Although every near-death experience is unique and profound, Natalie Sudman’s NDE after hitting a road-side bomb in Iraq was radically different from most. Natalie didn’t go through a tunnel, talk to God or see the beautiful vistas of heaven. And yet her experience was extraordinarily valuable for those of us who seek to understand the nature of our greater reality and the afterlife. In this post, I will outline what happened to Natalie as she describes in her book “The Application of Impossible Things: My Near-Death Experience in Iraq” and attempt to understand the implications of all the wisdom she returned with.
I was in the truck, head on hand, half asleep, and then I was not. I’ll call this instantaneous movement blinking from one place to another, for lack of a better word. In this new environment, I stood on an oval dais looking rather intrepid in my bloody and torn fatigues, slouching a bit, dirty and darkly tan, addressing thousands of white-robed beings or personalities. They were arrayed up and all around me as if I stood in the center of a huge stadium, the dais on which I stood being perhaps twenty feet in diameter. The personalities were non-physical in essence, taking on form if they intended to do that for particular purpose. I perceived the way they looked according to what I preferred for my purposes. At the time, since I had been abruptly transferred from the physical plane, it was simpler to perceive them in a human form, wearing glowing white robes.
-Application of Impossible Things: A Near-Death Experience in Iraq, Natalie Sudman, 2012
The Chronology of Natalie Sudman’s NDE
Natalie Sudman was a civilian construction contractor working for the US Army in Iraq in 2007 when her convoy hit a roadside bomb. Natalie sustained lasting physical damage from the incident – the vision in her right eye has been permanently damaged, her skull was fractured and required titanium patches, and she has limited mobility in one wrist and shoulder.
As in the above excerpt from Natalie’s book Application of Impossible Things, Natalie had quite an unusual near-death experience in the moment when her truck hit the bomb. She did not experience the typical out-of-body experience where she might have been floating above the scene before rushing through a tunnel toward the light. Instead, Natalie simply blinked from one environment to another instantly, finding herself on a sort of stage addressing thousands of other spirits who seem to be studying her experience vicariously.
Most of these thousands were familiar to me, and all were my equal regardless of their admiration for my latest silly feat on earth…I knew the Gathering to be a meeting of many groups representing a wide variety of interests and responsibilities pertaining not only directly to earth and physical universe energies but to dimensions and issues beyond (Sudman 2012)
Natalie then describes a sort of download of information. She calls it a “transfer of information in the form of an inexplicably complex matrix”. The information included “events, thoughts, incidents, individuals, and groups in all their relationship complexities: stories, concepts, connections, nuances, layers, judgements, and projections. It included kinetic equations and dimensions and symbols and flows.” or as she says later, “might be very broadly understood as cultural and political information.”
Natalie becomes aware that she had agreed to deliver this report to The Gathering before accepting her current body and lifetime on earth which also implies that she agreed to participating in the road-side bomb incident.
Natalie feels the admiration from The Gathering as they presumably digest the information though Natalie doesn’t accept her experience as particularly worthy of it. Members of The Gathering begin to discuss her experience amongst themselves using only thought in a way that is more highly structured and nuanced then our crude verbal language could ever accomplish; as Natalie states, “No overlaps occurred, no interruptions took place, no misunderstandings formed, and disagreements were respectfully and thoughtfully engaged and resolved.”
At this point, Natalie agrees that she will return to her physical body provided that she receive some assistance. Exhausted by her experience and life up to that point, she retreats to what she calls “another vibrational dimension” to recoup her energy and rest. It lasts the ‘equivalent of centuries’ but she returns only moments later to The Gathering. Natalie then discusses her plans for returning to her life on earth, detailing what she might accomplish and how The Gathering can and would assist her.
In the final state of her experience, she moves into yet another vibrational state or location where members of the Gathering would assist with the healing of her physical body. She could view her body from this place, and saw herself in the truck, “head propped up by my right hand, elbow resting on the door handle exactly as I’d left it. I could also see my body as an energy matrix. Reading from both of those levels simultaneously, I could tell that my right hand was nearly severed at the wrist, my right foot and ankle were badly mangled, and I had a deep wound in my right torso. There was a large hole in my head: I was missing one eye, the frontal sinus and a portion of my brain. (Sudman 2012)”
Natalie begins working to heal her body through the energy matrix, aided by energy beings. Not all of the injuries were meant to be healed because some were meant for future tasks or for learning experiences. In case you think that this was serious work, Natalie tells us that while they worked, they “joked with each other about what should and shouldn’t be done and casually engaged in a great deal of goofing off.”
