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Rick Archer: 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 and with people about various topics related to spirituality. We’ve done over 250 No 650 of them now. If this is new to you, and you’d like to check out some of the previous ones, go to batgap.com and look under the past interviews menu. 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 Pay Pal buttons on the website and then there’s also a page that explains some alternatives to pay pal. My guest today is Dr. Penny Sartori. Welcome Penny. Good to have you here.
Penny Sartori: Oh, hi, Rick. Thanks for the invite. It’s really nice to be here.
Rick Archer: Yeah, Penny, as you can tell from her accent is in the UK. Wales, isn’t it?
Penny Sartori: Yes, that’s right. Small little country in the UK.
Rick Archer: I’m not Henry Higgins, I just heard that from your, from your various talks. I can’t pinpoint people by their accents. But in any case. Penny was a nurse for 21 years. And obviously, as a nurse working in ICUs, she witnessed a lot of people dying, and began to question what happens when we die. And this led her to undertake a long term study to investigate near death experiences of patients in the ICU. And she eventually wrote a book about it, entitled the Transformative Power of Near Death Experiences, co-authored with someone named Kelly Walsh. I’ve been interested in near death experiences for a long time myself, I’ve been reading books about them since the least the 90s, maybe earlier, and have interviewed a lot of people who have had them or who studied them. And I think an understanding of them is important. And it also I think really can have an impact on one’s life. And maybe in a bit I’ll tell you what impact I feel like it’s had on mine. But I’d like to hear from Penny first. So did you, Penny, as you’re working as a nurse, did you have patients who revived after having gone unconscious and started to tell you about near death experiences they had had is that and did that happen a lot?
Penny Sartori: It did. Yes. So the thing that got me really interested was I was looking after a patient who was dying. And as he was dying, I went to do some nursing care. And I made it, our eyes connected. As I touched the bed to put this man flat. He was in tremendous pain. And he was in so much pain, he nearly jumped out of bed. And our eyes connected at that point. And I felt like I’d swap places with him. And it gives me a very different perspective on everything. And it made me question everything, all I could think about was this poor man. So I went to call the doctor to see if he could help and the only thing the doctor could do was give him some additional painkillers. And so I pulled the screen around, and I held his hand until he settled. And that just made me think that this man was at the end of his life. And I thought what happens when we die? Do we have to subject all of the patients to this kind of treatment before we eventually let nature take its course. And so it made me really upset. And I finished my night shift and I went home and I couldn’t sleep because this man was on my mind. And I found work because I couldn’t sleep. And it was about 1130 in the morning. And I phoned and I said how is the man doing? And they said, Oh, he died about half hour after you left. And that then threw me into a bit of depression. And it made me question everything I was doing as a nurse. And it made me read about death. And so the more I read about death, the more interested I became. And then I came across a book on near death experiences. And I thought, oh, you know, these people are telling us that death is nothing to be afraid of. They’ve had these wonderful experiences. And I thought what if that was true, you know, and I got really curious about it and I read more and more And then I started asking patients as well, when I was providing care for them, I was asking them about their experiences, and a lot of people didn’t remember anything. But I can remember one patient did have a clear experience. And he was first quite hesitant to tell me. And I thought, well, I’m working in the ideal environment, why don’t I do my own research. And so that’s what sort of motivated me doing some research. And then, when I did do my research, it was done over five years, and I interviewed patients who I was looking after who’d been in intensive care. And I did come across 15 cases of patients who’d had a near death experience. And I think, doing that research has been really helpful to me as well and transformative to me from a personal perspective, because it’s made me view and live my life in a very different way, as well. So I think that’s probably the most important question anyone can ask is what happens when we die and explore it? Because it’s the only thing that’s guaranteed for every single one of us, isn’t it?
Rick Archer: Yeah. So you just said that, you know, your immersion in NDE research has made you view and live your life in a very different way? How different? How do you think your life would be now if you hadn’t become so familiar with NDEs?
Penny Sartori: Okay, so before I was quite competitive, and I was really, you know, keen to do this, and that, and I was always quite selfish and self centered, really ever think about it, but now it’s given me a different perspective as well. And it’s, I don’t take life for granted in the way that I did before. So I think I’m more mindful of what I do, I’m more mindful of my actions and how they impact on other people as well. And it’s not only on a personal level, either it, it opened me up to a whole everything, you know, how we’re all interconnected, and how our actions impact on each other, but also on the planet as well, and how our actions are actually destroying our planet, and how we have to think differently. Because it, it’s almost like we’ve lost all of these connections that we had to nature, and to our primal selves, and we’ve become disconnected. And I think that disconnection is leading to a whole host of problems on on our planet as well, you know, so I think it’s made me more mindful and more, I live my life, perhaps at a slower pace, and I try to be more in flow with everything. And whereas before, I think, you know, it was important to me to have the fastest car or, you know, nice, big material goods and things like that. They don’t have any, they’re not important to me anymore. You know, it’s the simple things in life that are important now. And I think sometimes we, we spend so much time trying to live the life that the media portrays is the perfect life, that we missed the point of living life as well. And so we don’t actually live life. We’re always busy working long hours, or doing things to earn the money to live that life and, and that doesn’t have any interest for me anymore. So it’s changed my life in many ways.
Rick Archer: So interesting. Did you also adopt some kind of spiritual practice? And that that’s also having an influence? Or was it just the study of nd ease that’s brought about such a change in
Penny Sartori: you? I think both I think the study of nd ease opened me up to spirituality. Whereas before, I’d always been kind of like, oh, that’s kind of religion. And I was like, Oh, I’m not religious. And I was really kind of dismissive of it. But it made me explore different religions. And it made me explore spirituality. And my spiritual practice is really important to me now. And when I, when I’m in a stressful situation, I think if I didn’t have my, my spiritual practice, I don’t think I’d be here. Now. You know, when life gets tough, it’s my spirituality, that gets me through. So I try to meditate as much as I can, and try to make time doing that. I don’t do it as often as I do, as I used to do. But that is important to me. And it’s I think my spiritual understanding of life. Keeps me in a positive frame of mind as well. So when things get tough, I can rely back on my spirituality and that really does help a great deal.
Rick Archer: That’s great. You know, there are these sayings that are kind of like jokes, but you could almost put them on bumper stickers and maybe some people have. One is that life sucks, then you die. You’ve probably heard that one and another one. As he who dies with the most toys wins. And, of course, they are both rather depressing. And, and yet it seems that to a great extent, a lot of people in the world feel that way. And we even build our economic policies and environmental policies, and all based upon that kind of, you know, discouraging perspective. And, you know, and it’s, I mean, I actually heard some banker or oil company executive or something, I was quoted very recently saying, hey, what does it matter if Miami is, you know, nine meters underwater 100 years from now? I won’t be here. And, you know, so that kind of stuff, makes you pull your hair out. Or it makes inspires you to change the zeitgeist, you know, to change the paradigm so that we can actually save the world.
Penny Sartori: Yeah, and it’s surprising how many people have that narrow mindset and think like that, you know, and, and perhaps I’d be one of those before I found near death experiences, you know, and that’s the impact it’s had on me is to think, think differently, as well. And think of the long term impact.
Rick Archer: Yeah. I’ll tell you why. You know, as I mentioned, in the beginning, I’ve been reading about indies for a long time. I remember in the early days, I read James Vaughan, Prague, and Betty, Ed, and Dannion. Brinkley, and you’re probably familiar with all those people. And I always found that when I read one of those books, it thinned the veil, so to speak, you know, between I mean, it just broadened my perspective. And I actually wrote out a sentence or two here of what my perspective is as a result of familiarity with this topic. And I think also because of my spiritual practice, I said, I think that dwelling on nd ease cultures and understanding that life is a vast continuum, not bounded by the birth and death of this body, but punctuated by numerous births and deaths over a long span of time, which may be uncomfortable to experience, but in the big picture are natural and necessary, and really no big deal, and certainly nothing to fear.
Penny Sartori: Yeah, you’re right. You know, I think we just don’t have the we don’t think about death at all. Because death, I think is has been such a taboo subject. And I certainly when I was younger, I was discouraged about talking about it. But I think the more we talk about it and think about it, the more it empowers us to live a life as well, a fulfilling life. And I think that’s, that’s key really is living that fulfilling life, isn’t it? You know?
Rick Archer: Yeah, I think it also can be, I think it’s important to have an an understanding of how the universe works as best we can. And if it’s true that, you know that we’re, we are not just this body, and we don’t cease to exist when the body dies. That’s a big difference between understanding that and then, you know, thinking that we are just this body. I mean, as you experienced, it has such an impact on your life, if you can shift that perspective. I mean, fear alone must be a big factor for somebody who thinks they’re going to cease to exist. And also things like, I don’t know, suicide and all kinds of policies like euthanasia, and just so many ramifications rippling out from this understanding.
