souls or of mystic types?” That’s his question.
Anastasia: So I say, kind of building off the Paris example that we just talked about with the Eiffel Tower, the most — if I were to boil everything from my experience down as to why we are here in a physical body, it is to experience what it is like to have a physical body. That is simplistic in nature, but incredibly varied and complex because our experiences here are just that. They’re varied and complex. But how we experience life and what we experience feels to me is the ultimate reason why we are here, based off of what we understand today. How you feel is fundamentally the most important question you can ask yourself every day. I see a lot of people day in and day out, and I don’t want to get into anything about my business or my clientele or anything like that because that is a completely separate element from this conversation. But just to say that — You can mention some of that stuff if you want. I don’t care. I really don’t want to because I feel like that takes away from this experience.
Anastasia: But I say that to put it in context that I see a lot of people on a regular basis. And for those that are watching this that have seen me one-on-one or have been a client of mine will know exactly what I’m about ready to say. I ask the same question of every single person who comes to see me, and I ask it every single time they see me, whether it’s every day, once a week, or twice a year. If you could feel the best you could possibly feel right now, what would that be? That is the question based off of my experience that every person could be asking themselves every moment of every day to unlock what it is that their soul wants to experience in this physical life. If we boil everything down that we do consciously, it all comes back down to an experience of a feeling that we want to have. You could ask yourself why, why, why through any number of different scenarios. You want to buy a house. Why? Because I want to be surrounded with something comfortable. Why? Because comfort helps me feel secure. Why? Because security means I could be content. Why do you want to be content? Because I want to be peaceful. Why do you want to be peaceful? And then you get to that point and you realize there’s no other answer. Because when you get to the point to where there’s no other answer, that is the feeling that your soul wants to experience right now in this physical body. If you can ask yourself that every moment of every day and then make the choice consciously to allow that experience to come forward in your physical life, you allow yourself to begin to create from the soul versus creating from this black and white binary contrast that is our physical mind.
Rick: That’s good. And I would add to it that however good you might be able to conceive yourself feeling, there’s more. There’s a great section, and I think it’s the Taitiriya Upanishad, which talks about levels of happiness that are possible. And it takes the most happy, fulfilled, healthy, wealthy person you can imagine on earth and then goes about 10 or 11 different times, multiplying that by 100 as it steps up to higher and higher possibilities. And in each case, it ends up saying that that level of bliss is the equivalent of the bliss of Brahman or the bliss of self-realization. Or to put it in your terminology, the bliss that you experienced when you were in that state of completeness. So, no relative possibility in terms of house and car and partner and wealth and all that stuff is going to be ultimately satisfying. And all are sort of eclipsed by the bliss of knowing the ultimate reality, experientially, not just intellectually.
Anastasia: And I think that’s the aspect of our physical experience that probably most closely mirrors what I experienced in the void. Because that expansive awareness was unending in the void, but it was instantaneous. And when we’re here in the physical, we have that same sort of expansion. And I believe expansion might even be a better word to use than evolution. Because as we expand that understanding of our potential, we begin to bring in new understandings that we didn’t have from the point of view that we were at before. And so, I love that idea of the expansion, even in the physical. Because without that, then we would still be primitive back in the stone ages. We wouldn’t have the awareness, understanding, and intellect that we have today as a species. And what we will have again in a thousand years from now is going to be different than where we’re at even today.
Rick: Yeah. Well, here’s another little quote for you. “The expansion of happiness is the purpose of creation.”
Anastasia: So, okay, that reminds me of a saying that I adopted after my NDE. And piggybacking a little bit off of this commenter’s question from Ireland, which by the way is a bucket list. I really want to get to Ireland at some point in my life. I haven’t been there. I came back with this idea that instead of considering God as a noun, I consider God as a verb. And a verb that we are all a part of.
Rick: Buckminster Fuller wrote a book called “I Seem to Be a Verb.”
