Spiritual Awakenings International™
"Bringing us Together"™
Raising Awareness • Networking • Sharing
Spiritual Awakenings International’s™ mission is to spread awareness globally of Spiritually Transformative Experiences™.
Aims and Ideals
Spiritual Awakenings International™ (SAI) is a non-profit worldwide network of individuals and groups who are interested in collaborating to raise awareness, network, and share personal experience relating to diverse types of Spiritually Transformative Experiences, to raise global spiritual awareness.
The phrase “Spiritually Transformative Experiences™” (STEs)™ was first coined by Dr. Yvonne Kason MD in 1994, in her ground-breaking book, A Farther Shore, and she expanded upon STEs in her later books, Farther Shores (2000), and Touched by the Light: Exploring Spiritually Transformative Experiences (2019).
STEs include: Near-Death Experiences (NDEs); mystical experiences; psychic/intuitive experiences of many types; spiritual energy/kundalini awakenings; inspired creativity; other death-related STEs such as deathbed experiences/end-of-life expereiences, death-watch/shared-death experiences, After-Death Communications; and more. STEs are sometimes referred to as “extraordinary experiences”, “exceptional human experiences”, “spiritual emergence syndrome”, samadhis, siddhis, ascension experiences, and other terms.
All types of STEs tend to transform experiencers’ values in a more spiritual direction and propel an increased desire to be loving, ethical, and of service to others.
Spiritual Awakenings International recognizes the interconnectedness of diverse types of STEs. An experiencer might have one type of STE as their initial “spiritual awakening” experience, and later find their consciousness more open to other types of STEs. For example a near-death experiencer or kundalini awakening experiencer may later have more psychic/intuitive experiences and mystical experiences.
STE experiencers often feel isolated, misunderstood, might feel they are mentally unstable, and fear being labelled as “crazy” by others. SAI is striving to build a safe, supportive, and informed community amongst STE experiencers and spiritual seekers, and to increase understanding of STEs worldwide.
Spiritual Awakenings International is multi-faith, multi-cultural, non-aligned, and is open to anyone peacefully seeking a higher understanding. We promote respectful and supportive dialogue of diverse views and perspectives on STEs. SAI was previously known as iSee, the International Society for Extraordinary Experiences.
To raise awareness of STES of all types and our true spiritual nature, and the fact that STEs are a normal and healthy occurrence in human consciousness which often occur as part of a spiritual awakening process.
To facilitate networking globally, building bridges and community between diverse groups and individuals who share an interest in raising awareness of STEs through: regional group meetings; a newsletter calendar of affiliated groups’ events; and by listing affiliated groups websites on the SAI website.
To provide a sharing forum where STE experiencers, counselors, friends, and researchers can share experiences and information in a safe, supportive environment: at local affiliated group meetings; through online events; and at SAI conferences internationally.
About the Founders
Dr. Yvonne Kason MD, MEd, CCFP, FCFP, is the President and Co-Founder of Spiritual Awakenings International. She is a family physician and transpersonal psychotherapist [retired], previously on faculty at the University of Toronto. She is an internationally renowned medical expert on Near-Death Experiences (NDEs) and other Spiritually Transformative Experiences (STEs), with 40 years experience counseling and researching persons with NDEs and other STEs. Propelled by a powerful kundalini awakening in 1976, and a Near-Death Experience in a 1979 medevac plane crash, she began to research NDEs and other spiritual experiences. In 1990 she became the first Canadian medical doctor to specialize her medical practice in the research and counseling of patients with diverse types of STEs. Dr. Kason is the person who first coined the phrase “Spiritually Transformative Experiences” in 1994, in her book, A Farther Shore. She has had five Near-Death Experiences herself, two in her childhood and three in her adult life, as well as multiple STEs.
Dr. Yvonne Kason is the Past-President of IANDS, the International Association for Near-Death Studies (2019-2020) and a former IANDS Board member. She is the Leader and Co-Founder (2019) of Toronto Awakenings Sharing Group, and is a member of ACISTE, the American Center for the Integration of Spiritually Transformative Experiences.
Dr. Kason has been a pioneer in the field of Spiritually Transformative Experiences for over 40 years. In 1990 Dr. Kason was a Co-Founder and later a long time Board member of the Kundalini Research Network. She was also the Canadian Coordinator of the Spiritual Emergence Network, and in 1992 the Founder of the Spiritual Emergence Research and Referral Clinic in Toronto. In 2000 she Co-Founded the Spirituality in Health-Care Network, and in 2002 she was Chair of the University of Toronto’s first ever conference on Spirituality and Health-Care.