Penny Sartori: Yeah, that’s right. And, interestingly, you mentioned about suicide as well, because near death experiences, can have quite a positive impact on suicide as well. It was Professor Bruce Grayson did a some work on this back in a long time ago, now many years ago. But what he found with his work is that people who had made multiple attempts of suicide, if they had a near death experience, they were less likely to have a further suicide attempt, because the near death experience gave them a different perspective on life, as well. And yeah, absolutely. And so you can really impact on people in a very positive way, as well. And you know, if you think about how many people on this planet are currently having very bad mental health issues and things and if they perhaps had a different perspective, that could be very impacting on them as well and turning their mindset around and supporting them as well. So I think the more we understand about near death experiences, the more we could potentially Help people as well to change their mindset.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I’ve interviewed Bruce people can find that on BatGap, if they want. I mean, I would, let’s see what you think I would think that if a person truly believed that they’re not going to die when the body dies, then they might not feel that killing their body is going to solve their problems, you know? That that might be one reason why would make one less inclined to commit suicide?
Penny Sartori: Yeah, that’s true. And certainly people I’ve spoken to who have had a near death experience during a suicide attempt, they say that death isn’t the end, and that you take your problems with you anyway. So you’re not going to escape them, you have to face them, you have to get through them at some point. So it’s not something that you’re just going to get rid of, you know,
Rick Archer: yeah. Some people even say that if you try to sort of take that way out, you’ll have even an even greater challenge next time around, if you believe in reincarnation, which I happen to. But yeah, so you not only take them with you, but you might exacerbate them slightly. Yeah. And also, I think, well, I don’t want to be given all the answers here, because you’re, you’re the expert. But um, let me try to frame this into a question. So what are some other key types of insight that people gain when they have a near death experience, and then come back to life, and maybe you could give some stories and examples of how NDAs have changed or transformed certain people’s lives?
Penny Sartori: Well, maybe it’s the insight into their lives themselves, or certain situations in their lives that they get. So they could see that maybe they’ve had an illness, and they had their near death experience as a result of a close brush with death due to that illness. And they might get an insight into, Oh, my goodness, I’ve been living my life in this way. No wonder my body has been ill in this way or had this sickness. And it gives them perhaps that different kind of insight. It could be something that’s related to something that’s going on in their life. So for example, many years ago, there was a lady who emailed me about her near death experience. And it was a wonderful experience for her. And she was happy where she was, she didn’t want to return to life. And she was in this beautiful place with lush green grass and vividly colored flowers. And she was just at peace with everything. And she wanted to stay there. But she met a being of light within this near death experience. And this being of light or more like a presence. There was no physical form, but it was a light and a presence and said, No, you’ve got work to do, you have to go back. And as she never knew at the time, what that work was she didn’t know why she had to go back. She just knew that she wanted to stay there. And she was asking me in her, her email, why do you think I’ve come back? Why is it I was really content that I was happy. And then she emailed me again, a few years later, probably about five or six years later. And she said, I have to tell you, I know the answer why I was sent back. And her husband had been diagnosed with cancer. And he was dying, and he was very afraid of death. And she said, I was able to sit with him. And I was able to talk him through it. We had long conversations. And I know the reason I came back was to help him through his death. And he she was with him throughout the whole of his death. And when he passed, she said it. He wasn’t fearful as he was in the beginning. So she she’d found her life purpose then. So there’s all kinds of different insights that people get as well. And sometimes they do in the near death experience, they can have a life review. And the life review could be everything that’s happened in their life, it can take effect, they can see everything in a matter of seconds sometimes, and they might only be unconscious for a matter of seconds, but they relive the whole of their life again, and they might see significant things but insignificant things that they forgotten about as well. And sometimes it’s those insignificant things that maybe happened in their childhood that can give them a great insight into their life now at this point in their life as an adult. So there’s a whole host of different kinds of experiences that people can have through the near death experience.
Rick Archer: Yeah, so life reviews. That’s one of the things we’ll talk to About at greater length today. Another thing, and we’ll table that for the moment, but the thing you just mentioned about this wise being who can’t you know, this presents who communicated to this woman that she had to come back. It’s interesting what to ponder what these wise beings may be. And so many people have experiences with them, you know, when they have an NDA. But I think I’ve done some interviews, which specific which discuss those a lot. But it’s interesting to ponder that there are beings in some higher level or higher dimension, who have such omniscience of a sort, that they can tell years in advance that, you know, some event is going to happen, that we will be needed on Earth to deal with it, or, you know, to help in some way, much broader perspective. And you also wonder whether these beings are guiding us, even now without our having any near death experience.
Penny Sartori: Yeah, absolutely. And some, you know, a lot of people do say that during the near death experience, when they’ve met that being of light, afterwards, they remain in contact. So they, they still can intuit when that being of light is around them, they might not necessarily see them physically, but it’s more of an intuition or knowing that they’re there with them as well. And some people do actually go into a medic, try to go into a meditative state in order to connect with it, that being of light as well. And, yeah, and things like angels as well. You know, some people, some patients in my research, remembered being in contact with angels as well. And I remember doing a night shift when I was working. There was one lady and she was in the corner bed, and it was quiet. It was in the middle of the night, there was nothing much going on. So it was nice and peaceful. And then her monitors started to alarm and we looked at her, and she was quite unwell. She was very unwell, she was ventilated. And she then started to sit up in the bed, and she had her arms outstretched like this. And she was trying to reach something. And we were trying to get in front of her to look at her. But even if you clicked your eyes, your fingers in front of her eyes, there was she was just staring ahead. And she was like that for a good 510 minutes before she actually moved. And then she eventually lay back down. And then she settled and she went back off to sleep for the night. But the following day, when the consultant physician was there reviewing her, she communicated to him that during the night she’d been visited by an angel and she was trying to reach an angel, and she couldn’t quite reach that angel. So there’s that that i we i kind of witnessed during the nightshift. And there was also another man in my research and part of his experience when he was he was with us for many months. Very, very sick, very close to death on numerous occasions. And he remember, he doesn’t remember it now. But he said, at one point when he had made some progress and was getting better. He was telling his family that there were angels around his bed, he was surrounded by angels. They were all around him. They his family was sitting there at the bedside. And he was pointing to these angels who were behind them. They couldn’t see anything at all. But he said it was very, very vivid at the time because he told the family and he was adamant that that was happening. Now since then, his condition deteriorated. And he was really sedated. And then he didn’t have any recollection of that those angels after that point. So sometimes I think maybe some of the medication because that very often the medication has been cited as the cause of these experiences. I found that it might have an inhibitory effect on these experiences. And I found that patients who had high levels of sedation were less likely to have these experiences as it happens. And the fact that this man had no recollection of that part of his experience, after he’d been re sedated kind of makes me think well, perhaps, you know, the med the medication is inhibitory rather than causative?
Rick Archer: Yeah, they make you pretty groggy, don’t they pretty? Absolutely. Yeah. Relatively unconscious.
Penny Sartori: Yeah, that’s right. And you know, a lot of patients when they are discharged from the intensive care unit, they have no recollection of anything they had. If they had high levels of medication, you know, sedative drugs. Very often they don’t have any recollection or they have very confusional experiences. And the confusional experiences were very, very different to the near death experience, you know, the near death experience was very vivid, very precise and recalled with great clarity of thought that the other patients who were hallucinating because they had two different groups of patients, and there were patients who were hallucinating, and they were very different experiences. So
Rick Archer: it seems that doctors and nurses must experience people dying almost every day. Do you think there’s a higher percentage among doctors and nurses have people who recognize the validity and significance of Near Death Experiences? Are there just a lot of hardcore materialist skeptics in that community?
Penny Sartori: Yeah, I think it’s very skeptical. You know, it’s very often dismissed as the drugs and side effects of the drugs. And that’s not the case. And if patients have had been brave enough to share the experience with the nurses or the doctors, and they get a dismissive response, very often, they will never speak about that experience again. And that is so wrong, because this is a very valid human experience. And it’s something that we need to be more aware of. And that’s something I’m really passionate about, I really want this to be in the education of nurses and doctors, because nurses and doctors are there while it’s happening. And these patients need support in understanding what’s happened to them. No matter what the nurses or doctors beliefs are about these experiences, they also need to be able to support patients. So it’s a subjective experience. And you can’t measure it or you can’t sometimes, you know, if you’ve not got much of an understanding of what a near death experience is, as a healthcare professional, it’s easy to dismiss it. But that’s the worst thing that you can do. So it’s really important that nurses and doctors are educated about them.
