Rick Archer: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of interviews with spiritually awakening people. I’ve conducted hundreds of them now. And if this is new to you, and you’d like to check out previous ones, go to batgap.com and look under the past interviews menu. This program is made possible by the support of appreciative listeners and viewers. And so, thanks to those who’ve been supporting it, and if you appreciate it and would like to support it, there’s a PayPal button on every page of batgap.com. My guest today is Natalie Sudman. Natalie is an author and artist and psychic intuitive. She worked as an archaeologist in the Great Basin States, which is what Nevada, Utah that area, right?
Natalie Sudman: Wyoming, a little bit of South Dakota,
Rick Archer: Nice area.
Natalie Sudman: Eastern Oregon.
Rick Archer: So you did that for 16 years before accepting a position managing construction contracts in Iraq. In 2007, Natalie was seriously injured in a roadside bomb. And during this incident, she had a near-death experience that she details in her book, which is called Application of Impossible Things. Here’s the book. There’s a picture of her on the back with George Bush, some irony in that. (Laughter) And yes, this is a fascinating book. It’s quite thin. And when I first got it, I thought, Oh, this is an easy read. I’ll finish this in a couple of nights. But it took me all week to read, mostly in the evenings. Because it’s so rich. And there’s so much depth of wisdom and insight in each page that I found myself rereading many paragraphs and sentences several times, and then just pondering them. So I really enjoyed the book. And I felt like I learned a lot from it. And I hope I’ll learn even more from this interview, and that all of you watching and listening will as well. So thanks for doing this, Natalie, appreciate it.
Natalie Sudman: Thank you for inviting me, Rick.
Rick Archer: Yes, it’s really been good getting to know you so far through your book and our brief conversations, mostly about technical things. Incidentally, if people listening hear a little kind of staticky sound, during the interview, it’s something we couldn’t figure out how to eliminate. I think it has to do with the fact that Natalie is in the boondocks of southern Arizona on a satellite internet connection. So there’s just a little bit of noise in there that we can’t eliminate. But this is really quite legible. So just out of curiosity, what kind of archaeology were you doing?
Natalie Sudman: I was doing survey archaeology. So I wasn’t digging. Most people ask what I dig up. But I’ve never really done much digging. When federally funded projects are built on public land, an archaeologist has to go out and look around on the surface of the land first and make sure there’s nothing there.
Rick Archer: Like dinosaur remains, or Native American remains or anything that happened.
Natalie Sudman: Yes anything that happens to come up. It might be historic, you know, mining or homesteading, or things like that. But also it could be prehistoric, mostly prehistoric sites, yes. And then we were – although archaeologists are not paleontologists, and the geologists should have been out looking for the dinosaurs and paleontology, we were tasked also with looking for those kinds of things.
Rick Archer: Now, you mentioned in your book and some interviews that I’ve listened to that you had had some kind of psychic abilities throughout your life. Do you mean by that even as a child or what? And what kind of psychic abilities?
Natalie Sudman: Yes, I remember as a kid talking to spirits, and I would have dreams that would later happen. And I think I was aware of the thin difference between non-physical and physical because I remember sitting in church and staring at someone and thinking, scratch your ear, scratch your ear, scratch your ear.
Rick Archer: And then they would?
Natalie Sudman: And then they would, and so I kind of understood the power of thought without thinking of it in that way, you know.
Rick Archer: Should have done something really fun, like, quack like a duck quack like …
Natalie Sudman: Yes right. It could’ve been really fun. So those kinds of things. And then I always had an interest in the kind of the psychic or the supernormal. So I read a lot of books and, you know, kind of followed that interest or that curiosity. And I did do some readings for people starting maybe in the late 1990s.
Rick Archer: And you do some even now, don’t you, but it’s taken on different qualities since your whole NDE.
Natalie Sudman: Right, yes, I do them professionally now. Whereas before I just read for friends once in a while.
Rick Archer: Yes. Okay, so we’re going to get into your story in a second. And I just wanted to say something I was thinking about it and thinking about fitting you into the context of this show, which is about spiritually awakening people, spirituality quite broadly defined. And the way I define it is that it’s not just a matter of realizing the non-dual essential nature of things and then declaring the world as an illusion, and your self doesn’t exist and that’s the end of it. It’s really becoming a knower of reality in its totality, which includes both absolute and relative, and which includes all the subtle mechanics of relative creation, and what’s really going on. I think that that’s a more mature way of looking at it, really becoming a knower of reality in all of its dimensions and facets. And I think that your book, and your whole experience, contribute significantly to that understanding, at least they have for me. Do you want to comment on that, before we get into your story?
Natalie Sudman: Yes, I think that’s a really good way to think about it. I think the way spirituality is often talked about is as if it were a subset of or separate from the physical reality, that it’s something different from vacuuming and changing the oil in the car. But it’s not.
Rick Archer: Right.
Natalie Sudman: People say to me, Well, I’m tired of doing this job. I want to do something more spiritual. And I think, what could be more spiritual than whatever you’re doing? Instead of thinking that spirituality is something that we gain from outside of ourselves, or that we acquire in some way, if we instead realize that we are the spiritual, and we bring that to whatever we perceive or do or experience, then I think we’re closer to the truth. And I think that’s just another way of saying what you just said.
Rick Archer: Yes. Sounds good. Just on a note on that, the Bhagavad Gita goes on at quite some length about the importance of doing your dharma, you know, being in accordance with that course of action which is evolutionary for you, which may not be the same as somebody else’s dharma, but it’s yours. And therefore, you know, you do it. That’s your most evolutionary course of action. Yes.
Natalie Sudman: Yes. Absolutely.
Rick Archer: Anyway, so you were over in Iraq in 2007, as a construction contractor of some sort, overseeing construction projects. And, yes, go ahead.
Natalie Sudman: Yes. I was not a contractor. I was an employee of the army.
Rick Archer: Okay.
Natalie Sudman: A civilian employee of the army. And I was, yes. Administering construction contracts. Yes.
Rick Archer: Right. And you were coming back to base in an armored Land Rover, not armored enough, apparently. When … yes. Incidentally, I heard this whole thing about how they could have built Land Rovers and so on with this sort of V-shaped armored thing at the bottom that would have deflected any bomb that went off, but there were budgetary restraints or something and they never got around to doing it. And, you know, the consequences are rather severe for a lot of people. But …
Natalie Sudman: Yes, they did build some vehicles with the V. It’s expensive to build them, and we were not traveling in army vehicles. We traveled in … well, we had personal security details. People are most familiar with Blackwater, which is not a company that I would endorse in any way. But the companies that I worked with, one especially, a British company, they were very, very good. They were very professional and very understated. Not the sort of macho aggression of Blackwater, but it was a personal security detail. So our vehicle …
Rick Archer: Yes, so you were, so you’re in this little convoy of about four vehicles coming back from the day’s work and getting quite close to base when this bomb went off. And take it from there.
Natalie Sudman: Yes. So I was sitting in the vehicle with my head on my hand, eyes closed, half asleep at the end of a long day. And all I remember is that I was there, and then I was not. I was outside the vehicle. I was somewhere else. I found myself standing on a kind of stage. And there were thousands of beings arrayed all around me. So if you picture kind of a stadium-like setting, that’s what that was like. And I was downloading information to them. And I wasn’t confused about where I was. I knew exactly what I was. I knew exactly what I was doing. So I downloaded this information. And then I communicated to these beings – and it wasn’t – I use the word telepathy or mind to mind communication, but it wasn’t really even that. It’s sort of instantaneous knowingness of whatever is given. Anyway, I let them know that I wasn’t going to come back, that I had no interest. I was done here. And that was accepted. But then they also went, Well, yes. How would you like to – what if you did this? What if you went back and did this? Then I was immediately like, oh, yes, that sounds like fun.
Rick Archer: Easy to convince, kind of a pushover.
Natalie Sudman: Doesn’t take much when you offer something interesting.
Rick Archer: Let me interject a couple of questions here. I’m not going to ask too many skeptical questions, because I really believe your story, but for the sake of those who might have them in mind. You probably heard this before. Some people might say, Well, yes, you know, you’ve just been brain damaged by an explosion and the brain can conjure up all kinds of things as a result of some traumatic injury. How do you know this whole thing wasn’t some hallucination triggered by the injury?
Natalie Sudman: You know, I don’t argue with people. If you haven’t had an experience like this, and you don’t want to believe, then I can understand why you wouldn’t believe it. But if you’ve had an experience like this, it’s more real than this physical world is. It’s more real. Yes.