Dr. Yvonne Kason has five published books, her most recent, Touched by the Light: Exploring Spiritually Transformative Experiences, (2019). Dr. Kason has extensive media and public speaking experience worldwide. She has been a keynote speaker at many conferences internationally, and has made over 100 professional presentations. She was a Keynote speaker at IANDS Vancouver conference 1999, and a plenary speaker at IANDS Philadelphia conference 2019. Dr. Kason has been an invited guest on many TV talk shows including: The Dr Oz Show (2020, 2021), and radio shows including Coast to Coast (2020). Her 1979 plane crash Near-Death Experience was re-enacted on Sightings and in two documentaries. Dr. Kason retired from the practice of medicine in 2006 for health reasons after being incapacitated for twelve years and following a dramatic brain healing in 2016, a “miracle of brain neuroplasticity”, Dr. Kason has now resumed writing, public speaking, volunteer work on Boards, and giving media interviews about NDEs and STEs. Yvonne Kason lives in Toronto, Canada, and enjoys “snowbirding” during the winter months, in Encinitas, CA. Dr. Yvonne Kason has been honored for her groundbreaking STE work as an honoree on the Spiritual Awakenings International Circle of Honor.
Robert Bare MPA, PhD is the Vice President and Co-Founder of Spiritual Awakenings International. He attended West Valley College, San Jose State University, the University of California Santa Cruz and The University of San Francisco where he graduated with Bachelor and Masters degrees in Public Administration, a PhD in Business, as well as obtaining two teaching credentials.
His former employment included working for the Santa Cruz Police Department and then joining the California Highway Patrol from 1970 to 1992. His work assignments prior to retirement included South Los Angeles (Watts), East Los Angeles, San Francisco/Oakland (twice) and Santa Cruz (twice). After retiring from law enforcement, he worked a variety of positions: an Adjunct Professor, a General Manager/City Administrator for three communities, the Executive Director of a Community Resource Center, the Tribal Administrator of a Native American Nation and a Staff Executive/Consultant for an International Consulting Company. Additionally, he is still continuing his work career as a grant and technical writer.
He has always volunteered for several community programs. He coached Little League baseball and girls softball, Pony League Baseball, Pop Warner football and American Legion Baseball. Additionally, he coached a women’s fast pitch traveling tournament team for 18 and under girls and was also President for a Pony League in the Santa Cruz area. He attended Professional Umpire School in Florida and umpired baseball at all levels.
He was active in the communities he resided in by serving on the City Planning Commission, a County Drug Free Coalition, and the Commission on Children and Families. He also served on the California Special Districts Board of Directors and the California Special Districts Workers Compensation Board. He received recognition when selected as “Peace Officer of the Year 1976”, and nominated as “Special Districts General Manager of the Year 1997”
Robert is an almost-textbook case of someone whose life and values were forever changed by his NDE. You have to have a tough mentality to be a police officer, and Robert spent more than two decades as a California Highway Patrolman. Robert admits that “I saw lots of death, and I became callous,” he says. Spirituality or religion played little role in his life.
Robert’s near-death experiences shook him to his core. They occurred shortly after he boarded a plane in March, 2009. He had a massive heart attack and was deceased for approximately 45 minutes. His second NDE was for approximately 10 minutes. His NDEs were profiled in the TV show, I SurvivedBeyond and Back, and he was a featured case study by author Debra Diamond in her book,”Life After Near Death”. Robert has also interviewed for an upcoming episode on William Shattner’s show “Unexplained” on the History Channel.
In regards to his NDEs, Robert has said, “Accompanied by loving beings, I gravitated toward a beautiful bright Light,” He recalls. “I saw some colors I had never seen before. I remember being in the presence of a “Higher Power” who talked to me. I had a “life review” and saw everything that I had experienced in my life. He calls the review “the reckoning of my life a humbling experience.” He further emphasized, “I could see everything in my life, but I was also in it, and I could read everyone’s mind. I realized that I could have done better, and I did not want to judge or hurt anyone anymore.”
After taken to a hospital, he had a second NDE this time, floating above the operating room, observing what was transpiring below. This NDE included a pivotal moment: he could hear medical staff talking about him while he was unconscious. Later, the doctors verified that he had indeed heard their conversation. “I’m a different person now,” Robert says after his NDE experiences. “Now I only want to do good in my life.”
Robert currently lives in a home on the beach in Oregon, where he has been a past Commissioner on his Community Planning Commission for 9 years and past President of a local Humane Society. He was nominated as the “Citizen of the Year” twice in different communities and received other community recognition as well. Robert is the past Vice-President of IANDS and also a former IANDS Board member.
