Tricia Barker Transcript

Tricia Barker Interview

Rick: Welcome to Buddha at the Gas Pump. My name is Rick Archer. Buddha at the Gas Pump is an ongoing series of conversations with spiritually awakening people. I’ve done 560 something of them now. If this is new to you and you’d like to check out previous ones please go to and look under the past interviews menu. This program is made possible by the support of appreciative listeners and viewers. So if you appreciate it and would like to help support it there’s a PayPal button on every page of the website and also there’s a page with instructions for people who would rather not use PayPal. My guest today is Tricia Barker. Let’s say hi to Tricia before I read her bio. Hi, Tricia.

Tricia: Hey, so happy to be here.

Rick: Good to have you. Tricia experienced a profound near-death experience which she’ll tell us about in the next few minutes during her senior year of college and this experience guided her to do all kinds of things – to teach overseas, to teach in public schools and also at the college level. Her story has been featured in a number of publications – National Geographic magazine, Woman’s World magazine, Coast to Coast AM which is a radio show and the Dr. Oz show. Her memoir “Angels in the OR, What Dying Taught Me About Healing, Survival and Transformation” is available on Amazon as you would expect and it’s also available as an audiobook through The book tells a story of her near-death experience, her teaching mission and her eventual triumph over childhood trauma. It focuses on the importance of being in service to the world. A screenplay is in the works for her story. Tricia is a graduate of the University of Texas. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College. Currently she teaches English and Creative Writing at a beautiful community college in Fort Worth, Texas. She also has an interview show in which she interviews other near-death experiencers and researchers and healers and spiritual teachers and mediums – that’s on her YouTube channel which I will link to in the show notes. Tricia’s poetry and essays have been published in several academic publications, so she’s a poet also. I must say Tricia, when I was in school English teachers were always my favorite. I always liked English teachers and for some reason, as my mother was dying, her final words over and over, she said it a number of times were “English teacher.” We couldn’t figure out what she was referring to.

Tricia: I wonder if one of her English teachers met her because actually in spirit, one of my English teachers as I was writing the book reminded me of her help on my journey and I included her in the book.

Rick: Yeah, it could be. I think her mother was an English teacher too, but I don’t think she would have referred to her mother as “English teacher” but she kept saying that.

Tricia: Isn’t that amazing?

Rick: Yeah. I like to interview near-death experience people from time to time. I’ve always been fascinated in their stories. I’ve read a number of books by different NDE people and I’ve interviewed quite a few on BatGap. And I think the reason I find it interesting is for me, reading these stories or listening to them definitely thins the veil between this side and the other side. And that veil can be kind of thick sometimes. You know how it is when you go to a movie or something like Star Wars or whatever and you come out of the theater sort of feeling like you’re kind of in that world. It’s like you immerse yourself in a really good NDE book or story and you just don’t take life as it appears so seriously anymore. Somehow you realize there’s more to it and, you know, a much bigger picture and you’re only seeing a sliver of it. So, anyway, I’m sure you, I know from reading your book that you have a similar perspective. – Yeah, and I love telling the story randomly, like occasionally I’ll just meet someone at a party and they’ll ask about the story and it changes the energy. So, I know that these stories need to be told simply because we reconnect with our childlike joy about what happens when we die and are there really angels supporting us on this journey? And there’s a lot that comes to life when we simply talk about these stories. – Yeah, and a lot of people, even people who’ve had spiritual awakenings, you know, they’ll say, “Oh, nothing happens when you die because there is no self and therefore there’s nothing which could carry on after the body dies,” and things like that. And then there are other people of course who are sort of materialist, reductionist types who would say that nothing happens because all we are is this body and the body creates consciousness. And you know, to my way of seeing it people who have these perspectives even though they might be, you know, have had significant spiritual awakening or be highly educated are kind of missing out on something that is actually descriptive of the way the universe works. And it really changes your perspective on life if you think that, you know, when this body dies that’s the end of it. And conversely, it changes your perspective when you realize that that isn’t the end and there’s so much more. It just reorients your whole perspective.

Tricia: Yeah, and that consciousness that I experienced outside of my physical body was so much more elevated and so much more expansive, and so I was agnostic before that near-death experience and to jump from that way of being right into this realm of just amazing learning and insight changed everything for sure.

Rick: Yeah. Why don’t we jump right into your story because so far we’ve just alluded to it and you know, people are going to want to hear what happened to you. And we’ll kind of, you know, flesh it out as we go along. I’ll ask you questions, probably even in the middle of it.

Tricia: Awesome. Yeah, so I was an agnostic college student and I had grown up in a religious background but I was rebellious, didn’t really care for the judgment and what I saw in churches. So I loved college, loved learning, and really had no interest in spirituality whatsoever. And when I had this major car accident and broke my back in three places and had lots of internal injuries, I knew I was going in for a major surgery and all I could think about was my body, my classes, my car, my family, my friends. I mean, everything in my world was the physical. So when they put me under and I lifted up out of this physical body and saw –

Rick: Wait a minute, you’re going too fast. First of all you were quite a party girl before all this. I mean, I guess you were a pretty good student, but you were also a party girl. And I was curious, as a party girl, you took some psychedelics. Did you ever have any glimpses that there was more to life than meets the eye when you took the psychedelics?

Tricia: You know, I got this sense of energy around people and places and I looked at that in terms of, well, okay, everything’s made of energy, who cares? It wasn’t like a deep spiritual awakening. And to be honest, I don’t put this in the book, but I started worrying that I was beginning to have some kind of psychotic break or something because I had a sense that I was going to die. I had an intuitive knowing that this was coming. And so I was actually trying to get in better shape and I was trying to focus on health as a way to avoid death basically. And so that was part of the journey.

Rick: And didn’t you have some dream the night before the accident where your parents or grandfather or somebody were warning you?

Tricia: Yes and this was a spooky moment but basically I couldn’t sleep and I would hear these voices coming down a tunnel and this tunnel seemed like time or like I was lost in time but I would hear my father scream, “Watch out.” And then I’d hear my mother scream, “Oh no, no, no, don’t. Oh, this is terrible, terrible.” And so it was almost like they were bemoaning my accident before it happened. And I think there is a psychic bond between parents and children.

Rick: Yeah, who was it I interviewed? Oh yeah, Stephen G. Post. He was in this crazy situation where he saved a guy from jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge and then he hitchhiked up to college in Oregon. And then he got into the situation where some guy took him on a wild motorcycle ride in the rain at well over 100 miles an hour and he thought he was going to die but he survived that. He got back and he was walking into his dorm and the phone rang and he picked it up and it was his mother and she said, “Oh, Stephen, you’re alive. I woke up at two or three in the morning and felt like something had happened to you.” So it’s kind of a nice example there.

Tricia: Exactly, yeah, that happens frequently between people who are twins and people who are close and their families. Yeah, so I woke up very tired for that race and I was already sleepy and I may have fallen asleep at the wheel or the other person misjudged the lights or a combination of these factors but it was almost a head-on collision. The road curved and it was a very, very bad wreck. My car was completely totaled and the other person was in a larger car. They had mainly just superficial injuries but I was left in the ER for 17 hours. I didn’t have health insurance and so I overheard a nurse talking and saying that one surgeon was not going to operate on me because I didn’t have health insurance. And to know that really freaked me out and I had a lot of anger at that point and a lot of physical pain because until a surgeon made the call and said, “I’m going to operate on her,” I couldn’t get painkillers. I was just strapped to a board and it was horrifying.

Rick: And you had three shattered vertebrae with bone fragments pressing on your spine and a broken foot and all kinds of things, right?

Tricia: And I had lost feeling in my left leg so I was worried that I wouldn’t walk and wouldn’t run and that was my biggest concern.

Rick: We could get off into a rant about the US medical system here but let’s keep moving.

Tricia: Please.

Rick: Yeah. So finally, after 17 hours in the waiting room someone came around. Tell the story about that woman. She had been on duty for 40 hours. She finally came and talked to you but she had to go home and get a little food and sleep before she could operate.

Tricia: Right. She was a younger surgeon. I was 22 at the time. She was probably 35, 37. And she was a dedicated surgeon. She wanted people to make great recoveries and she was kind of on the cutting edge of a lot of what they were doing with backs at that time but she was overworked and she made eye contact with me and I knew that she’d be back for me but she did go home, eat dinner, take a short nap, and then very quickly I was rushed into surgery.

Rick: Amazing. All right. Now I can let you go on your surgery and your near-death. We’ve covered enough ground.

Tricia: Yes. So they must’ve been operating on me for quite some time because I have a long incision line and my back was completely opened up and they had opened up my hip as well.

Rick: To get bone transplant to your back. Yeah.

Tricia: Right. And when my spirit left my body I have to say I was really excited. I immediately knew that this, the spirit form was the reality of me and that body on the table was not me at all. In fact, all of it looked like theater. As soon as I left my form I thought, okay, so the spirit is the reality that goes into the body and then we all just act and pretend and play out these roles. And the next thing that I saw shocked me because for so long I haven’t called them angels. This is only recently, but they looked like light beings to me and there were these incredible intelligent tall beings that were standing behind the surgeon. So I was seeing the operating room almost in like 360 degree vision above my body and looking down and these light beings were sending information telepathically into my spirit form so that I would be calm and I would understand what was going on. Then they were almost playful and they said “watch this.” And they sent this light through the back of the surgeons, through their hands and into my body. And I knew this light was both intelligence and it was healing. So it was two things at once. And I also knew that the surgeons probably wouldn’t believe that this was happening. They relied on their own intelligence and their own knowing and they had no idea that they were being assisted from the other side. And at this time, I mean, probably there were people who were talking about this kind of thing but I hadn’t heard of Reiki. I hadn’t heard of angels working in this way. My only concept of angels was through the Bible or through paintings and these beings struck me incredibly different.

Rick: What more can you say about them? So they’re nine feet tall. Were they translucent or were they just as opaque as physical bodies?

Tricia: They were made of a whitish, bluish light and the form looked like robes to me but it was like flowing energy. So it was really just this idea of a form more so than an actual solid form. And my own body seemed to be made of just white light. So my spirit body was a reflection of me but it was just pure white light.

Rick: What sort of skeptical questions have people asked you over the years about what these beings were? You know, people who don’t take angels for granted and probably don’t believe in them. And what are some of your responses to those questions?