Rick Archer: Yes. All right. Second question. Ordinarily, it would take weeks to fill a stadium. Let’s say Paul McCartney is going to give a concert, you have to sort of publicize it, and then, you know, sell tickets, and then on the day of the event, it would take a few hours just to get everybody into the hall. And, you know, here you’re sort of on the other side, and instantaneously, there are thousands of beings assembled around to receive your download. How’s that organized?
Natalie Sudman: Good question. I never really thought about that. So the first thing that I see is, or feel, is that they were already there. I mean, maybe I was already there, too. There’s no time. So it doesn’t make sense to say, well, it takes time for them to get there.
Rick Archer: Right.
Natalie Sudman: It just kind of doesn’t make sense. Because I’m in an environment where time doesn’t exist in any way that we understand it.
Rick Archer: Not really at all.
Natalie Sudman: Right. Yes. So, I mean, instantaneous. It doesn’t feel like instantaneous would be a problem.
Rick Archer: Yes. Okay. And so what kind of information were you downloading or uploading as the case may be? I’m not sure which the word would be.
Natalie Sudman: Yes. I describe it in my book as broadly cultural. And when I say that I mean cultural all the way from the sense of how individuals act and react and influence or are influenced by culture, all the way up to broad flows of energy, or organizations of energy, that support and maintain cultures.
Rick Archer: And this is stuff that you had gleaned from your experience as a human being, presumably,
Natalie Sudman: Yes.
Rick Archer: Yes. Do you have the sense that you had a greater sense of brotherhood or sisterhood with those beings than you have had with human beings and that you were some sort of emissary who had been sent here to gather information and come back and convey it to them? Anything of that nature?
Natalie Sudman: Well, I definitely felt more at home with them than I do with people or incarnated human beings, or however you want to say that. I definitely felt much more comfortable with them. I don’t know, emissary. I guess I wouldn’t use that word because my understanding of the word emissary would be that they sent me.
Rick Archer: Right.
Natalie Sudman: But it’s a sense of a more egalitarian decision, maybe. It’s more like, this needs to be done, or we would like this done. You’re really good at this. Do you want to go? And maybe some other being said, You know, I don’t really want to do that right now. That’s not what I’m doing. And I said, Well, I’ll do it, or whatever. I don’t know exactly how it happened. But it feels – everything feels – very egalitarian there. It was not anybody ordering anybody around or telling anybody what they had to do. It was really every individual makes their own decisions. And makes those in the context of the whole, for the all.
Rick Archer: Do you feel that – I’m just asking questions as they occur to me. Do you feel that that is true of all of us on Earth, pretty much that we have all just signed up for this voluntarily, in whatever circumstances we find ourselves born, it was pretty much our choice to sign up for that?
Natalie Sudman: That’s my understanding. That’s the easiest assumption for me. Because if it’s true for me, what – why am I special? You know, it’s probably true for everybody else, too. And yet, I don’t rule out the possibility that somebody else got sent here. I mean, why not? The Infinite is infinite. Everyone doesn’t have to do things the same way. I’ve heard other people say, Well, I left my body and I was sent back. And I think, well, maybe you were sent back. But maybe that was another aspect of you. Maybe it’s possible that I could have encountered a being who said, Wait, you’re going to have to go back. And I could understand that being as a separate being, someone in charge of me, or I could understand that being as an aspect of me that I was not comprehending or re-integrating with at that point because I was holding on to enough of this human mind habit. I couldn’t really re-perceive myself or something. So I don’t know that it’s always so simple as all aspects of us being aware of our own voluntary actions, you know,
Rick Archer: Yes, yes, I kind of get the feeling as we’re talking that, you know, what we tend to do is we want to fit it into some kind of conceptual box that we’re comfortable with. And so we try to take something that’s far beyond our direct experience and kind of fit it into our human understanding. And it ends up really being a poor fit and kind of a peg in a round hole or something we really can’t do justice to it.
Natalie Sudman: Yes, I think that’s true on a certain level, and yet we can only know what we know.
Rick Archer: Right.
Natalie Sudman: And so I don’t necessarily think that there’s anything wrong with trying to do that. I think that –
Rick Archer: It’s natural.
Natalie Sudman: Yes, it is natural to try to make sense of our world. I think that my sort of wariness of that comes in when people say, Well, I get the sense that this is how it is – I know. If you can leave the door open and say, Well, this is how I understand it right now. I wonder what else is out there for me to understand?
Rick Archer: Yes. That’s more of an actual scientific attitude. For me, everything is theoretical. And some theories hold a lot more water than others. But you can’t be adamantly certain about any of them, nor can you avidly and totally reject any of them. You know, it is all possibilities.
Natalie Sudman: Yes. Yes. I like to say at the end of – sometimes I get going, and I’m like, It’s like this. I like to remind myself at the end, I could be wrong.
Rick Archer: Yes. Okay, what was I gonna ask next? Oh, well, it’ll come to me. Well, we were talking about – there’s a lot in your book about dimensions. Here’s a few little snippets that I typed out: “each dimension offers access to others, but no one offers access to all. Each dimension has its own rules, laws, or guidelines. All dimensions are aspects of one encompassing reality.” Those are several little quotes. And I could extract a question from that, but I’ve always thought, not always, but in my wiser years, you know, that life is very multi-dimensional. And that different beings have access to different – it’s like a spectrum, you know, and different beings have access to different portions of the spectrum. And in some cases, those portions overlap, like a Venn diagram where there’s some outside the overlap area, and some within it. And in other cases, they’re completely separate. There’s no correlation or connection or whatsoever. The different beings are experiencing just completely different aspects of reality. So I think I can – go ahead and comment on that. I may have a follow-up question.
Natalie Sudman: Okay. Yes, I think that’s a good restatement of what I was saying. I think a lot of people think, Well, here’s here and there is there. There’s heaven, and it’s like this, or whatever. And I think that if you think about the infinity of experience that’s available here in this physical world, you know, there’s somebody living in the Amazonian jungle wearing leaves, and then there’s somebody in Paris who is going to a high fashion show. Like, wait, is this the same world? And then there’s everything in between that. Why do we think that ‘there’ is just one thing? It’s not just one thing. You can continue to have varied experiences, and from what I understand or from my experiences, there are many ‘places’ there, too, whether they have form, or another form of form, or no form. They are still environments in which we can experience and expand and explore. And to think that there’s only one possibility once we lose the physical body seems pretty limiting when infinity is infinite.
Rick Archer: Yes, I think Jesus said something like, “In my Father’s house there are many mansions,” and the Buddhist and Hindu traditions have discussions of all these lokas and levels and realms and whatnot that different beings live on. Yes.
Natalie Sudman: Right. Yes. I think we see it too. Another way that I describe it is to say that a cat has – we were talking about cats. A cat has its own reality. We only overlap it in certain places. It has its own life and its own reality. It’s a whole different way of perceiving this world. It doesn’t mean that it’s not in the same reality as we are. But it understands it in a whole different way. So it’s like tuning the radio to a different station. And then sometimes there’s this overlap of the two stations.
Rick Archer: Yes, good. So let’s get back to your experience. So you’re standing there on this dais downloading or communing with a multitude of beings in some sort of stadium-like setup. So what happened next?
Natalie Sudman: So after I had agreed to come back into the physical body, I – what I called – ‘blinked’ to another environment. I say blinked because it’s that simple and effortless, but it’s also that instantaneous. So I was in front of all these beings on this dais, and then I was not. I was in what I call the deep rest environment. I was – let’s say that I had a form of a form, but I felt more like an organization of energy. And it was black. I describe that blackness as potential light. And it was not a scary darkness. It was a very velvety, deeply comfortable, comforting, relaxing, darkness. And so, in this place, when I first got there, there were a couple of other beings there, and they were sort of tinkering with the organization of my energy. It was almost like the car getting tuned up. They’re not changing anything, you know, they’re not changing out the engine or something. They’re just making sure everything is running smoothly. When they were finished with that, then I had a version, I guess, of what people describe as a life review. But whereas other people have described that as being kind of traumatic or very emotional, for me it was more like a really enjoyable look through the old scrapbooks. It was – there wasn’t any judgment attached to anything. I could enter into a memory and feel not only my own emotions and thoughts about that experience, but also enter into any aspect of that experience. So not only enter into, say, someone else’s perception of that experience, but I could enter into – I don’t know how to describe this – the mood of the experience, or I could enter into some kind of holographic organization of energy that was created by that experience. Holographic isn’t a good word. Organization of energy is better.