Meet Our Board Members
Linda Truax (height 5 feet), refers to herself as a tall Texan who got cheated but has always driven herself to do just a little more than just be. She was born a rebel, but raised a Yankee in Massachusetts then educated a redneck at the University of California, Davis. Military service in the U.S. Army followed allowing her to travel around the United States and one tour in Europe, and she reached the rank of Major. After retirement in 1996 Linda engaged in a childhood dream of having a horse farm in Texas where she had a special Appaloosa mare which earned 2 national titles.
After dealing with a significant emotional event Linda chose to sell the farm and move elsewhere. During these trying times she discovered the wealth of comfort shared by the Edgar Cayce Foundation and read many books describing near-death experiences. After meeting many of the near-death experiencers Linda began seeking deeper understanding of these extraordinary events, and became actively involved in expanding educational programs to expand awareness of all types of spiritually transformative experiences.
Linda returned to Texas, and is currently the go-to person for the local members of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Linda has continued to serve at her local DAV Chapter as Service Officer, Junior Vice Commander, and Commander. Her service to others also included many years assisting another nonprofit organization in marketing, governance, and education outreach. On the side, Linda also supports and participates with an equestrian drill team of a local Sheriff’s Posse.
Why I am excited about SAI? I see great opportunity in joining SAI to further expand the unified effort to share the reality that each of us are instruments of divinity, here to serve and help others remember we are all one.
Dr. Nicole Gruel PhD, comes from a long line of samurai and is on a mission to support people in creating optimum wellbeing on all levels—body, mind, spirit, relationships, planet—so they can become the Agents of Awesome they were born to be. Nicole’s books have been featured in leading Australian wellbeing magazines and she’s been published in peer-reviewed academic journals. Her newest book, a finalist in the prestigious INDIES Award, is The Power of NOTEs: How Non-Ordinary Transcendent Experiences Transform The Way We Live, Love, and Lead.
Nicole has a PhD in Integral and Transpersonal Psychology, is a past Board Member of IANDS (International Association for Near Death Studies), Co-Founder of IANDS Sharing Groups Online, Mentor for Life Coaches at ACISTE (American Centre for the Integration of Spiritually Transformative Experiences), Gifts Compass™ Advisor and Training Facilitator, past NSW/ACT President of the Australian Association of Psychological Type (AusAPT), certified Counsellor, and certified Life Coach with Strategic Intervention and ACISTE. She has also trained in various healing, movement, and energy psychology modalities. She lives in Sydney, Australia.
Why I’m excited about SAI. It’s an incredible time to be alive on this planet. Never before have more people been reporting awakening experiences of all varieties. Never before has there been such urgency to put one’s gifts into action to co-create a more just, wholesome, sustainable, and connected planet. Never before have we had so much technology and ways to share and implement wisdom. Our spiritually transformative experiences are the secret sauce to our greatest potential — they’re the life-force driving creativity, innovation, love, healing, inspiration, grace and magic. And so, I’m excited to see a greater collective awakening take root in my lifetime. Together we are capable of phenomenal things that we haven’t even skimmed the surface of. To assist people step powerfully on their path towards this end gives me endless joy. Onward we go!
Dr. Bonnie Greenwell Ph.D. is a transpersonal psychotherapist and non-dual teacher in the lineage of Adyashanti. She has been licensed as a counselor since 1980 in California and later in Oregon, and is a past executive director of the counseling center at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology. After 6 years of Jungian analysis, and 15 years of meditation in both yogic and Zen traditions, she awakened kundalini energy while doing breathwork. Her experience was primarily ecstatic, but also encouraged her to continue clearing old patterns through learning several body therapies, Jin Shin Jo, Ashtanga and Kundalini yoga. She fell into more intense meditation practice and chose to research kundalini experiences for her doctoral dissertation. Along the way she traveled to India, and has sat with over a dozen gurus, and matriculated for a summer at the C.G. Jung Institute in Switzerland.
In 1990 Bonnie published her first book: Energies of Transformation: A Guide to the Kundalini Process, and became a founder and director of the Kundalini Research Network (KRN). Since then she has offered lectures and trainings in the US, Australia and Europe, has been interviewed numerous times on you-tube, and published 3 more books about spiritual awakening – The Kundalini Guide, The Awakening Guide and When Spirit Leaps: Navigating the Process of Spiritual Awakening.
She met Adyashanti in 2003 and after a deep realization during one of his retreats offered to put together his transcribed talks, and edit them into the book Emptiness Dancing for his sangha. At that time he invited her to teach and support awakening, which she has done for the past 16 years. In 2010 she established Shanti River Center in Ashland, Oregon to provide non-dual satsang and retreats, but has moved her services more recently to the internet.