Tricia: Well, yeah, early on people asked, well, how do you know they’re not aliens? I said, I don’t know. I just know that they were intelligent and they were made of light and they were androgynous. And this is how we describe angels a lot of times and that’s how other people have described them. But most of all I know that they were there for my journey and they were there for my benefit and my soul’s benefit in that moment. And other skeptical questions, well, this is just a dream. And I actually am lucky as far as near death experiencers go because I have a verifiable incident. I didn’t know during the experience why this was important but as soon as the monitor flatlined and I realized that my heart had stopped I knew that they would have to revive me and I was not interested in watching all that blood and how they were gonna do this so my spirit form left that room and I saw my stepdad get a candy bar. This was later verified. So he got this candy bar from a vending machine and he was a health nut. And he always made fun of people who drank Coca-Cola or had Snickers bars. And I saw him eating it and I thought, well, that’s funny, he’s eating one. Well, he went into the next room I found out later and my mom and dad were on their knees certain that I died at that point. So they were praying, he interrupted them, offered them the candy bar and that was that. And that became, to researchers, very important, this verifiable incident outside of body.

Rick: Did you have a sense that these angels were your personal guardian angels or something? Or were they just sort of like, what do they call those, EMR people who kind of rush to the scene of accidents in order to deal with – [Laughter]

Tricia: You know, I felt honored that they were there for me because they were highly intelligent and that was my first thought. I thought, wow, these beings that know and understand so much about this environment are taking the time to be there for me and they actually care that I walk and that I run and that I have a good life. And this idea that they took the time to participate in my healing was humbling actually. I know some people believe angels are their higher self, perhaps, but whatever the case my soul at that time felt honored that they were there for me.

Rick: Yeah. I think the first time many of us heard about angels, if we were raised in a Christian church or anything was, you know, the story of Jesus’ birth and the shepherds were out in the field and angels came and the shepherds were afraid because they saw the angels and all. And I always thought of that as like giant bird-like humans who came flapping down from the skies and frightened the shepherds but I have a very different understanding now of what angels would be and probably you do too. And for those who haven’t, and probably most of the people listening to this have given a lot of thought to this, but for those who haven’t let’s just dwell on it a little bit more and discuss or speculate, if you wish, what angels are, where they dwell, and so on.

Tricia: Yeah so I think that we do each have guardian angels and I’ve seen this in visions after the near-death experience. I think it would be very disturbing to walk around and see them all the time but my vision has opened up at times and I see that there are souls that have not transitioned on, there are ghosts here and there are angels. There are beings that are here for our good. Now, how often do people choose to interact with them? I think a lot of times people feel more secure, especially in the Christian faith, just praying to God. That makes people feel more at ease but angels are more playful in the way that they interact with us. So when I’m afraid in traffic, obviously I don’t like driving. So if I’m driving in the rain and driving a long distance I will interact with my angels and they will show me different visions about how they’re protecting my car or how they’re around me and it allows my nervous system to calm down. So I think different writers talk about how angels can participate when we’re ill with the medicines that we’re taking or the supplements that we can ask for them to bless these things and help our bodies on a healing journey. So there’s many different specific ways that we can use angels.

Rick: When I was on my TM teacher training course in Estes Park, Colorado towards the end we went into Denver to give practice lectures in high schools and stuff and a couple of friends of mine went in and these are a couple of women who routinely saw these subtle beings and they said that when they went to their car to drive into Denver there were a couple of angels just sort of hovering around the car and the angels followed the car all the way to Denver and they gave their lectures and then followed them all the way back to Estes Park.

Tricia: Yeah.

Rick: You know, so it was like a visual, actual confirmation of what you just said.

Tricia: Yeah, like they’ve shown me at times that there’ll be like a tank around my car because I’m really afraid and they’re like, “Look, our energy completely surrounds you. You’re fine. Quit worrying about this.”

Rick: Yeah. So, just one more thing I want to say about them and maybe you could add to it is just that a good way of understanding them is that there are subtler levels of creation that we don’t routinely perceive. Our vision tends to be constricted to the grosser more concrete levels but there are subtler levels and subtler matter that comprises those levels and one can expand one’s range of perception and eventually routinely perceive such things. Whether or not one does is maybe not important but nonetheless they exist and they, and many of them interact with or have some kind of responsibilities with human life and can actually, their support can actually be enlisted.

Tricia: Yeah, great point and I think that tuning into that angelic realm is beautiful and important and everyone’s angels are a little bit different, like a slightly different color or they sit in a different location behind people. Sometimes they’re right beside them, sometimes I see them behind people, but yeah, just that conscious intent to open up that awareness to that realm and interact with it makes that energy flow a bit more and it is just simply paying attention to energy a lot of times. That’s generally how people feel them. They don’t necessarily see them but they might feel a light energy.

Rick: Yeah. Now, do you think if a person’s living a really crazy life and doing all kinds of drugs and perhaps violent things or committing crimes or just hanging out in really dark places, do you think the angels are just unable to function there or help them very much? Do they actually even flee the scene and perhaps other darker beings are involved or what? Because you know that people who tend to live much more sattvic lives, to use the Sanskrit term, you know, pure spiritual lives, they tend to get a lot more support. Things go more smoothly and successfully for them and vice versa for those who don’t. So, how would you think that these subtle beings play a role in either of those scenarios?

Tricia: You know, each path is individual and I think we’re going in a direction of hopefully towards awakening and I think perhaps angels stay on the outskirts if someone is living a chaotic life and they’re still trying. They’re still sending signs or they’re still sending these moments that might help someone awaken but they can’t guarantee that they will. So, a lot of times those messages are just ignored as coincidence or no big deal or who cares. But I think they’re always trying even if they’re on the outskirts. And as far as negative entities, I hate to talk about it, but I think I’m being asked more and more frequently to talk about that. And I lived in, I’ll tell this brief story, but I lived in New Orleans for a time and I watched as people on Bourbon Street would get very drunk and sometimes I would see their faces contort or change and I didn’t know if this was an entity taking over them or if a ghost was interacting with them or what exactly was happening. But I think, yeah, like too much drinking and too much drug use can open you up to possible negativity.

Rick: Yeah, remember Ghost with Patrick Swayze and what’s her name? Remember that? You see that movie?

Tricia: Yes.

Rick: Definitely some negative entities in that one at a certain point.

Tricia: Yeah, but there’s always that hope of healing and that hope of, even I think in the lives of atheists and agnostics and people who have completely shut off their connection, I think connection and that support of energy is always trying.

Rick: Oh, yeah. I mean, there’s always hope because ultimately life is about spiritual development and sooner or later, well, I don’t know, I don’t want to keep putting words in your mouth, but spiritual development is inevitable but obviously we can sort of engage in it more consciously or not so. In fact, here’s a question that just came in that would kind of relate to that point I just made. This is someone named Cameron from San Marcos who says, “What is your opinion about practice and learning as part of spiritual development and awakening?”

Tricia: Yeah, so my learning didn’t end with the near-death experience and I didn’t finish that story by any means, but

Rick: Yeah, we’ll keep coming back to it.

Tricia: But what I learned afterwards, I had a long physical recovery was that I could still participate with that realm. So I meditated a lot to help with physical healing. I imagined my body healing. I imagined the bone growing back stronger and I think that participation with imagination and meditation and the other realm can definitely help us. So yeah, you don’t have to have a near-death experience to awaken. In fact, gosh, I don’t really think I wish it on very many people at all. It’s kind of the hard path. I mean it’s a dramatic path. There are people who talk about out of body experiences or these moments of awakening but what’s different about the near-death experience is sometimes we have real scars and real pain and a death that separates us from the body in this sense that is jarring and hard to incorporate. So I always say, yeah, an easier path of awakening through meditation and a practice is important. And even after a near-death experience you still need to practice these things. And I always encourage young near-death experiencers to go to spiritual events, to try different things, because if they think they don’t have skills sometimes they just haven’t practiced them or developed them and they often are able to develop psychic skills and mediumship skills pretty easily.

Rick: So in your case you took a crash course, right?

Tricia: Yeah.

Rick: You probably heard that pun.

Tricia: Yes. A big one.

Rick: Yeah. Well, you know, maybe some people need a kick in the butt, you know, and others perhaps don’t have to have such a dramatic, you know, kick in order to start to do a shift.

Tricia: Yeah, it’s planned maybe, and then sometimes these dramatic stories make for better stories. I mean, when you look at the prodigal son or you look at someone who has changed dramatically, and a lot of near-death experiencers do, there are some who are already on a spiritual path and then have this near-death experience but those of us who have a big difference between the before and after makes for a good story.

Rick: Yeah. Also, don’t you think that people who go through a certain thing, and there could be many things that people go through, end up being better able to relate to others who are going through that sort of thing than if they hadn’t gone through it?

Tricia: Oh, yeah, yeah, certainly. You know, when I taught in the public school systems I could relate to kids who were rebellious, who were upset with religion, upset with their parents, hated life, were depressed. I mean, I could relate to traumatized kids fairly easily.

Rick: Yeah. Sometimes I think that’s why we go through trauma, if we end up fulfilling the dharma of a teacher is so that we can teach more effectively to others who are going through it.

Tricia: Yes, yes.

Rick: Yeah. So, yeah, it was a big shift for you and it opened up a lot of things. Mediumship, psychic flashes, out-of-body experiences, lucid dreaming, awareness of angels, greater awareness of energy. And let’s talk about all those different things and what role they have played in your life since this accident.

Tricia: Yeah, so the near-death experience connected me to eventually to this all-knowing, loving energy of God. And that was the most profound part of the experience was to finally feel okay and to finally feel good. And I think that connection to divinity was the most important part of that experience. And I was never the same after that. I came back with a lot of childlike joy for life but life became much more magical. I was aware of energy, the energy of plants. I could walk outside and just sense that the plants were sending me energy. I was sending the plants energy and that level of awareness was fun. I hadn’t participated in life in that way. Life had seemed kind of dull and boring before my near-death experience and then suddenly everything was shiny and kind of amazing. The things that were strange after my accident was I knew the next 10 minutes a lot of times. I felt as if I was outside of time and I knew what song was going to come on the radio. I could predict what someone was going to say about 10 minutes from the present and this was rather jarring.

Rick: Yeah, there was an example in your book where you were in some shop or something and some guy walked by with a dog or whatever. Tell that story.

Tricia: Yeah, so I was working as soon as I went back to college, I was working in a pizza joint and there was this moment where I got a flash that I would see an older man with this gray beard walking by with a dog and it was a big white dog. And at that moment the cook would ask me where I was from. And so 10 minutes later that exact scene began to play out and I just turned around immediately cuz I knew the cook was gonna ask me this and then we started talking. What was actually kind of fun is I would know people’s orders ahead of time. And so I’d start playing around with them and go “I know you’re gonna order the margarita pizza but have you thought about this?”