Anastasia: I feel like my reading list is getting longer and longer.
Rick: Your bucket list, yeah. Here’s a question from Tristan Hanlon in Manchester, UK. Got to go there too before you’re done.
Anastasia: I’ve never been there either.
Rick: Okay. I’ve been there actually. I think I flew into the Manchester airport and went down to Keele University to teach a meditation course for a couple weeks. This was like 1974. Anyway, here’s her question. Or his question. I’m not sure if Tristan is a man or a woman. Oh, it’s a him. Okay. Question. Do animals also have a life review in which they experience what other creatures around them felt? For instance, for example, a crocodile would have to feel the terrifying experience of thousands of creatures trying and failing to escape its jaws. This seems pretty awful, not to mention unfair.
Anastasia: Yeah. So my experience was that our soul, every living entity has a soul. Everything is part of a soul energy, if you will. And that there are different colors of soul using that prism analogy. And some may exist in this set of colors and some may exist in this set of colors. Let’s use neons versus pastels, for example. And we’ll say the pastels is a human life and the neon is a different life, different type of life. We’ll say animal life. Again, these are not literal. These are just metaphors. When you bring them all back together, they’re all still white light. But how you experience what you feel is going to be based off of the type of soul, if you will, the color of your soul in the physical experience. So the neon and the pastel is going to experience physical life differently. The feelings that they have are going to be different because they’re coming at it from a different lens. Their ability to see is different and their feelings are different. And so we do not want to project human beliefs and experiences onto other entities. The way we experience this physical life is unique to being human. The way an animal experiences physical life is unique to an animal. The way a tree experiences physical life is unique to a tree. How they experience it and what they feel from that experience is going to be different and unique to them as that species. So I think it’s normal for us as a species to try to understand our place in the world and in the universe and in the grand scheme of what life means. But I also think it is naive and maybe even not productive to project how we experience life onto every other entity and how they experience their life.
Rick: That’s really good. And in fact, it works in both directions. I mean, you might be anthropomorphizing the crocodile. On the other hand, some people anthropomorphize God. They say, for instance, how could there be a God? Because there was the Holocaust. And how could a God of any conception allow such a thing to happen? And I could give my answer to that question, but or maybe you could. Why don’t you have a thought on that?
Anastasia: So it’s interesting. I was actually kind of thinking about this a little bit this morning for some reason. I don’t know if other people who have NDEs do this. I’ve never asked the question, but I tend to think a lot about the place in life and experience. The idea of God, as we understand it today through the thousands of different religions that have come to the surface to help us define and understand a God, has all been about something outside of this experience. And what I mean by that would be like, if we are sitting here in a room, it would be to say that everything that we experience in this room is only important because then it’s going to change what I experience when I’m outside of the room. And so all of the focus truly on the experience isn’t what’s actually happening in the room. The focus is in the mind because the mind is trying to project what it thinks is going to happen when you leave the room. And so we disconnect from this idea of embodying that aspect of God because we believe that the God is something out there, but we don’t know what out there is. So all we can use is what’s in here. And again, what’s in here can only know what it sees. And what do we see? We see each other. We see how we react. We see how we have emotional ups and downs and we have desires and we have punishment and reward. So we assume that what’s outside that door is also going to have that. When we can move our concept of God to not something outside a door on the other side, but each one of us are a walking embodiment of God because we’re each an individual color of that whole prism, your idea of God becomes very different. And now you start living from that versus projecting God from this black and white dualistic ideal. That is all we have and we’re sitting up here.
Rick: Yeah, I’m not an expert on Christianity, but I believe they say here and there in the Bible that God is omnipresent and omniscient and omnipotent, all those omnis. And if that is the case, then that means that, you know, whatever we are is none other than God, essentially. And whatever this pen is, is God pervades this. In other words, it’s that all pervading intelligence is the essence or the soul of everything.