Bonnie is married to a retired aerospace executive and has 3 adult children and 8 grandchildren. She currently does kundalini and awakening assessments with those who find her through her websites, and is publishing the Awakened Life newsletter, a compilation of her many writings, guidance on awakening, book reviews, and information about conferences or programs of interest to the awakening community.
You can read more about her work through www.kundaliniguide.com and www.awakeningguide.com and by putting her name in you-tube search, where she has done many interviews. Her blog is at www.shantiriver.wordpress.com
Why I’m excited about SAI. I am excited to be part of SAI in an advisory capacity after my long association with Dr. Yvonne Kason in KRN. My work has been primarily to support and encourage people in an awakening process, and to promote an understanding of the phenomena that arise, and the evolutionary potential inherent in all us, through the awakening of kundalini and consciousness experienced by spiritual seekers. I have found that most medical professionals, meditation and yoga teachers, and many others in a position to advise people who are awakening, understand little about the process until it happens to them. It is not a paradigm supported in any medical or therapeutic trainings, and so practitioners are unable to recognize the experience, leading to confusion and distress for many experiencers.
Those who know this experience have been working for over 30 years to spread knowledge of this process, and I am hoping SAI will bring it to the forefront of understanding, offering comfort to many who have life-changing, transformative awakenings in their lives.
Tamara Caulder Richardson is a 6X Near-Death Experiencer and Multiple Spiritually Transformative Experiencer, Christ Channeler, Christian Minister, Mystic Seer, and an International Evidential Medium, known as; The Southern Belle Medium®. Tamara earned a B.A. in Communication Arts and Marketing from East Carolina. For 27-years she owned and operated her advertising agency, Caulder Design Communications in Charlotte, NC. As the creative director of her agency, Tamara and her staff offered creative marketing strategies to regional and Fortune 500 clients. Tamara is a trained visual designer, copywriter, branding expert and marketing strategist.
Tamara’s Six NDEs and Aftereffects: Tamara was born in the foothills of Hickory, North Carolina. She is of Cherokee and German-Swedish descent and was born with the gift of “sight”. Tamara believes that her NDEs have enhanced her ability to see into hidden realms. At three years old, she had a nail go into her head and saw beings of light, as her angel “Uriel”, the Fire of God, healed her head. She saw and communicated with spirit people from that point on. At age four she had an NDE from a car crash where she experienced traveling through a dark tunnel and saw Jesus who told her she had to return. Upon coming back she saw between dimensions and was bi-locational. After that NDE, she could go out-of-body and remote view at will. Then at five years old, “the big one”, Tamara was DOA for 15-minutes. She remembers going to Heaven with Christ where she spent three days with him, while her body lay in an induced coma and a breathing tent. When she awoke, Christ still talked to her and taught her many spiritual things – and still does.
As a young teen, Tamara would go to the school library and read about Edgar Cayce’s gifts, which made her feel “normal.” She kept quiet most of her life that she could see angels, demons, ghosts, and, loving spirit people, in fear of what others may think of her. In 2018, Tamara was excited to be invited to be a Keynote Speaker for the Edgar Cayce Center, for a “Day of Evidential Mediumship” at the 2018 Psychic Conference, where she taught mediumship and then gave a medium demonstration that included an example of Tamara speaking unknown foreign languages, that the sitter understood. Tamara still has a special love for Edgar Cayce.
Tamara is currently writing about her NDEs and her life in her first book, “Love from Heaven – My Six Near-Death Experiences, the Gifts I Received and the Wisdom I Learned.”
Later as an adult, Tamara decided to use her spiritual gifts and mediumship to let others know Heaven is real and help with loving messages. Tamara trained for eight years in the British Style of Evidential Mediumship with International mediums and authors; John Holland, Janet Nohavec, Tony Stockwell and certified as an Advanced Psychic Medium by Lisa Williams. Tamara currently does medium stage shows for women’s expos, like the Southern Women’s Shows, at city convention centers before large audiences. Tamara spoke at the IANDS 2015 Conference with Robert Scott Bell, a syndicated radio host. Since then, Tamara has participated in many IANDS conferences. In 2017, Tamara started the Charlotte Chapter of IANDS. She is also a founding member, marketer (website, brochures), and facilitator for IANDS ISGO, online sharing groups.
