A Native American NDE and Past Life: An Interview with RC by Diane Willis

DW: You said you had a time when you almost died. Would you describe that experience?

RC: I was involved in a traffic accident with two other people. We were on our way to work in San Diego, California, over on Coronado Island, in 1970. I was lying down in the back seat, trying to get some more rest before we got to our job site. We came around this corner and a Cadillac pulled out in front of us and there wasn't enough time to hit the brakes or anything. We were going 35 miles per hour and WHAM, we hit the back of this car and I flew forward, face on, into the back of the passenger seat in front of me and then I fell back down. It apparently was enough of a trauma to begin to impact me but I wasn't aware of it.

I got out of the car and a state highway patrolman was standing there. He said, “No, no, you've got to lie down. You're really injured.” I couldn't feel anything wrong. He continued, “Just sit down here on the curb. You've got to wait until the ambulance comes.” And we were waiting and then I stood up again and he said, “No, you can 't stand because you're very injured.” I said, “I feel fine.” He said, “No, I'd rather have you sit down.” So on my way to sitting back down again, I guess I collapsed. The last thing I remember was the officer saying, “Don't get blood on my uniform. I just had it dry cleaned.”

Then I blacked out. It started like a bunch of little squares growing in front of my eyes and I was out for a while, but it felt to me like seconds. Then there was this feeling like a tingling, and a real long noise, an audible buzzing noise, which was kind of like the sound a locust makes—when all of a sudden the world opened up and there was this huge immense light everywhere and it wasn't like clouds or anything familiar. It was just this huge bright awareness. And I could feel that I was everything and to me it felt like I was there for minutes—just being awe-inspired by looking out and something in my mind was telling me, “You are all this. You are all this.”

I was seeing light but it was like being in clouds when I'm flying in airplanes—so I like to do that now. A bright day, flying through the clouds at 30,000 feet and it's like that. But you're not in the plane. You're in the clouds. And you're not falling. So it feels like you're being held in outer space. You know, it just holds you and you become a part of it. It's like being a giant marshmallow. It's warm. It's enclosing. There's no hunger. There's no sorrow. No emotions except pure awareness. Everything opens—as they say, the third eye. Everything. All your senses are —you are totally in it and it just happens, and it is like,“Wow,” and I knew in my mind that everything that I was witnessing or experiencing in my life was me and it felt warm. I felt very comfortable and I was standing. I now know I was standing because I could see myself standing and feel myself being in that space and being drawn in and— “It's not your time, why are you here? Now it's time to go back.” And I thought, “There must be more.” “No, it's time to go back.” It was like me, speaking to myself.

I don't know. That's the only thing I can say to put it very simply so people can understand it.

I didn't want to come back, but when I woke up, I was lying in an ambulance and the policeman was by me and he said, “I told you. Now you're awake, but I told you 'Don't pass out.' Now I have to go home and get my uniform dry cleaned again.” I said “I'm sorry. I just passed out for a moment.” He said “No. It was about a half an hour. You almost died on us.” I said “No. All I did was hit the back of the seat in this car.” And I noticed I was all bandaged up and I said “What's all this stuff?” And he said, “Well, there's a huge gash. Your teeth are here in this cup and you were knocked out, and we think you have some back damage and you might have some broken ribs.” And I said, “No–not possible. I just passed out for a moment. I'll find someone to dry clean your uniform for you. At least I can do that.” He said, “No. They're going to take you to the hospital now.” —and they did.

He said it was 30 minutes. I thought it was the snap of a finger—just a flash –just an instant–I saw this huge thing. All I know is that I know what's over there now and I'm very secure in the fact that I don't have to be afraid.

DW: You're not afraid to die now?

RC: No.

DW: Were you afraid before?

RC: Probably. I think most people are. But I know now what I am.

After it was over, I thought my world had ended. I had split my lip open. There was significant nerve damage through my upper lip and cheek, so I could no longer play the brass instruments. After it all healed up and all the stitches were taken out on the inside, I realized that the doctor had put the teeth back the way he thought they should belong and they were all out of order. So now my embouchure was destroyed. The musculature was destroyed. I'm still trying to play the trumpet, because that was my dream, that's my sound.

But I got home and I spent a whole year moping around, trying to get myself back. And we went to Santa Fe, NM, and I found a man who was walking around at the Indian Market with a basket full of flutes and he was a flutemaker from San Diego by the name of Oliver W. Jones, who is a doctor on genetics. His hobby was making flutes. So we talked to him a little bit and we traded some beadwork that we had for the flutes and kind of looked at them and hung them on the wall. They were nice looking.