Rick Archer: Yeah, and I think one reason it’s important is that these experiences are often the most profound experiences of the person’s life, and to just slap it down. And seems very unnatural and jarring and disrespectful. And in a way it kind of robs the person of the beauty of something that is really meaningful to them.
Penny Sartori: Absolutely, it can really invalidate a really profound experience. You know, this is probably the most profound human experience they’ve ever had, and ever will have. And for people who have no understanding of it, to dismiss, it is completely disrespectful. And so
Rick Archer: cool, if if medical education included a course and near death experiences, yeah,
Penny Sartori: yeah, that’d be great. That’s what I’m hoping to do. Because that’s my job at the moment, I work at the University, and I teach nurses, and I try to talk about near death experiences as much as they can, because it’s important that they’re aware of them, and that they’re able to support patients who have them. So you know, if a patient reports pain to a nurse, for example, the nurse would act on that straightaway. Now, if a patient reports a near death experience, they don’t know how to react because they don’t know exactly what the near death experiences, some, some nurses are very interested. And they do have an understanding, but there’s many who don’t. And I think the education needs to be better for all nurses.
Rick Archer: Yeah, it’d be nice if the nurses could say, Wow, that’s great. I’d love to hear about it. Because those are so interesting. Please tell me, you know, it would be a nice uplift for the patient. When you teach the nurses at the university, and you’re talking about near death experiences, what’s the reaction in general?
Penny Sartori: Generally, they’re really interested. You know, some people think, oh, yeah, that’s just kind of hallucinations. But to be honest with you, it does evoke a lot of discussion. And it makes the nurses think as well. So you know, that’s what I want. I want for nurses to think about these things and think how they’re going to support patients. Because that is key really, for someone who’s had a near death experience, the support they get in the initial support can really influence how they integrate that experience into their life. So if it’s dismissive, they’ll be afraid to talk about it again, if it’s encouraged and recognized and validated, they will speak about it again, and it will help them to process it and to understand this experience as well. Because the near death experience, it’s not just what happens subjectively during that time. It’s the whole of their life after that. It’s as if the person they were before the experience literally did die, and they’re a changed person. There are different In person, they have very different values, very different understanding of life. And it comes with a whole host of after effects as well. So sometimes those after effects can take many, many years to understand come to terms with and to integrate into their life. So some people might find that they become more psychic, or they’re able to pick up on things from from other people. Some people get premonitions, some people feel that they develop a healing ability, where they’re able to heal other people who’ve got ailments, some people feel that the values and views have changed so much, that it’s no longer compatible with the job that they were in. And so they leave very often they leave very high paid jobs, and go and do something like hospice work or voluntary work or caring work. And also, they no longer aligned with their spouses, you know, their values change so much that sometimes there can be a high there is a very high divorce rate with people after a near death experience as well. So it’s all of those after effects as well, that can really impact on people, you know.
Rick Archer: Yeah, you know, it seems like if there’s a grand plan for our lives, it almost seems like in many, in the case of people who have near death experiences, that was a part of the plan, or at least, it’s sort of it or it’s injected, it’s introduced into the plan in order to give them an upgrade, because their life was just not really going anywhere prior to it, but then it takes off in some wonderful direction after the end.
Penny Sartori: Yeah, absolutely. It can, it can really take off in many different ways, you know, and that they fight, they feel very liberated often after the experience, that’s if they’re able to process it properly, as well. So yeah, they can really change in many, many ways. You know,
Rick Archer: I guess, you know, a lot of skeptics say, well, it’s just oxygen deprivation or too much co2 or something going on in the dying brain. But one thing that I always suggest as refutation of that is that a lot of times, and the ease are accompanied by OB ease out of body experiences, in which a person sees things or, and can later even though they’re under like anesthesia, they’re totally unconscious, but they have experiences which they can later relate, which they could not have known through any other means, like Trisha Barker, whom I’ve interviewed, like she was in a bad car accident. She was in back surgery, unconscious. She saw her stepfather buying a Snickers bar from the vending machine in the waiting room. And she knew her her stepfather was kind of a health nut. He didn’t eat candy bars, she saw him buy this thing. And specifically, it was a Snickers bar, which is a kind of candy in the US. And she later reported it to him said, Yeah, sure enough, I did. And then there was that lady who saw a red sneaker on the ceiling of the hospital, and somebody went up there later and found it. And then there was, who was it? I forget her name now. But this woman I interviewed who fell into a tank of water when she was a child, and she was drowning. And you know, she first she left her body, she saw the nanny, watching soap operas, and the other in the house. So that wasn’t going to help. Then she she kind of went down to the bus stop where her mother was waiting to get on a bus and she said, Hi mom. And her mom just ran back to the house, ran straight to the tank and yanked her out and resuscitated her. So this is probably just three of hundreds of examples we could give of people who experience things that are verifiable that you really can’t explain in terms of oxygen deprivation.
Penny Sartori: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And I can give you a good example of that from a patient in my study in the hospital. He, I was looking after him at the time, and he was ventilated. And he was in we put him into the chair to help with it because he was making a good recovery. And as soon as we got him in the chair, I could see that his breathing had changed. He looked uncomfortable, he went gray and clammy, all of these signs of an impending cardiac arrest and I thought if I don’t get him back into bed now, you’ll have a cardiac arrest in the chair. So I called my colleagues and we literally flung him back into bed as quickly as we could. And within minutes, he was deeply unconscious, but he was ventilated that whole time. So he still had oxygen go into him around his body. But he did lose consciousness completely. Yeah, we’d gotten back into bed and he was just deeply deeply unkind. Just at this point, and I call the doctor to come in and review him, we stabilize his condition, one of the junior doctors came and give him some fluid. But he was not responding to deep painful stimuli or nothing. And there was absolutely no response. And I went to get another doctor because the junior doctor had got have to go to another emergency. So I went out to look for another doctor, the consultant just walked in that morning. So he came and revealed my patient. And he shone a pupil torch in his eyes to check his pupils. He examined him, we give him more fluids. And after about 30 minutes, the patient started to regain consciousness, I could see his eyelids flicker in and he was moving his limbs or sign that neurological function was coming back. And then he stabilized and I was happy that he is his condition had stabilized. So it was about four hours later, and he regained full consciousness at this point. And the ward round was there. So all the doctors and the nurses, the dieticians were there. And he was excited about something he was trying to communicate and say something. So the physiotherapist got a letter board, the physio had been there helping as well. And she, she was quite concerned about his condition because she had put him into the chair she’d suggested putting him in. And she got the letter board and he spelled out I died. And I watched it from above. And the consultant actually took note of that, and he documented it in the notes. And he said you better discuss this with Penny and tell her more. And so you know, they they made a note and they made the changes on the ward round and off they went. When I interviewed this patient fully, he described being out of his body. He correctly identified the consultant as having examined him and shone a pupil torch in his eyes. But the consultant hadn’t been present prior to him losing consciousness that day. He correctly described the physiotherapist poking their head around the curtains to check on his condition. And he correctly identified the nurse cleaning his mouth, putting a pink sponge into his mouth. And I know everything that he described was completely true and accurate. Because I was there at the time I was nervous he was cleaning his mouth. During the time that all of these events occurred. He was deeply unconscious and not repeat responding to painful stimuli. So what he described was a heightened state of awareness when his brain was in a deeply unconscious state. So how do we explain that? And I you know, that was something that I was actually there and witness to he wasn’t given any drugs either at that point at all. So you know, during that all he had was fluid. So how do we explain that? The even more interesting thing about this case, is that this man has cerebral palsy. So his right hand was in a permanently contracted position, kind of like that. So after his experience, when I was doing a follow up interview, I asked him if there was anything that he could do while out of his body that he couldn’t normally do. So I was kind of getting at the point is, sometimes people when they’re out to their body, they describe go into a location that they haven’t been to before. So that’s the kind of thing I was going to ask, but he misinterpreted that question. And he said, Oh, look, yeah, look at this, I can open up my hand, and his hand was fully opening. And at the time, I didn’t really understand the significance of that. It was only at a later point when I was discussing that with the physiotherapist and the doctor. And they said that shouldn’t be possible physically, because his tendons would be in a permanently contracted position. So in order to open out his hand fully, he’d require surgery to release the tendons. While surgery wasn’t performed. I checked to see if he’d had any physio on his hand. Nothing. So that is something that we can’t understand that has happened. So, you know, I think there’s a lot to these experiences that we don’t understand. And that we still have to learn about
Rick Archer: was his hand permanently recovered good. He continued to close and open it or just just one time. Yep,
Penny Sartori: he could open it from there on. Wow. Yeah, that’s it’s quite incredible. His sister verified that for me as well. She she documented that and signed it for me as well. He had not previously been able to do that. He was 60 years of age when that happens. So for 60 years of his life has handed been like that. And now it’s like that. That’s really cool. Yeah, but think about it. You know, if we understood that, how many other people have similar ailments that we could perhaps have non invasive forms of treatment that could help people as well, you know, so we could develop something like that if we had a deeper understanding.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And then, of course, there’s the need. And we’re Johnny, who had, you know, lemon size tumors throughout her body. And she was down to about 80 pounds, she couldn’t hold her head up, because she was so weak, and she went to this profound near death experience. And when she came out, the tumors very quickly shrunk over the next couple of weeks and disappeared. And she was cancer free. She had been on her deathbed. And, you know, so if we could harness this kind of phenomenon somehow and, you know, actually teach people to have one, and we wouldn’t want them to nearly die unnecessarily. But if we could have them go into some kind of profoundly altered state that nd is cause. And then perhaps we could affect all sorts of cures.
