In the first half, social anthropologist, writer, and speaker, Marilyn Schlitz, PhD, discussed her new work on near-death, and how noetic experiences move people from a strictly materialistic view of their existence to one that has spiritual or mystical dimensions. Noetic refers to insights from beyond the intellect that carry a curious sense of authority or inner knowing, she explained. NDEs, out-of-body, reincarnation, and mediumship experiences all provide "tests for people to question: is my reality defined only by the physical parameters of my experiences or is there something more?"
A filmmaker named Simon Lewis went into a deep coma after an accident, and reported feeling a sense of oneness and interconnectedness, as well as meeting with a guardian who drew him back into wakefulness. After coming out of the coma, Lewis identified the guardian as his wife, whom he learned at that time had died in the same accident, Schlitz recounted. She described her meeting with Gilbert Walking Bull, a Lakota tribe elder, who shared his profound worldview-- living and dying aren't a dichotomy-- but "a continuity in the cycle of life." While the fear of death and its unknown territory is rampant throughout the world, people are beginning to transform the fear, and realize there are "expansive realms of possibility beyond what happens when we die," she remarked.
In the latter half, internationally recognized educator and expert on veterans, and the psychology of military-related issues, Dr. Edward Tick, addressed the problem of PTSD, and also spoke about specific issues associated with the contentious Vietnam War, on the 40th anniversary of its ending. All these years later, Vietnam is still being debated, and veterans and their families, as well as protesters and those who went into exile, still feel effects from that era, he commented. The term PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) first came into usage in 1980, but the symptoms that are associated with it have long been noted in history and literature –- it was called "soldier's heart" during the Civil War era, he said.
Among the problems that those with PTSD suffer from are hypervigilance, substance abuse, marital & family difficulties, and disturbed emotions that can vacillate from numbness to explosive rage. Tick discussed efforts to create a safe haven for military members still serving-- if they bring up PTSD issues to a behavioral health specialist that goes into their military records, but if they speak to a chaplain it remains confidential. He also talked about non-pharmaceutical holistic techniques for PTSD which include REM desensitization, mindfulness meditation (learning to be in the now), equine therapy, and service dogs.