When her body was healed to her specifications, she moved to another location that she describes as a “convenient jumping off point”. She met briefly again with some members of the Gathering to discuss her agreements and personal issues before taking a deep breath and jumping back into her body.
When Natalie opens her eyes back in her physical body, the truck is still rolling down the road, indicating that in her estimation the entire ‘blink experience’ took less than five earth seconds.
Differences in Perception in ‘The Blink Environment’:
According to Natalie, she can revisit the experience as if it were a living memory, still active and continuing. Certain elements can be changed; for example the attendees in white robes can be re-experienced as points of light or in other forms. She can also change the environment of the stadium. As soon as Natalie attempts to change other features of her memory like the tone of the gathering or her own appearance, the memory takes on a static 2-dimensional feeling or her mind ‘completely blanks out’. It seems as if certain elements are fixed, and other elements are available for influence by personal perception. It reminds me of how William Bulhman (Author of Adventures Out of Body and Adventures in the Afterlife) and Jurgan Ziewe (Author of Multidimensional Man and Vistas of Infinity) describe their experiences visiting the afterlife in OBEs; there are some areas which are consensus realities – unchangeable by individual consciousness, and thought-manifested realities – environments that change based on an individual’s perception. Even Galen Stoller from Life after Life: A Posthumous Memoir experiences area in the afterlife that are pliable to his thought (his recreation of Superman’s fortress of solitude), and others (such as classrooms) that are not.
Natalie also describes differences in conceptualization and the expansion of consciousness in the Blink Environment, brilliantly comparing it to the ways we might read a book. In our earthly lives, we tend to read everything front to back, left to right. In the Blink Environment, her experience could be understood in a myriad of different but interconnected ways. In the book metaphor, it would be like reading backwards, or grouped by scenes, or reading the words from the outside in, or upside down, by setting, emotion or every page simultaneously. Our ability to analyze and understand events is greatly expanded once out of the physical body.
Natalie was able to hold awareness from multiple focal points simultaneously; such as being aware of being in the truck, in the Blink Environment, outside of both, and in other dimensions all at the same time. I have experienced this myself during an OBE where I was simultaneously aware of being in my body in the bed, and also walking around my house. It seemed completely natural at the time, but I cannot recreate the feeling while awake.
Like Jane Robert’s Seth channelings, Natalie stresses the validity of thought as a creative force. She makes the distinction between thoughts that “have form when that is intended and otherwise exists as energy with potential effects, though lacking in perceptible form. No form of any kind is possible without thought energy to instigate it.” I am reminded again of William Buhlman who claims that he has visited an energy dimension where our thoughts are creating the potential for physical things through intention.
Could Dean Radin’s research showing consciousness affecting quantum states have something to do with ‘creating our own reality through thought?’
Of course, although the adage ‘you create your own reality’ has been bandied about by many new-age outfits by now with an almost casual air, I don’t think many people really understand that we already utilize energy for creation completely unconsciously. Moreover, most people who follow shallow new-age pseudo-gurus like Esther Hicks believe that we can all be fabulously wealthy and have perfect health if we just believe hard enough. Such a simplistic, and I would argue – dangerous – misunderstanding of thought manifestation continues to mislead and disappoint people who have good intentions and simply want to better their lives. But I digress; that is a discussion for another post.
Another aspect of Natalie’s experience emphasizes specialization and teamwork. Different individual personalities seemed to be adept at different areas of expertise, such as those who helped heal her physical body, or her spiritual body. Others assisted with personal issues, or disseminating information. Many personalities present at The Gathering were there to discuss overall political or social issues facing our society on earth at this place in time. This jives nicely with Dr. Newton’s life-between-life regression discoveries that suggest that as we advance spiritually, we take on a type of specialty – like an afterlife career – that suits our personality and particular skills.
See post “Dr. Newton’s Concept of Soul Specialties: What’s your afterlife career?” for a description of the various specialties that his patients have described.