Today, Tamara is the host of the popular YouTube Channel, Seeking Heaven: The Near-Death Experience and Other Phenomena, a spiritual talk show that was created “by and for” other NDErs and STErs, and truth seekers, to create a loving soul community. Tamara also has a YouTube Christ Channeled site: Academy of Love: Jesus Speaks .
As a spiritual teacher, Tamara understands the transition from life to death. We ARE a spirit, and we ARE the Soul that lives a life in a body and then moves on to the teaching and learnings on the other side. Tamara is directed by God and Christ. As a daily routine, she prays to God with thankfulness. Tamara is also an ordained Christian minister and a devoted follower of Jesus Christ. Tamara lives in Charlotte, North Carolina (USA) with her loving and devoted husband Clay of 33 years. They are parents of two Shih Tzu furry babies; “Abbey, and Tucker.”
Tamara is the Chair of the Spiritual Awakenings International Marketing Committee.
Tamara Caulder Richardson’s sites: www.southernbellemedium.com , www.christacademyoflove.com . www.seekingheavenshow.com
Tamara’s Near-Death Experience Story (videos):
Why I am excited about SAI:
When I interviewed Dr. Yvonne Kason this year as a guest on my YouTube channel, “Seeking Heaven: The Near-Death Experience and Other Phenomena,” we both discovered that our mission was almost identical… to offer a safe platform “by and for” NDErs and STErs, and to build and loving soul community. We also agreed that so many near-death experiencer’s voices get lost among other organizations that are not experiencers. Also, we both felt the topic of spirituality and spiritual awakenings are much more vast a subject than just the phenomena of NDEs.
I am excited about bringing my spiritual gifts, passion and drive, creativity, organizational skills, marketing communications, branding, entrepreneurship, and event expertise, to the SAI team. I am happy to have found my soul family and looking forward to us growing and learning together on this spiritual journey called – life.
John Sphar was born in San Jose and lived there until late 2020 when he and his wife of forty years moved to Littleton, Colorado. John retired in 2017 after more than three decades operating a local/wide area networking business. Prior to that John was a microwave engineer at a company that was eventually bought by Hewlett Packard in Santa Clara. John and Mieke have three married children and three grandchildren and currently enjoy exploring the Southwestern United States.
In school John was active in a few sports, but baseball (behind the plate) and Greco-Roman wrestling (often supine) were his favorite. John spent 4 years in the US Air Force specializing in the integrated avionics systems of fighter aircraft at the USAF Flight Test Center at Edwards AFB, California. Outside of that work, he formed a civilian sport parachute club on the base and while he was there, trained dozens of people how to skydive. He continued jumping as a civilian and by the time he discontinued the sport he had compiled several hundred jumps.
John served as a state-licensed long-term care ombudsman for many years. He advocated for nursing home residents who had no family and who were on public assistance. It was a rewarding job as he saved many residents from getting discharged to the streets against their will.
Like many others interested in Spiritually Transformative Experiences, John learned about the Near-Death Experience by reading Life After Life. He saw how the book helped his mother through her difficult end-of-life issues and became focused on the possibility of the existence of an afterlife. He read everything he could get his hands on regarding the afterlife. Years later he formed South Bay IANDS, a 501(c)(3) organization, affiliated with the International Association for Near-Death Studies. His personal mission became trying to alleviate the fear of death in as many people as possible. The contacts he has made since forming the group have transformed John, who is not a transformative experiencer of any type. He cannot consciously hear his spirit guides or the Universe, but he thinks he knows what they are telling him. He has transformed the old-fashioned way.
Why I am excited about SAI:
While learning about the Near-Death Experience, I noticed several other phenomena, qualitatively different than the NDE, that seemed to show evidence of a place with intelligence and consciousness poking through into our domain. Some people would see ghosts. Others would hear disembodied voices. What was going on? Eventually I had to assume that because all of these exciting phenomena have a similar character, they must be a part of the same mega phenomenon. After many years of exposure to gifted folks, I discovered that my hunch was correct. The mega phenomenon of an afterlife and of nonlocal consciousness is indeed the fuel on which the Universe operates. Today, research is being conducted under that foundational assumption.
Spiritual Awakenings International (SAI) brings STE Experiencers, experts, and their knowledge together in one place so that the seeker can come to their own understanding much more quickly. For those undergoing the awakening process (discovering true self), and for those who have been students of STEs for a while, SAI provides a place for even higher elevation of consciousness. SAI attracts experts from the various fields of the study of non-local consciousness so that they can contribute to the wealth of knowledge in our shared area of interest. It is a forum without any essential predefined doctrines except courtesy and decorum. It is a place of unlimited possibilities.