And then one day my friend says, “Here, take these things. Spiders and bugs are living in them. They're nice. Why don't you try to play them and see what you can do with them?” So that started the whole thing.

I'm here on a mission. I'm here on a job to do something, so when I'm through I'll go back and I don't have that fear because as I talk with elders about it they say, “It sounds like you've gone there and done this—but here's the secret: You can't choose to go. You've got to let it come in its own time because you're here for a reason. There's a purpose in why you're here and you have to understand that before you're allowed to go back.

When I had that accident I was told that it's not my time. And what was intuited to me was my time will come but first I have to do this. And all these things are in my mind. And I can't explain it and there's no real way to explain what it felt like to be there, but it was WONDERFUL. So I can't wait to die—because I know what the gift is.

What I intuit from that is that I am one of the nerve endings in this huge entity of everything that exists, the cosmos, everything. I am one of those little nerve endings and I am experiencing for this huge awareness what it means to be me or you or you or you or this or that. And when we all leave from here we all go back to ourselves and we say, "That was fun. This is what I experienced.” And maybe it will say “God, I'm wonderful. Go do it again.” So like a giant kid you say, “Ok. What am I going to do this time?” And that's the only thing I can think of to explain what it means.

It's like reincarnation—it's a different experience the next time. So you've got to make the most of being here now. You've got to live in your dream and smile with a shit-eating smile on your face and walk around like you know everything. We are still children. Learn to love yourself. That's where it's all at. And in that way, you'll love your life. We are all varied and different because our life experiences are not all the same and they're not meant to be. You're here to become of service to others and that's what it's all about—to become of service to others.

Spirit Guides

But there are certain things that happen now in my life which make me know I'm being guided, because there are two people who come to me in my dreams and they've given me symbols that I use now.

DW: Do you know who they are?

RC: No. They look like two native men to me. They wear business suits and carry briefcases, but they have braids. They are younger. They say: “Now you're a part of us—but you have to spread this symbol all over the world because you belong to us now.”

DW: What is the symbol?

RC: It is a circle with four quadrants, but the one they gave me has mountains on it. And I drew that one too. It has mountains and an eagle feather in the middle–which really isn't an eagle feather. It's sort of a dream of change. But it's a symbol of something… some power or something.

It's done on white paper, with embossing. And these mountains are supposed to be the space that we all live in and this is the physical plane. This is the message, the dream. These are the directions that we are suppose to be aware of. This is the journey that we're on. But the dream is always primary. These blank spaces are also important because it's three-dimensional. There's a line or trail that comes out and goes away. That's the path that we're born into and then we leave on. So those parts you don't see. These are roads of life experience. It's like a figure eight but it moves so the figure eight is moving too. So your symbol is always in action one way or another. The areas in here are for storing information…. physical, spiritual. That's called ATOKA.

DW: What does that mean?

RC: I don't speak Lakota, but a lady said, “This is a word we don't use any more. Where did you get that word?” I said, “It just came,” and I showed her this symbol and she said, “That's what you're supposed to do.” She said it means something sacred, unexplainable. “I don't even know what the word means but we used it like 'Wapunkanta' which means great mystery,” and that was the other part of it. She said “What I do know is that we know that we came from somewhere else and we're on this journey. It's spiritual , it's physical, it's philosophical. It's everything at once. But we've lost the mentality to understand that part. I don't know where you got this word. Nobody knows this word except Lokota Holy men.”

So I told her about these two young guys that come to me that have long hair and business suits and everything. And she said: “Do they look like this?” And I said , “Yes.” And she described these different people to me and she said “They are like twins, but they are also hero brothers and they're guardians. They are giving you something. It's very, very spiritual and sacred and you'll know the rest, but keep all of this stuff because somewhere you're supposed to do something with it.” And that's all I know.

So I still have the original drawing and the story that came to me in that dream. And then the subsequent dream when they gave me this one and the story that goes with this. And the only thing they told me, as they were peeling the paper off the back and sticking it on trash cans and windows, was: “You're gonna spread this thing all over the world.”

I'm supposed to make it physical and then give it to people. So I'm still in the process of getting that done and it's been about 12 years now, but the Natives are still here—even when I'm working. And the symbol is always with me. I use it all the time. It's on everything I do. So they're helping me to get this message across.

DW: If there's a way to save the world and to bridge the gap between people, it's through….