Rick: That’s great. Call yourself the psychic waitress.

Tricia: Right.

Rick: Kind of reminds me of Groundhog Day.

Tricia: Yeah, it was like that and it was irritating to be honest. So I kind of begged at some point that spirit just allow the important things to come in dreams so that I was more prepared for big events.

Rick: What does that tell you about the nature of time?

Tricia: Yeah, so time is relative. Spirits over there are always telling me that, hey, like my dad transitioned in 2007. And he was always saying “see you soon”, like it’s like tomorrow and I’m like “not that soon.” And to them time is so relative. So we have all this time that we spend here missing the people who have transitioned but they think they’re gonna see us tomorrow like time is just that intense. So coming back here and pulling all that consciousness into physical form is challenging and looking at time is challenging as well.

Rick: Yeah. Now your life was not a bed of roses after your near-death experience. I mean you had this beautiful inner awakening but boy, I mean, stuff kept coming at you in a pretty serious way. And I know that what you had learned in your near-death experience gave you the wherewithal to deal with it much more effectively but, you know, nature didn’t really cut you a break for quite a while.

Tricia: Yeah and I wrote this book because there are actually a lot of young near-death experiencers. So people who’ve had experiences when they’re 15 or 20 or even awakenings who still have a lot of life to go through. And younger people are often victimized more frequently especially sexual crimes and sexual assaults. And when you have an awakening at 50 it’s just different than when you have one at 22. You still have to struggle and make your way in this world. And so life is gonna beat you up a little bit more. And that’s, you know, I’ve met a ton of people who’ve had similar experiences to me after writing this story. So I didn’t realize just how many people were dealing with that. So there’s a lot of people dealing with complex trauma and trauma but they’ve also awakened. And so how does that awakening help you participate in letting go of that trauma? It’s a journey. It’s a really intense journey, to be honest. But I think the near-death experience gave me insight. So when I experienced, and one of the things you’re probably alluding to is I experienced sexual assault in a foreign country. I didn’t get justice for that moment. It was highly traumatizing. But I also saw how the body stores trauma. I saw how to begin to release that. I saw how to begin to heal it. And I had insight that I wouldn’t have had had I not had that near-death experience. And so I thought, “Well, I’ll use this knowing to help other people and I’ll also strengthen myself in the world.”

Rick: Hmmm I’m reminded of a saying that when the postman knows you’re going to move he tries to deliver all your mail. Tricia and Rick laugh.

Rick: In terms of all this stuff coming at you. Because definitely having had an experience like you’ve had, it’s a big, I think, significant event in the whole course of a soul’s evolution to get that kind of a clear glimpse of the big picture when you’re still embodied.

Tricia: Yeah, it is a challenge. And I think that was the biggest challenge that was asked of me. So, you know, I started out agnostic, I had this profound near-death experience that gave me a lot of insight and then I was fully back in the body after a sexual assault a few years later. And I had to learn to heal the body in order to start connecting more fully again.

Rick: Yeah, I was going to ask you something about that. Did you feel like perhaps it was after the sexual assault or any other time that there was just such an onslaught of difficulty that you kind of lost the vision or lost hope or even began to doubt whether the vision had been genuine because you were just so beleaguered by it?

Tricia: I was angry, more angry at this world than the spirit realm, to be honest. You know, you can think about manifestation or you can think about any of these topics but say you’re thrown into medieval times or you’re thrown into the 1800s you’re still going to experience what society is going through. So all of us have to be a little bit easier on ourselves in whatever time period we are living in and go, well, this is our culture. And so there’s a lot of things that are going to be happening around us that we don’t have control over. And we’re just a part of this culture, but we can heal quicker, we can add more healing to the lives of others. I never doubted my near-death experience, not once, but I did get angry that I had to be here. There were many times that I thought, ugh, I wish I could just give up this body and go back there.

Rick: It’s a tough place, actually. Can be. You know, that’s one impression I got from the later chapters of your book where you talk about your teaching career which we’re going to do today, but you know, hearing the stories of all these kids and how difficult and messed up their home lives were I thought, my god, you know, there’s so many people out there who are having such a tough time. I’m a little bit oblivious to it in my little happy bubble here, but boy.

Tricia: Yeah, and that’s the real spiritual work. I think that’s why I was sent back is I honestly think if people volunteered, if everyone volunteered in low-income schools for a couple of years, like, their minds would be blown open with the amount of need that is present in these schools. I mean some students have literally never heard the words, “hey, you’re really good at this, you’re talented in this area”, and it’s something just so simple that gives someone hope on their journey.

Rick: Yeah, yeah, in a few minutes I want to get into discussing your teaching career and have you tell us some stories of lives turned around. But before we do that, there’s still some loose threads here. One, you’re talking about your precognition tendencies. Tell the one about the ceiling fan.

Tricia: Oh, yeah. So, after my accident, I was in a body cast. That’s what they did back then. They didn’t put you in braces like they do now. So, this horrible, in Texas heat, this body cast from my neck to my hips. And so, I would do these stretching exercises on the floor and I was below the ceiling fan and I just had this thought that ceiling fan’s going to fall. And so, I rolled out of the way in my body cast and as soon as I did, the ceiling fan fell. And it would have, you know, hit me on the head or caused injury and I thought, well, at least I knew.

Rick: Wow. That’s remarkable. I mean, you know, I think you missed your calling. You should have gone to Wall Street. You could have made billions. [Laughter]

Tricia: I know, you know, and I was torn. I had this mission, though, that I was supposed to teach and so, I would get really mad in those early days of the precognition. I was like, do I go to Sedona? Do I become a psychic? Do I work with someone who can help me with this or do I just go teach? And so I just did what I was supposed to do.

Rick: Alright, let’s get back to your near-death experience story because actually, we’re still only halfway through it. We’ve gotten to the Snickers bar, but more happened after that. And that’ll segue us into the teaching career.

Tricia: Yeah, so, the most beautiful moments of the near-death experience were really the moments of oneness. So, very quickly after that Snickers bar, I left the hospital and my soul began to feel this sense of oneness with everyone I had ever known or spoken to or interacted with. There was no bitterness, there was no resentment. I think at a soul level all we are to one another is just this love, basically. This love and connection. And so I sent that to every person that I had ever interacted with and my wish was do well, be well, you know enjoy this life in case I don’t come back. And it was just this sense of goodbye.

Rick: Let me ask you a question here, because in listening to your other interviews and reading your book, I had a question at this point that I didn’t hear you answer and that is, did all those people sort of flash before your mind’s eye and you actually sent love specifically to Joe and Mary and Sam and Harry and so on? Or was it more like just a general feeling of love toward them all? And the same thing about, you know, you felt oneness with all the people in Austin. Was it just sort of oneness with Austin or were you actually kind of flashing on all the hundreds of thousands of individuals?

Tricia: Yeah, that’s a really good question. So, sometimes it slowed down and I’d see specific people, people that I barely knew, people that I knew well, but then at other times it was just kind of this instant feeling of I’m one with everyone. And I’ve tested that out. When I went back to Austin and spoke a couple of months ago, I asked people if they were in Austin at that time and they did have this familiarity to them. It was really strange, but I looked at their faces and I thought, “I know you!” You know, there was this sense of true knowing, so I think that merging with everyone in that town was just my way of enjoying seeing Austin from that aerial view and feeling this sense of oneness with people there.

Rick: Yeah. Think of God’s perspective having complete, utter conscious intimacy with every being in the universe.

Tricia: Yeah, yeah, and some near-death experiencers have felt that oneness with everyone in the world. I felt that in meditations later but in my near-death experience I just got a town.

Rick: Yeah, Austin was enough.

Tricia: Yeah.

Rick: So keep going now. So, Snickers bar then you started expanding out and boom.

Tricia: So as I expanded above the night sky and felt this oneness I started hearing messages and I went through somewhat of that tunnel experience, but very quickly I was in the cosmos and there were stars all around me and I felt like a divine light from very far away was sending me messages and some of these messages were quite simple. Love is all that matters. It’s all that we take with us when we leave. Another message was remind them to go to nature. Another message was be like a little child and I felt these messages somewhat the way the angels sent light through this telepathy, I felt these messages just coming at me, at my soul and my soul was meant to remember these messages. At some point, the life review began and if you think of like a hologram or something projected into a place, that’s somewhat the way it looked. I just saw these projections float through the cosmos and many of them were nice moments, moments where I prayed as a kid or I spent time playing with animals and just kind of lovely moments and it was as if divinity was saying, “Well, that’s nice. Do more of that.” Then divinity showed me where I was judgmental. I was 22 at the time and kind of cliquish as that generation X was and I thought “Well, I’m not going to associate with people who don’t go to my college, who don’t listen to the same music I listen to, who don’t like the same documentaries, don’t have the same political beliefs.” I just tuned out a lot of people because I didn’t think they were “cool” and I saw that this couple prayed for me. They thought I was depressed and kind of sad and they included me in their prayers at night and they were a little older than me and Catholic and when I saw that I was so deeply humbled. I thought, “I’m looking at people in the wrong way. I need to see their hearts. I don’t need to judge their outward appearance. I need to judge who they are as souls.”

Rick: Yeah, that’s nice. And then how and when in this whole experience did the message, well, there was something about your grandfather and a truck.

