“Getting blown up was not a solo event, but the experience and interpretations set forth in this book are mine alone. To my knowledge, no one else present during the incident recalls any similar experiences. My guess is that if any of them become aware of this book, they will shake their heads, roll their eyes, and attribute my memories to hallucinations of stress or the unfortunate side effects of severe concussion.”
Natalie Sudman was a female civilian employee of the Army Corps of Engineers in Basrah and Nasiriyah, Iraq.
In November 2007, she was riding in a truck when a roadside bomb blew up the vehicle and left her body so severely damaged that there was no possible way she could had survived
In one of the most technical and descriptive accounts of a near death experience, Application of Impossible Things: A Near Death Experience In Iraq vividly details what happened when Sudman left her body and entered the world of spirit.
BJB: What is the significance of the title, Application of Impossible Things?
NS: The significance for me is that as a culture we think metaphysical subjects are impossible, are miracles or unusual once in a life time happenings that we can’t really control.
But I don’t think that’s true.
In fact, from my experience, I know that’s not true.
BJB: Would you consider yourself a spiritual or religious person who believed in the afterlife prior to the accident?
NS: When I was a child I would dream about things before they happened, and I would see or sense spirits or other beings around. I grew up in a religious environment, a liberal Presbyterian church, but I was always very interested in the non-physical and metaphysical.
The way I describe this near death experience is that it wasn’t revolutionary, it was evolutionary; as just one more thing in my exploration of where and how the non-physical and physical worlds meet.
BJB: What is an out-of-body experience (OBE) as opposed to a near death experiences (NDE)?
NS: A near death experience is an out-of-body experience, but all out-of-body experiences aren’t necessarily classified as near death experiences.
I’ve always been a little uncomfortable to use NDE to describe my experience. I don’t think it really matters which term I use because that’s not the message. The message is within that experience as, what did I experience? And what does what I experienced have to say to our lives now?
BJB: What was your professional role in Iraq?
NS: I was an employee of the United States Army. I was administering construction projects for the reconstruction effort. I was in charge of making sure that the construction projects were completed by a good standard and to ensure that money for construction was properly allocated to projects.
BJB: You were blown up in a roadside bomb attack and experienced what is known as an OBE?
NS: I was traveling in a four vehicle convoy. I was in one of the two center vehicles with a colleague, driver and a guard. Our vehicle was an up armored vehicle that hit a roadside bomb that went off under the front right-side of the vehicle.
BJB: Once the explosion occurred did you know your soul had left your body?
NS: Before the explosion, it had been a long day. My head leaned on my hand and my elbow was propped up on the car door handle because I was tired. It’s very boring being chauffeured around and I nodded off.
All of a sudden I was not in my body and I had the experience that I describe in Application of Impossible Things. Then I heard a pop and I became conscious within my body again.
At the moment of becoming conscious within my body, I didn’t really have time to think about what happened as far as being out of my body. I knew that something had just happened, but I also knew that we had been blown up. I thought, ‘Okay, we’ve been blown up and now have to deal with this.’ I didn’t try to figure out where I had been in the last few seconds.
BJB: It was within that short period, a matter of seconds, between the explosion and when you became conscious again that your soul left your body?
NS: Yes, but even though it was only seconds it felt like it was very long. The aspect of time was very different. As I describe in the book, a lot of things happened that could not have fit into a few seconds.
BJB: I find it interesting that we’re constantly told to have faith, but when spiritual or mystical experiences occur they are often met with doubt.
NS: It’s very much what we’re taught and what we’re told. If science doesn’t say something is true people say, “Oh, it can’t be.” Science describe things and can prove something, but it can’t disprove something. In the end are you going to trust your own experience, or will you trust what the culture says you can trust?
For me, because I’ve had these kinds of experiences since I was a child, I had to trust my own experience. If people don’t trust themselves in these type of experiences, then I can understand why someone would say these things don’t exist.
In my experience, it has nothing to do with belief.
We are intrinsically part of something larger than ourselves even if you don’t acknowledge it. We cannot not participate in that because we create it and we are it; we are created by it and through it.
It’s hard for Westerners to wrap our minds around something like that but we are the “bird in the flock” and we are “the flock”.
Faith comes in when maybe you haven’t had experiences that you recognize as an affirmation that you are a part of something that is bigger than your individual self, or that you haven’t understood as broadening or deepening your idea of reality and who and what you are in this reality.
We have foundational beliefs that we’re not even aware of that say, “This is what reality is,” and those beliefs make us feel safe.
When we have metaphysical or spiritual experiences in which we have no mental context to understand, it rocks our foundation of belief and it can be scary.
BJB: While you were out of your body you write about having entered the “Blink” environment where communication is instantaneous. Can you talk about this environment?