Ana Cecilia González, MEd, writer and public speaker, lives in Monterrey, México. Ana Cecilia was born with a congenital heart problem with the medical prognosis that she would not live long. Despite this, her parents gave her unconditional love and the same opportunities as the rest of their children, always hoping that Ana would survive, and inexplicably she did. At 8 years of age, Ana Cecilia discovered that she would not live forever, as children generally think. She had repeated encounters with what she called a “Death Ghost”, but later found out it was an angel taking care of her. She never talked about this until she wrote her book in 2015.
Ana Cecilia always did her best to live a normal life, fighting for life until her heart indicated its limits. But, at age 24 years (1989), after an open-heart surgery, Ana had a respiratory arrest and a cardiac arrest. During two critical months in intensive care, she had a fascinating Near-Death Experience, as well as several encounters with angels. The love and messages she received during these events, changed her life completely. A year later, trying to understand what had happened to her, a doctor helped her check her medical records. She found out then that there was a period (around 30 to 40 minutes) where she had arrested and was resuscitated. They did CPR on her. Everything she had told the doctors that she remembered, was written on those records.
Since 1990, she has had several NDE after-effects: out-of-body experiences, and communication with beings through her dreams. She has received more than 100 different important messages through her dreams, and after sharing them, she has confirmed the information was true and had a meaning for those who got the messages.
Ana graduated with a degree in Law, and has an Masters of Education, with emphasis on Counseling. She has devoted much of her career to teaching at various universities. She has two children Ana Paula and Daniel
In 2015 Ana Ceclia published her book “When Life is not Forever” (Spanish- “Cuando Vivir no es Para Siempre”) where she shares her life experiences as well as her NDE. The book´s name comes from her memories as a little girl when she thought she would die soon. Today, Ana Cecilia encourages others to live a full life.
Ana is very active on social media networks and has reached more than 84,000 followers through one of her pages. She shares everyday messages on Instagram and on Facebook. She is a lecturer on issues of self-improvement and awareness including a weekly broadcast with guests discussing many different topics. Ana promotes the value of life, and the desire to live life well despite any adversities.
Ana has spoken about her book and her life experiences to many groups in Mexico, the USA, and internationally. She was the invited spokesperson for the “Cardio Chavitos” Association, was invited to Houston Texas to be recognized as an “Admirable Woman” by “Mi familia Magazine”, was a speaker at the “GoRed for your heart” event, and has participated in many television programs in Mexico and the United States. She has also been invited to several schools inside and outside the country to speak with young people and their parents.
Ana is the Chair of the Spiritual Awakenings International Spanish Language Committee.
Why I am Excited about SAI.
I feel honored and blessed to have been invited to be part of the SAI Advisory Board. Having people like Dr. Yvonne, Robert, Linda and the rest of the group in my life, just makes me feel I am a part of this great project of awakening as humanity. Spiritual Awakening International gives us an open door to understand the world in a different way, to realize that there is much beyond the obvious. It is a wonderful group that will grow like never seen. I visualize it with all certainty. I´m exited because this a wonderful place to assist others and give the message of love and spiritual understanding we all need. A place to be heard, understood and loved like I had never felt before. I received a message many years ago during my NDE: “Be calm and go in peace and do everything I have asked of you”. I have found the best place to do this: Spiritual Awakenings International.
Raymond O’Brien is a British multiple NDE Experiencer x12, multiple STE Experiencer, and life-long “seer”, which he inherited from his mother’s side of the family. He has survived multiple cardiac arrests and heart attacks with NDEs. His purpose, he believes, is to be back here to help the survivors and the families of those who have suffered death trauma.
He himself holds a qualified and validated experiential spiritual insight to the tsunami of emotions that many have to live with after their lethal event. It is these insights that he feels privileged to be able to impart to the medical profession and others, so they may be better informed on how to support the NDE/STE community.
Raymond is trained as a psychotherapist, and is a member of the British Association of Counselors and Psychotherapists. He has spoken at the prestigious Royal London Teaching Hospital on the psychological effects of surviving a cardiac arrest, be this trauma or STEs after the NDE. He has been published by the John Hopkins University on the subject of near death and the lack of care and understanding of this in the medical world, as well as about how he incorporates his own NDEs in his own practice of helping survivors of NDE/STEs.
Dr. Brian Sackett, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist previously in private practice in San Jose, CA and is a recent Toronto, Ontario resident. He specializes in working with clients dealing with trauma and abuse, spiritual emergence, anxiety and couples’ communication issues. Prior to becoming a therapist, Brian worked for years in high tech in a variety of sales, marketing and engineering positions, mostly in the semiconductor industry. His undergraduate degree is a bachelor of sciences in mathematics, from Stanford University, and he has a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology and a Ph.D. in Transpersonal Psychology from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology.