Tricia: Yeah, that’s a strange part of the near-death experience where people often say, “Well, see, that’s just a dream,” but that’s not the way I see it. I think that our souls begin participating in this realm in different ways and we, you know, I decided to go through this wall at the hospital. I decided to fly into the night sky. So I transitioned into some area which looked like a holding place to me. It was very beautiful. The grass was deeply green. It was incredibly peaceful and my grandfather looked about 35. I didn’t recognize him at first. A lot of people who die choose a version of themselves where they’re in their prime and maybe we’re silly in our 20s but by our 30s we come into ourselves. And so a lot of people pick that time period and he just glowed with perfection. So there was no death, there was no pain, there was no disease. And he brought this truck which he had given our family, which had sat in our front yard and had rusted. But in heaven it was working beautifully. And it was this way of showing me that all that dies here lives again. All that falls to dust is made anew. And so in that moment the truck represented that renewal and it also represented a way for me to connect with my grandfather. So I spent time with him. My soul decided since he was younger to be a child. And so I’d heard that message be like a little child. So my soul kind of shrunk into that image of a child. And I got in the back of the truck and we spent time there. At some point he asked me, “Do you want to continue on?” And I knew that that meant go towards the light of God. And your soul knows that this is God. A lot of people, of course, you know, the people who don’t enjoy near-death experiences and are highly religious often say, “Oh, okay, that’s where you’re tricked. You know, this is just the light that’s beckoning you in and, you know, all that.” And I said, “No, no, no, your soul knows this absolute purity and this absolute beauty. And I know that that was God. Your soul can’t mistake that.” And so I’m flying toward this light of God. I could feel people’s prayers trying to pull me back to my body. And I could hear every word that they said but I just blew through that energy and had this feeling of whatever. This is way more exciting, you know, this idea of seeing God. So as I flew towards that light of God, finally, I felt okay. I think we all feel in our bodies a little uncomfortable because there’s danger or there’s pain or you need a glass of water. And finally I felt perfect. I just felt like, “Oh, this is what it feels like. This part of me that holds a piece of God is going towards God and now I’m okay.” And all this separation didn’t matter that now I was finally fine. And at that point I didn’t want to come back to the physical world. So I was stopped at some point and God told me to look down. And I saw this river which I didn’t know if it was a literal river. I now teach at a place called Trinity River and most of the classrooms overlook a river. But I knew that I was meant to be a teacher, not a spiritual teacher but an actual teacher. And this pissed me off actually. And so I was like, “No, no, no, God, I don’t want that type of career. I want to be a lawyer or work in editing or something where one I’m not publicly speaking and two, I’m not getting paid that income that teachers get paid.” And God kind of laughed at me and I literally felt like my soul became this softball or something and I was thrown back into my body.

Rick: Yeah. Now, I have no problem with the concept of God, but when you say you were moving towards God and God said this and God threw you back and all that stuff, my only objection is that I think of God as omnipresent, you know, all-pervading. So how can you move toward that which is all-pervading? You’re already in it and it’s in you. So, yeah.

Tricia: There’s a center of that all-knowing that is represented as a light for many people. So the light of knowing or the light of consciousness and maybe it’s that center most point of consciousness that we’re moving towards but it’s deeper understanding so maybe we’re moving toward our own understanding at this deeper and deeper level.

Rick: Yeah. Also, I think God can take personal form to answer my own objection, to object to my own point because we can’t really have a relationship with something that has no identifiable form. So there is something like we could say the personal aspect of God that we can actually relate to even through the senses.

Tricia: Yeah. Well, some near-death experiencers do see Jesus or God as a figure and most of us see God as a light, and this light does expand outward, but it just seems to illuminate truth and understanding and I think that light of God or that light is just powerful.

Rick: Yeak, okay, so you got your marching orders, you’re going to teach and back you came into a body that was probably experiencing a lot of pain at that point but you didn’t forget the experience.

Tricia: No! So, some near-death experiencers take a few days to remember it or years or weeks. Like I had read about them in college, not extensively but just in an article somewhere and I knew exactly what I’d had and I never, ever doubted it. And from the very beginning, I was talking about it, even though I had a lot of morphine pumping through my veins and I was in a ton of pain my consciousness I could tell was already different. I could read people’s thoughts a little bit better, I could get this sense of energy. I wanted to talk about my experience and other people were not open. In fact, they thought it was ridiculous after a certain amount of time that I kept talking about this and they tried to shut me down and I thought, “Why would they not want to hear about this?” And then I realized really quickly too that people’s concept of God often filtered through religion or belief but my experience was different from that. So, this was not based on a programming, this was based on experience and so when I started talking about my experience that made people uncomfortable in various settings.

Rick: Because it clashed with their belief. Is that right?

Tricia: Yeah. Or they just didn’t have that experience. You know maybe a nurse was like, “Oh, yes, I know God. I read the Bible.” And I’m like, “Oh, God’s this bright light and God is so loving!” And God is like, “Yes, God is loving!”

Rick: Yeah well that points to the whole problem which we probably can’t get into in detail about how, the difference between belief and experience and how, at least more so in the Eastern traditions, there’s an emphasis on not believing anything in particular but having direct experience. And beliefs are taken more as hypotheses, like you know, some teacher will say this, that, or the other thing or some scripture will say it and the understanding is not that you’re supposed to believe that, but that you’re supposed to realize that that’s a possibility and go for it.

Tricia: Exactly and that idea of belief versus experience came up several times in my interactions with people and it was the experience that changed me. I mean, that experience stayed with me. I never forgot it. At first I was afraid that it might fade like a dream and so I wrote down my near-death experience but it’s only gotten more vivid over time because it’s such a contrast to what I experience in life.

Rick: Yeah, and I would guess that it’s not that it’s super important that you remember, okay, my grandfather in the truck and okay, the Snickers bar and you know, specific experiences during the NDE. The important thing is the state of consciousness that enabled you to have those experiences and that’s what you’re undoubtedly continuing to culture as you go through life.

Tricia: Yeah, and some of the interesting conversations that people are having now is, well, do we need to think about the afterlife now? Do we need to plan what we want to experience? Do we hear these near-death experiences and go, okay, well, I want some of that but I want to experience something else?

Rick: Yeah. And your answer to that question?

Tricia: I think it’s fun to consider what you want to do there and consider what you’ll experience, but there also seemed to be something greater than me that was teaching me in that realm. And so, I say just be prepared to interact with a consciousness that’s greater than your own in this moment.

Rick: Yeah. And my sense is that the best preparation is not to worry about the specifics of what you may experience when you die, but to focus on accomplishing as much spiritual evolution as possible while you’re alive and then the details of what happens when you die will take care of themselves.

Tricia: Exactly. That journey begins then.

Rick: Yeah. So let’s see, where should we go next? Now, as I go along I always say this to guests, don’t limit yourself to questions I may think to ask. If anything pops into your head that you’d like to talk about just go for it and we’ll talk about it because I may not think of everything that you’d like to talk about. So, anything at this point or should I just come up with something else?

Tricia: Go ahead.

Rick: Okay. Alrighty. You said the oneness with everyone was both amazing and annoying. Have you told us why it was annoying? Is this when you were experiencing oneness with all of Austin? Maybe oneness, maybe it was annoying about 6th Street or something. That part.

Tricia: More so later, not in the afterlife but when I came back I would have these moments of oneness just walking down the street. So, once my body healed and I returned to UT for school I would just feel absolute joy and connection with everyone and I’m smiling at people and I just feel so happy to be alive in these moments and people are frustrated. I would see this like anger on their faces about work and fear and then I would get distracted from my own life because I’m trying to figure out why this person is so unhappy and then I’m wondering why this person is sick and why this person is thinking this and so my abilities to feel into other people became distracting and I didn’t understand it at first and so that was what was annoying was eventually I had to pull some of that energy back and focus on myself instead of caring about others. It was a perfectly fine trait to have as a teacher in a classroom because students need help. They need someone who’s intuitive and who is there for them and that’s a safe setting for a person but just walking into random situations in life, that’s not always a great way to behave.

Rick: Would people be annoyed with you for being so ebullient?

Tricia: Yeah, yeah, so some people were, I think, annoyed.

Rick: What’s up with this chick? Why is she so positive?

Tricia: People are annoyed by the joy. Some people thought I was flirtatious, some people thought I was just annoyingly happy and so there were all kinds of judgments and I could see people’s judgments coming at me and I remember thinking “No, no, no, I’m just happy to be alive!”

Rick: Yeah, that’s interesting. So, let’s kind of shift into your whole teaching career but as we do if there’s anything else you want to talk about please bring it up because I don’t want to limit you in any way. But I really, you know, I don’t think I’ve ever interviewed a full-time school teacher, educator. Probably I’m sure I’ve interviewed people who have taught but I was really touched by how good you are at it and you depicted that in the book without tooting your own horn really, you just kind of gave anecdotes of things that happened and I thought “Wow, I wish I’d had a teacher like that,” you know? Because you were often, especially in the beginning you were often given the toughest classes, you know, places where a dozen other teachers had been booted out or had to leave because they couldn’t handle the kids and you actually managed to tune into them and turn them around in many cases. So let’s spend, you know, we have an hour left, we can spend as much time as you like talking about this and yeah, let’s just start. So, comment on what I’ve said so far.

Tricia: Yeah, so, I had a lot of trepidation and confusion about why I had this particular mission but it was given to me so I went with it. And what I learned really quickly that as soon as my feet hit the ground in any school district, any classroom, I was supported by the other side, that there was angelic support. Many times I would hear students’ grandparents, they would have grandparents in the afterlife or guides giving me information to help these students. So, a lot of people after a near-death experience become a psychic or medium, but I think I just channeled it into helping students. It was my way of going, “Okay, I won’t tell them what I’m doing, but maybe it gives me a little extra insight into what they need and how to help them on their journey.” And yeah, I had some really tough students and yet I thought, “I never know, maybe I’m the divine appointment for their life.” And it may not be that they’re gonna even graduate from high school but I’m gonna give them one antidote about how to make their life better because of this interaction. And so that was what I was always working towards, whether someone was running drugs across the Texas-Mexico border or whether they were on drugs or whether they had this totally chaotic life and they were probably gonna drop out. I still felt like my soul was there in that moment for their soul and how can we orient the life in a certain way. So, I had great fun working with students of all ability levels and from all kinds of backgrounds. But what I saw is that, okay, the insights from the other side are true. Love is all that matters. It didn’t matter if one lecture was particularly boring if I was able to transmit love to students that day. It didn’t matter if they didn’t like poetry if I was able to transmit some higher learning or some higher way of looking at life and the thematic play that we all live in. If I could connect with a student and guide them in some way then it was all worth it. And so these lessons from the other side just played out in the classroom. But what I saw is that humanity is hurting a lot and I could sit around and feel self-pity and a lot of people do and fall into depression over things that I’ve experienced. But often, my students were going through things far worse than I could even imagine, things that floored me. And I think when we live a life of service, Danny and Brinkley and many other near-death experiencers talk about that, we just get out of ourselves and we stop worrying about the salary we make and our romantic relationships or anything in our life. We just don’t care anymore because here is this person in front of us who’s going to be on the street next week without our help. And if we don’t get involved in some way then this person’s life could really take a turn for the worse.

Rick: Yeah, by the way, I was a high school dropout and got arrested a couple times, spent a few nights in jail, this and that. And then I learned to meditate and turned everything around pretty quickly.

Tricia: Cool.

Rick: So I would have been one of your problem students at a certain point.

