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Coming Together to Love, Heal & Empower

Inspiring Near-Death Stories, More


April 2004
Issue Number 21

Welcome to Inspirations! Global Community For All sends out this e-zine filled with short, inspiring stories of love, healing, and empowerment once every three months. We share these wonderfully inspiring stories to encourage and inspire each other to be the best we can be each day of our lives. Thanks for joining us, and may these words inspire us to ever deepen our commitment to love, heal, and empower; to open to divine guidance; and to choose what's best for all.

The four inspiring stories for this issue are:

Twelve Rules of Spiritual WisdomAuthor Unknown
My Reason for Being
– Nancy Smeltzer
Opening to Heart Connection While Under Investigation – Fred Burks
Near Death Story – Mellen-Thomas Benedict

Twelve Rules of Spiritual Wisdom – Author Unknown

1. God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts.
2. There is no key to happiness. The door is always open.
3. Silence is often misinterpreted, but never misquoted.
4. Dear God, I have a problem, it's me.
5. Laugh every day, it's like inner jogging.
6. Blessed are the flexible for they shall not be bent out of shape.
8. As a child of God, prayer is kind of like calling home everyday.
9. He who dies with the most toys is still dead.
10. It's all right to sit on your pity pot every now and again. Just be sure to flush when you are done.
11. Surviving and living your life successfully requires courage. The goals and dreams you're seeking require courage and risk taking. Learn from the turtle, it only makes progress when it sticks out it's neck.
12. Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.

My Reason for Being – Nancy Smeltzer

I do hereby declare that I am here on this Earth to fulfill the following:

-to radiate light and love as I move through my life, and
to walk in the shadows peacefully and with acceptance

-to impart beauty in all of its many manifestations

-to inspire gentle healing for all life forms

-to strive for spiritual, emotional, sexual, and intellectual
balance in my own life and with those around me

-to seek the good for all in my dealings with others

For myself, I want the following:

-exquisite peace
-sweet intensity
-overflowing joy
-boundless love
-constant connection with the Universal energy

What I'm trying to do:

I want to develop a community of those who want to connect with each other with loving hearts and open souls. I want to create an environment where "seeing" and "being" the real you is the norm.

Opening to Heart Connection While Under Investigation

By Fred Burks

In early 2004, I had a fascinating miracle come out of an official U.S. Department of State investigation against me because of a vacation I took to Cuba.

It all started in December 1999, when I went on a three-week vacation to the Yucatan in Mexico with my girlfriend. After a week there, she was feeling bored. Having seen the engaging movie Buena Vista Social Club, which richly depicts the lively music and culture of Cuba, she insisted that we visit this sub-tropical island nation, so I reluctantly agreed. At the time we decided to go, I hadn't heard about any problems with people traveling there. If I had any idea what was to come, I would never have gone to Cuba and threatened my job as a language interpreter with the State Department.

Our 10 full days in Cuba were filled with great times. On the flight over, we were excited to befriend a fun, vibrant Afro-Cuban drummer sitting next to us who lived in Havana with his family. He not only set us up to stay in the apartment of a friend, he invited us to his beautiful 15-year-old daughter's colorful quincinera or coming of age celebration. We also enjoyed swimming at the warm sandy beaches, exploring Cuba's rich music and culture, and lots more in our time there.

Two days before flying there, I found a used Cuba guidebook in the Yucatan. The guidebook stated it was not illegal to go to Cuba, but that technically Americans were not allowed to spend money there, as it is considering aiding the enemy. Yet the guidebook also mentioned they had never heard of anyone having a problem with this, and that well over 100,000 Americans were visiting Cuba every year. So on returning to the U.S. from our trip, I wasn't expecting any problem from writing on the customs form that we had visited Mexico and Cuba.

Upon then going through customs, we were shocked to be pulled aside and then detained for two hours, during which they first read us our Miranda rights and then separated and interrogated us all because we had gone to Cuba. During the interrogation, I asked the customs agent if it was illegal to go to Cuba. I was most curious that, though we were being treated like criminals, she avoided answering this question and wouldn't tell me why we were being detained. We were eventually released and told that we didn't have to do anything, but that we might hear from them again.

About six months later, we received letters stating that we were under investigation, but didn't need to do anything. Then nothing happened until over three years later, when I was shocked to receive a letter stating that I had to pay a penalty of $7,590 for my visit to Cuba! I later confirmed that it was not illegal to go to Cuba. I was facing this fine because of the regulation against spending money there. This regulation was designed as a way of bypassing the Supreme Court's decision that Americans have the right to travel freely anywhere in the world.