The “Life Review” and the Concept of Good and Evil:
Like nearly all near-death experiences, Natalie didn’t experience any sort of external judgement on how she had lived her life up to that point. Although thousands of beings were downloading information related to her life choices and experiences, Natalie describes a distinct apathy toward any perceived judgement, knowing that in an arena of such expanded awareness, good and bad deeds are simply seen as experiences.
“The Problem of Evil” is something that both philosophy and religion have long struggled with and yet Natalie makes the distinction that rules for behavior to ensure collective harmony is only really valid from our physical perspective and therefore applicable only while we reside in it. As she states, “From my experiences in expanded awareness, it appears to me that no being is considered evil or bad. Actions of a being may be understood to be disruptive, inharmonious, or detrimental to the creative flow within any one reality, but the creativity of an action could be understood as valid – perhaps even necessary or useful – regardless of the overall disruption. Actions of a being may be understood as likely to look disruptive or evil from within a physical perspective while being considered beautiful, necessary or valuable creative action from the perspective of expanded awareness and thus good in every way.”
Natalie then uses herself as an example; suggesting that the person who built the bomb that blew her up in Iraq may have done so at her own request. The bomber may have agreed because he wanted to “experience what its like to be chased, arrested, detained, or killed for the violence he visited on others.” She continues by saying that even though soul agreements may exist for actions we may perceive to be ‘evil’, doesn’t mean we should condone them on the physical level of existence. Our system of judging ‘good’ and ‘evil’ is appropriate for our level of reality. In a higher level of reality, however, these experiences may be perceived as a catalyst for growth, greater experience or change.
In one of the seven times Natale has been interviewed by Bob Olsen (videos below), she describes finding out that she may have lost an eye and feeling excitement because this might present her with an experience of losing her vision. In the physical reality, Natalie certainly didn’t want to lose her vision but while her consciousness was expanded, her ‘Whole Self’ was interested in how she might learn and grow from such an experience.
Natalie also brings up a really important point about the idea of karma that religions and spiritual beliefs tend to get wrong. We like to assume that good things will happen to us in life if we’ve behaved properly, treated others with respect and generally were good people. Likewise, bad or evil people will eventually ‘get what’s coming to them’. I will admit that I have fallen into this trap myself, often wishing that the negative people I’ve encountered will get a taste of their own medicine. The truth is that we all have individual lessons that we have chosen to learn through various experiences that we agree to participate in. Additionally, what we consider a negative experience here on earth might have a positive outcome later on, which casts the entire experience in a new light. Although its tempting to look at someone with a lot of difficulties in life and assume that they’ve done something to deserve it, consider that they might just be a strong enough spirit to handle the challenges, and therefore chose to learn lessons through adversity that we are not yet ready for.
The Void is a place that is occasionally described in near-death experiences variously as a place of tremendous agony, loneliness, or psychic pain or conversely as a space of loving healing, rest and peace. It seems to depend on the experiencer, since the Void amplifies your character and intentions.
Read my post on Sometimes You Don’t See the Light – The Void: A Place of Nothingness in the Afterlife for examples from NDEs and spirit literature
For Natalie, the Void is a place of spiritual healing.
The stillness and vast space is profoundly peaceful in its silence. Although the idea of a vast emptiness might seem cold and intimidating to some, this vastness is intimate and cozy. Imagine burrowing under thick down quilts in the most comfortable bed imaginable while a snowstorm rages outdoors. Close your eyes then, and while you are feeling so physically cozy, enter in the limitless dark, peaceful, and creative space of the mind. Imagine the body as weightless and without boundaries within that, and the deep contentment that I felt in this Rest Environment might be approximated (Sudman 2012).
It is in the Void, or as Natalie calls it, The Rest Environment that she takes a leisurely psychic stroll through her life review, pondering the possibilities and probabilities, going into and out of moments from a variety of perspectives. She describes her senses as being connected, and in a way “one sense” whereby a sound can be tasted, and images heard. This type of synesthesia is commonly described in NDEs and spirit writings. I’m reminded of a scene depicted in Anthony Borgia’s book by automatic writing “Life in the World Unseen” where he channeled the Anglican Priest Robert Hugh Benson. Benson describes watching an orchestra play in the spirit world and the beautiful, colorful shapes that bloom above the arena forming abstract images that visualize the music as they play.