Tricia: Yeah, I don’t know. I gravitated to the ones who are hurting the most. They did catch my attention for sure.

Rick: Yeah, give us some specific stories about kids that were in dire straits and you were able to kind of inspire them to change.

Tricia: Yeah, so I experienced sexual assault fairly early and a lot of students were sexually abused or were assaulted as kids and we’re still processing some of that. And though they had counselors and I did send them to school counselors there was this one particular junior high class where for whatever reason, we had all these notes from the counselors that there was a high level of abuse that year and like one in five kids were abused in this particular class. And so I knew that a lot of my students were traumatized. So two moments stand out of that year. One, I had a group of students who all had emotional difficulties. So they were my homeroom class and that’s what they placed these students with me. They were so agitated they couldn’t even read a book or a story. So I taught them meditation and this was long before it was in vogue in schools and I got into a bit of trouble for doing it but that’s a side story. But these students, they ended up concentrating, they ended up being able to read a story. When they paid attention to their breathing, they changed. Well that same group of students also had difficulty in certain ways. And I remember one young man he was sexually assaulted when he was a kid and that man was leaving jail that day and coming back to that town.

Rick: The man who had assaulted him.

Tricia: Yes. And so he was falling apart and teachers were making fun of him. They didn’t understand why he was acting that badly and I just pulled him aside and said, “What is going on?” And he told me the story and then his girlfriend had also been assaulted. These are eighth graders and we just sat and talked as human beings about how to heal, about what he could do and what she could do. And in that moment I knew, wow, maybe I had that experience just so that I can help kids like this get on a healing path pretty early and start thinking about these things and how to not fall apart and instead how to start orienting themselves toward greater healing. And so from eighth grade to the college level and people have different ways of processing trauma at different stages. At the college level a lot of times they are vocalizing it for the first time in a creative writing class or they’re writing about it. And I always suggested that maybe they look at it as a healing moment, that if they’re going to write about trauma, then they heal the body and they heal the chakra that they’re working with, whether that’s the throat chakra or the power chakra. And they really delve into a greater insight about themselves through that writing. So writing can be healing, we all know that, and expression can be healing too. So, depending on whether you’re dealing with an eighth grader or an adult, you know, the strategies are different but I was always orienting students towards greater healing.

Rick: Yeah. When I was reading your book, I was thinking, you know, golly, I mean, this is probably happening all over the country and what to speak of the traumas that are happening all over the world to people but here in this country there’s plenty of it. And you know, a lot of these kids you were writing about, this happened a couple of decades ago. In fact, you were there in a classroom when 9/11 happened and all these people are now in their 30s or more and, you know, I wonder what kind of adults they have become. And you think of just the whole millions of kids who are just having such a hard time of it and experiencing so much trauma and abuse and all kinds of stuff and then these kids grow up to become adults without having healed all that and you wonder why we have so many problems in society. I mean, you know.

Tricia: Yeah. And I’m grateful you don’t get to keep up with all of your students, but I am grateful for social media and for some connections to students who have gone on to become psychologists or worked in the world in really beautiful ways. And it’s…

Rick: Students who were in bad shape when they came to you initially.

Tricia: Yeah. And then at the college level we’ve seen students who are court ordered into our classrooms become history professors and history teachers and coaches and lawyers. And you know, it’s just amazing to see someone who didn’t think of themselves as an academic get a full ride to UNT and some of the other colleges around here. It’s thrilling. You know, I see the good stories. I understand that people in other walks of life see a different story but I see the success stories so I’m really lucky.

Rick: So, if the next president were to be building his cabinet and getting rid of Betsy DeVos and decided to appoint you what would you like to see happen in the school systems?

Tricia: Oh, you know, I think they could appoint anyone who’s actually worked in a public school system and do a better job because basically it takes real experience, that ground level understanding of what’s going on in communities with students who are struggling. There are some great schools that basically now I’ve noticed in small West Texas towns there are some schools that allow people to graduate with like an associate’s degree or, you know, some level of college so that if they’re bored by high school they’re already getting those college credits while they’re in high school. So I think that should be available across the board throughout the US and certainly with online education that can be done, but community outreach is important too. So what I found at the college level and the high school level is if you teach other people’s service they are much more engaged whether this service is with animals, with younger kids, with the environment. Basically, if people work together they stay in school because they become a community and they support one another and they learn that people from different backgrounds can get along and different races. You know, when you work as a community, magical things happen.

Rick: Yeah. As I’m sure you probably know in the Indian tradition service is considered a spiritual practice. They call it seva and it means, basically it means selfless service and it’s said to kind of be very conducive to your spiritual growth because it’s sort of, it’s no longer all about you. It attenuates the ego and cultures the heart and develops compassion and selflessness and all that stuff. So, as I’m sure you’ve experienced, because you’re living a life of service and, you know, it’s just very conducive to spiritual development.

Tricia: Yeah, and also, we tend to be so separated and we see this now more than ever. People make judgments about others and then broadcast this on social media. But when you’re working to help a problem, then you’re working side by side with people you wouldn’t normally gravitate to as friends or colleagues. And I’ve seen people from vastly different walks of life have deep respect for one another because they’re working on a common problem. And I think that’s how we need to start orienting this world is let’s look at the problems of the world, how can we fix them with all of our talents and work and abilities and look more at the problem instead of, okay, well, there’s different ways of looking at it.

Rick: I have friends who are doing a lot with meditation in schools. Kavli Morgan, who’s been on this show, doing a lot of stuff in the Portland area. Bob Roth with the David Lynch Foundation who’s been teaching, they’ve been teaching a lot of kids in inner city schools and all. And it’s really quite dramatic, the effect that it has on kids, not only individually but the entire school, you know, statistically, measurably changes in terms of, you know, absenteeism and violence and, you know, dropouts and all that stuff. You know, it’s just like night and day difference. So when you become Secretary of Education I hope that’s one of the things that you institute. [Laughter]

Tricia: Yes, you know, I still take all of my students out to meditate, well, when we’re in person. Now, I might have to give them an online meditation or require that but when we’re in person we’d walk down to the river and we’d spend a day doing this. And I could see a lot of eye rolls and, you know, students at the first of it going, you know, whatever, we’re getting out of class, this is ridiculous. But then they had a questionnaire at the end of it do you feel more at peace? Do you feel more centered? And everyone has some sort of blood pressure drop or the greater peace after just spending a little bit of time in nature and a little bit of time meditating and getting away from devices.

Rick: Yeah, I remember reading in your book how you’re saying that, you know, you said it also a few minutes ago here, that, you know, some kids, their minds are so agitated they can’t even read a paragraph. They’re just, the mind is like, high buzz and, you know, an effective meditation practice can just settle the mind down.

Tricia: Yeah.

Rick: So, Jesus talks about, you know, the peace that passeth understanding, one can sink into that and, you know, you come out with a mind that’s so much more settled and, boy, you know, it just has such a huge impact on your ability to think and learn and, you know, all that.

Tricia: Yeah. So, healthy food, meditation, time in nature, service, I mean, if these things were incorporated in public schools, you’d see a huge difference in how children perform and how teens perform. But also, I think group therapy and not just this, there’s too much burden on counselors so there needs to be more ways that students can talk about anxiety, depression, how they’re overcoming these things, how they’re handling them and I think there’s something beautiful about that group support.

Rick: Yeah. And there’s also something contagious about it. There’s, you know, what is that saying, the sum is greater than its parts or something like that? I forget there’s a word for it, but yeah, sum is more than a collection of its parts. Somehow when there’s a sort of coherence that builds up if enough elements or individuals in a group begin to be coherent and it just kind of infects everyone.

Tricia: Exactly. And I also like to think too that, you know, people complain, I live in the South, that God has been taken out of the classroom and they were really upset early on when I brought meditation in because they thought I was bringing Buddhism into the classroom. But what we can bring into the classroom is community. I mean that’s one of the beautiful things of church is that you become a community that cares about one another and when you send good energy to other people you are literally elevating their lives. And that’s what I found in teaching creative writing groups is as students write about their suicide attempts or their tough families or really painful things in their life and you know it’s a memoir, you know it’s a poem based on real life, you can literally see the compassion and empathy opening up in the group and they are sending this light and energy to that person and then literally supporting them with comments about their writing or comments about their journey. And you see these students grow because of that support and in general, anytime you can create community with students you’re going to see a better outcome.

Rick: Hmm, that’s great. A question came in from a fellow named Keith in Indiana who’s wondering, “What are your thoughts on the connection between prayer and faith?” We might expand that question to say, you know, connection between prayer, faith and then meditation. For instance, these Christians in Texas were afraid that you were introducing Buddhism, but perhaps you could distinguish between prayer and meditation and faith, we already talked about faith and direct experience.

Tricia: Yeah, so I’ll start with prayer because I saw prayer on the other side as almost like a vibration or energy. So, we don’t even have to consciously say a prayer, sometimes we’re literally sending good energy to someone but the prayer can be this elevated way of sending protection or love and it may not manipulate a situation but it may simply send good energy. The idea of meditation that I was introducing to students was really just around breathing, so it didn’t have anything to do with Buddhism or Christianity or anything it was about calming the mind, paying attention to the body, using visualization to help them relieve stress and focus better. So the meditation was a very simple meditation. The students loved it though, it made them more imaginative, it made them calmer, it improved their concentration and really it did ignite something in their soul, some creativity that made them dream and think more and it was beautiful to see that innocence of eighth graders. So, I think young children should be taught meditation, I think junior high students should be taught this, I think we all should practice meditation more to open up our intuition a bit more. I’m teaching a workshop soon on opening and deepening one’s intuition and meditation is a great way to do that. It may take a long time but the more you meditate the more you’re in touch with energy. Also, community, believe it or not is another way. When you authentically connect with other people then you understand, “Wow, okay, I thought this person cared about me and now they’re saying that they do, they actually care about this situation that I just wrote about, my intuition is right.” So, when you authentically share with others you deepen your intuition so that’s important. Faith, that’s a tough one. I think a lot of near-death experiencers come across as really arrogant because we’re like, “Oh, I don’t need faith, I have knowing.” I think Peter Pettigore said that and a few other people and so I try to say my faith is unshakable as a way of saying, “All that I have been through, there is no doubt in my mind of what I experienced in the other side.” For those who have not had direct experience then faith opens you up to greater experience. I think the more, like for instance, if you want to learn to lucid dream you have to have faith that it’s possible just to begin that process of trying to get out of body and dreams and have that moment where you have a lucid dream and that moment of awareness where you can control your dream. But there’s a lot of things that faith opens you up to and I’d say it’s important for that reason.