RC: self-awareness and the awareness that we're all connected physiologically. It's a very simple concept. Why people don't get it is beyond me because if I know this, you should know this too. Why do people fear?

I know the two people that follow me say, “Everything that will come to you is a gift and make sure that you take it. But when you refuse a gift the first time, it won't come back to you and then you're on your own.” But now I realize what the gift is. It's anything. It could be money. It could be stuff. But it comes to me, because it's not for me. It comes to me and then later someone always comes and says “I really need this” and I say “I have this and I don't need it and I want you to have it.” So I've sort of become a go between.

And even what I do musically is that way, too. It doesn't belong to me. It moves through me because that's what I'm supposed to be doing . And when I do that and give it freely to others then it's now theirs. It's the gift. And I have no control over it. I mean. It takes me, too. I'll be doing these performances and lectures and suddenly I'll be somewhere else and my mind will be shut, but I'm talking about something I've never done before, and I think, “Where does this come from? I've never taught this stuff before and why am I saying it now?”

Or I'll be talking and then it will change and I'll zero in on someone, and I won't physically look at them but I will suddenly begin speaking about something and then they say, “That's exactly why I came here.” And I go, “Oh, I don't know where it came from but apparently it's for you. So it's yours now.”

And I can also tell when there are people there who are going to challenge me and say, “What you're saying is not true because of this or because of that.” And that's when it goes back to “You've got to begin to understand how we're related and I want to show you something.” And they fight real hard—it seems to me–like it's the other side or it's the balance. Or maybe it's the dark side that's fighting it. It's saying “Don't do this.” You want to do it this way because those people are going to take you. It doesn't matter. I'm ready. But before I go I have to make sure that they know what this really is all about. And I'm going to teach them how to be a human being. And I don't know. It takes me. I've experienced it in concerts, where I feel like I wasn't really there. The music was going on its own. It was coming out of my flutes. I wasn't really there. It was taking me.

DW: I hear that when I listen to your music.

RC: I don't know where it comes from. People say, “Show me how to do that.” I say I don't know. All I can do is show you how to play the flute. It comes from you. It's inside of you already. You know how to do this. I'm just showing you how to make the tool work.

DW: It comes through you.

RC: It does. You know that's when people see them on stage with me. They say, “Who are those two guys that were behind you?” I say I don't know. I don't know. What do they look like? Some times it 's an old man. Sometimes it's the two young native guys with their business suits. I said, “Do they have two brown briefcases? "Well, no, but they had something in their hands.” “I know what it is. Is it this symbol?” “…sort of like that. And they were holding it.” And then they hold it out to the people.

The only way I can explain it is that we're a part of this huge body of knowledge, awareness, wisdom, whatever it might be —and we're like the nerve-endings of it. And we're experiencing things for this huge awareness and then when we go back we take the knowledge that we've experienced here with us and say: “This is what we've learned there. I've learned this for you.” So in the life experience, it is very important to make sure everything you do counts because when you go back, you're going impart all of this experience to yourself. It's stupid sounding but that's the only way I can explain it. People say “That's too simple.” No, that's really involved. That's the simplest way I can explain it. I am a part of something much larger than anything I can even imagine, and I'm only a feeler—as all of you are. Some get it. Some don't.

It's not insignificant but what I was shown or what I became aware of was that even in my own life, even though I feel that it's insignificant, everything that I experience here is very critical for allowing this being to understand the enormity of itself. And its at that point that I realized that what I do here is very important. And I shouldn't take a lot of things that I had been doing up until that time very lightly or live my life carelessly, and it also showed me what it meant when I would be allowed to leave from here. But it wasn't my time. It was only showing me because I had accidentally tripped on the carpet and come there but I couldn't come through and stay.

I talk to them (the Natives) when I need assurance. A lot of performances are very difficult and they have a way for me to call them and I'll call them and it just happens. I don't know. There's a reason. We won't know right now. This is only a part of it. There's a reason for all of this. They're showing me as well as you. So I'm here too for some reason I don't totally understand. Why am I here in Canada, because I'm not getting paid that much to do what I'm doing here, but there's a reason, a purpose for my being here at this point in time. I don't know what it is. I may know later when something finally comes together. I don't know. Who knows?

The physical package is not the end. You go to this place. That's what I know. and there's no pain. It's a transition that's really neat. You go and you become All Life again and you realize what you are and then you come back. That's the only way I can explain it. That's the only way I know to give it very simply. Most people say, “That's too easy.” NO, it's not.