Rick Archer: Okay. It’s all right. Do you ever read Michael Newton’s books?
Natalie Sudman: No, I haven’t. I read little pieces and parts of one of them, but –
Rick Archer (28:50~) Okay, I’ve read a couple of them. I was just curious. He was this hypnotist that almost accidentally at first regressed people back to the period between lives. And then he made that his specialty and ended up hypnotizing and interviewing thousands of people in that way and came up with a very consistent pattern of what people apparently experienced between lives, and I was just asking you if you’d read it because I was curious to see whether your experience jives with what he said. But so far as I recall his books, it pretty much does. But like you said earlier there are probably different flavors available for different people. It’s not all one size fits all. Irene just asked a question. Was this all happening as you were immediately injured or while in the hospital in recovery? Or does she know? That’s similar to what I was going to ask which is that you remember all this in great detail. When did you remember it? Did you remember it instantly as you regained consciousness, or a month later in the hospital or what?
Natalie Sudman: First to answer her question. It happened when I was injured, while I was still in the truck. We were still rolling down the road. Yes.
Rick Archer: So you kind of came back to this world. And immediately you retain the recollection of what you just experienced.
Natalie Sudman: I didn’t remember everything. I remembered that I had been somewhere else. But I immediately set it aside to deal with what I had to deal with. And so I didn’t sort of bring that memory up. And then later, it was months later, when I was out of Walter Reed and I had been doing physical therapy and stuff for a couple of months, I think, when I sat down and thought, I kind of remember going somewhere. I wonder where I went. And I just closed my eyes – I don’t know how to describe this. Well, it’s really like entering into a meditation state, opening – you just open up. And it’s like, whoosh, all these memories came back in such detail. And it was more, again, more real than anything in this life.
Rick Archer: Yes, that’s good. Interesting. Okay, so we’re jumping around a little bit. But so you were in this healing environment. You blinked into the healing environment. A couple beings were tuning you up. Is there anything more to say about that phase of it?
Natalie Sudman: No, that was the deep rest environment. Yes. It really was like rejuvenation. And from there …
Rick Archer: And what was being rejuvenated? Obviously, not so much your body at that point, but some subtler essence of you, some soul …?
Natalie Sudman: Yes, soul quality or some kind of – that organization of energy was being strengthened and relaxed, yes.
Rick Archer: Okay. Good. Okay, then you blinked into the healing phase? Right?
Natalie Sudman: Yes. I went back to what I call the gathering stadium to –
Rick Archer: An encore …
Natalie Sudman: Well yes, a bow. To nail down some details about what I was going to do, on what I describe as the architect level, you know, the project manager level. And then from there, I blinked to what I call the healing environment.
Rick Archer: Okay, before we get to that, another question just occurred to me about the stadium scene. What more can you say about who all these beings were? And what their function is? They have jobs, day jobs? And did they just gather to do this download? And then they scattered and went about their tasks? And what are those tasks?
Natalie Sudman: I felt like I knew most of these beings, most of these thousands of beings. And when I go into it – I can go back there and go into it and understand that everybody had sort of a different job. So an equivalent would be, Oh, there’s the doctors over there. And there’s the engineers over there. And there’s the artists, the creative types over there. You know, it’s like –
Rick Archer: Although that’s just a metaphor.
Natalie Sudman: Yes, absolutely. It’s a metaphor, but there’s something about those kinds of interests, or mastery of certain ways of perceiving and ways of interacting with all that exists, that somehow correlates to that in my mind. So these might be healers, whether we might call them doctors or not, some of those beings had an ongoing interest in, or a mastery in healing. And when I say that, you know, we think of fixing the physical body or whatever. But in their case, it may be healing of large energy flows or healing of organizations of energy that describe and maintain environments we can go experience certain things through, or something like that.
Rick Archer: I was a little distracted by that internet connection problem, but did you answer my question about what the function of these different beings is. They’re their job description?
Natalie Sudman: Well, I’m not sure that I could describe it in that way. When I think of them, I think of them not in a sort of job description, or what is your task that you are doing. I think of it more in a sense of what are your interests? What are you exploring? If that makes sense.
Rick Archer: Yes. Well, for instance, at one point in your book, later on, you describe what you refer to as your personal security detail, not your human one but you’re sort of guardian angel type one, some beings that somehow influence and help to guide your life. So I was wondering if these beings in this gathering might have had functions like that, or, you know, you hear of the idea of devas that are responsible for certain aspects of creation, and its manifestation into the relative, its governance in different ways, and so on. So I was wondering if you just had anything of that nature in your understanding?
Natalie Sudman: Well, I think that they could be considered to be, for me, acting in the role of colleagues, colleagues in exploration, or – on some level they maintain this reality – my understanding is most of them were not also incarnated in bodies at the moment,
Rick Archer: Had never been, or weren’t at the moment?
Natalie Sudman: Weren’t at the moment. My perception is that some of them had never been, but most of them had been. And so being in that broader perspective, and me coming down into a human mind perspective, I’m sure that if I went to them and said, Hey I don’t get something, you know, that in some way they would help me to understand or I think they’re available for that. I’m not sure that I’ve consciously used them in that way, but I think they would be available.
Rick Archer: It’s interesting that – I mean, there was a sort of an omniscience that you attained when you were in this state where you’re not only able to transmit or download to them all simultaneously, but you’re able to somehow grasp in your awareness who they all were, and that you knew most of them, didn’t know some of them. You know, there was a sort of – ordinarily one couldn’t tune into a multitude like that in such detail. But you were functioning, obviously, from a much deeper and broader perspective.
Natalie Sudman: Yes, you know, we do a miniature version of that here in the physical world. We think we don’t, but we’re driving down the road and we’re thinking about something else. And whether we know it or not, we noticed the woman in the weird hat with the red feathers. And we are actually noticing or paying attention to more things or monitoring more things than we realize. And on the non-physical realm, it just felt like that was exponentially expanded, so that I could pay attention to or be aware of things on a much larger, more – what we would consider to be – larger or more complex scale. But it was effortless, in the same way that, you know, if I get in a car I’m not thinking about every move I make anymore, because I’ve been doing it for a long time. I am noticing though, if something goes wrong, even though I’m not consciously monitoring it.
Rick Archer: I’ve heard interesting stories about sort of enlightened beings such as Neem Karoli Baba or others who, you know, are aware in minute detail of something that happened that they couldn’t possibly or shouldn’t possibly have been aware of. For instance, I just read one the other day that Ram Dass posted about when he went into New Delhi or something to renew his passport, and he was trying to be all pure and Yogic and walking around in white robes barefoot in Connaught Circle and he ended up sort of indulging in some biscuits and he considered that to be a bit of a guilty pleasure. And then he came back to Neem Karoli Baba’s ashram, and the first thing Neem Karoli asked him was, “Did you enjoy the biscuits?” So he was obviously in his experience, I don’t know whether he read his mind at that point, or he was – he had a broader awareness, which was picking up on details that the ordinary person wouldn’t cognize.
Natalie Sudman: Yes, I think that you can – it’s not inconceivable to have that awareness when you’re in the physical body, and I’ve experienced it. Not for any length of time, like I’m sure that person has. And maybe all of us have had little snippets of that. Certainly sometimes just sitting here, you just know something. Well, how do you know that? The only thing that keeps us from knowing that is the way we have taught ourselves or been taught to perceive. We’ve been taught, or we’ve taught ourselves, that these things are real and these things are not. These perceptions are real, these are not. That in order to be sane, you have to perceive in this way. And so we kind of build little walls, and so we’re going down this path, but if we knock down the walls, then it’s possible to perceive all of this. And it sounds overwhelming. It sounds like well, I’d be crazy, then. But if you really were in that space, you wouldn’t be crazy, because it’s effortless. There’s no – I don’t know how to describe it. We feel or we’ve been trained to block out a lot of background stuff. So I’m not listening to the clock in the other room. And I’m not listening to the train that goes by outside. I hear it on some level, but I tune that out. And so it feels like, well, if I opened up to everything, then it would just, it would be overwhelming. You’d just go crazy. But it’s not like that. If you open up to everything, there is no pressure at all. Whatsoever.
Rick Archer: Yes, I think it depends upon your capacity and your readiness and your degree of integration and stability and so on. I mean, there are people who take a big LSD trip or something, and they’re opened up to all kinds of stuff that would pretty much incapacitate them for normal functioning in everyday life. So you wouldn’t want to be in that condition all the time. And I’ve also talked to people who have some big opening, and then they can’t go to the Walmart or something because they’re hearing everybody’s thoughts. And, it’s TMI as the saying goes, you know, too much information.