Rick: That was always my interpretation of Christ saying about faith is as big as a grain of mustard seed. It was just that, you know, you have to sort of be willing to give it a try, that much faith. And then you take the first step and then, you know, because if you don’t even have that much then there’s no possibility of anything. But you know, if you’re willing to give it a try then your attempt will probably be rewarded with some experience and then your faith gets strengthened and each step it gets strengthened more as experience grows. And after a while, as you said, the word faith becomes sort of inappropriate because, I mean, do you have faith that tomatoes exist? That would seem absurd because you’ve eaten tomatoes and you know they exist. It’s been your experience. But maybe somebody in northern Canada who’s never seen a tomato would have to take that on faith.

Tricia: Yeah, and then there’s a question that I sometimes get asked and I do have to default to faith. Some people die and they have no experience so they don’t have an out-of-body experience, they don’t have a near-death experience, and they’re clinically dead for a time. And I say, “Well, then you’re being called to have greater faith that when you are dead for real that you will experience something beyond this body,” and that’s a tough one.

Rick: Well, some people don’t remember their dreams, but that doesn’t mean they don’t dream. So, it could be that people actually do have some kind of NDE, but then they come in and it gets blotted out.

Tricia: It’s possible, yeah. There’s always that possibility. There’s a near-death experiencer too who always jokes when people say that, she said, “Well, it’s never too late to have another.”

Rick: Yeah. But of course, the point we’re emphasizing here is you don’t need to undergo a literal physical death. Is that in Christianity or in Buddhism? Die before you die? I think it might be Christianity. And all that means is you can have that sort of, you can tap into the transcendent field which a near-death experience person might experience without having to go through a near-death experience. There are techniques to have that experience when you’re perfectly healthy.

Tricia: Yes, yes. I’d say the only difference is seeing your body die. You know, like, there was a pretty deep disconnect from the body at that point. So when I saw my heart flatline there was a part of me, even though the angelic beings were saying I’d return and I’d walk and I’d be fine, there was a part of me that thought, “Do I have to? Do I really have to come back to this thing?” I mean, there was like total disconnection. I’ve heard other near-death experiencers, a really cute one, she was 15 and had a traumatic experience to her body. And her first thought was like, “Do I have to go back to that one or can I just go get a better one?”

Rick: Yeah.

Tricia: Yeah, like, just reincarnate, get a different one.

Rick: I told you about my friend Kyle Ellison, he was also in a band called the Meat Puppets, which is kind of –

Tricia: Oh, yeah, that band!

Rick: Yeah, he was in that one too. Which is sort of how people sometimes refer to the body.

Tricia: Yes, yes, just, “Ah, get another one.”

Rick: Yeah. Actually, that’s characteristic isn’t it of many NDEs that I’ve read is that the people, they’re having such a good time over there they don’t want to come back.

Tricia: Yeah, the body becomes something that, you know, I looked at it as this bloody thing on the operating table that was going to have to heal and it was going to be really tough in many ways to return to it. And I’ve heard so many different near-death experiences at this point. I think I read one where this guy was drowning and he was above his body and his first thought was, “I thought I was better looking than that.” Because he was seeing himself from a different angle. So there’s all kinds of reactions in the body. Others just look at it and when it’s dead, it does have a different look to it, so there’s this sense of “Eh, I don’t really need it.” So I think my out-of-body experiences after the near-death experience, I was always aware I was returning to my body and I didn’t look at it in quite the same way.

Rick: Yeah, another thing I often hear from them, I remember James Van Praag saying this, is that, you know, although he’s not suicidal by any means he’s definitely looking forward to more of what he experienced in his near-death experience. In other words, when he passes from this life, you know, it’ll be more like a celebration than some kind of tragedy.

Tricia: Yeah, I try not to sound that way too often, but there is a big part of me that is excited about letting go of the pain of the body, that’s excited about flying, that’s excited about what comes next and how amazing that feels to be not blocked in any way from that flow of love but to be in that state of pure bliss and pure love. It’s hard not to miss it because it feels like we’re trying to bring that through these broken prisms that we are, you know, in a sense, and we can only broadcast so much and we can only do so much because we have only so many abilities as this one life walking through this. But there, it seems like there’s so much more unlimited power and potential.

Rick: Yeah, but I think it’s important to keep coming back to the point that we can experience that pure bliss and pure love in this life with a perfectly sound body and that’s the whole name of the game really in terms of enlightenment and it’s definitely attainable.

Tricia: Yeah, and that should be what people are working toward is that greater bliss, greater connection and the more you’re in touch with that other realm, I’ve found that those lessons are lessons of great love. So, a lot of times people fear, you know, their future life review or what the other side might say about something they’ve done in this life, our corrections are generally made in love. So that’s the energy that I feel if I’m supposed to do something differently. I’m judged by people from the other side, I’m just shown in a very loving way how to be better, more expansive in my thinking, include more people, be more loving.

Rick: As a teacher, you’re not teaching at the college level, right?

Tricia: I’m teaching at a community college, yeah.

Rick: Community college, okay.

Tricia: Yeah.

Rick: And you’re an English teacher, so do you like use spiritual books in your curriculum like Herman Hesse and the Transcendentalists and books, people like that?

Tricia: I definitely use a ton of poetry from Rilke and Rumi and, you know, all the spiritual poets and Walt Whitman himself. I mean, Whitman certainly is a great place to begin, Thoreau and Emerson and I think poets open students up to these ideas. What I find that I’m using more of with fiction is everyday situations and then you bring in analysis and talk about the higher perspective when you talk about themes and literature and themes in our world and choices that people make.

Rick: Like what for instance what would be an example of fiction in which you’ve done that?

Tricia: Yeah, good question. So, there’s a story by T. Corguson Boyle about these kids in the 70s who are doing a lot of drugs and they get into trouble one night and it’s a wake up call for these students. And my students process it in different ways. They look at times in their own life where they made different choices that led to consequences or didn’t lead to consequences. So they process really the shadow self of humanity and looking at themselves and looking at their capacity for darkness and light. And so it begins that process. A lot of writers also talk about people who are sociopaths or narcissists or, you know, so you get a character who’s a villain in a sense but you can talk about mental illness and you can talk about things that are prevalent in people’s families and have real discussions about topics like that. So these stories open up people to analyze their culture and analyze their place in society. So, what is the American culture doing to us right now, currently? You know how is it changing us? And I think that’s an important, that’s a beginning point of waking up because you’re stepping out of your culture and you’re looking at, well, where do I really want to be at a soul level? What do I really want to do? Do I want to be manipulated by the world around me or do I want to express who I am?

Rick: Hmm. Have you ever heard of a writer named Laurence Vanderpost?

Tricia: Familiar name, but I’m not placing her.

Rick: It’s a guy. He was Prince Charles’ godfather. He was from South Africa and he wrote a bunch of cool books, but the best ones are called “A Story Like the Wind” and “A Far Off Place” and it was about this young boy who befriended a bushman and they trekked across the Kalahari Desert and Vanderpost himself was good friends with Carl Jung, but he was also this sort of military man and adventurer so his consciousness sort of spanned the spectrum from, you know, deep psychological understanding to, you know, dynamic action in the world and he wove those extremes into his stories. They were both deeply spiritual and philosophical and at the same time exciting and interesting.

Tricia: Wow. Fascinating. Unfortunately, at 1301 and 1302 levels, we don’t have long novels that we read a lot of times.

Rick: Short stories.

Tricia: We’re reading short stories and excerpts from a variety of places in order to push the course forward, but yeah, people are reading less as time goes on, which is a shame. But at the higher level at American Lit and World Lit people do get into novels.

Rick: How about science fiction? Maybe that would grab the kids. Get some guy like Philip K. Dick who is very mystical at the same time as a great science fiction writer.

Tricia: Science fiction’s great. It does pull in a lot of students who wouldn’t normally get excited about analyzing literature, so love it.

Rick: Yeah. And then, of course, like, you know, the Star Wars trilogy, what’s his name, there’s a consultant for that, who’s the myth guy, Joseph Campbell.

Tricia: Yeah, yeah. So, we do study a little mythology and archetypes in Campbell and I have students take personality tests to determine their own archetypes and that helps them get more engaged with finding archetypes in stories.

Rick: Nice. So, what would you like to cover that we haven’t covered yet? Is there anything that comes to mind? You know, for instance, I’ll give you a little bit of an impetus here, which is that you do an interview show as we mentioned in the beginning. You interview all these people who’ve had NDEs and similar things. So what are some of the themes and topics that, you know, come up in those interviews and that fascinate you perhaps which we haven’t touched upon yet today?

Tricia: So, yeah, one of the things that shocked me the most is I thought, okay, I’ll interview other near-death experiencers, I can connect with them, I’ll see how their story’s different from my own and we’ll just have a conversation. There was a side benefit to this that I didn’t realize would happen. But say when I heard Jeff Olson’s near-death experience or Peter Panagor’s or Carolyn Clapper’s I ended up going into meditation shortly after conducting the interview and I would feel pieces of their experience. So I would feel as if I was somehow energetically connected to what they had experienced. And so I started telling my viewers consider doing that after you listen to a near-death experience, think about the images and the beauty and the messages from that experience and see if it opens the veil a bit more for you in some way because it certainly did for me and it energized me on a different level. I also feel like these people are my brothers and sisters in the light. That’s what I call them. I just feel like when we’re at a conference at INs or somewhere that you’re talking at the beginning of this interview how the veil kind of thins when we talk about near-death experiences. You get us together in a group and even people who maybe have trouble with faith they tend to say, “oh, I could feel that, I could feel a little bit of home in that room,” that there’s just something so fantastic about that community that, you know, I love it. So, you know, each interview is really a gift for me to hear that story and I didn’t expect that. I’ve also interviewed researchers like Dr. Jeffrey Long and Raymond Moody and I’m sure you’ve interviewed them as well and they’re so comprehensive in what they compile. One of the things that hit me is Dr. Long was saying no one ever sees someone in a near-death experience who hasn’t transitioned. So they’re always seeing someone who’s dead. So you’re being welcomed into that realm by people who have passed. So if your mother’s in the next room praying you’re not seeing her over there. You’re seeing, unless she has a heart attack and happens to transition while you’re transitioning then you’re not connecting with people who are currently dead. Well, you saw both. I mean, you saw your grandfather who had died and you saw your stepfather who was buying a Snickers bar. So you were kind of on both sides in a way.