This all seemed very unfair to me, as it thankfully does to a whole team of lawyers across the US. One member of this team is representing me for free in challenging this fine in court. The case is still in limbo now, many years after my Cuba visit. Yet as a result of this ongoing case, in early 2004 the State Department sent a special investigator to my house to question me about the case. His duty was to evaluate if I was still fit to work as a language interpreter with the U.S. government.

I had over the years served as an Indonesian language interpreter for Bill Clinton, G.W. Bush, Al Gore, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, and many others (click here to read the many little miracles that led to this). I was very well liked by my boss and many others at Language Services in the Department of State. Yet, if serious concerns were aroused by this investigation into my Cuba visit and the ensuing court case, I might lose my fascinating work as an interpreter.

Upon hearing I would be investigated, I knew immediately what to do. I first opened to my deepest life intention of what's best for all in this situation, fully trusting that I am always guided to what's best for me and for all in everything I do. I then opened my heart and energetically communicated with the heart of the investigator who was to visit. I mentally communicated to him that I had no desire to hide anything, and that I warmly welcomed his visit.

As I opened the door on the day of the investigation a week later, I also opened my heart to this investigator and warmly invited him to my room. Within minutes, a deep feeling of friendship bonded us. He commented that he was very impressed at how open I was, and at how I was so willing to tell him anything and everything about myself and my Cuba visit. As he then ran through pages of questions regarding my Cuba case and more, he even told me how to answer some questions.

For example, one question was, "Have you ever used any illegal drugs?" I responded, "Well, back when I was young I did a few..." But he cut me off saying, "We'll say no." I countered, "I am deeply committed to speaking the truth. I think it's best to write down the true answers to these questions." He looked at me very seriously and insisted, "I know what they mean by this question, and we'll say no." When I questioned him, he said I didn't have to sign anything, so as he was doing the writing, I agreed to let him do what he felt was best.

Towards the end of the long list of questions, he read this one: "Have you ever been involved in any activities which might embarrass the United States government?" I told him that I manage a website ( which is all about exposing major government cover-ups, which some people might feel embarrasses the government. I added that I personally didn't at all feel that this is embarrassing to the government, but rather that this website was designed as a call to caring American citizens to help bring our government back to full democracy.

At this unexpected response, the investigator put down his clipboard. He looked me straight in the eyes for several seconds with a stern look before finally saying, "Well ... I worked for 25 years with the FBI, and I want to tell you about some cover-ups I saw there." He went on to reveal some valuable information on corruption and cover-ups in the FBI that I had not heard before.

I was truly amazed. Here this man was sent by the government to investigate me, yet he ended up not only actively helping me to keep my job, but also revealing to me some major cover-ups he had personally seen in his time working with the government!

Life often works in wondrous, unexpected ways, especially with those who are deeply dedicated to doing what is best. I give many thanks for this rich experience and for the warm connection I felt on that day with my new friend. I also give thanks for the amazing guidance I continue to receive daily in my life, and invite us all to remember that when we move from the heart with the intention of supporting what's be for all, many miracles may come our way.

Note: My Cuba court case made the front page of our local newspaper and even was reported in an article in the Los Angeles Times. To see the best article on it, click here. The investigation is ongoing, though we haven't heard anything now in several years. My lawyer says that's a good thing. The case may just fade into obscurity, particularly as the mood towards Cuba has now changed. For other fascinating stories from my time interpreting, click here.

Near Death Story – Mellen-Thomas Benedict

The Road to Death

In 1982, I died from terminal cancer. My condition was non-operable. I chose not to have chemotherapy. I was given six to eight months to live. Before this time, I had become increasingly despondent over the nuclear crisis, the ecology crisis, and so forth. I came to believe that nature had made a mistake—that we were probably a cancerous organism on the planet. And that is what eventually killed me.

Before my near-death experience, I tried all sorts of alternative healing methods. None helped. So I determined that this was between me and God. I had never really considered God. Neither was I into any kind of spirituality. But my approaching death sent me on a quest for more information about spirituality and alternative healing. I read various religions and philosophies. They gave hope that there was something on the other side.