Natalie Sudman: Yes, absolutely. You know, those Yogis, they get there step by step, right? So they’re readying themselves to understand and to comprehend and to handle that perception. Yes. If we take that leap, and just go, Oh, I’ve got that perception. I’m gonna open up to that. I got it. Well, okay, now you’ve got it. Now, you’re still going to have to go through those steps that Yogi did. And now it might be harder because now you’re trying to also handle this perception.
Rick Archer: Yes, I was with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi one time and someone said, Can you just enlighten us, you know, get it over with? And he said, Well, you know, maybe I could, but if I did it just like that it would take ten strong men to hold you down. You know, there’d just be too much too soon. Yes. On this note, there’s a couple interesting things I got from your book, a couple – I’ll read the – one said, “being familiar with operating within a physical reality was acknowledged as requiring a high degree of specialized skill from the perspective of those personalities at the gathering.” The gathering being this big amphitheater of people. And then here’s another one, “the razor focus required to remain in the collective physical is intensely satisfying for the whole self.” I found both of those interesting, it’s like, you can elaborate, but it’s not necessarily easy, it’s actually quite a skill to be able to function in the concrete, dense physical world as we do and those beings who weren’t doing that were kind of impressed with your ability to do so.
Natalie Sudman: Yes. That surprised me. I think because I often think of the physical life as kind of a slog, so it was fun to perceive it in that way. And maybe it was, that perception was given to me for a reason, you know, because I happen to think it’s often a slog. But yes. What I was shown, I can only – how do you describe it – it was like it was like a razor’s edge of concentration that had to be held very steadily, in the same way you were talking about Yogis, that they learn how to balance their mind in a very particular way and hold it steady. And that’s what I was being shown. That on some level, we know how to do that, or we wouldn’t be maintaining ourselves in this physical world. We would have a much different perception of experience. We would be in and out of our bodies, and we would be – it would be very, very much less coherent as an experience, is what feels like.
Rick Archer: I once heard it described as culturing the ability to maintain broad comprehensive awareness and narrow focus at the same time. Not either or, but both at the same time. And again, this thing you said about the razor focus required to remain in the collective physical is intensely satisfying for the whole self. Lately, I’ve taken up a sport called pickleball, which is like a racquet sport. And it requires extreme attention and alertness and quickness and focus and so – and I just find that after an hour of a play, I’m euphoric. From the kind of juxtaposition of the silent awareness and the intense focus.
Natalie Sudman: Yes, yes. I often think of sports when I think of how to describe that. Because sports require – when you’re operating on a certain level, sports requires that, or invites you into that intense focus. And yet, that awareness opens up enough that you – for instance, playing hockey, you’re moving really, really quickly, and you’re using minute physical skills. And yet, if somebody asked, you should be able to tell where everyone else is on the ice, even though you can’t see them. Yes, that kind of awareness. You know, athletes know ‘the zone,’ you know. They know that. They don’t need to call it an awakening or they don’t have to use the spiritual terms. They know it anyway. It doesn’t matter what you call it.
Rick Archer: But their descriptions of it are very much akin to people’s descriptions of awakening or an enlightened state. You read some of these athletes like Billie Jean King, or you know, Michael Jordan or whatever, when they’re really in the zone, you think, wow, that could be Autobiography of a Yogi or something.
Natalie Sudman: Yes, exactly.
Rick Archer: And it’s funny when I make a mistake playing that game, the immediate impression is that there was a lapse of attention. I didn’t maintain the focus.
Natalie Sudman: Yes, you know exactly what happened. Yes.
Rick Archer: Interesting. Okay, so we’re kind of cruising around here. So is there anything more to say about the healing environment that you were in? And when they were tuning you up and so on?
Natalie Sudman: No, I don’t think so.
Rick Archer: Okay. Now then you went into one where you’re kind of setting up the scene for re-entry into the physical and you’re playing with different possibilities. Oh, what if you lost your eye? Or what if you didn’t lose your eye? What if you lost your arm? And you and the sadists that were doing that with you, I found that very funny.
Natalie Sudman: We did. I still find it funny. Yes, – I was in this environment where we had like a bird’s eye view of the truck and the desert, what was going on down there. And it felt like we were maybe 45-degree angle and up, I don’t know, one hundred feet or something. So we’re looking down on the scene. And I was with two people, one of them who felt like an old, old friend. Friend, colleague, whatever. And the other one felt like maybe learning how to do this or watching us or something, not quite as involved. But this friend and I, we’d do the equivalent of waving a hand and set certain injuries in my body. And then as soon as we did that, we would see a flash of the whole of my life with those injuries. What that would look like. So we would wave a hand and we would put shrapnel in my brain so that I couldn’t talk and we watched the whole thing, and we’d just fall down laughing. We thought that was hilarious. We would wave a hand and my arm was severed, so I didn’t have a right hand, so I’d have to learn to write and feed myself and do everything with my left hand. And we thought that was just hilarious. And of course, none of this is funny from the physical world perspective. It isn’t. It’s not funny. It’s hard to do when we’re in a physical body. But from that perspective, it was understood that physical life is not real in the way that we experience it. That we all, at the end, we all get up and walk away. If we think of it as actors on a stage, we don’t always write a nice little rom-com, you know. Sometimes we’re going to write a tragedy or a drama. And why do we like to go to those things? For various reasons, you know, we learn something from it, we get to experience certain emotions in a way that doesn’t threaten us, or we hear something out while we’re watching that, or something within us gets validated. There are lots of reasons for doing that. Well, if we think kind of on a parallel level, that we create these lives for ourselves, we don’t always make them all cute and pretty. We’re going to give ourselves challenges, we’re going to give ourselves some drama, or some trauma, or whatever in order to experience or explore that which we want to explore. But we all get up at the end. When the curtain goes down, we all stand up. No one has died. We all stand up, and we’re whole, and we’re perfect and we’re complete and we take a bow. So that was the perspective that we were laughing from.
Rick Archer: Yes, let’s dwell on this a little bit more. There’s, there was a book called Why Bad Things Happen to Good People, or Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People or something like that. And obviously, a lot of people have a problem – people become atheists, for instance, when they are hit by the enormity of something like the Holocaust, or their child dying, or something that just seems so horrific, that they have a hard time believing in any kind of benign or compassionate God or intelligence governing the universe. And yet, I don’t believe you have that attitude at all. And, you know, I’m just trying to milk this out a little bit. I mean, well, to take another example, this notion of people choosing their experiences, sometimes people guilt-trip somebody who comes down with cancer or something – Yes well you chose it, you must have done something bad, or you must have, you know, this is your karma, you know, that kind of thing. And it seems rather callous and insensitive when people speak that way. So, there are several points in there that you could address.
Natalie Sudman: Yes, there are several points. So I should have written down a couple of notes because I’m going to forget. Okay, I’m just going to start where you ended. So those people who say well, you created this experience – to me, that’s a misunderstanding. It may not have been you as a personality mind. And so putting that on someone doesn’t make sense. If it’s your whole self or your soul – or whatever word you want to use for it – if it’s that non-physical, broader awareness of you that has chosen this experience of cancer or getting blown up or whatever it is, it’s going to be for a reason, a good reason. There’s something worthwhile, there’s something valuable in that experience.
Rick Archer: Yes, let me just very quickly here. So you use the play metaphor, like we all stand up at the end of the play and clap or whatever. So that’s just entertainment. But you’re saying that there’s something more educational about these experiences that we have, however for horrific they may be?
Natalie Sudman: Well, educational – you know, we have all these ideas about education because you get tested and there are deadlines and – I prefer the word exploration because it’s open-ended and there’s no test. We’re exploring something, and we’re exploring it together. If you want to go back to the play metaphor, everyone who’s on that stage, every character is essential to the play, even the littlest, you know, even the extras. If the extras aren’t there, it’s not going to work very well. So it’s all valuable to the play, to the story that’s being told. It’s all necessary. And in the same way that, in ways that you may not understand, your getting cancer may be serving humanity. It may be serving your family, it may be serving your neighbors, you don’t know. People often ask me, Why is this happening to me? Why is this happening to me? And a better question is often, how do I best handle this? I may not know why this is happening to me, and it may feel really bad to me. But I chose my injuries. When I came back into the physical world, I wasn’t always happy about that. I wasn’t like, yes, it’s great that I can’t see out of this eye. It’s just fine. No, sometimes I was not happy at all about that.