Anastasia: So that color of the light, the prism color that is in our physical body, the soul that is driving the vehicle of the physical body is what’s connected to the oneness, the completeness, the all knowing. And anywhere that there is life that is connected to that. Then there is going to be what we would call God. But again, my understanding when I say that is that God is a verb, not a noun. So God isn’t static. It isn’t a thing. God is the totality of every experience that every soul has ever had. That is God.
Rick: Yeah, maybe you could elaborate on that a little bit. I’ll ask you a question to help you. So in this pen, you know, there’s plastic and it must have certain chemicals in it. And if you could look at — and the chemicals are bonded together through certain laws of nature. And if you could look on the atomic level, there’s little electrons spinning around the nucleus. And all of that is happening in accordance with very elegant laws of nature. As that quote said earlier, if there’s even one maverick molecule in the universe, there is no God. So everything is orchestrated in a perfect divine dance, as I see it. And you can’t find a hole in it. I mean, you could go anywhere in the universe and you wouldn’t be able to find anything that was devoid of that deep orderliness and apparent intelligence. So that’s my idea of the omniscience of God. And yeah, I don’t know how that fits with God being a verb versus a noun. But you could say God is a process, I mean, a process of intelligence orchestrating creation, I guess.
Anastasia: And it feels to me like that orchestration is one–from this experience, anyways. And from–to a certain degree, I could feel this in my NDE, but it’s more prominent here in a physical. It’s an orchestration of achieving a balance or a harmony. And that balance and harmony comes when we are able to fully bring that soul aspect of ourself into this physical life. It’s like filling up this vessel with just our soul essence versus running on the autopilot that is our brain most of our lives.
Rick: That’s really good. I have a couple of friends that come to mind when you said that, whose lives by external appearances are really challenging and chaotic and sort of always topsy-turvy. But they’re living in such a state of inner harmony and balance that it just flows effortlessly for them and smoothly and joyfully. And they feel like it’s all this beautiful blessing that they’re experiencing. From the outside, no one would — many people wouldn’t want to trade with them. But from the inside, being in that state of oneness with the divine intelligence, it’s all perfect.
Anastasia: That reminds me of when I was in the ceiling looking at the specks of dust and just how absolutely beautiful and profound I found these what we would consider to be completely insignificant and even nuisance elements of our physical life. When you are fully embodied with that essence of oneness, that is who we really are, and you live from that place and you see through the eyes of that oneness, then your life experience is going to be one of looking at dust and seeing awe. Looking at every experience and seeing awe. Because you have no choice. That is simply the way that you are experiencing the physical life. You’re experiencing it through the embodiment of that oneness. Not through the embodiment of the mind, the body, but through that thing that is infinitely wise and all-knowing. I’ve mentioned this one other time at an event that I was at in August, that when I came back from my NDE, I sought out a lot–when I figured out I had an NDE, I sought out a lot of people, authors, and things of that. And while I hadn’t read books on spiritual topics, I did listen to a lot of NDEs and stories of NDEs. And one in particular that really stood out to me was Anita Morjani’s. And not so much the experience, because the experience itself, it was like I completely felt everything she was talking about. But in terms of bringing back practical application, that’s always the challenge, right? You have these big profound experiences. It’s like, okay, but what does that mean for everyday life? Is that going to change my commute to work, or am I going to be able to manifest winning the lottery, whatever the case might be? But for those that aren’t familiar with Anita Morjani, she had terminal cancer, had an NDE. And in her experience, the thing that stood out to me about her NDE was she realized that she was far more powerful. And I say that in the sense of completeness. She was far more powerful and complete than she ever allowed herself to see in her physical life. That she had always been denying some aspect of herself through the force of her physical life. And as a result, that had in turn played a part in her getting cancer. And that when she came back, she realized that the – I think she used the flashlight as an analogy. Like she had only seen like a flashlight worth of who she really was. But in her NDE, it was like she had the floodlights on in this infinitely large warehouse, and she could see everything. And when she came back, she came back with this as the perspective, not this. And that completely changes the context of how we live our lives. When we realize that we are this and not this, then fear is no longer fear. Experience becomes the most important element. Bringing the joyful oneness into our experience becomes the most important thing that we can do. And living from that becomes the only way. Like it’s the only way to be authentic in our day-to-day lives. And so her experience, I think, really, really illustrates just how important it is for us to see ourselves as more than just the makeup of the physical aspect of this body that our soul is driving around.