My name…What I do.. it's just part of the whole spectrum of what we do in the world. When I started this whole thing, after all of that, the symbol came, two people came, and then things began happening. And then I would play but it wasn't just the music. There was something else taking, pushing me toward the philosophic thing. But the philosophy wasn't my own. It was a philosophy that was bringing all of these diverse perspectives down to one thing. That symbol is related to the whole thing.

I even talked to Jim Pepper about it and he said, “I don't know. Keep doing what you're doing and see what happens.” He was another musician. Kaw Indian, passed on now. We talked a whole lot about survival and survival as a Native in modern culture and being a musician and when I went to this place to work with him, I took just two flutes and I felt totally underequipped but he was the one who said “No. No. Don't get your horn. Just see what you can do with that instrument.” Don't set it aside because there is a reason why you brought them and there's a reason why you want to play them and there's a reason why you want to play them in the context of this music. So see what happens. Just keep doing it. It'll eventually get there and I feel that I'm still trying to get there.

I haven't reached the state of Nirvana with it yet. I'm still learning what it 's teaching me. And even for concerts that I do. it just —I don't feel that I've reached it yet. But people have come up and remarked on it and how it's moved them and I say, “It's not me.” It just leaves me standing there going, “Where did that come from?” I don't know. but it feels like I am totally aware of what I am and what I'm doing, but something is speaking for me and my voice comes out. And even my voice changes at that point—which I've learned to understand now. It's speaking through me. I don't know what I'm doing. All I know is what comes out.

DW: You're speaking from your heart.

RC: It comes out and it impacts someone. I don't choose that. And that's all you can say.

DW: An interesting thing about what you do, too, is that you tie in with nature and that makes things even more whole. I think about the times I go places and I hear your music and people are always touched .

RC: I don't how that works. Go somewhere… I don't know how it comes out. You know, there's a scientist looking at it from the perspective of understanding sound technology. There isn't anything that is just like any other music except it does something and I don't know how that works. It does something. It changes him and I go, “Well, thank you, but it's just for you.” And it could be the same song but it impacts individuals in different ways. How does that work? Listening to a rock and roll song that I really like from the 60's brings forth memories of activities to me, but it doesn't impact others. For me it's there, but for others it's gone. “Oh yes, we used to listen to that. It's nothing now.” “Oh yeah, but don't you remember the history of that?”

DW: You are a wonderful example of what they call “co-creating with God.”

RC: I suppose. I don't know. I just do it.

DW: Keep doing it. It's wonderful.

RC: Well, all I can apply to it is—being of service to others.

Past Life

DW: I understand that you have also been led to discover that your most recent past life was in Germany, as an SS officer. How did you discover that?

RC: The first things that occurred were dreams and awarenesses that I was actually involved in a different cultural community than I was born into. There were awarenesses of where I might have come from or awarenesses of activities that impacted me at a certain point in time. And those were from when I was younger, a child. And then as I got older I became more directed about things political, social—almost a whole range that was recurring and trying to remind me of where I had come from or where I had been before and where I needed to be now. Of course, when you're much younger, much of that understanding isn't there yet.

I had a very significant dream that awakened my awareness to the fact that I used to suppress people. And I was also a Catholic. But there was a power that was much greater than I was that was forcing me, and enforcing me to be what I was until I got shot in the head.

DW: What kind of dreams did you have as a child? What are the first things you remember?

RC: Well, the first ones actually dealt with hearing the sounds of people screaming, crying, and being sad, and then having dreams of children that I knew at one time, but really didn't know, but they were there…attempting to communicate with me, but I didn't have any understanding of their language or what they were attempting to do in the dreams. They weren't foreboding. They were more like: “Come here. Come here. We're going to show you something.”

DW: Did they show you something?

RC: No, because I would wake up about that time—and those would happen infrequently. And then, I experienced dreams of houses that I'd been in. One in particular, which is kind of German in nature, because it was connected to a barn which is adjacent to a larger building, and I didn't know what it was all about. But I'm still looking for that place because I had to draw it on paper so I could find it. And there is one thing in one of the window sills: a secret place where I hid something. And I need to find the house so I can find that piece and then I will connect everything.

DW: Do you know what town it is in?

RC: No. There are real close things in both the United States and in Germany that point towards the direction but I haven't found the exact one yet. So it's out there somewhere.

DW: When did you begin to suspect that these were actually related to a previous existence?

RC: Well, that wasn't until the mid-80's, but it was after doing a lot of reading and working with people who had discussed or talked with us about near-death experiences, the Kubler Ross series, then working with Jethro Klauss (author of Back to Eden) and other herbalists who spent their time dreaming and of course writings by people like David Chatwin and others who had had these experiences….. and I thought “Well this stuff sounds like things that I'd experienced when I was growing up.”