Tricia: Yeah, yeah. But I was aware he was still alive and I was aware that my grandfather was in that realm and that he had died. But yeah I did for the first part of my near-death experience witness the surgery, this realm and yeah.

Rick: So you meant, go ahead, what were you gonna say?

Tricia: I was also just gonna say it’s a pleasure. I know you’ve interviewed Dorothy Rowe and healers are fantastic to interview as well. I love the energy that they send. So I consider myself to be energetically sensitive after the near-death experience. So I love soaking up that energy and I love providing it for people and listening to people who do this fairly frequently. And she’s really a fantastic speaker. I adore her so much.

Rick: Cool. Yeah, she lives here in this town. Okay, so you mentioned, half an hour ago, you mentioned some kind of workshop that you’re about to give on something. What was that?

Tricia: Yeah, if people go to my website, you can sign up for it. But I’m basically just leading a workshop on deepening your intuition. So I get questions from people all the time who maybe they go, well, I thought I got this message and it led me astray. Or how do you know if you’re hearing from angels? Or a lot of people have a deceased loved one and they don’t have a communication with that person. Or they’ve only had a few dreams and then the dreams have stopped and they want more communication with their loved one. And so I believe we all have an innate ability to connect but we connect in different ways. And so I love helping people connect to their intuition but sometimes they need someone to demonstrate it for them. They need someone to give them a reading on the spot and connect them with that energy. And then once they see that connection beginning, as I’m speaking about something, they start connecting at the same time and they start seeing it and hearing it and it opens them up. So sometimes you need that type of moment. And then other times you just need to hear from other people and go, you know what? I am getting those signs. I’m just not paying attention to it. And then other times we’re blocked, as we talked about in the beginning of this, from trauma and stress in our own lives. And so our nervous system is too overloaded to the point where we’re not able to calm down and connect to those more subtle messages and energies.

Rick: I think what you just said has even broader implications because in these days where there’s so much so-called fake news flying around, so much misinformation, so many rumors and conspiracy theories and, you know, people are getting more and more despairing of being able to determine what is true and what is not or else they feel that something is true and maybe it isn’t. So, I think this whole thing about developing intuition is kind of critical and it’s particularly sad when you see spiritual people who have devoted their lives to knowing God, knowing deeper values getting sucked off into some strange thing, which isn’t new either. I mean, with cults this has been happening for decades. But maybe you could talk a little bit about the importance of discernment which is closely related to the word intuition but being able to discern truth from falsehood and, you know, guide your life accordingly.

Tricia: Thank you for that question because, yeah, I have seen people say the wildest things that their guides told them this thing. And I remember thinking, you’re gonna get a restraining order, buddy. Your guide is not telling you that. People all the time are relying on what they think is a guide and it’s maybe their ego or their ego’s wish or just wishful thinking or even mental illnesses at play.

Rick: And they’re glamorizing it by calling it a guide.

Tricia: Yeah, yeah, I mean, I can walk into any room and say, well, my guide said that I’m meant to lead this meeting. I mean, we can all jump into ego around guides and that’s really confusing. So I start with the body, like a ground level knowing. We all have a lot of intelligence in our gut and there’s something that I do when I have to make a decision. I’ll write a yes and a no on a piece of paper and I’ll go stand on the yes and I’ll just go, is this for my highest good? And what does it feel like in my body if I say yes? And then what does no feel like? And I really just listen to the body, not the chatter of the mind. And that’s one way to tune into intuition. And sometimes our choices are hard, so they’re not always easy. So you might have a choice. The yes might make you feel a little bit sick at your stomach and the no makes you feel sad. Well, then you have to analyze this a little bit more and go, okay, I think I can live with sadness better than sickness because you heal sadness and move on. And so some decisions are not easy but that’s one way of tuning into the body. As far as listening to what your loved ones say on the other side, I always remind people that the messages are generally healing. So they’re not there to terrify you. That’s probably a weird dream that your subconscious cooked up. That’s not an actual connect. If your dream shows you this loving moment where your mother or father who’s in the afterlife hugs you, tells you that they’re fine, that they’re in this place, don’t worry. That’s probably a dream of actual contact. If you’re seeing them doing something else, that might be just your subconscious or your unconscious playing around. But in general we’re not punished by these messages. We’re not inundated with fear. There’s a great book I think it’s called The Gift of Fear. We do have to listen to our intuition in moments of survival but it generally just kicks in. And it’s something that you don’t think about too much. You just start acting because you understand someone’s in my house, they’ve been in my house, I need to get out the door. There’s this moment of just being aware. But in general when people are sidetracked by fear, I say that’s probably your head. We need to get back to what is loving, what is for your highest good and the highest good of others and what truly connects you to the other side.

Rick: Yeah. One thought that I have that kind of relates also is that, you know, when spiritual people have gotten in the habit of believing that there are a lot of deeper truths to the universe that are kind of hidden, that they’re not yet perceiving, but unfortunately that can shift into sort of feeling like anything that is supposedly hidden must be true. And so all kinds of conspiracy theories and deep state and all this business they hear this stuff and they think, “Ooo, that’s hidden, it must be true,” but that’s not necessarily the case. So, you really have to be discerning and, I mean, you can take anything as a possibility, but don’t commit yourself to it if it’s, yeah.

Tricia: Yeah, and that message of love is all that we take with us was one of the key elements of my near-death experience so I think it’s a key element of what we should use when we discern what’s true and what’s not with our messages.

Rick: Yeah, is there love in it?

Tricia: Yeah, and is it orienting us to be more loving or more fearful? And I think a lot of conspiracy theorists are just pumped up on fear. You can look at the writing of many conspiracies and it activates fear. And so people are almost fear junkies about, this is happening behind the scenes, this is happening behind the scenes. I’m not saying that it’s not, there might be some things behind the scenes that we don’t fully understand. But if you’re living in a state of fear you’re not unraveling it you’re not working towards a better world you’re living fueled by fear. And I think that’s a key difference between you either live in the light of love and knowledge or you live in fear. And if you’re living in fear you’re not seeing things correctly. And so, just by the mere fact that conspiracy theories run on fear you’re not seeing correctly.

Rick: That’s a good point. They also kind of tend to run on hate like all these nefarious people are doing all these horrible things and here’s what should happen to them and ooh, it’s going to be really bad for them. And it’s just kind of like, I don’t know.

Tricia: Yeah, yeah. And it runs on a little bit of narcissism too, that’s like, I know something that you don’t. And that bugs me about it. I’m not saying that there aren’t power struggles in this world and that there aren’t things that happen that are unfair.

Rick: Yeah, I’m not either.

Tricia: There are.

Rick: But you see that at a grassroots level in terms of what happens to kids and how, you know, what a raw deal, you know, many people have in life.

Tricia: Yeah, it’s just not always the reason we think. You know, sometimes it’s neglect or sometimes it’s just pure selfishness or, you know, people just don’t care, you know, and that’s why it’s happening the way it’s happening. But is there a way to reorient things? Always. There’s always a way in that healing level is what is the most loving perspective, the most inclusive perspective. And not that you’re not somewhat of a warrior at times, you know, for the safety of people you are, but there’s so much to this. So how do you, at a basic level, how do you tell if a message from the other side is accurate or not? Well, the energy, is it an energy of love that you can test and you can say is this for my highest good? And you usually will get an answer. I mean, that’s another way.

Rick: That’s good. I’m glad we got to that point. My wife Irene has a question. She asks, “Do you feel that those who have NDEs are predestined to have them and predestined to have a radical transformation as a result?”

Tricia: That’s a great question. And I was interviewed by an astrologer who did my chart and she saw that it was destined. So there was like something in my chart that showed an accident was possible at this time and that my soul to some degree had planned either an exit or an accident or some type of awakening at that moment. So I think a lot of them are planned. And, you know, when I look at my life as a whole I had this sense of being someone who would be connected as a child. I didn’t know what it was. I thought am I gonna be a missionary? Am I gonna work in spirituality? What is my purpose? And I always saw it as sending light to this world. And so I didn’t have the words for it as a kid but I had the knowing in my soul that I would be a quote, light worker, or that part of my mission would be that type of work into the end of my life. And so it took a near-death experience to open that up and to get me to that point. So yeah, I would say that a lot of them are, I think, maybe the ones that aren’t planned are still, they still change people’s lives in dramatic ways. So you know, modern medicine is bringing back so many of us that these are becoming more and more common.

Rick: Yeah, Pim von Lommel, have you interviewed him?

Tricia: I haven’t, but I’ve met him at conferences.

Rick: Yeah. And isn’t it Rob Schwartz? I’ve interviewed Rob Schwartz. Isn’t it he who says that any significant event in our lives was pre-planned? I mean, not whether we have a grilled cheese sandwich or a bowl of soup for lunch but the big stuff is, we actually sign up for it.

Tricia: Yeah, and I interviewed him and that’s a hard one for me, but you know, I think to some degree he’s right because the idea of what it’s gonna feel like when we come here and experience it, we just don’t feel over there. It just seems like so lighthearted. Oh, sure, I’ll do this. I’ll sign up for that. I’ll become, because you’re learning a lesson of justice or you’re learning a lesson of connection with others. And so you don’t think about how painful that situation is gonna be that’s gonna get you to that end goal of that virtue. So, I’m doing a lot of theta healing with different healers and really letting go of a lot of those contracts, so there’s a lot of healing work that I think we can do in this life to let go of some of those contracts and go, “You know what? I already have the virtue of justice. I already have the virtue of compassion.”

Rick: Reminds me of a verse from the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali says, “Avert the danger that has not yet come.” So, you might have signed up for some yucky thing but it can be averted if you’ve already learned the lesson.

Tricia: Yes, I like to think so at this point. Haven’t I been through enough?

Rick: Yeah, really. Another thought that’s been kicking around in the back of my head as we’ve been talking is, you know, I mean, you deal with a lot of young kids and suicide is a pretty big issue among younger people. Do you have any thoughts on that? Have there been any instances in which you have perhaps intervened and prevented a suicide by a young person? I think you yourself were contemplating at one point, you said earlier in your life. And also, from the perspective of the other side, I’ve interviewed at least one NDE person who tried to commit suicide and was actually out for several days based on what she took, but came back and now is kind of a spiritual teacher. So, what are your thoughts on that whole topic?