He has meditated and studied meditation since he was 21 years old and has had many strong Spiritually Transformative Experiences that have motivated him to do this, including a childhood Near-Death Experience, a Shared-Death Experience, and a spiritual emergency following an encounter with Baba Ram Dass and Swami Muktananda twenty years before the Grofs defined spiritual emergence.
Brian has presented to the Spiritual Awakenings International first annual conference in 2021, local IANDS groups, the annual IANDS conference in San Antonia, TX, and the Toronto Awakenings Sharing Group, He facilitates an online meditation/self inquiry group and does spiritual guidance and coaching.
Why I am excited about SAI:
I believe strongly that one of the main challenges facing experiencers of Spiritually Transformative Experiences and events is the lack of information to help navigate through self-awakening, as well as competing materialistic world views that prevent normalization of these experiences. This leads to confusion, self-doubts and anxieties about being considered insane. My own experiences probably led to my becoming a psychotherapist in order to better understand what I have gone through in my life. The combination of spirituality and psychology is helpful to clarify and ground disorienting spiritual experiences. SAI provides education, support and the opportunity to share one’s own experiences with others who have undergone similar experiences. I really appreciate that SAI has broadened the scope of what’s considered useful and challenging spiritual experiences and provides help to a much broader range of experiencers.
I view myself as primarily an inner explorer, a person who directly investigates experiences, inner bodies and dimensions and with the help of a few awakened teachers, like Adyashanti and Pia Ma from Australia attempts to put the ineffable into simple words or pointers that may help others follow and integrate their own inner self-explorations. My hope is that this is of use to others.
Kirsty Salisbury is a speaker, podcaster and coach exploring the topics of life, death and experiences in between. Following a Near-Death Experience at 12 years of age, Kirsty is passionate about widening the conversation around death and the afterlife. Through her podcast ‘Let’s Talk Near Death’ Kirsty shares personal stories of life after near death, and events of significant spiritual transformation. Kirsty is a Co-Founder of IANDS Down Under, a Spiritual Awakenings International Affiliated Group, a certified ISGO Facilitator, founder of the Let’s Talk Near Death Online Community (www.letstalkneardeath.com), and host of the Auckland Death Cafe. Outside of her podcast, Kirsty is a certified Funeral Celebrant and Author. Her books ‘A Life by Design’ and ‘Dying Well’ help to empower others to delve deeper into the topics of resilience, regrets, and how we can take a holistic approach to both life and death.
Based in Auckland, New Zealand, Kirsty loves being active, travelling and spending time with her family. To connect further with Kirsty, you can find her at: www.kirstysalisbury.com, www.letstalkneardeath.com, Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/letstalkneardeath, and YouTube – www.youtube.com/kirstysalisbury
Why am I excited about SAI:
I am excited to be a part of Spiritual Awakenings International because of the amazing work the organisation is doing and the way in which the SAI team is expanding conversations around spiritual experiences. Many years ago when I had a Near-Death Experience, there was little discussion or conversation about these types of topics and I found myself wondering how to navigate life going forward. It was pre-internet days, and I often wished that I had someone to talk to. Today, post-internet, we have the ability to connect online from all over the world, and to learn and support each other as we grow from our own unique experiences. It’s really exciting to see the conversations expanding. I’m excited to help others talk, and to create a safe place for the incredibly important discussions
History of SAI
Yvonne Kason — Why I Co-Founded Spiritual Awakenings International
For many years I thought it important that an international organization be created to raise awareness about the whole range of Spiritually Transformative Experiences (STEs) that are happening to people today. I saw that many organizations today focus exclusively or primarily on only one type of STE.
But my observation of STE Experiencers I counseled over the years and in my own spiritual awakening process is that following the awakening STE, the Experiencer usually goes on with time to start having multiple types of STEs repeatedly, most commonly diverse types of psychic or intuitive experiences. I therefore came to think that diverse STEs are somehow interconnected, and we needed to look at all STEs together and examine their relationship.
As a multiple STE experiencer myself, I am also acutely aware of how difficult it is to find a safe place to share the stories of one’s own STEs. Too often doctors, friends, family, or counselors may incorrectly label STEs as “imagination”, a hallucination, or a sign of mental illness.
For over 30 years now I have been advocating for STE Experiencers, and loudly stating “STEs are real! They are not a sign of mental illness.” Then, in the last few years I felt strongly called by Spirit to provide a “safe space” for STE Experiencers, to share what I have learned about STEs with the global community, as well as to bring diverse groups together for dialogue to deepen our understanding. Now, the launch of Spiritual Awakenings International is a beautiful realization of this vision. I am delighted and grateful to play my part in the birth of SAI!