A friend of mine from Flagstaff, AZ, sent me a helmet that he brought home from Germany at the end of WW II and he said, “Here, you can have this old thing.” And I was holding it and looking at it and it was such a neat thing. It was so heavy. Black. Big insignia and stuff on it. And in the inside it had a leather liner. It was a beautiful piece of steel work. And then stuff started happening to me after that. It was like the focus that allowed me to understand what I was before.

I forced upon people a way to remove them from their culture. And I forced people not to be who they were. So what am I now? I am learning in this life what it means to be a person living in their own homeland with no place to identify with. I am an American Indian and by God, “You will learn what it means to be invisible.” And I'm enjoying it now because I understand now what my responsibility is—to know what it means to be nobody.

But I think the most telling was traveling to Germany one year—to southern Germany—and then having these feelings of being in very familiar territory and knowing that I had been there before—and then being able to negotiate in certain cities that we visited. “I used to live here at one time. I KNOW I DID.” So I began to get more seriously involved in trying to find out what my psychic/psychologic—other than physiological—relationship was to all those dreams and things that had occurred to me.

And at a point the dreams became clear that I was actually a German at one time. I had become involved in the National Socialist movement in the thirties. And yes, I grew up with all the people that were in my dreams. And they were my neighbors and friends that I had known at one time, but then I had become a member of the SS and that's what they were reminding me of—that we are all involved in this common humanity and this is what I had done in my other awareness, my other life. So it is now very clear why I'm a member of a cultural community that's regarded as fairly invisible in the United States. And the hardships that naturally come from being scapegoated in that way are the things that I'm now learning about what I have done before. So I'm back. I'm learning what it means to be invisible.

DW: What year was it that you went to Germany and felt that it was someplace you'd been.

RC: This was the late 70's or early 80's . I forget exact dates, but we had gone to do concert performances and to visit with friends that I had met in NY years before, to put together a touring schedule that would go through different places and represent an aspect of American Indian culture. But instead this happened. So that was more important, I think, than going there to perform and represent native culture. I have talked to the family's grandmother and she said, “Let me tell you a story.” And she related to me about the time before the thirties, during WW I and afterwards, when she said, “We were once Jewish people and our name was Jewish and we changed it at the end of the war, because we knew there were more problems coming in our homeland–politically–which would impact everyone directly.

This was the Fuchs family. I had met them in Woodstock, NY. I had gone there for a music workshop—Karl Berger's Creative Music Studio—and I met them because they were visiting, and I had a talk with them and they said, "Come to Germany. You'll have fun there. We'll show you around.” And then I discussed my situation with the Grandmother and with Paul Fuchs himself and he said, “Oh I don't know. That's a hard one. Many people come back doing or saying things like that, but the way you're talking about it is very different.” I said, “Yes, I feel like I come from here. I feel like this is my homeland and this is where I once was , but I was this (a SS officer) and I was involved in that political activity which was happening during WW II and I need to know more about it.”

DW: Did you get anything about your name or when you lived or died?

RC: I did have it at one time and I'm trying to track down all of that because I had written down my name and the community where I had once lived. I was talking with a woman who lived in Bad Kissingen and we discussed a little bit about it, but in the middle of it she cut off all communication.

I think a telling time was when we spent a day at the Chiem See way down in the south near the Swiss and Italian borders. We were there just to visit and go out on a tour and picnic, but we spent the night in a town nearby and this dream came that was very very telling. I mean it was almost to the letter a real awareness of, “This is who you are and this is why you're where you're at now and you've got to learn this. Because this is what you did.”

I do know that I was shot in the head and I died and they took all the papers I had on me. That's an awareness I've always had. And I've always considered that the person I was there was also a person who really loved music and participated in a lot of the seasonal activities that occurred in his own homeland. So he was closely tied to the musical culture of his own people and then that happened: the drawing away of self and becoming this —I don't know if it was an evil person—but I do know that in that entity, I was a very spiritual person.

But we were also fighting that dialog that was being given to us by the third Reich and their motives in the world. “You don't do that!” But there was no way for me to physically challenge any of that because it wasn't my place. We were very stratified as a military culture at that point. And I even talked with the Fuchs' about that enormous power to be able to force people to change the whole perspective of their lives and become something else–a something which is very, very dangerous.