Rick Archer: But you remembered having chosen them.
Natalie Sudman: Right. I remember having chosen –
Rick Archer: You’re not kicking yourself for having chosen, or why did they choose something.
Natalie Sudman: Well, I didn’t. I didn’t know always. I don’t remember ever kicking myself for it. What I remember is thinking, I wish I could remember all the reasons why, because maybe that would help my physical mind. But I don’t remember.
Rick Archer: So you knew you’d chosen, but you didn’t remember why you had chosen-
Natalie Sudman: Right. So I’m just going to trust that those reasons are good. And instead of asking myself or beating myself up with why why why? Why me? Why me? Or what did I do wrong? I’m going to say to myself, here I am. How do I best handle this? For myself, and for everyone around me? How – maybe I can be cheerful within this. Maybe there’s something about this that I experience in a whole new way, because I’m willing to set aside my judgment of myself.
Rick Archer: Yes. You know, what’s interesting about you, among other things, is that when you consider that PTSD is such a problem these days, and I know you’ve actually experienced some of that, we can even talk about it if you like, and that, the number of ex-military people dying from suicide is much greater these days than the number actually dying in any kind of conflict. You know, most of the people have come back with depression and drug abuse and alcoholism and suicidal tendencies and so on. You came back from this experience with a whole new, in a way, brighter outlook on life, more optimistic, more cosmic, more insightful, more wise, you know. I mean, why do you feel that that was your reaction to this? This traumatic event, as contrasted with the norm?
Natalie Sudman: I think it all has to do with the out-of-body or near-death experience that I had.
Rick Archer: That most people don’t have.
Natalie Sudman: Yes, right. Or they don’t remember.
Rick Archer: Or don’t remember, right. Have you ever tried to work with service people who have been traumatized by their experience?
Natalie Sudman: Yes, I’ve worked with a couple of individuals. I’m not really sure what to say about this. It’s a kind of touchy subject with me because I think that – well, for one thing, I think that a lot of the PTSD may be as much physical as it is mental. So I think there’s a lot more traumatic brain injury than is being diagnosed. And I think that every instance of PTSD is different because everybody is an individual and they have a different recipe of disaster going on inside, you know, and so there’s no one size fits all. And relating my experience to someone who has PTSD, maybe it would help a few of them or maybe It would change their perspective in some way that would help them. But just as many, they just wouldn’t get it – it wouldn’t mean anything to them. And I didn’t get any magic wand or magic insight into helping these people. I wish I did. It’s – yes, I’m not sure what else to say about that.
Rick Archer: Yes, that’s a good answer. I mean, some of them might actually be envious or resentful of you, you know, for having such an interesting experience where they didn’t, or something.
Natalie Sudman: Yes, there’s – I can’t remember this person’s name. There’s somebody doing studies on combat soldiers who have had near-death experiences. And I actually think that they’re probably a lot higher than anybody hears about, because that’s not something that soldier is going to be telling everybody,
Rick Archer: It’s true, it’s like airline pilots talking about UFO encounters, losing their license.
Natalie Sudman: Right.
Rick Archer: Let’s get back to that multi-part question I asked earlier, where you wanted to make sure you got all the bits. Just to sort of wrap that one up, because you already gave a pretty good answer. So you would say, across the board, no matter how horrific the event that has taken place, the Holocaust, you know, Hiroshima, or anything, Darfur, that there’s, from a bigger, broader, more cosmic perspective all is well and wisely put, and there’s some reason for these things happening. It’s not like the universe is a cruel and capricious and arbitrary place.
Natalie Sudman: Yes, I would say that. First, I would say that if it happens, we’ve all agreed to it on some level. And that doesn’t mean that it can’t have been otherwise or that we can’t choose differently now. And it doesn’t mean that that was necessarily the best way to go about that exploration, you know, best foot forward. But it’s, again, it’s what we’ve got. And so how do we best handle this? Yes.
Rick Archer: Okay. Good. Okay, so I’m going to hit you with a – and people listening, you know, as you listen to the live interview, if you have any questions, just go to the upcoming interviews page on BatGap dot com and post your question, because this is really the time to ask them. Unless you want to ask Natalie later on. So these days, when you do a psychic reading with people, what do you do? What do you perceive? What do they get out of it, I mean, and is your ability to do such a thing, has your ability to do such thing been vastly enhanced by this whole thing you went through?
Natalie Sudman: I would say that it’s not necessarily vastly enhanced, but my confidence in myself is enhanced. And when I do readings for people, I think that – I think probably asking one of my clients would be better. They would give you a better answer. I think that I don’t get a lot of the What’s going to happen next week? Or, you know, that kind of question. I’m not that kind of psychic, I think. I get a lot of information for people about what to do about things or how to apply something. So instead of just saying, You need to quit being a victim, you know, quit thinking of yourself as a victim. Well, how do you do that? I’m often given for people, like, affirmations or mantras or ways to think about it differently or exercises to do or, you know, in some way application seems to come through.
Rick Archer: Something practical.
Natalie Sudman: Something practical, yes.
Rick Archer: And who or what gives you that stuff?
Natalie Sudman: I don’t always know that. The way I receive information is every way. Sometimes I hear it, sometimes I see it, sometimes I feel it. And sometimes it’s clear to me that someone – a being appears to me and I have a few people, or friends, colleagues, guides, whatever you want to call them that I work with that sometimes. I feel they’re right there giving me information. Other times I just feel like it doesn’t necessarily matter to me. Sometimes I feel like, Oh, that definitely came from your guide or your buddy, you know. But I can’t say that it always comes from the same place.
Rick Archer: Yes, just the other night after having finished reading your book, I was watching David Letterman interview Barack Obama. And Obama was saying that, you know, with reference to himself and David, he was saying, you know, many people have had the same kind of upbringing and education and are at least as smart as we are, and everything else. But we’re kind of lucky, you know, we’ve had these lucky breaks that have made us so successful. And I was thinking of your reference to the personal security detail or guardian or what we might think of as guardian angels, and how it almost seems like, in your book, you describe how they helped to orchestrate circumstances such that things can possibly work out much better than they otherwise might have. And I was thinking, well, somebody like Obama, whatever, you know, who seem to have that kind of destiny, perhaps he was being guided in ways he wasn’t aware of, to make things work out as they did.
Natalie Sudman: Yes, I think so. I think someone like him, who has a very visible public role, and an apparently large influence on culture, that that person has a lot of help. Yes, that doesn’t necessarily mean they have more help than you have.
Rick Archer: I feel like I have a lot of help.
Natalie Sudman: Yes, I mean, I think we all do. And I think –
Rick Archer: Yes – Irene. And Jerry and Larry and Dan –
Natalie Sudman: I think that we tend to believe that people who have more influence in the physical world are more important than we are. So Barack Obama is more important than the guy who pumped my gas yesterday. And Maya Angelou is more important than the maid who cleaned my hotel room three weeks ago in San Diego. But you don’t know that. You don’t know that. We all have equal influence on this reality, whether we know it or not. Just our presence here changes the structure of this reality, and the relationship between everything within it, every consciousness within it. So does Barack Obama have more influence in the physical world that we walk around in each day – you know, turn on the news, and there’s Barack Obama, whatever? Does he appear to influence more people? Yes. Is he more valuable to this reality than you are? No. There’s no hierarchy.
Rick Archer: Where – how far do you take that? I mean, is the most influential cow or mosquito of the same significance as the least influential human? I mean, is there any sort of demarcation or hierarchical quality in any among any of the species? Well, are members of any one species?
Natalie Sudman: In this perspective that I’m talking about, no. I mean, well, perspective is everything. When I’m in the healing environment, and I’m waving a hand and putting shrapnel in my head so I can’t talk and I’m having a hard time living in this physical world, that’s only funny from that perspective. It’s not funny when I’m in this physical world. It looks different. And in the same way, is every consciousness that’s having an experience here in this physical world equally valuable? Yes. From our human perspective? Is that true? No, there are things that are more important to a cat than they are to us, and things that are more important to us than they are to a cow. And, you know, we’re still having this experience. We’re still having this human experience. So there are perspectives there, that we perceive and we own. But it doesn’t mean that’s all there is, you know. Western culture teaches it’s either this or that. But it can be this and that.
Rick Archer: Yes, no I like that. Here’s a this-and-that statement you made in your book, you said, “it is all real. It is all illusion.” You know, and it’s not either-or. It’s both. Shankara said something like that. He said, “The world is an illusion. Brahman alone is real. The world is Brahman.”
Natalie Sudman: Exactly. Yes.