Rick: Yeah. I’ve interviewed her a couple of times if people want to watch those. And I mean, for her, a big thing before she got cancer was fear. I mean, she was afraid of getting cancer, like terrified her. And then she got it. And she was expected to die within hours. I mean, she had gone unconscious, and they didn’t think she was going to come around again. And then she had this fabulous NDE, and then she came out of it. And within a couple of weeks, all these lemon-sized tumors throughout her body had healed up. And she’s been cancer-free ever since, and just gung-ho going around the world talking about this.
Anastasia: And so that is why, you know, if you listen to her story, you know, she puts it again, her experience was different than mine and everybody else’s. But when you use that experience, it’s almost like thinking about when we are trying to add value, we are not trying to add value to that all-infinite power. The warehouse filled with floodlights is already lit up. We’re trying to turn all those lights on here so that we’re not just the flashlight. We’re trying to bring that soul experience into this physical body. And when we do that, we do have things that we call miracles today because they are not every day like her miraculous remission. And I know she’s been, you know, studied by doctors and medical communities across the globe. And her remission is considered miraculous. But if we were all living that way, say, maybe in a thousand years from now, I don’t know why a thousand years seems to be significant, but we keep going back to that number. That might be something that’s just commonplace. It may not seem like a miracle in a thousand years from now.
Rick: Yeah, it could be. I keep hearing from people about Dr. Joe Dispenza, who himself recovered from a severe, I think it was a car or motorcycle accident. And then he has these big gatherings and all kinds of profound healings reportedly take place. I’m sure it’s not just him, but this kind of stuff is under the radar of the medical profession and the mainstream news and all, partially because I think it’s outside their paradigm. And it would take a big restructuring of the paradigm to accept the reality of it. But it’s happening.
Anastasia: Yeah, it’s one of the areas that I really embrace after my NDE. I like to say that I’m not a spiritual person. I’m not a mystical person. I’m way too pragmatic to kind of call myself any of those things. But one of the things that I keep going deeper and deeper into since my NDE is energy, energy and vibration, energy as a healing tool and vibration as a means to help us reconnect to that soul aspect of who we are. It feels to me, based off of what we have available to us right now, that those two elements are probably our two biggest tools to help us bring that soul aspect of ourselves more deeply connected to our physical body.
Rick: So energy would be like reiki kind of stuff, and that would be an example of it. And vibration would be like bioral beats, whatever they call them, that kind of thing.
Anastasia: Yeah, so reiki is just the one cultural way to call energy. So ki, chi, mana, prana, source, unconditional love, they all are the same things, just different cultural viewpoints of what it means to be life force energy. That, in Anita Morjani’s example, is the warehouse with the floodlights all turned on. It’s stepping into that because that is the infinite all knowing that knows how to heal the body, that knows how to correct and create balance where there’s imbalances. That is the most powerful aspect of what we have available to us right now. Sound, as a vibration, is something that feels very much like it transcends our physical body, and it seems to be more part of a universal connection between our soul and our physical. It feels like our soul is vibration, and our physical body is vibration. And it’s almost like we’re trying to bring the two into harmony together so that we have this beautiful symphony between the soul and the physical, and that the soul can have this beautiful physical experience. There was a doctor who is no longer alive. He wrote a book, and it’s escaping me right now, but the doctor’s name is Dr. Mitchell Feener. And he was an oncologist, Western trained oncologist, who stumbled across the use of sound in order to treat cancer. And he worked with his patients, both in the Western style of medicine, but incorporated integrative functional with sound as a means to complement the Western. And he found through his work that the incorporation of the sound worked to repress the gene expression that was causing cancer. So, you know, being a Western trained doctor, I’m sure he had to tell a very careful line in talking about, you know, aspects of sound, because it’s not a prescription. But he was really making some headway, and I can’t think of his book, so maybe at some point, you might want to add that in the description or something here, but it talks about how powerful sound is and how available it is to all of us to use as a way to help treat, you know, different things that we experience within the physical body.