Penny Sartori: Yeah, absolutely. And I think, you know, that would be something that would be well worth developing as well. It’s all with a mindset, really, you know, it’s a completely big switch in their mindset, completely different insight into what we’ve been conditioned to believe, I guess, isn’t it?
Rick Archer: Yeah, psychedelics often do it with addictions, like cigarettes, or alcohol or drugs or PTSD. Also, you know, psychedelics, if properly administered and monitored, can bring about radical changes? Absolutely. Even one dose, you know?
Penny Sartori: Yeah, that’s right, the work of Stanislav Grof. And William Richards, as well, I was lucky enough to be in a conference or years ago now with them. And William Richards had old archived footage of administering psychedelics before they were banned in the therapeutic session for patients who had cancer and were afraid of dying, and how positive their mindset was changed as a result of having those small doses of psychedelics, you know, it gives them different insights and took away the fear of death for them as well. So they really important ways of living out they have understanding, you know, and therapeutically, as well, what we can do.
Rick Archer: And these days, of course, as you know, there’s a huge renaissance of psychedelic study. I presume it’s happening in the UK. It’s all over the US. Yep. Yeah. And all kinds of great potential there.
Penny Sartori: Yes, there is. I agree. Yeah.
Rick Archer: And we’re probably not going to blow it this time, like we did last time in the 60s, you know, with Timothy Leary, and the hippies and Richard Nixon and all this stuff. It seems like everybody’s Be careful this time around. There was one really cool story I heard you tell about a lady who had a near death experience. When she got an anaesthetic, I guess she was going into surgery. And when she came out, she had a profound understanding of quantum physics, which she had no prior educational training in. When to tell that story.
Penny Sartori: Gosh, yes, I, I forget this one. But yes, there was.
Rick Archer: I remember what you said about it, because I just listened to it. But you go ahead. I’m sure you remember most of it.
Penny Sartori: Yes, no, this lady is called Raj abandoned more. And I met her in a conference in Marseille in France. That was back in about 2000 or a long time ago again. And Roger had this near death experience. And she had a life review back to her birth. But also it went further back, it went to the the birth of the universe. And she had this knowledge of everything. And she just felt that she had an understanding of quantum physics. And she worked in retail prior to her experience, she owned her own business and retail business. And it motivated her to go and enroll on a course in quantum physics at the University, which she did. And it was interesting in this conference, because they’d actually interviewed a university professor. And he said, that he was astounded by her knowledge, because the knowledge that she was describing in her papers and their written assignments was far deeper than someone who could just acquire knowledge through doing a booster course or, you know, just reading lots of papers. He said, this was deep seated knowledge. And he said some of what she had written in her assignments, were even beyond his level of comprehension, as well. And he said that there were also publications in physics journals that had come out since she’d written her assignments, which were actually verifying what she’d written about in her assignments. So that is something that is incredible to me for someone to have those deep understandings and insight into quantum physics. You know,
Rick Archer: I wonder if she actually learned the mathematics because if you’re really going to be a quantum physicist, you have to learn some very fancy mathematics. Or if she was just taking a sort of a layman’s course in quantum physics where you can talk about it without understanding the mathematics. Just curious.
Penny Sartori: I think it was more, I think it was more of a higher level course that that she was that she understood at that level from what I gathered from from her university professor,
Rick Archer: interesting. There’s other things that happened with like, people, I’m sure you’ve heard this, where people have some brain injury, and all of a sudden, they can like play really great improvisational jazz piano, even though they hadn’t really any piano training. Yeah, things like that.
Penny Sartori: That’s it and people do they acquire things, and sometimes they can understand different languages as well, or speaking different languages that they hadn’t spoken before, as well. So it’s quite fascinating.
Rick Archer: I mean, this suggests that there’s a field of knowledge outside the brain, because you know, jazz piano or different languages, there’s they’re not stored in the brains of the people who have they have no prior experience with those things. And so it suggests that there is a field in which knowledge of such of all things perhaps is stored. And we tap into it, under certain circumstances.
Penny Sartori: Yeah, absolutely. And I think that is a greater a better understanding of near death experiences, you know, this field or this consciousness is there, it’s around us all the time. But we’re not, we’re not aware of it all, you know, our brains, rather than producing experiences or creating experiences like the near death experience, it makes more sense to me that our brain acts like a transmitter or receiver. And there are times you know, then your brain filters out the extent of this consciousness, that’s this conscious field that surrounds us all the time. But there are times in our life where that conscious, that filter expands. And rather than anything being created, it’s being allowed into the experience of that person. And I think that makes much more sense to me, than the brain creating these experiences. And I think that’s perhaps why we don’t understand these experiences. Because it’s always been kind of the explanation that the brain produces consciousness when the brain dies, consciousness disappears. But I think that worked quite well for many years. But we’re at the point now, where so many people are having these anomalous experiences. It gives greater I think the we need to think differently about what consciousness is.
Rick Archer: Yeah, I mean, if people are just adamantly adhering to the notion that the brain produces consciousness, they’re ignoring a lot of evidence now. You know, and they might be playing ostrich and just, you know, refusing to look at the evidence. But if they look at it, they can’t really they’ve got to they’ve got to start rethinking their paradigm, it seems to me if they’re honest, if they’re really scientists.
Penny Sartori: Yeah, absolutely. And I think that’s, you know, I think we’re at that point, really, where more and more people are questioning things, and they are looking at things differently as well. So, you know, we’re living in an exciting time, I think, because so many people are taking these experiences seriously now.
Rick Archer: Yeah. So just to review a little bit, from what you just said, the brain is a filter. And it, it doesn’t create a lot of things, well, great, some things but a large part of its function is to filter out because we couldn’t really function if we were flooded with all possible sensory experience and all possible information, we just be totally overwhelmed. I mean, if anybody ever took a heavy LSD trip, you know, they wouldn’t want to go drive a car or go shopping in a mall, it’s just too much. Because the filter is so thin. So you know, psychedelics, and D is brain injury, meditation, all these things, and others are ways of thinning the filter. And some of them perhaps do it in a more abrupt and involuntary way. And others such as meditation, more gradual, more natural, more, more voluntary.
Penny Sartori: Yeah, because if you think about the experiences of all of these are all very similar, and they all have, you know, a lot of things in common as well. But I think what you find is that it’s slightly different. So if you’re taking psychedelic Like, you’ve got a mindset where you’re expectant of perhaps something happening. If you do any meditative practice, again, you have that a bit of insight and might be expectant, with a near death experience, you can’t plan to have one of those, that’s something that comes out of the blue, it’s something, you know, Wolf, you’re thrown into this experience. So the context is very different for the near death experience it because it’s so sad and so unexpected. And so perhaps why that’s why it is so profound, because you’re at that point of annihilation, really, where you could die. So
Rick Archer: I would suggest that one way of looking at spiritual practice is that it’s a voluntary thinning of the filter, but in a, in a, sort of a gradual, incremental way. So that it’s never one is never overwhelmed. And the end, or the long term objective, is to be able to live in conscious attunement with that field of pure consciousness we’ve been alluding to, and yet function in the field of boundaries, and, you know, ordinary, everyday life. So you get the best of both worlds, so to speak, and one enhances the other and life is upgraded to a much higher quality than it otherwise would have been.
Penny Sartori: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So you know, you you have your spiritual practice, and you have that intent behind it. Whereas with the near death experience, it’s, it’s unexpected, it’s, and very often what people experienced during the Near Death Experience is completely different to their perspective of life as well. You know, you’ve got Pete, people who have been an atheist as well have no belief in any kind of afterlife at all, can be thrown in and have this experience, and it can change them profoundly as well.