I had no medical insurance, so my life savings went overnight on tests. Unwilling to drag my family into this, I determined to handle this myself. I ended up in hospice care and was blessed with an angel for my hospice caretaker, whom I will call "Anne." She stayed with me through all that was to follow.

Into the Light

I woke up about 4:30 am and I knew that this was it. I was going to die. I called a few friends and said good-bye. I woke up Anne and made her promise that my dead body would remain undisturbed for six hours, since I had read that all kinds of interesting things happen when you die. I went back to sleep. The next thing I remember, I was fully aware and standing up. Yet my body was lying in the bed. I seemed to be surrounded by darkness, yet I could see every room in the house, and the roof, and even under the house.

A Light shone. I turned toward it, and was aware of its similarity to what others have described in near-death experiences. It was magnificent and tangible, alluring. I wanted to go towards that Light like I might want to go into my ideal mother's or father's arms. As I moved towards the Light, I knew that if I went into the Light, I would be dead. So I said/felt, "Please wait. I would like to talk to you before I go."

The entire experience halted. I discovered that I was in control of the experience. My request was honored. I had conversations with the Light. That's the best way I can describe it. The Light changed into different figures, like Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, archetypal images and signs. I asked in a kind of telepathy, "What is going on here?"

The information transmitted was that our beliefs shape the kind of feedback we receive. If you are a Buddhist or Catholic or Fundamentalist, you get a feedback loop of your own images. I became aware of a Higher Self matrix, a conduit to the Source. We all have a Higher Self, or an oversoul part of our being, a conduit. All Higher Selves are connected as one being. All humans are connected as one being.

It was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. It was like all the love you've ever wanted, and it was the kind of love that cures, heals, regenerates. I was ready to go at that time. I said "I am ready, take me." Then the Light turned into the most beautiful thing that I have ever seen: a mandala of human souls on this planet. I saw that we are the most beautiful creations—elegant, exotic...everything.

I just cannot say enough about how it changed my opinion of human beings in an instant. I said/thought/felt, "Oh, God, I didn't realize." I was astonished to find that there was no evil in any soul. People may do terrible things out of ignorance and lack, but no soul is evil. "What all people seek—what sustains them—is love," the Light told me. "What distorts people is a lack of love."

The revelations went on and on. I asked, "Does this mean that Humankind will be saved?" Like a trumpet blast with a shower of spiraling lights, the Light "spoke," saying, "You save, redeem and heal yourself. You always have and always will. You were created with the power to do so from before the beginning of the world." In that instant I realized that we have already been saved.

I thanked the Light of God with all my heart. The best thing I could come up with was: "Oh dear God, dear Universe, dear Great Self, I love my Life." The Light seemed to breathe me in even more deeply, absorbing me. I entered into another realm more profound than the last, and was aware of an enormous stream of Light, vast and full, deep. I asked what it was. The Light answered, "This is the River of Life. Drink of this manna water to your heart's content." I drank deeply, in ecstasy.

The Void of Nothingness

Suddenly I seemed to be rocketing away from the planet on this stream of Life. I saw the earth fly away. The solar system whizzed by and disappeared. I flew through the center of the galaxy, absorbing more knowledge as I went. I learned that this galaxy—and the entire Universe—is bursting with many different varieties of life. I saw many worlds. We are not alone in this Universe. It seemed as if all the creations in the Universe soared past me and vanished in a speck of Light.

Then a second Light appeared. As I passed into the second Light, I could perceive forever, beyond Infinity. I was in the Void, pre-Creation, the beginning of time, the first Word or vibration. I rested in the Eye of Creation and it seemed that I touched the Face of God. It was not a religious feeling. I was simply at One with Absolute Life and Consciousness.

I rode the stream directly into the center of the Light. I felt embraced by the Light as it took me in with its breath again. And the truth was obvious that there is no death; that nothing is born and nothing dies; that we are immortal beings, part of a natural living system that recycles itself endlessly.

It would take me years to assimilate the Void experience. It was less than nothing, yet greater than anything. Creation is God exploring God's Self through every way imaginable. Through every piece of hair on your head, through every leaf on every tree, through every atom. God is exploring God's Self. I saw everything as the Self of all. God is here. That's what it is all about. Everything is made of light; everything is alive.

The Light of Love

I was never told that I had to come back. I just knew that I would. It was only natural, from what I had seen. As I began my return to the life cycle, it never crossed my mind, nor was I told, that I would return to the same body. It did not matter. I had complete trust in the Light and the Life process.