Rick Archer: Speaking of funny, here’s a question that came in from someone named Josanna in Canada. She said, What is the funniest thing that happened or was said to you on the other side?
Natalie Sudman: I think the funniest thing that happened was when we put the shrapnel in my head.
Rick Archer: Yes, that’s a riot.
Natalie Sudman: Yes, it was at the time. Right. Yes, seemed funny.
Rick Archer: That’s to say, who would get their jollies out of something like that. Yes, so on that note, I think what you’re actually saying in the book is that you could have come out of this with any number of different types of injuries or degrees of severity of injuries. But you and these characters you were collaborating with kind of monkeyed around for a while and came up with a combination that you thought looked good enough, and you went with it.
Natalie Sudman: Yes, I would say that what we came up with was a combination that would serve me best with what I intended to do. So, you know, when we set an injury, like I said, we had an instantaneous knowing of what the rest of that life looked like. It’s really hard to explain. Because I could see it all. And I can still see it all. And I don’t know how to explain it, because it all happens in an instant. But then, in a sense, while we were having a hilarious time, we were also figuring things out, you know. Is this gonna work? No, that’s not gonna work. That’s not gonna work, try something else. Okay, let’s try this. No, that’s not gonna work. And in a way, we were exaggerating things for the fun of it, but then in the end, okay, quit fooling around. Choose the ones. Okay, choose that it’s not as severe. That’ll work better. This will work better. Pick that, pick that, we’re good.
Rick Archer: Yes. So the injuries were, let’s see, you had a hole in your head, and you – all the bones on the right side of your face were broken, your retina was detached and you lost sight in that eye. Your radius and ulna were broken entirely, your heel was, or foot was injured pretty badly? Am I forgetting anything?
Natalie Sudman: No, that’s about it.
Rick Archer: Yes. And so that happened about eleven years ago or so. And you said that you chose the injuries which would serve you best. So how has this particular collection of injuries and disabilities served you? Or is it not rational? And you can’t really put it in words?
Natalie Sudman: Yes, it’s not rational, and I can’t really put it in words. And I think that some of it is ongoing in a way that – well, it’s layered too. Some of it is obvious to a human mind. For instance, when I couldn’t see out of one eye, the whole idea of seeing changed. It became new for me again, and in that way, my perception changed. What I paid attention to changed, and so –
Rick Archer: Do you mean like you treasured it more, you valued it more. Is that what you mean? Like it was precious to you because you’d lost half of it or something?
Natalie Sudman: Well, that’s part of it. But also, you know, when you get in a car, you don’t necessarily think about every move that you’re making right now because you’ve done it for a long time. Well, when I lost sight in one eye, suddenly I had to pay attention to everything again.
Rick Archer: Or you’d fall downstairs, which you actually did –
Natalie Sudman: Or I’d fall down the stairs, which I did or – I was terrified when I started driving. I was terrified that someone would step out in front of my car on the right side of the car, and I wouldn’t see them. And it actually happened. And it was absolutely terrifying. And so you become aware of the world and your relationship to what’s going on around you in a different way. And so when everything becomes new again, you know the world as if new again. And in some ways that’s a gift to become aware of things that you have just allowed to become habit. You know, next time you brush your teeth, pay attention to how you’re holding the toothbrush, and how you’re moving it. I can’t do that anymore. It’s hard for me to do it because my wrist doesn’t work very well. And there’s dead areas in my hand. So holding things is weird. So I get to know the world and my relationship to the world in a new way, in some instances,
Rick Archer: Interesting. Here’s a question that just came in from Andreas Jimenez from Bogota, Colombia. He asks, Do you think there was a connection between the geography of where you were on the planet, Iraq, and the beings that showed up during your experience after the explosion? If this is the case, what does it mean for humanity?
Natalie Sudman: No, there was no relation between the geography and who I interacted with in my experience. My understanding is that no matter where I would have been blown up, I would have encountered the same beings because they’re not dependent upon this geography. They don’t have anything to do with that. I’d say that the geography, in a way, had significance to what I was doing, or what the influence of my experience ended up being. And that would be – I don’t think I could explain that. Because it doesn’t make sense in the physical world. I can see it, I have the concept, but I don’t – I wouldn’t even know where to begin. I don’t know how to translate that.
Rick Archer: Here’s a question from William Dickinson in Marshfield, Wisconsin.
Natalie Sudman: Hi William.
Rick Archer: Oh so you know him. Okay, good. First, he says, I look forward to your daily posts of wisdom. So do you have some kind of mailing list of daily little posts that people can subscribe to, or is he just talking about Facebook or something?
Natalie Sudman: Yes, Facebook. Thanks William. Yes, Facebook, I try to post something every day post on Facebook.
Rick Archer: I’ll link to your Facebook page when I put up the BatGap page so that people can go there. And then he asks, I am wondering if you still have a connection with the world you experienced during your NDE. Do you feel you have a closer connection with your guides?
Natalie Sudman: Yes, I do still have connection with those beings. I do still go – I say ‘go’ see them. When really it’s just a matter of shifting focus. And a closer relationship with my guides, I think. Yes, I think I do. I think that maybe before this experience I believed in them and I had had a couple of very intense experiences. But this reminded me that I am a friend and colleague of them. They’re not wiser and bigger and somehow better than I am. I have a different relationship with them now. I feel like, consciously, I know them better. As a whole being, of course, I knew them. But consciously maybe I have more familiarity with them. And so I both trust them more, and argue more.
Rick Archer: Yes. Interesting. Now I read so many books and talk to so many people that I forget where I got this, but I think I might have gotten it from you. And if not, we can move on. But I think you were talking about how different structures of collective consciousness have their own autonomy and identity, such as, you know, I mean, individual consciousness is one thing, family consciousness, it’s like a being in and of itself. You know, national consciousness, world consciousness. Was that you saying that, and you have any comments on that? Thoughts?
Natalie Sudman: Yes, it could have been me, I don’t really remember. But it sounds like something I might say. And so, one way that I describe it that may be easier to perceive is if you think about birds in a flock. The individual birds are still individuals. But when they fly in those flocks, and they make those sort of patterns in the sky, that flock is also its own thing, it has its own identity. It has its own reality. And it has its own personality. And when you think about different families, you know, when families get together they have their own language and their own personality, and they have their own flow. And that becomes, I’m not going to say a ‘thing,’ but it becomes an identity or it becomes, energetically, a signature, and it has influence and it has some kind of form, in a sense.
Rick Archer: Yes, it’s interesting. I mean, you’ve traveled to different countries, and so have I and you go to a different country, and there’s a whole feeling, the minute you step off the plane sometimes, that is distinctly different from the place you’ve been. And it’s not just the people look different or something, it’s something in the very essence of the place, the atmosphere of the place that just has a whole totally different flavor to it. Like a different consciousness to that place.
Natalie Sudman: Yes, yes, it’s a different – yes, it’s a different chord, C, H, O, R, D, you know. If you take all those little pieces of people who emphasize different aspects of perception than we do or understand things and talk about things in a different way, and so they relate to things in a different way. They relate to their arm in a different way, or the chair, or that cow. And all of those things put together end up creating this, this identity, this sort of cloud or something. Yes.
Rick Archer: Yes. And the reason I think this is significant to this whole discussion, to this show, is that, you know, if the whole is more than the sum of its parts, but is made of its parts, then modification of its parts can change the whole, you know, like, you could say, a forest is made up of trees. If most of the trees are drought stricken in the whole forest, then the forest is going to look gray and withered. But if more of the trees individually become nourished, then the forest begins to look better. So we as individuals in a society can enhance the collective consciousness through our individual evolution.
Natalie Sudman: Absolutely. Yes. Absolutely. In a visible way. Since Martin Luther King Jr. Day is coming up, think of Rosa Parks, you know, it’s one person to spark something off. One individual. People often say to me, I feel so powerless, I feel so hopeless with this administration. I look at the world and I see such a mess. We’re not powerless. If when you look at something that feels so much bigger than you and feel like you can’t do anything about it, if you put that thing in a ball of light. Or if you just create a river of love in front of you and set it in that, you have done something. You have already healed that thing. We as individuals – before I had this experience I just thought one person does not make a difference in anything. And now I know, one person makes a difference.
Rick Archer: Yes. And not even necessarily by doing something overt, like Rosa Parks did, but just by being what you are, and being more fully what you are, you radiate an influence.
Natalie Sudman: Absolutely, yes.