Rick Archer: Do you have a theory as to how a person could have sensory experience, visual, auditory, and so on, when their physical body is completely unconscious? And even sensory experience of things happening at a distance? Yeah, well,
Penny Sartori: I don’t only the fact only that, I think our understanding of the brain producing this experience is wrong, I think the brain is actually that experience or that the filter is open so much that they’re living in a heightened state of consciousness now, that we, we live in a very damped down state of consciousness, whereas people having this experience are in that heightened state of consciousness. And, you know, like you said about Tricia Barker, seeing her relative buy in the Snicker bar. You know, there’s a an example as well, underneath the test and anesthesiologist, Dr. Rajiv party, he had an out of body experience during his near death experience. And he was in LA, or California, in hospital, whereas he traveled to India. And he watched his mom and his sister, washing vegetables, preparing the vegetables for dinner. And He then spoke to them at a later point, and they verified that, you know, so. Yeah, how could that possibly happen?
Rick Archer: And Anita Moorjani, was in Hong Kong, unconscious in hospital that she saw her brother getting on a plane in India and flying to Hong Kong to kind of thing
Penny Sartori: that’s good. You know, how are these things possible? And I think before yet, you could just, you know, you could say, I think the mindset before is that No, that’s impossible. It’s a hallucination and you dismiss it. But I think now that we’re getting more people undertaking research and near death experiences, especially in the hospital environment, because you you’ve got the notes to refer back to as well and you’ve got documented things that happened. I think we’re starting to get a different understanding of what death is and what consciousness is as well.
Rick Archer: Yeah. One understanding that Indian traditions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism offer and this is probably they’re probably similar things in other traditions around the world, is that you know, we’re kind of like Russian dolls in the sense that we have the gross physical body and then we have subtler body. So subtle body which has various components to it. And in In Vedanta, they call it the Sukshma Sharira. The subtle body and when the physical body dies, the subtle body doesn’t die. And that’s how we get reincarnated that that moves into another physical body eventually. And so the understanding is that the subtle body has sensory apparatus, subtle sensory apparatus. And that’s how we can experience the kinds of things we’ve been. We’ve been talking about here, even if the physical body is incapacitated.
Penny Sartori: Yeah, that’s it. Yeah, that’s interesting. So spiritual traditions have built these, you know, these have been ingrained within spiritual traditions, who are in tune very much with that, you know, that the primal things of, of what it is to be human. And I think we’ve kind of separated from those so much now and with it, you know, since industrialization and you know, the scientific revolution, and we’ve lost touch with those things, you know, people are more in tune. And but that, you know, that’s a nice explanation as well. And I think, you know, these things, we, it’s important to take those on board as well.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And it seems a little arrogant of modern science to just dismiss all these ancient traditions as mythology or superstition. And, you know, to feel that, oh, we really know what’s going on, these people were a bunch of rubes because, in fact, they had in many ways, I mean, we do know certain things that ancient traditions didn’t, but in many ways, the tables are turned, and they have a lot of wisdom to impart to modern society and modern science.
Penny Sartori: Absolutely. Yeah. You know, you look at you look at the indigenous cultures of the world now, you know, they live in harmony with nature, they don’t take more than what they need, and they give back to nature, they live in that balance with nature, whereas is westernized, you know, humans, we’re just destroying the planet for short term gain. And you know, that, like you said, at the beginning of the interview, that attitude, well, I don’t care, I’m not going to be urine another 90 to 100 years time, you know? So,
Rick Archer: and, of course, when we westernized these traditional cultures, and introduce our diets and our values and all that stuff, we destroy those. So, I don’t know, you and I could get on this bandwagon. Think perhaps, one result of a transformation in consciousness that, you know, hopefully is happening in the world, is that these indigenous and traditional cultures will be restored to a great extent. And, you know, will purge themselves perhaps of a lot of corruption that that Western cultures have indoctrinated them with? I hope anyway.
Penny Sartori: Yeah. Yes, there is hope. Definitely.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Um, okay. So continue. And as we go along here, you know, anytime a thought pops into your head about, you know, that I have, I’m not asking questions about, feel free to just raise it. Because, you know, I might not think of all kinds of great things that you would like to talk about. But I have a few things here. If we want to continue on, we alluded to the life review, and maybe it’d be good to talk about that a little bit more.
Penny Sartori: Yeah. Now, that’s something that really fascinates me. Because if patients are just unconscious for a few brief seconds, yet, the experience that they recall, would take many, much longer to actually go through, they feel like they relive their life. They relive it in great detail. They see everything, things that they’d forgotten about things that they remembered. And it’s all sometimes it’s described as a panoramic memory as well. So do you remember, I remember back in the 1980s, there were these cinemas, which will hold domes and you’d lay in the back? And you could see it, like a planetarium where yeah, that kind of thing. And it was all around you. And that’s how they described, they see everything, it’s all around them happening all at once. Yeah, but they have this deep understanding of this experience as well. And that life review can give them insight into the way that they’ve been living their life. So it can also sometimes that they can swap places with the people they’ve interacted with as well. So if they’ve been unpleasant to someone, or if they’ve been violent towards someone, or being in a fight with someone, they can swap places with that person and feel like what it’s like to be on the receiving end of that fight, and how that person felt as well. And sometimes, you can see the simple things that we do in life every day, and how much of an impact they can have on people without us even realizing the simple act of smiling at someone. There’s a Someone who wrote to me after their near death experience, they went into this this other realm. And they remembered that a few months previously, and this was insignificant to them at the time, they they hadn’t thought twice about it. But they were walking from the shops, and it was early in the morning, and they were in a bath clean. And as they walked down this bachlin, someone was there. And they were looking quite gloomy and kind of walk in with their head down. And this person smiled and said, Good morning, to this other person. And the other person didn’t say anything back. And that was the end, they didn’t think anything. But in real life review, the reliving of that that person is deeply depressed, and they were considering taking their own life that morning. And the fact that she’d walked past and smiled and said, Good morning, had changed that person’s mind a little bit, and made them think differently. So just the simple things like that, that we do every day. They do have make a difference in ways that we often don’t see.
Rick Archer: That’s nice. And it’s really important, you know, I mean, that hopefully will inspire us all to remember those little things. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Everything thing.
Penny Sartori: Yeah. And so the life review can have that impact on people because it’s morally changes the person as well. So when they return to life, they are very mindful of those things as well. So they act in a much more mindful way of being as well.
Rick Archer: Yeah. I often think of Dannion Brinkley as life reviews, as you probably know, the story. He was a sharpshooter, in Vietnam and, and then he ended up having four near death experiences. And I think it was an all of them. He had life reviews in which he experienced not only the the impact of his having killed a particular person in Vietnam, but the impact on their family, the ripple effect of you know, if they were the provider for a family, how it impacted the family and so on. So you can just see all the ramifications of his actions.
Penny Sartori: Yeah, yeah, that’s right. And things like that are really then profound for that person. You know, it really does. You know, there’s someone else. It even has an impact on the way that they think when they come back as well. And they’re mindful of the way in which they speak to people as well. So it’s, you know, it has very deep, transformative effect on people.
Rick Archer: Yeah. One of my favorite quotes, I’ve said this so many times, but it’s really one of my favorite quotes. There was this Buddhist saint, some say he was an avatar, named Padmasambhava. And he’s, he was supposed to be highly enlightened. And he said, even though my awareness is as vast as this as a sky, my attention to karma, meaning my attention to my moment to moment actions, is as fun is as fine as a grain of barley flour. All right, so just this precise, careful attention to each moment.
Penny Sartori: Yeah, absolutely.
Rick Archer: A nice compliment came in for you from someone named Rita in the US. She said, Just to comment, Penny is your first guest. I was already familiar with Ben very much. Looking forward to this. I review her videos repeatedly because she exudes such a comforting warmth, along with a reassuring matter of fact stance. And it’s coming through now to
Penny Sartori: Oh, thank you, Rita. Thank you so much. Thank you.
Rick Archer: It’s nice. A couple other questions came in. Let me ask you another one. This is from Lynette Melcher in Maryland. How can you tell hallucination from N D? What’s the difference? Because actually, some things are hallucination. They’re not an MD. How do you tell?