Robert Bare — Why I Co-Founded Spiritual Awakenings International
As someone who on March 22, 2009 has been deceased and revived, my life forever changed. As an “NDE Experiencer”, I had difficulty understanding what really happened to me when I was deceased, and all the emotional upheaval that as a result affected me in everyday living. I had no idea if I was normal, and if anyone else had ever experienced what I did.
At first, I could not discuss my 2009 NDE with anyone, including family and friends. Usually, someone had to engage me in the conversation regarding my NDE, and even then I was very guarded in what I discussed or said. Years later, after being interviewed for the TV show “I Survived Beyond and Back“, I met with the show producer and asked her what others like me had told her. It was nice to hear her tell me that what I experienced was not unusual. Then I just dropped the topic and tried to not think about it, which was not possible.
After the TV show aired, I started to get invitations to speak to different groups about my NDE. After speaking to an Arizona IANDS group, a person queried me about my corporate skill set. One thing led to another and he asked me if I wanted to become an IANDS Board member. After thinking about it, I agreed, and later was selected as a Board Director in February 2019. My corporate skillset was something that I felt I could contribute to IANDS and I did my best to work hard to help the organization.
It didn’t take too long for me to think about the direction of the Board, its mission, and objectives. In July, 2019, I had a long conversation with fellow IANDS Board member, Dr. Yvonne Kason. Yvonne had been nominated to run for the IANDS President, and she had called to ask me if I would want to run as a “slate” with her as the Vice President nominee. We discovered we were like-minded, and I knew my corporate skillset was needed for the organization. I accepted her invitation. We started to talk about our values and visions, and we both expressed an interest in possibly starting another non-profit group, that would bring everyone together, and addressed both NDE and STE experiencers concerns. I subsequently had several discussions with Yvonne about our multiple NDE and STE experiences. One of the items we repeatedly toyed with was the concept of starting another nonprofit that could be a global organization, and would address the needs of diverse STE “experiencers”. In one conversation with her in August 2019, she coined the name “Spiritual Awakenings International – SAI” and I immediately thought that this was possible.
Yvonne and I were subsequently elected as President and Vice President of IANDS and Linda Truax was the Secretary. We became Executive Committee colleagues and worked hard in our positions on the IANDS Board. Occasionally, I would bring up “SAI” to Yvonne and we would leave it for a future project if it were to materialize. Then came my 72nd birthday on March 21st and the 11th anniversary of my NDE on March 22nd. At this stage in my life, I don’t think about putting things off and the more I thought of “SAI”, the more I wanted to do it.
On March 27th, 2020, I submitted my resignation as Vice President of the IANDS Board and that same day secured the Corporate Registry name of “Spiritual Awakenings International” and the domain of “www.spiritualawakeningsinternational.org” intending on starting this new nonprofit. I decided to devote all my skillset to create something new that would become global. Yvonne Kason had decided to resign from the IANDS Board that same day. Linda Truax’s term on the IANDS board had finished end of February. The succession of events culminated with the former Executive Committee of IANDS (President, Vice President, and Secretary) all assuming the same leadership roles in Spiritual Awakenings International: Yvonne Kason as President; Linda Truax as Secretary; and myself as Vice President.
I have felt strongly called to start this organization with these trusted colleagues. Additionally, Diane Willis of Chicago IANDS and Nicole Gruel of “Agents of Awesome” from Sydney, Australia are now involved. Nicole and Diane are also former Board members of IANDS.
Spiritual Awakenings International is being created to raise awareness about the whole range of Spiritually Transformative Experiences and not just one type of STE. We are creating this organization to bring diverse groups together for dialogue to deepen our understanding of all these types of experiences. As of this writing, SAI is expanding rapidly worldwide, with several groups and individuals in all parts of the world affiliating with SAI.
The launching of “Spiritual Awakenings International “-“SAI” is the realization of a vision created by its founders. We are grateful for the opportunity to bring the organization into reality to benefit all who desire and need its resources and networking. I hope you will join us and share with us in this worldwide endeavor.
Diane WIllis - Why I founded iSee and came to Spiritual Awakenings International
In April, 1995, I had an intense STE (Spiritually Transformative Experience). It was very much like a NDE, but I didn’t die. At first, I had no idea what had happened to me. It was before the internet was available for research, so I scoured the Library, looking for answers. The closest I could come to an answer was information about the Kundalini Awakening.