I see that even now working in this culture, where there are certain movements of either extreme militarism or confrontive cultural perspectives on things where we deal with political stereotypes or stratification of our way against someone else's—trying to get at the word. I don't like that. Because I've been there before. I know what it does and I know what it can create and I know that then you become your own enemy.

I also realize that's the reason why I am the way I am now: to learn what it means to be one of those people who are oppressed like I was oppressing others. So I have to learn that lesson but I'm also doing the other thing, too. While I'm learning the lesson, I am also giving back, I think. It's tying itself together and as I get older and older I'm starting to find these awarenesses–you know, it's all linked….I have no real power, but the power that I do have is only in the message that's being given and in that, I'm being guided very carefully. I'm always being warned not to make it a personal adventure because that's not my providence.

DW: When were you born?

RC: 1946

DW: That was very soon after the war. You must have cycled right back.

RC: Yes, I feel that I completed a cycle almost immediately—but instead of being in Germany, I came here and I became involved in the entity that I am now to learn what it means to be politically and socially objectified.

DW: Have you ever had a past life regression?

RC: No, I've never have done that. There was someone who attempted to do that but apparently he wasn't a real hypnotist and it didn't really work in the way that I was hoping it would turn out. But you know there are things around me that I know about, that occur at certain points in time, in relationships that I develop with other people that sort of point to, “This is what you used to be because you know this stuff and now you're this,” but they are teaching mechanisms that I have put on in my life right now.

Even what I do with the flute, it's like—why do I say this stuff? I mean it's not me but it comes out of me. It's an insistence that I've got to do this. This is something that I have to do, so I do it—not trying to understand it better—but I have to do this, so I do it.

When all of that stuff just started pouring out, I talked to a number of medicine people about it and they said, “Only thing I can tell you is keep doing what you're doing and see where it leads you. Write everything down, because somebody, somewhere, will contact you that, 'This is happening to me.' and you've got the key already and they can do it, too.”

What I've come to be aware of is that there are no American Indians anywhere who have an answer. We all do. But we have to access ourselves. It's in us. And all the life experiences that we carry within our being are all based on traveling through time immemorial. Down through time and all those stories are in us but how do we get them out? I don't know. I do know that dreams help. The way that I organize who I am helps. What I do creatively helps. All of this is linked—and it's really amazing. It's like I'm living in my dream. I could walk around like some stupid person, giggling and chuckling all the time. I'm so happy. But I've learned not to do that, because people will say, “What the hell are you doing? Wipe the grin off your face.”

DW: Who would you be now if you'd not had this experience?

RC: I probably would have continued down the same road I was headed at that time and I probably would have ended up a drug user or an alcoholic—totally outside of myself, entirely externalized. I probably would have stayed in the military and died an alcoholic, not really understanding myself. There was a reason for all of it and even now when I mull it over and consider it, it's like I was given a gift. I was chosen for some reason. I don't know why. And that's what I don't understand, but I feel like even now with the two entities that guide me — it's not my place to begin to understand that, just to do what it is that I was given to do, so it acts through me. But when it takes me, it takes me.

So I listen to what I'm doing too and I'm always amazed at how my thinking tends to go in a certain direction at that point and it takes it that way and then people come later and say, “This is exactly why I needed to be here.” And I say, “I don't know. It's not me.” I don't know of any better way to explain this. All I can say is that the power of life works through me and I have no control over it, so I'm not the spiritual person, but I'm only a vehicle for whatever it is that we all need. I don't know. I don't know.

DW: How do you see the relationship between the NDE and your creativity?

RC: I think a lot of it became very directed. Before that time, the creativity was more let's say, physically oriented—to make money or whatever. And even at that time I hadn't really thought about anything that would be of assistance to other people. I was still thinking primarily of my own self, as an ego bound person. And then when this happened, something changed and all of a sudden I was directed towards a methodology that I had no real skill for. Then I started making flutes and became very interested in sound and sound technology and even after being released from the military, I became very much aware of how sound affects other people and how certain music will create certain emotional responses and bring them out of people in their own way, and I found that using sound in this manner could even damage people or hurt them.

Then the flutes came, and wanting to play these instruments, and then discovering that sound, and then being totally amazed by the sound that I was producing and how it affected other people and even animals. And I thought, “This thing has power. And I think I am supposed to do this.”

RC has a degree from the University of Arizona (Tucson) in American Indian Studies and Cultural Anthropology, dealing with spiritual, religious and cultural aspects of American Indian survival into the 21st century. He now has a remarkable career as a Native American flutist and spiritual teacher.