Penny Sartori: Yeah, that’s a really good question. Because in intensive care, you know, a lot of patients do hallucinate quite badly. And sometimes those hallucinations can really impact on on their life as well. But what I was with my research, when I was interviewing patients, I, when I because I use very sensitive subject to approach people about first of all, so I had to do it in a very sensitive manner, as well. So I just asked the simple question, did you understand? Did anything happen when you were unconscious? Do you have any memories at the time you were unconscious? Now, a lot of people didn’t remember anything. Some people kind of like, Oh, why are you asking? And those are people who did have a near death experience, but were hesitant to speak about it in case I thought that they were crazy, which they’re not. And then I came across some patients who were like, oh, gosh, yeah, I remember that. Oh, it was terrible. I can remember. And they would describe things which were not in line with the near death experience. And then when I investigated them, I realize it was things that was going that were going on in the background. So for example, there was one lady. And she said, Oh, yes, she said I was on this ferry. And we will go in from Swansea, which is in Wales, where I live, going over to Ireland. And she said, I was on this, this ferry. And I can remember the waves was moving me everywhere. I was rolling all over the place. It was terrible. It was rough seas. And when I investigated this, at the time, when she was coming around from her sedation when that had been turned off, she was being looked after by a nurse who had a very thick Irish accent, and also the beds that the patients were on. They were air mattresses, and they used to sway from side to side. So those sorts of things, you could attribute that to actual tactile experiences, auditory experiences that were actually happening at the time, but they were interpreted in a different way. But when I was interviewing the patients about the near death experience, I tried to find explanations for everything that they described in the near death experience as well. And I couldn’t I couldn’t find anything that was going on in the background as well, that would have accounted for that experience that they were having, as well. So what I found is they were very different experiences. And then when I did follow up interviews with patients who’d had hallucinations, they were really quite embarrassed most of the time by by what they were some of the behavior that they’d done, and they could rationalize that they’d been hallucinating. They said, Oh, gosh, yes, I remember that. Now. That was terrible hallucination. Whereas the people who’d had the near death experience, they were adamant that it was a real experience. They said, you know, unless you’ve had this experience for yourself, you can’t possibly understand it. And so there were very clear differences between those who’d hallucinated, and those who had had the near death experience
Rick Archer: seems to me that one distinction might also be that when you’re hallucinating, you’re usually not fully unconscious, you know, you’re in some kind of semi conscious or altered state. When when you have an ND E, you’re really out and your physical body is shut down. Yeah, yeah. Okay. Um, here’s another question is from Bob Routh in Whidbey Island, Washington State. Have you found any cases of children who had a near death episode, but without a memory of it until later in life?
Penny Sartori: Oh, that’s a good question. No, I haven’t there weren’t. There weren’t any children in my hospital research. But over the years, many people have written to me with their experiences. And I have got quite a few cases of childhood near death experiences, but none who had forgotten about it until later in life. So no, I haven’t but I know PMH. Atwater has done a lot of research with children as well and Cherie Sutherland, so they might have cases where that is the case, but I’ve not come across it myself. Okay.
Rick Archer: Here’s one from Linz, Linz, a Sealy in Canterbury, UK. I’ve seen interviews then the skeptics like Susan Blackmore, who are far from convinced that NDAs offer any convincing evidence of life after death. Dr. Sam party is aware experiments of placing pictures near the ceiling and operating theaters have so far failed to provide empirical evidence of consciousness consciousness separated, separating from the body during any ease. Why do you think that these experiments have failed to provide empirical evidence of life after death? That would convince the scientific community and do you think there will be there will ever be any absolute definitive evidence that will convince all skeptics? Mm hmm.
Penny Sartori: Another good question. Yes, as similar to my research, Sam Parnia and myself both started our initial studies at the same time. And what I found with mine, because I had hidden targets above where the patients were, so they would only be visible if they left their body. And again, although I had patients who had the out of body experience, some of them rose only two levels, which weren’t high enough to view the symbols. But there were two patients who did have out of body experiences where they would have been in a position to view the symbols. And both of those patients said to me, I was so interested in what was going on with my body that I wasn’t looking around. But one of them in particular said to me if you’d have told me before, I’d had that experience that there was a hidden symbol. I don’t have then looked at it and told you what it was, but no one actually did see it. So it’s really difficult to do that because you know, patients have to be done. A vantage point where they can see those hidden symbols. And they also have to be looking for it as well, I guess. So it’s really difficult to verify it. When I was doing my research, I didn’t do it in as a means to prove life after death, you know, what I was interested in? Is that these experiences? What are they? What what is it that people are experiencing, because I recognize that these are really important and valid experiences. And it’s important that we understand them, because as healthcare professionals, we need to be supporting these patients in order to understand the experience. But I think doing this research has kind of opened my eyes to all different kinds of possibilities as well. So I think it would be a lot more research, I think we’re gonna have to do lots more. It’s very, very little research been done on this so far. So I think we need a lot more research to be done in this field. And we need to gather more and more cases. And I think that’s going to take a long time to do that.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Lindsay’s wording is rather strong here absolute definitive evidence that will convince all skeptics, I don’t know if this if there’s that for anything in this.
Penny Sartori: Think I think the only way a skeptic would have absolute definitive evidence, if they themselves were to have a near death experience themselves. It may be it would give them a different perspective and different mindset. I don’t know. But you know, there’s the philosopher Aja, isn’t it? You know, he had a near death experience when he nearly choked on a salmon bone. And again, that changed his perspective on things and changed his mindset drastically as well.
Rick Archer: We should distribute salmon bones to all the skeptics.
Penny Sartori: Yeah,
Rick Archer: I mean, it seems to me that, I mean, I’m no scientist and but it seems to me that these experiences that people like Trisha Barker, and Ingrid hunkler, she was the child who fell in the water tank or this guy. thing, it was good. Bruce Grayson told this story, when I interviewed him about some guy saw, there was a quarter, you know, which is a US coin, sitting on top of some equipment cart that was like eight feet tall. And, and he saw that during the operation, while he was under. And later on, he told the doctor and the doctor got a ladder and climbed up there and found the quarter. I mean, these weren’t the actual intentional, pre arranged experiments, but it seems to me that this kind of evidence is just as legitimate as looking at some target. That’s been put there intentionally.
Penny Sartori: Yeah, absolutely. But then I guess the skeptics would say, Well, you know, it’s probably someone else knew that it was there. It was in the mindset of someone else they could have picked that. There’s so many different arguments and ways of dismissing things.
Rick Archer: Well, if you say that, then that, to me is almost a concession to the whole mind being independent of body thing, because you know, if you can read somebody else’s mind across to what means? I don’t know. Yeah. Then why can’t you also have an NDA? That’s legitimately
Penny Sartori: That’s right. My dog wants to jump up in my lap. But I don’t think it’s a good idea here because we have wires, and we have a microphone and all that stuff. So you stay down there. Okay. So we’ve covered life review. One thing is negative NDEs. I heard you say that about 14% of, of NDAs are negative. And what are your thoughts on that? Yeah, and I think a lot of these net negative or distressing experiences, they certainly do occur. And they can be really, really impacting as well on people. And to the point what I found with my research in the hospital research, I came across two patients, one of them was described more as unpleasant and, and the other one was very hellish, like she described looking into the flames of hell. And this, this lady was absolutely terrified by what she’d experienced. And she didn’t want to talk about it. She started to tell me about it. But she became distressed. So I just ended the interview at that point. And I just sat with her for about an hour before she, you know, I felt that it was appropriate to leave her until the nurses, you know, just to keep an eye on her. I think with the distress in ones, I think it would be helpful if we knew more about it, because they are just as real as that the pleasant ones as well. I’ve had people who have emailed me over the years, and they’re very hesitant to talk about it. So initially, they will like put the feelers out in their emails to me and say I had this experience It’s not a usual type of experience, they might say a little bit about it. And then we’ll have a bit of an email conversation. And then I might not hear from them until about six months later, and they’ll come back with a little bit more. And there are a few patients I’ve been an email contact with for about 15 years. And they’ll talk about it for a bit. And then I don’t hear from them for many years, and then maybe five years pass, and they’ll come back and they’ll say, I’ve had more insight into my experience, I’ve been processing it. So it lasts for a long time. And if it’s not addressed, it takes a long time for them to understand. And so they can be living in fear for a long time. And it’s, I always remember that there was one patient when I was a student nurse, there was one patient who was very, very, she was dying, she knew she was dying. And she was really distressed about the fact that she was dying. And I can remember, every time we walked past her bed, she would try to climb out of bed, and she would grab on to us, and she’d say, please, please don’t let me die out died before. It’s horrible. Please don’t let me go there again. And I was a student nurse. I’ve never heard of near death experiences. I didn’t know what she was talking about. None of us did. And I remember the staff nurse who was in charge, she spoke with the family. And she said, Can you you know, she said she died before? Can you give us any insight and the families everyone knows she did have a cardiac arrest five years ago, but we don’t know anything why she’s like this. And it’s only now when I reflect back on that. And I think if this lady had a distressing, near death experience when she had her cardiac arrest, that’s probably why she was so afraid of dying. And because she was so terrified, and she was trying to get out of bed and trying to seek that reassurance. The only way that we were able to treat her is to give her some sedatives. And I just think that we need to understand these experiences so that we can support people who have them as well, you know,
Rick Archer: yeah, as you know, a lot of traditions have concept of Heaven and Hell. And some of them, like the Hindus, for instance, believe that there are seven heavens and Seven Hills, each one of the heavens are each, you know, ascending to higher ones and the hills, each one is lower than the previous. And Buddhism has similar ideas. And if you know, we’re sort of getting a toe into what lies on the other side, when we have an ND E, then maybe it’s not surprising that some people are going to have glimpses, not only of heaven, but possibly of hell. And there’s a kind of an interesting story in the Mahabharata, the hero, one of the heroes of the Mahabharata was named Yudhishthira. And he had these four brothers, so there are five of them. And he, at the end, he dies, and he goes to heaven. And he finds the bad guys there, do yogena. And he says, Well, what’s going on? Where were my brothers? They’re the good ones, why aren’t they here? And someone said, Well, your brothers are in hell. And he said, Okay, then I’d rather go there and be with them, then be here with this guy. So he went to hell, and it was yucky. And but his brothers were there. But But then after a short while, they were lifted out of there. And they saw drew yogena, descending down into hell. And the idea of the story was that the yogena had a little bit of good karma to experience. So he got a little bit of heaven, and they had to go to hell for and then but then had to go to hell for a longer period, whereas Yudhishthira and his brothers had a little bit of bad karma to pay off. So they went to hell for a bit, but then after a brief day, ascended into heaven. So the story’s a little fanciful, but perhaps they’re indicative of the mechanics of the way things actually work. And, and I think that, um, the key point is, at least in this tradition, that none of these realms are considered permanent, the whole idea of eternal damnation is not part of it. You might have to go someplace for a while, but whether it’s good or bad, but it’s relative, and it’s not the end of your, you’re not going to be there forever.