The Function of Spirit Guides:
Natalie is aware of nine personalities – spirit guides, in our parlance – that have volunteered to assist her with her physical life and spiritual agreements. The role that these personalities play are numerous; they assist in preventing “unexpected clashes, physical threats, or side-tracking off the broad course of interest intended by the Whole Self.” What I find most interesting is what these spirit guides can actually do for us. They can steer us toward or away from particular decisions, offer advice through interactions with our environment and people, protect us from harm, and even affect the physical environments – moving things, affecting time, create situations and influence thought patterns. Earth physics are no barrier to our guides. Although Natalie then uses an example in the book where she was saved from a dog attack, I would insert my own incredible experience here to illustrate how I believe our guides can do miraculous things if it is in our best interest.
I was seventeen years old and questioning my spirituality. I had just learned about spirit guides and was pondering their existence while driving too fast down a two lane road. Out loud I challenged my spirit guides to prove their existence to me if they were real. I approached an intersection at the top of a small incline. The light was green and I accelerated toward it to beat the yellow. Going 60 in a 40, I sailed over the top of the hill completely unaware of the parked 18-wheel trailer directly in front of me, taking up my entire lane. With a solid line of cars to my left, and no way to avoid crashing directly into the back of the tractor-trailer, I had no options. The limited visibility had left only about 50 feet between seeing the tractor trailer and hitting it. There was no time to even swerve out of the way, even if I could have.
Knowing I was about to experience a head-on collision that would likely take my life, I simply closed my eyes and took my hands off the steering wheel. There was a breath.. a heart beat, and then..nothing.
I opened my eyes. My car was decelerating down the hill, past the trailer. It seemed as if I had passed right through it. I pulled over, shaking and crying. I couldn’t understand how I had made it past the trailer. I should have been dead; it was like I was transported instantly past the trailer to safety. I thanked my guides and I have never doubted them again.
I have heard from more skeptical people that I must have blacked out and swerved, but even if I had I would have had to hit another car. Secondly, I have been in accidents since then and I have never blacked out; it’s not something that has ever happened to me in any circumstance. I just know that I wasn’t meant to die that day. Because of my foolishness, my guides altered time and space to make sure I didn’t. Conversely, if dying at 17 was a part of a spiritual agreement, then certainly I would have. It was a matter of preserving my life plan despite my stupid disregard for my own life.
Nadalie Sudman’s Book Application of Impossible Things: My Near-Death Experience in Iraq is filled with incredible wisdom and far more experiences and insights that I have outlined here. The book is worth reading in its entirity (see the works cited below for more information).
Through her NDE, Natalie confirms many spiritual and afterlife precepts, such as:
- Spiritual agreements and life plans
- Spirit guides
- The experience of physical lives for learning, growing and experience
- The specialization of individual personalities in the spirit world
- The continuation of learning in the spirit world, and learning through the experiences of others
- The multidimensional aspect of the afterlife
- The pliability of time and space
- The Void experience
- Healing through energy work and the energy matrix of the body
- The importance of challenge in our lives, even that which we consider ‘evil’
- Thoughts create reality, intentions influence events
- The lack of external judgement in the afterlife
- The expansion of consciousness and increased perception in the spirit realms
I believe Natalie Sudman’s experience is one of the most instructive NDEs I’ve read. Natalie deftly uses metaphors to help us understand what most people can’t find the words to describe. Moreover, she interprets her experience in a way that ordinary people will find valuable for their everyday lives.
Also recommended is Natale Sudman’s seven interviews with Bob Olsen:
- Natalie Sudman’s Near-Death Experience Due To A Roadside Bomb In Iraq
- Natalie Sudman’s LIFE REVIEW During Her Near-Death Experience
- Experiencing the HEALING Environment of a Near Death Experience
- The Near Death Experience of an Analytical Mind
- Recognizing the Presences of Deceased Loved Ones and Family and Friend Gatherings
- What One Near-Death Experience Exposes About Our True Spiritual Essence
- What Near-Death Experience Teaches Us About Suffering, Souls & Spiritual Guidance
Sudman, Natale. 2012. Application of Impossible Things: My Near-Death Experience in Iraq
Ozark Mountain Publishing, Inc. ISBN-13: 978-1886940246
Have you ever had a miraculous intervention that saved your life or prevented injury, attack, or death? Have you ever experienced a miraculous healing, or know someone who did? What role, if any, have your spirit guides had in your life?