NS: I call it the “Blink” environment because in the space of a blink I was in my body and then I was not. I didn’t have the experience of traveling through a tunnel like some people.
Right away this is where I found myself when I left my body. I knew exactly where I was and I was very comfortable being there. I wasn’t confused. I knew exactly what was happening.
I perceived myself as standing on a stage with these Beings arrayed around me similar to a stadium. The Beings appeared to be made of light and I knew exactly who they were and exactly what I was doing. I was giving them information.
When I wrote the book I said, “…communication is telepathic,” but really that’s not a good description. Telepathy denotes some kind of linear communication. It was more like I was downloading whole, complete, very detailed and complicated concepts to them to comprehend.
BJB: Which concepts did you relay to them?
NS: In the book I describe it as broadly cultural.
This included not only my own experiences, but cultural on every level; how I interacted with my family, friends, and strangers, that I was a part of the U.S. culture all the way to conceptual cultural interactions between cultures within countries and between different countries, and also on the level of streams of energies that shape human cultures.
In that environment we were doing something specific, transferring information. However, I got the impression that if I had asked questions I could have gotten any information that I wanted.
BJB: Information about the entire human experience?
NS: Yes, but if someone were to ask, “Why would they need that information?” I don’t think I could answer that in any way that would make sense to our human minds.
It was all done in love and in cooperation, with great respect and a great deal of affection for each other, for humanity and the potential of experiences available within the physical world.
BJB: You had the feeling that you were very loved and admired by the Beings?
NS: Yes. I was standing there in front of them and they were communicating love, admiration and gratitude to me. I extended the same feelings to them. It was a beautiful feeling.
When I was done downloading the information, I blinked again and I was now in a very private space. A beautiful, endless, quiet, velvety black space. There were two Beings who were “tinkering” with me. I didn’t have a body shape. I had some kind of a form that was not a body.
It felt like the Beings were fixing, reconnecting and shifting somethings around, like I was having a tune-up. When they were finished they left. I was alone in this vast space that felt very nurturing, restful and rejuvenating.
BJB: Would you say it was a different dimension?
NS: We don’t have very good words in English to describe my experience. A lot of the concepts we use to talk about these things come from science fiction, and I’m not comfortable with the connotations. But I do write about it being another dimension or frequency.
I don’t get the sense that there is a “here” and “there”. I get the sense that it’s all here. If you think about a radio, you can tune the radio to any station you like. We can all go to these places that I’ve been if we teach ourselves to focus differently.
BJB: Did you get the sense that one lesson we are all here to learn is how to work with our energy as creators of our own experience?
NS: I think that’s an exploration on a very basic level. I think we come into this reality with lots of different intentions and ways of exploring. We come into this reality which has certain energetic structures that allow for certain potentials and possibilities.
Part of the thrill of coming into this kind of collective conscious reality is there is a certain element of the unexpected. We can arrive here with our plans, agreements with other people and what we want to explore with a detailed or broad plan. But there is the potential to interact in different ways.
There are a lot of us here all doing different things. So sometimes there maybe unexpected junctures of experience that give us a surprise. It’s a complex and brilliant reality that we are created by and creating as we go along.
BJB: Why is our individual life in the physical plain valuable in the eyes of the Beings?
NS: We’re not the only ones who benefit from our experience in the physical world. In this experience we deepen our understanding of who and what we are in a unique way when we chose to come here and participate. When we leave our physical bodies we have a lot of knowledge that other Beings don’t necessarily have. We have a lot to teach and share.
BJB: It was your decision to return into your body, correct? But you were hesitant?
NS: Yeah, I didn’t want to come back. The Beings in the “Blink” environment asked me if I would go back. They said that “my skill with energy would be useful at this time,” and they showed me a few things that I can’t fully remember or talk about.
I don’t talk about what I remember being shown because I don’t want to come off as if I’m saying that I’m special in some way. Everybody who is here is valuable in some way to the world. Every single person is affecting this physical reality. So when they asked me to return, the pictures that I was shown looked fun.
According to Sudman, “…we come into this world at this time in this place in order to participate. But that doesn’t mean we have to lose sight of the true fact of who we really are. We are not this personality, or this body, or these emotions. We are the infinite beings having an experience through this body, through the emotions, through the personality.”
“It is possible to participate in this life, to get into a role with passion while still remembering that it is just a role — that we are actually whole beings: indestructible, safe, utterly beautiful. The best plays are ones in which the actors are so good, we all — actors and audiences — give ourselves over to the story. But in the end the curtain comes down — we always know it is a play.”
“Dig in, be with life, and give yourself over to the story … without forgetting that it is a story.”
Sudman offers psychic consultation over the phone or by email. More information about readings can be found on the Readings page of her blog at Trace of Elements.
For more information you can also log onto NatalieSudman.com.
This interview was originally published on Medium.com.