Penny Sartori: Yeah, that’s right. And it’s interesting you say that, because there are some near death experiences that have started off as really unpleasant and distressing. And then they change into positive experiences as well. And there’s, you know, there’s one case, it’s almost like, the person is fighting that experience of dying, they’re holding on to life, they’re clinging on to life as much as they can. And as soon as they release that type of control, trying to control the experience. When they relax into it. It’s turned into a more pleasant experience as well. And certainly Dr. Receive party, the anesthesiologist from California, describes that in his near death experience And he initially went through this dark place where you could see thunder and lightning in the background. And people being tortured and burned to death. And then he could then he realized he had insight into the way he was living his life. And that changed everything for him. And then his near death experience turned into a very pleasant experience as well.
Rick Archer: Interesting. So part of that, obviously, is the fighting thing. The same happens with psychedelics. Sometimes if the person is afraid, and they’re fighting it, then that very fear, what was it FDR said, The only thing we have to fear is fear itself, the fear creates the discomfort. Whereas if they had a better understanding of what was going on, then they would just sort of go with it and could be a pleasant experience, whether we’re talking about NDEs or whatever. Yeah. Um, okay. So as I mentioned, in the beginning, I haven’t read your book. And so what other important points are there in the book and think of various chapters, which we haven’t discussed yet? Anything?
Penny Sartori: Okay. So also as well, the experience of, of dying itself, you know, because as people are dying, there can be some really wonderful experiences that occur as well. And I remember when my first experience of death when I was growing up, first of all, it was my great grandmother, she was in her 80s, I was 17, when she died. And the night before she died, she collapsed in her home, and she’d gone to stay with my grandmother. And the night before she died. She’d had this dream, she said to my grandmother. Oh, she said, I had a lovely dream last night, she said, I was in the light. And it was lovely. It was so nice. And she said it was really peaceful. I was it was lovely there. And my family, they were all there waiting for me in the light, and didn’t think anything more of it. And at the time, I’d never heard of these experiences. Then the next experience of death that I had was my grandfather. And I nursed him at home with my grandmother. And as he was dying in the days before he was dying, he used to point to the doorway, and he’d say locals there, locals there. And my grandmother used to get really spooked by that. Then she used to run out to the room. She couldn’t deal with it. And I hadn’t I was quite skeptical. I was just That’s it also hallucination. didn’t think anything more of it. Then after he died. It was a few years later that I got into my research. And on reflection I he had a deathbed vision. And my first day as a student nurse, I was sitting in the office sitting there with all of the qualified nurses. And they said, The Night Nurse handed over and she said the man in bed sexy is going to be dead by the end of the morning. He’s been speaking to his dead mother since about three o’clock this morning. And I thought, are they saying that to wind me up, I looked around to see everyone else’s feet by everyone else carried on, you know, writing, they didn’t even bat an eyelid. And so I was curious about this. So I went out to the man’s bedside. And yes, he was communicating or talking to someone I couldn’t see. And I was carried it, you know, I was busy with other nursing duties. And I kept coming back and forward to him. And it was about 1130 in the morning. And this man sat up in bed, he had his arms outstretched, he had the lovely smile on his face, and he was talking to someone. And then he kind of closed his eyes lay back down. And it looked like he’d gone to sleep and he actually died. And that is something again, I had not been familiar with. And I didn’t think twice of it’s only on reflection after I’ve done my research that I realized he was having a deathbed vision as well. And so these are very, very common. And nurses see them throughout the course of their careers. You know, if you talk to nurses, I’m sure many of them could give you examples of these. So as as people do die, they tend to see family members, and sometimes it’s family members that they didn’t know to be dead at the time of the experience. It was one man in my hospital research. And he had been unwell during a night shift again. We’d call the family in about three o’clock in the morning. They’d come in, sat at the bedside and his condition stabilized so the family said, Look, we’re really tired. We’re gonna go back home. We’ll come back in the morning. So the family went and this patient then started to regain consciousness again, and he was communicating at someone, he had this lovely smile, he looked so peaceful and happy and contented. And we were looking at him, my colleagues and myself looked at him for about 30 minutes this went on for, and then he kind of like went back to sleep. Now in the morning when his family returned, he said to them during the night, he had been visited by his mother and his grandmother, who had been who had died many years before. But he said My sister was with them. What was she doing with them? Why was she there? Now unbeknown to him, his sister had died the week before. But the family hadn’t told him because they didn’t want to set back his recovery. And then that man actually died about two days after that vision. So they’re very common experiences that usually occur between about a week and a few days, these experiences, these visions start to happen. And patients might kind of talk symbolically as well, it might talk about packing a case, or waiting for their train to arrive. So there’s all different ways in which these things can be picked up on really
Rick Archer: interesting. There are a couple of related phenomena that you’ve probably heard of, and I’ve interviewed people in the last six months, just just let the audience know, there’s a thing called Shared shared death experiences. I interviewed a guy named William Peters about this. Yeah. And that’s where the people around a dying person kind of entrain with what that the dying person is experiencing and go with him, so to speak, to a certain extent you have any insights about that one?
Penny Sartori: Yes. Now, that is fascinating as well, you know, I got a few examples of that. And if we think about the kind of possible explanations, you know, the person who’s dying, that, okay, they might they, you know, their brain might be shutting down, but the people at the bedside, who are they’re visiting, they’re not, there’s nothing wrong with them, they have, you know, for in full physical form, how can they have this experience with them? You know, the best example I’ve got is the lady who was dying, her husband was there with her, and her daughter and his son, and both the husband, and the daughter shared in this partial journey into the light. So as this, the lady was dying, so they were both on this, this journey with her. And they were ecstatic after the experience ended, and the lady died. But her husband was profoundly changed by that experience, as was the daughter. And I spoke to them both independently. And the husband said, you know, what should have been the saddest day of my life because my wife had died. He said, I had a big smile on my face. So did my daughter because of what we experienced. And he said, You know, I thought the nurses were gonna think that we were insensitive, because we were smiling. But he said, it was just amazing that he couldn’t understand it, you know. And when I spoke to the daughter, she said, After that experience with my mum, she said, I have absolutely no fear of death at all. So it really changed her as well.
Rick Archer: I had a similar thing when both of my parents died. In my father’s case, I didn’t know he had died until at least 12 hours afterwards. But I was having this really blissful, uplifted day, I just felt wonderful. I thought, wow, what is going on today? And, you know, later on, I found out he had died. And I interpreted it, who knows, but I interpreted as he had a very difficult life, he suffered a lot. I was somehow tuned in enough that I was experiencing some degree of the elation or the freedom, the joy that he was experiencing after being released from such a difficult life. And a similar thing happened with my mother, I was there when she died. But similar there was just this rather than grief because I had no doubt about her continued existence. I knew she was suffering a lot. She had cancer. I just felt this uplift. Which wasn’t like she was a burden on me, but I felt like I was tuning into the joy that she was experiencing.