Rick Archer: Like you often refer to the whole self, capital W, capital S, if you can, you know, realize the whole self more fully, embody it more fully, then you’re going to infuse more of the quality of that into the environment into other people everything.
Natalie Sudman: Absolutely. Yes.
Rick Archer: Okay, so a few more notes here that jumped out at me as I was reading your book. We’ve touched on this a little bit, but maybe we can circle back to it. You spoke about good and evil, and how actions that appear wrong within the physical realm may be perfectly right, from a broader perspective. For instance, you and the man who built the bomb that blew you up may have had some sort of agreement. And again, this sounds a little harsh, it may sound like you agreed, somebody agreed to get raped or agreed to get murdered or, you know, agreed that some child agreed to get hit by a car or whatever. But again, if we really want to understand how the universe works, we need to contemplate this possibility, at least be open-minded enough to think about it and see whether it might hold any merit.
Natalie Sudman: Well, I write about that in the book, the good and evil thing, and I tried to do that very carefully. Because I think that it’s very easy to be misunderstood. And so I don’t know that I really want to say very much about it here. Because it –
Rick Archer: What did you say in the book?
Natalie Sudman: Yes. What looks bad to us, it can’t happen without our agreement, first of all. On some level, we agreed to that experience. And, you know, I can hear people saying, I did not agree to not do this.
Rick Archer: But if we could really see the big picture.
Natalie Sudman: The whole self may choose something that you don’t want to experience as a human mind. You know, the three-year-old wants ten cookies. “I have to have ten cookies, or I’m going to die, I have to. I have to have those cookies. They’re the only thing that will make me happy.” And the adult is just looking like, No way, not going to help you. And then you’re not going to get the ten cookies. Or the little kid falls down and scratches the knee and comes running to her mom. And her mom is like, no, not a big injury, kiss it make it all better, go away. Well, on some level, when you get on a non-physical whole self-level, looking at these pains that we have – and these can be truly in the physical can be truly horrific – but when you can un-attach yourself from that experience and look at it from a whole self-perspective, you may see the incredible deep value that you are getting from it, and everyone around you is getting from it.
Rick Archer: And I don’t think that understanding this would necessarily lead to passivity or, you know, blind acceptance of wrong things. I mean, you know, so it was good that, from my perspective, that we went in and opposed Hitler. You know, it’s good that we try to stop the opioid epidemic or various things, or the whole MeToo movement now, you know, people standing up and refusing to accept sexual harassment anymore. So there’s nothing implied in what you’re saying here that we should just sort of, Okay, we agreed to this, we’re just going to go on, do whatever you want to me. That’s not what you’re saying.
Natalie Sudman: Absolutely. Not what I’m saying, no. We’re all playing our roles, and we all know in our hearts what’s right or wrong. So, yes, if we are confronted with cancer, we don’t go, Well, I chose this so I will give it a try. Yes, we play it out. Or if we have a Hitler, who is doing atrocities, it doesn’t mean we say, Yes, well, you know, we created that so better put up with it. No. Maybe you created that in order to stand up to it. You still play it out. It doesn’t mean that you’re passive to what you consider bad or evil, you know, in the physical world, in our humanity, in our connection with each other, and our interactions with each other. We have the chance to step forward in our best selves. And that may mean that even though we created this, we can now see something better. And so we step in and act, because every act creates the next experience.
Rick Archer: One example that comes to my mind of why the perspective you are offering here could really be helpful to a person, and I could probably come up with a lot of examples, is a fellow I’ve been corresponding with in the UK who has a drinking problem. And he says he just gets so pissed off at everything. At the government and stupid people and the boss and, and other stuff like that, that he has to like, you know, down four or five cans of beer every night, to just mellow out because he’s just so angry at everything. I think that if we could have more of a Byron Katie-ish loving-what-is acceptance that there’s some kind of broader picture behind things that happen and be more accepting – what’s that saying of the alcoholics pledge actually, about having the wisdom to know the difference between the things that you have some control over and don’t, and doing what you can about the things you do have control over and accepting the things that you don’t. So anyway, I – statements, like the kind of things we’re discussing right now I think helps to culture the broader, deeper perspective, which makes you less inclined to fight against things in a futile way.
Natalie Sudman: Yes, I think a few things about that. I think that we believe that anger and outrage are necessary in order to act. But what’s really true is that when you can find that place of balance and peace, and then choose with your discernment to act, that you’ll actually be more effective. I mean, this is talking on a very practical level. Again, Martin Luther King, Jr. Was he outraged and angry? Yes. Is that where he was speaking from? No.
Rick Archer: Right. Same with Gandhi…
Natalie Sudman: Gandhi, exactly.
Rick Archer: … who was Martin, MLK’s inspiration in many ways, right? Yes. And those guys had a huge impact.
Natalie Sudman: Yes, they did.
Rick Archer: Here’s a question from Rosaleen in Ireland, she asked, Do some beings decide not to incarnate as humans? And if so, do they evolve in ways that do not involve as much suffering as being human? Are there other ways to spiritually evolve that involve less suffering than being human?
Natalie Sudman: I think there are infinite ways to evolve. Because infinity is infinite. I have a quote in my book, and it’s often attributed to Buddhists. I don’t know if it really is Buddhist, but the quote is, Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.
Rick Archer: I wrote that one down, actually.
Natalie Sudman: We all experienced pain. I mean, that’s part of how this physical world is set up. It’s part of the potential that is set in the energetic signature of this reality.
Rick Archer: It has also been extremely helpful. If you put your hand on the stove, you want to feel pain.
Natalie Sudman: Absolutely. But suffering is entirely a mental experience. When it says that suffering is optional, what’s being said is that if you’re suffering, then it’s because of the way that you’re thinking about this. It’s not that someone has a suffer knife. And the suffer knife is in your heart. It’s a belief system. I’m sure you know this because you know more about Buddhism than I do.
Rick Archer: This is called Buddha at the Gas Pump, but I’ve never really studied Buddhism.
Natalie Sudman: Oh okay. The Buddhists talk about non-attachment. As soon as we have pain, then what we are taught to do is to judge that pain in some way. This pain is bad. This is bad because it’s uncomfortable, or because it’s – whatever, it’s bad. Also, now New Age has added a layer to that. It’s bad because now I caused that to myself in some way and I don’t understand how it’s my fault. We add all these judgments. And it’s the judgments that caused the suffering. After I came back to consciousness, I did a few things around the truck. And then I sat back in my seat waiting for the rest of the team to come and help us. I had my hand over my eye, this arm was shattered, and I couldn’t see out of my eye. I didn’t know what was wrong with the eye, so I just covered it. I was looking around, and thought, what if I can’t ever see out of this eye again. And I had this flash of excitement. I got so excited. I thought, If I can’t see out of this eye, maybe I’ll be able to see other worlds more clearly.
Rick Archer: And what eyes had been blinded?
Natalie Sudman: I don’t know. I mean, when I think about that, as a human being, it’s terrifying to me. But in that moment, it was a moment devoid of fear. And when you erase fear, you erase suffering.
Rick Archer: Yes, some people say Christ never suffered. And they’re not saying he didn’t get crucified and his body didn’t experience pain. But they’re saying that his state was such that he, you know, was established in a field beyond fear, beyond suffering. Just an extreme example of the point you’ve been making.
Natalie Sudman: Yes. I hope he didn’t suffer, that would be a horrible way to go. But I think that again, I think that Yogis practice this on a daily level. They understand, and meditation can help to sort of bring you into or give you an experience of that perspective.
Rick Archer: Yes. In your book, you say that the most practical outcome from your NDE is how you deal with emotions. And Mark Peters from Santa Clara has just sent in a question saying, can you speak about how your NDE impacted your fear, if any, of death and life. I felt his question was perhaps relevant to your saying that how you deal with emotions is the most practical outcome of your experience.
Natalie Sudman: Yes, I think I didn’t have any fear of death before that. I never have had any fear of death. And I’ve never sort of understood that fear. I’ve never kind of understood that fear because I always remembered where I came from, I’m going to say. To me, not having a body was like, why would you be afraid of that? That’s great. So easy. It’s so great. But I think I had a fear of life. And I think that I still do have some fear of life. There are still things that I’m – you know, it’s possible to know these things and not to fully have fully digested them, or not to have fully put them into practice.