Rick: Yeah, yeah, and obviously in spiritual traditions, sound is an important thing. Chanting and hymns and mantras and all those things are just, you know, different aspects of sound. And it’s considered to be just what you said, that, you know, different sounds have different effects, and the body can be like a tuning fork that, you know, when a certain sound is presented to it, it can, you know, resonate, begin to resonate with that sound and vibrate in the same frequency and undergo all kinds of nice changes. So, this is one of those thousand years from now things, but also it’s a now thing, because a lot of people already know this and are taking advantage of it.
Anastasia: Yeah, well, wouldn’t it be pretty interesting if YouTube was around in a thousand years and this video has, you know, 860 million, billion views at that point, and they’ll go look back at this like we do old footage of, you know, those movies that were on the reels, you know, we watch those today like they’re archaic. People will be watching this video saying the same thing about us.
Rick: I’ll have to set up a foundation to collect all the ad revenue from the 800 billion zillion views. I get the sense with you and a lot of NDE people that this wasn’t a one-shot deal, and obviously you’ve been saying that, but it sort of was more like lighting a fuse or something. And it will continue to reverberate throughout your life and has been for the past three years. I have a feeling that every day you wake up and, you know, your day is very different than it would have been had you not had that experience.
Anastasia: Absolutely. You know, I’ve talked about this a little bit before that. Before my experience, I had just extreme social anxiety. It would be very difficult for me to do something like this or to talk publicly because the anxiety was just crippling. When I came back, you know, I don’t want to say it was instantaneous because I think there was still a little bit of a processing that I had to do. But I found that how I interacted with the world was very different. And I largely feel that it’s because I have this understanding that there’s nothing to fear. I can’t get anything wrong. Even, you know, having this conversation here, I have never prepared for a single podcast interview. I’ve never prepared for a live event. I’ve never scripted anything out. Sometimes I might take some notes just in case I get off on a tangent, I can bring myself back. But I always feel like the most important thing for me to say is going to be whatever needs to be said in the moment. And this conversation is different than, you know, the six other podcasts that I’ve done or events that I’ve done because what needs to be said right now is different because we’re in a different place. Before my NDE, I would have had every single word. Like I would have tried to write the whole thing out, memorize it, try to, you know, make sure that I could have everything written out word by word that I could reference back. There’s just a level of we’re just here to, we are, we are here to experience that bliss that is the soul. We are here to bring that in more and more. There is no judgment. There is no getting this life wrong. There is no, you know, eternal damnation. There is nothing to fear. That’s the cliche. I’ll add my own in here. My own quote, there’s nothing to fear but fear itself. It’s so true.
Rick: Yep. That’s Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s first inaugural inaugural address.
Anastasia: And so coming back with that, that understanding just released these chains that I had around myself, you know, self imposed, I’m sure. But it freed me from almost all fears. I would say the only thing that I fear at this point would be. I don’t think I could climb to that tower on the top of the that tallest hotel in Dubai. I don’t think I could do that. I think that would be too much fear for me. Other than that, I’m okay with almost anything.
Rick: Yeah. There have been guys who’ve jumped off that with a hang glider and sailing.
Anastasia: No. No.
Rick: Sometimes fear is a good thing. It protects you from killing yourselves.