Tricia: Yeah, so, there are definitely students who are severely depressed, and of course, we always hand them off to professionals and to counselors but I always took the time on my to walk students to the counseling office and make sure that they went in and talked with them about where they were on their journey. And so many students are at different places. I’ve met community college students who have found great healing and sobriety and taking St. John’s wort and healthy things and a clean diet. And then I’ve met other students who are dealing with severe mental illness and need to get back on medications and need chronic help in that moment. But in general, I think community supports that type of healing as well, that these writing classes help people with depression. A lot of creative people are depressive. There’s like a high and a low to creativity. So, you create music or poetry or fiction and you get this high because you feel closer to God, you feel closer to creation. And then you put your work out there and you realize how it fails in certain ways and it’s not everything you wanted it to be and you suffer depression and then you have another creation. And so, the journey of the artist is one that can lead to that. So, certainly, I come in contact with a lot of students who have either lost other friends to suicide or have contemplated it at some point in their life. And I almost stopped writing my own book and I almost didn’t start this YouTube channel and I almost didn’t come out publicly at several moments on the journey. I thought, it’s just too hard. I don’t wanna be involved with the public. I’ll get attacked. I know I’m gonna get attacked. This is horrible. And believe it or not, two famous suicides came to me in spirit. And one was David Foster Wallace, and he’s a great writer. I consider one of the great writers of my generation. I told him, I was like, dude, I’m not writing a book like yours. It is just not as good as yours. And he’s like, girl, you’ve got your own style and it’s gonna connect with the people it needs to connect with and you’re gonna do fine. And he just gave me that encouragement. And he also kind of looked at me like suicide was something that he wanted people to think about and talk about in writing classes and talk about more often. And Robin Williams came to me at another point and he was like, your heart’s in the right place. And he was like, that’s what’s important is that people with heart who have a heart for others, give them the will to live.

Rick: What was the experience of Robin Williams coming to you like, how clear was that?

Tricia: It was pretty amazing. So, I was in meditation and I ended up in this beautiful home and I didn’t know what this home was. And there were all these spirits trying to get his attention with ideas and he cleared the room. And he was like, I like you, I’m gonna talk to you. And he met me and he said, your heart is in the right space for all of this. And he said, you’re writing this book and you have this idea because you want people who are still hurting to find greater healing. And it’s true. I’m not going to be in every classroom and I’m not going to teach forever. And I would like some young person who is hurting or considering suicide to think, you know what, I think I’ll just go meditate or I think I’ll walk out under this tree or I think I’ll look for a healer. I think I’ll start a path of healing. If this woman did it and, you know, she went through all this, then maybe I can find my own path of healing. And I’m not saying my path is the right path for everyone. Like, everyone has a different journey, but I think committing to your own healing is important. And that’s what I want students and anyone who’s hurting to do is just take those steps to begin healing.

Rick: Have you learned anything or do you have any insights? This is Luna, by the way. Luna’s decided to join us.

Tricia: I love Luna! She’s beautiful!

Rick: She meditates with me every day.

Tricia: She has a question.

Rick: Oh, she had a question. Sorry, Luna, what was your question?

Tricia: I don’t know if there’s a question.

Rick: Actually, she wanted me to tell a joke about the agnostic, insomniac, dyslexic who stayed awake all night wondering if there was a dog.

Tricia: And there are dogs in heaven, yes!

Rick: Have you heard that joke?

Tricia: I have, it’s funny.

Rick: Well, through all you’ve experienced, both during and after your NDE, did you gain any insights as to the kind of spiritual or karmic implications of suicide? Some people say it’s no big deal and some people say, “Oh, it’s not such a good thing,” you know, you have to sort of do a lot of repair work or something as a result. Do you have any thoughts on it?

Tricia: You know, I have more thoughts from doing medium readings and bringing in people’s loved ones who’ve committed suicide and I have connected with some young kids who have died because of drug overdoses or suicides and the ones who left behind their own kids, they feel some guilt and some remorse about what they’ve left behind and the people that they hurt. So, there is this sense of looking back at this earth and still being tied, I think, to loved ones. But there, at other, you know, other situations, there’s great healing, there’s great release, there’s great freedom. So, I think it really depends on the situation, you know? It really depends on everyone’s personal journey. But yeah, I think in general, maybe that’s why David Foster Wallace and Robin Williams came to me is there is this hope that people stay, that they work it out, that they find a way to just hang in and do as much as they can to heal and to help others while they’re here.

Rick: Yeah, I think Robin Williams had discovered that he had Parkinson’s or some such debilitating disease and that might have, and he also was an emotional rollercoaster, I mean, you know, kind of manic-depressive maybe in a way. He certainly was, we saw the manic side.

Tricia: Yeah, but you know, I’m encouraged. I’ve interviewed people like Chris Batts and he died from a suicide attempt and he was met by angels and he experienced great healing and these angels still work in his life. And so, I don’t think that that judgment that we hold in our heads is just applied to every suicide. I just think some souls do feel some remorse or guilt around it, you know, initially in that transition and that’s what, you know, I’ve been shocked to see that, but it does happen at times.

Rick: Yeah. I think the reason I bring it up from time to time in interviews is I just have this, well, first of all, my mother tried to commit suicide three times and fortunately did not succeed and then eventually she got onto meditation and it really changed her life quite profoundly. And I just feel like, you know, no matter how dire things may be, it’s really a human body, it’s kind of a precious gift and it’s a vehicle for spiritual evolution which might be somewhat rare, you know? Who knows how easy it is to get another one or whatever, and so, if we can take advantage of this opportunity, no matter how dire things are, there’s, I heard a great expression the other day, there was one of the founders of Advaita Vedanta was named Shankara and he said, “The greatest happiness we experience in life, anyone may experience, is like the spray from the ocean,” just that you might get if you’re standing near the ocean and there’s a wind. But think how much there is to the ocean compared to the spray, that’s the happiness, that oceanic happiness that actually exists in, you know, the self and the deeper reality of life. And so, why settle even for an abundant amount of spray when you can have, you know, the entire ocean as your dwelling place? And so, someone who feels like life is not worth it or something like that, they actually have that same ocean and it’s accessible to them. It’s just a matter of figuring out how to reach it. And so, but you need a body in order to access it.

Tricia: I love that. That’s beautiful. Yeah, and so much of the journey is about letting go of individual pain and connecting to something greater than just this individual experience and that’s the main lesson of the near-death experience is that there’s just so much consciousness and so much beauty beyond the way my little brain is processing it.

Rick: Yeah. We’re really filters, that’s what we are. I mean, we just filter out so much and narrow it down to this one little tiny thing, but there’s, you know, I guess one way of looking at spiritual growth is, you know, removing filters so as to be able to take in more and more of what actually is.

Tricia: Yeah, yeah. But that, I’m glad you asked about suicide because I think that I don’t talk about it enough and it’s a key wish for the book that it helped, that my book and my message and these near-death experiencers who talk about the afterlife, that it gives people greater hope for a better life and a more expanded life here and that people stay and make the most of their experience.

Rick: Oh, here. Okay, so it’s about time to wrap up. So, you mentioned this workshop you’re going to do. Tell us what all you do that people listening to this can plug into.

Tricia: Yeah, so, in the workshop or just in general?

Rick: Everything. The whole, give us an overview.

Tricia: So, the workshop is really just to connect other people to spirit, to talking to their angels to their loved ones and listening to their own intuition and really getting kind of ground level with that and then hearing how other people connect as well because I think that always helps in a workshop. But what I do is I teach –

Rick: Is this workshop something people can sign up for even now if they go to your website?

Tricia: Yeah, yeah. If you go to my website you can find it. And then every year I also have a summit online and broadcast on YouTube and I interview just tons of near-death experiencers. It’s my way of bringing that energy into one day, just an event. And this year it was free and streamed on YouTube so that was a lot of fun.

Rick: Yeah, I watched a little bit of that by the way.

Tricia: Oh, cool. Awesome. And beyond that I do interview people on my YouTube channel and I do give medium readings and intuitive readings.

Rick: When you do the medium readings and intuitive readings do they always, are they always fruitful or sometimes you just don’t get a hit on somebody?

Tricia: Yeah, that’s a good question. Sometimes it’s few and far between and sometimes maybe it’s me, too much coffee or tired or whatever. And I just refund the money, you know, if it doesn’t work out. And that’s happened a couple of times. But most of the time you do get information from someone’s loved one. And I found that, you know, it depends on the person. Like, sometimes we’ve heard the exact same things and that’s what I love the most is when we both are hearing the same thing at the same time and talking to that person. It’s beautiful. I love those types of readings. Other times, you know, I had a young kid not too long ago and he’s like, well, this is all good and I like it, but I kept expecting more. I want to see my mom. I’m like I’m sorry I can’t do that. Only a few readings have spirits come through so intense that they’ve moved plants or, you know, knocked over things. And it’s kind of freaky to be honest.

Rick: Huh. Alrighty. Well, I’ll link to all that stuff. I’ll link to your website and your YouTube channel and people can explore it.

Tricia: Awesome.

Rick: There’s been a fly buzzing around you during this interview that is just begging for a death experience.

Tricia: Go to the light!

Rick: He’s asking for trouble. Sorry, all you pacifists.

Tricia: Oh, I know, I know. I wrote a poem about killing a cockroach. That was one of the first ones that got published.

Rick: Yeah. Well, just to reassure people, I do everything in my power to get insects out of the house in one piece but you know, sometimes flies are not so cooperative.

Tricia: No, you open the door and you get five more.

Rick: Yeah. Okay, well, thanks, Tricia. I really enjoyed talking to you and also preparing for this interview, reading your whole book and all, which, you know, again is on Amazon. I’ll be linking to it so people can get it if they want to read it. Any final words?

Tricia: No, just thank you for interviewing so many fascinating people and doing what you do. It’s a great show.

Rick: Well, it’s really fun. As I know you have experienced yourself in doing something similar. So, keep at it.

Rick: Alright, you too. Bye.

Rick: Well, thanks to those who’ve been listening or watching. I’ve been speaking with Tricia Barker as you know, and this is an ongoing series so if you would like to be notified of future interviews just go to, sign up for the email newsletter and you’ll be notified or subscribe to the YouTube channel. So, we’ll see you for the next one. Next one is another guy who, I don’t think he had a near-death experience. He was on the verge of suicide and then he had this big awakening, and he’s in New Zealand. Cornelius Christopher is his name and also I’m going to be interviewing a fellow for the second time named Rick Hansen who is a neuroscientist. Both of those will be coming up next weekend. Alright, thanks for listening or watching. See you next time. See you, Tricia.

Tricia: See you.

Rick: Bye.

Tricia: Bye.