Penny Sartori: Yeah, yes, that’s right. And, and that is really common and, and, you know, some people will have other similar kinds of things. One example was of a lady whose dad was dying in the hospital. And her husband is they live in France, her husband’s French, and they were in England visiting and her husband had to return to work in France. And so she was with her dad and at the bedside. And as he was dying, her husband wasn’t there. And then her husband phoned her shortly after her dad had died about 1015 minutes after and said has your dad died because I’ve just sensed it. He was in the kitchen in France, and all the doors were closed, all the windows were closed. And all of a sudden, there was like a wind that went through the kitchen. And it wrestled all of the papers that they had on their notice board. And intuitively, he knew that his father in law had just died. And that was the case. That’s what, what actually happened.
Rick Archer: Interesting. There was another guy interviewed, named Father, Nathan Kath castle, he was a Catholic priest is a Catholic priest. And he has a occupation of helping stuck souls crossover. And this just came to him. He wasn’t like looking for this type of activity. But at first he had this dream of this guy sitting on the radiator of a car and bursting into flames. And then through some chain of events, he found out there actually had been such a guy who had this accident. And he’s ended up now intervening in the sort of after death, existence of dozens of people who are generally people who have died suddenly and suddenly and violently, and who are in some kind of state of confusion, and they’re stuck there. And so he, he helps them cross over, and he gets it, he has this whole thing that happens. And then usually some being of some sort comes and takes them away when they’re ready to go when their confusion has been cleared up. Anyway, I just thought I’d tell that case people find that interesting. One, I want to watch that interview.
Penny Sartori: Yeah, absolutely. This is really interesting, you know, and it gives us a whole different perspective as well, if you think that perhaps consciousness is your turn in and around us all the time, but we just don’t perceive it, it gives us a different idea of, of life itself, for sure.
Rick Archer: Which is implicit in the title of your book, the transformative power of near death experiences. So this isn’t just some interesting curiosity or something it has, as we’ve been discussing throughout this whole interview, it has transformative potential, which can really enhance our lives.
Penny Sartori: Yeah, absolutely. You know, there’s loads of cases in the book where people’s lives have been transformed by their experience, you know, David Bennett was also written books on his near death experience, he he was dying and had bone cancer. And afterwards, his bone cancer disappeared as well, you know, so, you know, these experiences are really, really profound. And it’s something, you know, we need to do more. Take them more seriously, you know, mainstream science kinda doesn’t do much with them. But there is so much potential with what we can learn from these experiences, you know, these people have had profound experiences that can help so many other people as well, you know, as another person in the book called Gigi, Australia. And I was put in touch with her shortly after her experience, because she was trying to understand it. She tried, she went to people of all different religions, trying to talk about the experience, trying to find out about it from a religious perspective. She tried to explain it and try to understand it from all different perspectives. And she was put in touch with me. And again, she was she just wanted to make sense of it. And so she set up now, nd E. UK, which is like a support group, but where people can go and talk about their experiences with other people who’ve had that kind of experience. So, you know, it’s these experiences are all about helping others as well, you know, people are transformed in ways that they want to do the greater good for other people as well.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And of course, you and I, and most of the people listening to this interview, haven’t had near death experiences. But as we’ve been discussing, and as you and I have both experienced, delving into this topic can have a profound effect on us, too. We don’t have to nearly die to benefit from the phenomenon.
Penny Sartori: Yeah, absolutely. And Professor Kenneth ring back in the 1980s. He used to teach courses on near death experiences and the University of Connecticut and he found that students of his who had taken the course on near death experiences when he gave them a an informal survey at the end of the course. He also found that they had been and transformed in ways very similar to people who’ve had a near death experience, just through study and those experiences, you know, and certainly, I feel like that’s true for me. You know, it’s, I feel like I’m not the person I was, when I began my studies, these experiences have had a huge impact on my life for the better. You know, they really are very empowering as well,
Rick Archer: that’s great. And it’s great that you’re sharing your knowledge and with so many other people, because it’s the effect it’s had on you is rippling out to lots of people. So any other thoughts before we wrap it up?
Penny Sartori: Oh, there’s so many different aspects of this that I could talk about.
Rick Archer: I feel like talking about a little more, we have some time.
Penny Sartori: Let me just think, Cisco, I’m having a look at my books here. After Oh, after death communications as well, that’s another thing. You know, after someone has died, sometimes people get kind of messages or signs as well. So, you know, I’ve got examples where friends of mind, you know, again, very scientific friends, okay, or doctors. She, her grandmother had died. And she was in her mirror and she was brushing her hair in the mirror, her grandmother appeared behind her, she turned around to see her, but couldn’t didn’t see anything. But when someone passes, sometimes there can be very subtle little messages or symbols. Things like butterflies during funerals are very common, even if it’s in the middle of winter, when there shouldn’t be any butterflies around. I’ve had so many people write to me with those kinds of experiences.
Rick Archer: Suzanne casement whom I’ve interviewed a couple of times had all kinds of things with butterflies. It was, it was interesting. People want to check her out. She became a medium she she was actually the top aide to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and, you know, and in the US military, and she had this big, huge turnaround. And anyway, I’m sorry, I interrupted you. Wow. No, no, I like to refer to other interviews during an interview because it gives people places to branch off and check out, you know, very strange.
Penny Sartori: Yeah, so yeah, you know, there’s all different kinds of things that people can get all settled little signs for after someone dies as well, you know, so. And sometimes you know, that that is a means or a way of, of how people cope after the death of a loved one as well. I know, when my grandfather did pass, my grandmother used to feel him physically in the bed next to her, she used to feel the bed dip. And she would never talk about things like that normally, and then to pray to say that it was, it was real to her, you know, and that kind of gave her comfort in that she felt my grandfather was with her all the time.
Rick Archer: That’s great. Okay, flip through your table of contents there, see if there’s anything else, we haven’t covered
Penny Sartori: cultural differences as well. So that, you know, these experiences vary across cultures as well, you know, so for example, you know, we have talked about the life review. So for example, somewhere, if someone in India, for example, had a near death experience, they might encounter the man with the book of deeds. And in that book of deeds is every single thing that’s occurred in that person’s life. So it’s quite analogous to the near death, to the life review as well. So there’s similar kinds of things that happen with cultures, but sometimes they can be different. I’ve got a few cases of Filipino near death experiences. So in Wales, we had a big influx of Filipino nurses to come and support our hospitals. And so I became very good friends with a lot of them, and many of them had had experiences. And what they described were arduous journeys, getting to the tops of the mountain. So instead of going through a tunnel towards a bright light, they describe trying to get to a top of a mountain, and it was a really difficult journey to get there, as well. So there’s slight differences with them with cultural interpretation of these experiences.
Rick Archer: Yeah, that would probably also apply to things where Christians will see Jesus and Hindus will see Krishna and, you know, Muslims might see Mohammed or whatever, just cultural indoctrination that determines how your experience is going to be colored when you have one of these.
Penny Sartori: Yeah. After Effects is something that are really impacting for me something that really fascinates me, and it was the after effect of it and there’s a guy called T ball put Nokia as well. He’s from Hungary. He and he had a very extensive near death experience. He’s died quite recently, actually, in the last few years. And his experience was was very profound. And as a result of his experience, he then set up the light of love Foundation, which is all about kind of empowering people and local communities, you know, so it’s about sharing that he developed a healing ability after his near death experience. And it’s about providing healing and empowerment for communities as well. So, you know, after these experiences, people kind of do so much good in the world as well.
Rick Archer: Are there any organization? What is it? I ns? Is that a near death experience? Organization? Yes, it is.
Penny Sartori: Yep. The International Association of near death studies. Yeah. So people
Rick Archer: could get get on their mailing list if they wanted to, and be notified of conferences and webinars and things.
Penny Sartori: Yes, that’s right. And there is the annual conference of ions coming up now. So have a look on their website, because there’s, you know, some really fascinating subject. Really great to go to those conferences as well. You’ll meet a lot of really great people there.
Rick Archer: Yeah. Good. All right. Any more questions coming in? No, no. All right. Well, great. Thanks, Penny. been great talking to you. I really enjoyed it. Thank
Penny Sartori: you. Thank you, Rick. It’s been a pleasure being here.
Rick Archer: Yeah. And so thanks to those who’ve been listening or watching and visit the website, you’ll see there’s an upcoming interviews page, you’ll see who we’ve got scheduled. And check around if you’re there, the other menu items, the audio podcast if you’d like to subscribe to podcasts and whatever else you find of interest. So thank you for listening or watching and thanks again, Penny.
Penny Sartori: Oh, thank you, Rick. Bye, everyone. Thank you for your questions. Take care.