Anastasia: It has its purpose.
Rick: Yeah. But I’ve talked to a couple of people in the last few months who were having some of the most beautiful spiritual awakenings and unfoldings that I’ve ever heard from anyone. And I’ve heard a lot of them. But they were kind of terrified because there was a dissolution of ego taking place. And their ego, their individual self sense was hanging on for dear life. And at one point, one of these people was actually literally kind of sitting there gripping the coffee table because she didn’t want to let go of the sense of isolation, really, sense of individuality. And I think all it took with both of these people was a little reassurance and something really good is happening and you can just relax into it. You’re not going to disappear. And sometimes people just need to hear that. Even from, you know, you can get it from a book, you can get it from various places, just to realize just a little change in attitude. There was a great book by a lady named Suzanne Siegel called Collision with the Infinite, which I mentioned in other interviews. And she had this thing which she popped into this, you know, state of awakening where she couldn’t locate a sense of personal self anymore. And she was terrified. And she went on for 10 years being terrified until she finally met a spiritual teacher who reassured her that something good was happening. And then she relaxed into it and totally enjoyed it. But, you know, it’s really important to have a little bit of feedback sometimes when you’re going through something like this.
Anastasia: Yeah. And, you know, I wish I wish every single human being that walk that is walking the face of this earth could experience what I experienced. But do it without having to die. I just wish my desire is that we could all experience peace, love and joy as a matter of our everyday lives. And that fear could be something that we could understand the self imposed for the most part. I mean, outside of, you know, physical dangers that are there. You don’t want to jump off the Empire State Building because you know what’s going to happen. It’s ultimately not what I’m talking about, but the self imposed fears because we don’t know just how big and how powerful we all are from that sole aspect of ourselves.
Rick: Yeah. And everyone can experience it. Everyone has the apparatus that is needed to have such an experience. And it’s just a matter of figuring out how to have it. And there are so many different ways. And for you, it was a little nitrous oxide. But the next person, if they try some nitrous oxide, isn’t necessarily going to have that experience. You were just ready to have it. But there’s so many things, meditation, a million different things that people can do and have been doing throughout history to elicit that kind of experience. Not only for a few minutes, but as an abiding state.
Anastasia: Yeah, I have not experienced what I experienced on the other side before or since then, with the exception of one experience that I had when my mother had passed away. And I won’t get into that whole story. But it feels to me like this is the aspect of having to address the physical body that becomes so important. Because even though I feel like I still have that connection to the soul, I haven’t evolved my physical body in such a way that my physical senses are producing that sensation that I had on the other side. That sensation was a raw, a direct experience of what it is like to be the soul. Just the soul, without the dirty window of the physical body over top of it. I have worked through meditation and obviously energy work and things that we do every day like using sound or physical activity. The things that we can do to create the best environment in the physical body is really important. But even having had that experience and having had other spiritual type of experiences, I have not experienced what I experienced outside of my body while in my body.
Rick: But you know, a lot of people have glimpses, whether through an NDE or through some kind of spiritual “aha” that happens or sometimes psychedelics. They have glimpses, but I think that’s just to show us what’s possible. But then we get down to the work of a long-term process of refining the mind-body system to be able to sustain that level of experience and to integrate it. I mean, Ramana Maharshi, if you’ve ever heard about him, he was just a young boy when I think his uncle or somebody died. He contemplated death. He lay down and pretended to die. It put him into this spiritual state and he had this awakening. For a couple of weeks, he sat in a pit with insects chewing on his legs and was oblivious to it because he was in such a deep state. Then somebody got him out of there and cleaned him up. Anyway, he went through years of meditating in a cave and so on and eventually came out to become one of the most renowned saints of the 20th century. You know, tremendous inspiration to people to this day. But even for somebody like him, there was a decades-long process of refinement and integration necessary to live this in an abiding way.