As the stream merged with the great Light, I asked never to forget the revelations and the feelings of what I had learned on the other side. I thought of myself as a human again and I was happy to be that. From what I have seen, I would be happy to be an atom in this universe. An atom. So to be the human part of God ...this is the most fantastic blessing. It is a blessing beyond our wildest imagination of what a blessing can be.

For each and every one of us to be the human part of this experience is awesome, and magnificent. Each and every one of us, no matter where we are, screwed up or not, is a blessing to the planet, right where we are. So I went through the reincarnation process expecting to be a baby somewhere.

But I reincarnated back into this body. I was so surprised when I opened my eyes, to be back in this body, back in my room with someone looking over me, crying her eyes out. It was Anne, my hospice caretaker. She had found me dead thirty minutes before. We do not know how long I was dead, only that she found me thirty minutes before. She had honored my wish to have my newly-dead body left alone. She can verify that I really was dead.

It was not a near-death experience. I believe I probably experienced death itself for at least an hour and a half. When I awakened and saw the light outside, confused, I tried to get up to go to it, but I fell out of the bed. She heard a loud "clunk", ran in, and found me on the floor. When I recovered, I was surprised and awed about what had happened. I had no memory at first of the experience. I kept slipping out of this world and kept asking, "Am I alive?" This world seemed more like a dream than that one.

Within three days, I was feeling normal again, clearer, yet different than ever before. My memories of the journey came back later. But from my return I could find nothing wrong with any human being I had ever seen. Previous to my death I was judgmental, believing that people were really screwed up. Everyone but me.

About three months later a friend said I should get tested for the cancer. So I got the scans and so forth. I felt healthy. I still remember the doctor at the clinic looking at the "before" and "after"scans. He said, "I can find no sign of cancer now." "A miracle?" I asked. "No," he answered. "These things happen...spontaneous remission." He seemed unimpressed. But I was impressed. I knew it was a miracle.

Lessons Learned

I asked God: "What is the best religion on the planet? Which one is right?" God said with great love: "It doesn't matter." What an incredible grace. It does not matter what religion we are. Religions come and they go. They change. Buddhism has not been here forever, Catholicism has not been here forever, and they are all about to become more enlightened. More light is coming into all systems now. Many will resist and fight about it, one religion against the next, believing that only they are right.

When God said, "It doesn't matter," I understood that it is for us to care about, because we are the caring beings. The Source does not care if you are Protestant, Buddhist, or Jew. Each is a reflection, a facet of the whole. I wish that all religions would realize it and let each other be. It is not the end of separate religions, but live and let live. Each has a different view, and it all adds up to the big picture.

I went over to the other side with a lot of fears about toxic waste, nuclear missiles, the population explosion, the rain forest. I came back loving every single problem. I love nuclear waste. I love the mushroom cloud; this is the holiest mandala that we have manifested to date, as an archetype. More than any religion or philosophy on Earth, that terrible, wonderful cloud brought us together all of a sudden, to a new level of consciousness.

Knowing that maybe we can blow up the planet fifty times, or 500 times, we finally realize that maybe we are all here together now. For a period they had to keep setting off more bombs to get it into us. Then we started saying, "we do not need this any more." Now we are actually in a safer world than we have ever been in, and it is going to get safer.

So I came back loving toxic waste, because it brought us together. These things are so big. Clearing of the rain forest will slow down, and in fifty years there will be more trees on the planet than in a long time. If you are into ecology, go for it; you are that part of the system that is becoming aware. Go for it with all your might, but do not be depressed or disheartened. Earth is in the process of domesticating itself, and we are cells on that Body. Population increase is getting very close to the optimal range of energy to cause a shift in consciousness. That shift in consciousness will change politics, money, energy.

The Great Mystery of life has little to do with intelligence. The Universe is not an intellectual process. The intellect is helpful; but our hearts are the wiser part of ourselves. Since my return I have experienced the Light spontaneously. I have learned how to get to that space almost any time in my meditation. You can also do this. You don't have to die first. You are wired for it already. The body is the most magnificent Light being there is. The body is a universe of incredible Light. We don't need to commune with God; God is already communing with us in every moment!

For the full text of this amazing near-death story, click here. And for lots more incredible information on near-death stories and experiences, see this great webpage.

All the darkness of the world cannot put out the light of a single candle.

Thanks for sharing in these inspiring stories with us. We wish you lots of love, inspiration, and all the very best in the months ahead.

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