Michelle Kuret, co-founder of Sacramento IANDS

A glimpse into the afterlife

Michelle Kuret is co-facilitator of the Sacramento chapter of the International Association of Near-Death Studies.

Michelle Kuret is co-facilitator of the Sacramento chapter of the International Association of Near-Death Studies.

Photo courtesy of the International Association for Near-Death Studies, Sacramento chapter

IANDS Sacramento meets every second Monday, 7 p.m., at Sierra 2 Center, 2791 24th St. Find more information at sacramentonde.com.

Michelle Kuret’s spiritual curiosity came early in life. As she sought to learn about the diversity of spiritual experience, she found that nearly every religion shared a common thread: near-death experiences. Now co-founder of the Sacramento chapter of the International Association for Near-Death Studies, Inc. (IANDS), her meetings offer a monthly space for speakers and group members to share experiences of returning to the terrestrial world after being declared dead.

Tell me about Sacramento IANDS.

We are associated with the International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS), and that is an organization that is internationally known, and has been around since the mid-’70s. The organization was founded by physicians and doctors who were interested in learning more and conducting studies into near-death consciousness states, including the near-death state, transformative experiences, out of body experiences. So they’ve been putting out probably the most research than anybody else in the last few decades. I’ve been itching to share near-death experience stories that have moved me and given me the hope I needed to stick around and stick through some of life’s struggles, essentially.

Why did you want to get involved?

I don’t believe I’m a near-death experiencer myself … As a very young child I started questioning the beliefs of my parents … that kind of sparked—at that young age—sparked me getting out and going to the churches that I had access to … As I grew up, I just continued to explore faith-based ideas and questioned it, and saw myself as a seeker of truth. And I kept coming across these near-death experience stories through this journey of mine. And when I got old enough to learn about Eastern philosophies, study Buddhism, and Taoism, it just seemed to fit what I had previously learned about near-death experiences.

Reports say people have a very positive, loving experience, but there are a few cases of those who don’t. Do you have speakers who have had that negative experience?

Yes, we do hear more of the positive, but that may be so uncomfortable to share that [people] went to someplace that felt like hell, that was scary to them … Maybe they felt that they would be judged. So those stories don’t get shared as frequently … One of the stories that I heard was that he said it was terrible, but that it was one of the best things to ever happen to him, because when he came back to this reality—back to life—he knew that he had an opportunity to change his ways, to be a better, more loving person. And he was so thankful for the experience in that regard.

People also have life reviews … [You] might see your life played back, but you may also perhaps see what you did to other people and actually live in their shoes as they experienced it, so you may feel the way you may have harmed somebody … If we all are connected … it’s a no-brainer that you would be able to step into that person’s experience … One gentleman—in the battlements of war he killed a general and he had to experience what it was like for the general’s wife and children to lose him, and so on. And so he came back and was like, “Oh my gosh, it transformed me from being a major jerk to being more thoughtful, conscientious and compassionate person.”