Anastasia: Yeah, it’s why I kind of go back to what I was saying about the importance of these stories being shared. As we have more and more means to share these stories and to hear these stories, it creates a, for those that haven’t had it, it creates a new understanding that they didn’t have before. This has created a new understanding for me that I didn’t have before and I had the experience. By sharing it, other people can kind of live that experience with me in some ways and they can expand their understanding. Through this collection of hearing these stories, and I would say this is a really interesting thing. I don’t know if you’ve ever had anybody talk about this before, but this is something that I’ve noticed with NDE stories. I do have a couple books on NDEs, like what are those, like Kindle books, the e-books, the digital books, of people who have told their stories about NDEs and I’ve read them. And then I have gotten the same story, the same book, but as a, like an audible. And I’ve heard, I’ve listened to people who are narrating their own story, tell their story. And there is something that happens when we actually speak the words of our experience. Something gets translated and shared that’s unspoken when a person talks about their experience. Because I can read a story and I can hear a story and I will get exponentially more of a feeling by hearing the story than I do just for reading the words. And so I think us even talking about this, not just sharing, but specifically talking about it is important because it’s the vibration of the words, almost like the feeling and the experience of somehow communicated in an unspoken way to the person who hears it. And they get to have that experience at a deeper level.
Rick: That’s nice. Yeah. I personally, I do 95% of my reading by virtue as audio.
Anastasia: Audio books.
Rick: Yeah. Either that or I take a PDF file and turn it into spoken word. But the conversion software is pretty good these days. But that way I can walk in the woods while I do it. I was listening to you this morning while walking in the woods. Get exercise. But I just want to say, picking up on a point we made a minute ago, that people shouldn’t think that there’s something unique or special about you or about anyone because of this experience you’ve had. It’s really important for people to understand that we all have the capacity to tap into a vast ocean of wisdom and bliss that exists within each of us. And if anyone is feeling depressed or discouraged or confused or whatever, that ocean is there. You just have to find a way to attune to it. And there are ways. So be encouraged and be motivated to find them.
Anastasia: That’s a great way to sum it up.
Rick: Yeah. Do you have any parting words you’d like to say?
Anastasia: I really appreciate this. I love having the extended time to have this conversation with you. We got to dig deep and talk about some things that I think are great to be able to make these connections and connect dots on why we are here. I will just leave it with what I have said, that we are all complete. And if you strive to bring that completeness into your everyday life, instead of trying to come at it from the perspective that you’re incomplete and you’re trying to create a life that’s valuable or worthwhile. But if you can acknowledge that you already are worthwhile, you already are complete, and all you need to do is see through the eyes of that bliss and oneness, then you are on the path of really creating a life that can have those experiences that we’re talking about. But more importantly, that is filled with love and connection.
Rick: Yeah, very good. So what are some of the ways people can connect with you, interact with you?
Anastasia: So if anybody wants to connect with me, my website is thehealingheart.com. And there’s different ways you can connect with me there. I do have a TikTok channel. I do talk about my experience quite a bit on there. It’s @theheartshines. And I have several different podcasts. I do live speaking events as well. So I might be in your town at some point. But those are the best ways to get a hold of me.
Rick: OK. And let’s see. Yeah, you gave me a link to your website, thehealingheart.com. But be sure to send me links to all those other things so I can list them all on your page on Batgap.
Anastasia: I’d be happy to. Thank you so much, Rick.
Rick: Oh, you’re welcome. Thank you. So let me just say to the audience, thank you for listening or watching. And my next scheduled interview will be with a gentleman — what is his name — something Douglas Klotz, Neil Douglas Klotz, who is kind of a Sufi, it seems. But he’s written some interesting books about what Jesus may actually have said, going back to the original Aramaic. So that will be the next one. So thank you very much for listening or watching. And we’ll keep them coming. Talk to you later. Thanks, Anastasia.
Anastasia: Thank you. Take care.
Rick: OK, bye-bye.