Rick Archer: Yes, they’re a little bit conceptual. Still not necessarily this-
Natalie Sudman: Yes, I mean, I think some of them are visceral and others are like I know it intellectually. I experienced it on some level, but it’s not a habit. You know, I move in and out of it in some way. So I’ll give an example, another example. I was lying in bed at Walter Reed, and I was in a lot of pain and I was thinking about my eye again, and thinking, Well, I don’t want to be blind in that eye. I want to be able to see because I’m an artist, and I want to be able to perceive the way I did perceive. And I was getting pretty upset about it. And all of a sudden, this thought just entered my mind – it was my own voice saying, It doesn’t really matter. It’s only forty more years. And I felt that. I experienced that. I knew it. I was like, yes, it doesn’t matter. Forty years is nothing.
Rick Archer: Yes, seems a lot from the human perspective. But actually, in terms of the big picture, not that much.
Natalie Sudman: Right. I can’t always hold that perspective. You know, so do I experience fear? Yes. Am I more easily able to move myself out of that fear? Usually. Yes. And I am able, usually, to trust my fear when I have it. To just say, Well, I don’t know what to do about this right now. So I’ll just experience it.
Rick Archer: With regard to the forty more years point, would you say that what you’ve been through has instilled in you a much greater sense of patience and tolerance, and kind of a long-term vision where, you know, you just see things from a bigger picture kind of temporally, as well, as you know, dimensionally.
Natalie Sudman: I’m not sure. I think I always had that tendency. And then working as an archaeologist kind of supported that tendency. Because you look at long time frames and view change maybe in a little bit different way. I think that, again, I just have to say that I move in and out of a broader perspective, you know. The longer I’m here in the physical world, the more effort I have to put toward maintenance of that broader perspective, because it’s easy to get wrapped up in the physical world, for everybody, for all of us. So meditation is important to me. And sometimes sitting and just pondering things, and reminding myself of what I really know, is necessary, just like maybe it is for a lot of people.
Rick Archer: Yes, I used to love to go to museums when I was a kid, you know, like the Natural History Museum or the Smithsonian, and just get this feeling of the time span. Even as a little kid I got that kind of feeling of the ancient-ness of the world and of life and so on. And even now, I love to look at galaxies. Whenever the going gets rough, I’ll just sit and look at a galaxy for a while and, and imagine all the trillions of life forms, you know, throughout the years, how long it takes that galaxy to rotate, even once, you know, and how much happens to all these little dramas during that time period. You can kind of put things in a different perspective.
Natalie Sudman: Yes, I think a lot of people don’t like feeling that small.
Rick Archer: Oh, I love it.
Natalie Sudman: And I love it.
Rick Archer: Because you’re not small.
Natalie Sudman: You are actually a big galaxy.
Rick Archer: Yes, you are that and beyond that. Yes. It’s just like your little individual expression is small. But you keep using the word whole self. That’s what you really are. Yes. You were just kind of like this little villi on the – something that comes up in these interviews from time to time and that you touch upon in your book is the notion of free will. And also whether there is actually any person that we ultimately are. And some people argue in the negative on both of those. I haven’t interviewed Sam Harris, but he often goes into eloquent discussions of how there is no person and there is no free will. And yet you talk about free will to choose among infinite possibilities. And you also talk about, you know, there’s some kind of Natalie thing that, even when the body died or nearly died, went on to have these experiences and made decisions here and there and came back, and I’ve heard you allude to multiple lifetimes and so on. So I won’t necessarily hit you with all the arguments why these people say there’s no free will and no person. I don’t even know if I could, but what do you have to say on that whole line of thinking?
Natalie Sudman: Well, I think, again, it’s dependent upon perspective. From within our experience, my understanding and my experience say that we are co-creating with our whole selves. If we want to kind of split out the moments, Oh that’s my whole self and this is me, or, Now I’m within that whole self, okay. We’re co-creating, we’re making choices, and we’re able to create as we go. So from that perspective, that’s what something might look like. But then, if I go – I don’t know how to put this – if I go out far enough, if I go in far enough, it’s like that self, while becoming the One, may imply that there is no individual. Another way to perceive then, is that ultimately, I am everything. So is there an individual? Yes and no. Again, is it yes or is it no? It’s yes and no. And from that perspective, as the One, is everything known? Or is everything already known, and not known? Yes. I don’t know how to – some of these concepts – I don’t know how to unpack them. I don’t know how to describe them.
Rick Archer: I think that was a good answer. And it’s kind of one I might give if I were talking to somebody who said that, which is that, yes, in a way you’re right, but it’s multi-dimensional. And there are levels in which you’re not right. And it doesn’t have to be either-or; it’s both. Yes. Nice. Alrighty. Well, I think I’ve covered all the notes that I – Oh, here’s an interesting thing. You requested to the gathering, this collection of people whom you addressed or downloaded to, that, you said, alright, I’ll go back. But I want to stay awake to the enduring self, upon returning to the physical. So how’s that worked out? Did they keep their promises?
Natalie Sudman: Well, I don’t know that they promised or it was just an agreement. But I feel that being back in the physical is, well, I could never really lose that awareness. I mean, I’ve had that awareness, really, since I was a child. So it was an affirmation, really, that this awareness will remain. And maybe in a way, I was asking, you know, to be that yogi, in the sense of being that enlightened being, where I’m always aware, and always aware of everything. But you know, here, now being back in this physical world – I like the physical world. I like it. I don’t like everything about it, but I like the familiarity of some of our screwed-up perceptions. It’s okay, I agreed to come back to this world as it is at this time for reasons, and so I don’t think I really want that kind of awareness all the time in this world, to be honest. I don’t want to be – I think I would have to live a very different kind of life. And I like my life. I enjoy it. If that makes sense.
Rick Archer: It does. So here’s something you said that we could perhaps put in as an endnote to this conversation, which is that you said, “my joy can only be destroyed by believing that things can affect my joy.”
Natalie Sudman: Yes going back to, I think, the pain is inevitable but suffering is optional idea. We think that joy or sadness – we’re taught those things are dependent on things outside of ourselves. We echo-locate, you know, what does this person think of me. We throw something out, and then we wait for something to come back and then we think, Oh, I’m sad, or oh, I’m happy now. But if you quit echo-locating, and just go inside yourself and choose, I’m just going to be joyful today, no matter what happens, I’m just going to be happy. Then you can do that. You can cultivate that, and you can do that.
Rick Archer: Great. Good advice. Okay, so I’ll be putting up a page on batgap.com, which has, you know, a link to your website and all. And you mentioned that you do some kind of psychic readings, so is that the main – well, I would highly recommend your book to people, Application of Impossible Things. Why do you call it that? What – how’d you come up with that title?
Natalie Sudman: Well, it just came to me. I didn’t really come up with it. But I think that a lot of people come back from NDEs, and say, oh, it’s just beautiful. I can’t describe it. I’m like, well, what good is that? I wanted to try to actually describe some of the things. I didn’t feel like they were necessarily impossible. And I think that we make that distinction, again, between spiritual and physical, as if they are two different things, that the spiritual, some of those non-physical things simply can’t be brought down into the physical world and be applied. And I don’t think that’s true. I think it’s all applicable, I think that we can live – well, you know, the physical is just a subset of the non-physical. It’s all spiritual. It’s all physical. So it only makes sense that we can apply these things.
Rick Archer: Yes. Well, I think you did a good job describing it. I mean, I got a sense of it. You’re a good writer. And, you know, certain things just don’t lend themselves well to description, like trying to describe the color red, for instance. What do you say? But considering how otherworldly the dimensions you experienced are, I think you did a pretty decent job…
Natalie Sudman: Thank you.
Rick Archer: … describing for those of us in this world. Good. So I’ll link to that book, I guess the Amazon page for that book will link to your website, and people can get in touch if they want to find out what you’re doing.
Natalie Sudman: Great. Thank you.
Rick Archer: Yes. Thanks, Natalie. So let me make some general concluding remarks just briefly. This is part of an ongoing series, as most of you are probably aware. If you would like to stay in touch, go to batgap.com. And if you want to be notified of future interviews, you can just sign up for the little email that comes out every time I post one, if you – or you could subscribe on YouTube and to the channel. And then YouTube, I guess, will notify you when new ones are posted. Or you can do both. And this also exists as an audio podcast for those who like to listen in that way. There’s a page on BatGap for signing up on different devices and different services. And a bunch of other stuff if you just explore the menus, you might find something useful. So thanks for listening or watching and thank you, Natalie. I really appreciate it. Be Well, I’m glad you decided to come back.
Natalie Sudman: Thanks, Rick. Thanks for inviting me on the show.
Rick Archer: Stick around for a while and I’ll see you on the other side.
Natalie Sudman: Okay, sounds good.
Rick Archer: All right. Bye.