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Tricia Barker was a depressed 21-year-old college student at The University of Texas in Austin. After getting into a serious car accident, she ended up in an emergency room where she bled to death on the operating table. As doctors worked frantically to save her life, Tricia left her body. Watching from above, Tricia, who was agnostic at the time, was delighted to discover that there was life beyond physical consciousness. Then she noticed two angels. They encouraged her to watch as they beamed light into and through the doctors who were operating on her body. While Tricia’s near-death experience included a life review, a visit to a heavenly realm, and a moment in the loving presence of God, it was her encounter with the angels that impacted her future life the most.
After her NDE, Tricia felt guided to teach overseas, in public schools, and at the college level. Her near-death experience has been featured on I Survived: Beyond and Back, National Geographic’s April 2016 article “The Crossing,” the cover story for Simple Grace Magazine, and The Doctor Oz Show. Tricia’s memoir, Angels in the OR: What Dying Taught Me About Healing, Survival, and Transformation tells the story of her near-death experience, teaching mission, and eventual triumph over trauma in her past. The book also focuses on the importance being of service to the world and the healing power of giving unconditional love to others. Tricia believes that joy, humor, and healing is available to everyone through a deeper connection to divinity.
Tricia currently teaches English and Creative Writing at a community college in Fort Worth, Texas. She also interviews other near-death experiencers, researchers, healers, spiritual teachers, and mediums on her YouTube Channel. Tricia’s poetry and essays have been published in several publications including The Binnacle, The Paterson Literary Review, and The Midwest Quarterly. Tricia Barker is also a writer for Hallmark.
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Tricia Barker was a depressed, agnostic college student at The University of Texas in Austin…until a profound near-death experience (NDE) during surgery revolutionizes her entire world. As she learns to walk again, Tricia lets go of painful wounds from childhood and integrates some of the aftereffects of her spiritual journey into her daily life. She returns to college with renewed vigor, intending to embark on a new path by becoming an English teacher.
But after a year of teaching in the US, Tricia travels to South Korea, where she is the victim of a sexual assault. Now, she must use the wisdom she gained on the Other Side to heal herself; and later, guide countless junior high, high school, and college students to greater peace. Through teaching and mentoring others — many of whom are struggling with traumas of their own — Tricia decides to devote her life to bringing the “light” she experienced during her NDE to individuals who are seeking solace, inspiration, and overall well-being.
Excerpted from the book The Purpose of Life as Revealed by Near-Death Experiences from Around the World
Chapter 86 – Watch This!
By Tricia Barker
When I was taken in for emergency spinal surgery, I left my body and could see the entire operating room in 360-degree vision. There was a long incision down my spine and hip and the surgery was very bloody. As gruesome as the surgery was, I didn’t concentrate on my physical body because I was so pleased that my spirit body existed in a realm beyond the physical. In fact, I was gleeful about this spiritual reality because I had been agnostic before my near-death experience, believing that all consciousness would simply die with the body. Here, in this realm, I knew I had been mistaken. This spiritual reality was more real than any reality I had experienced and certainly more real than a dream.
After rejoicing a moment, I noticed two large, androgynous beings of light. They were eight to nine-feet tall and extremely intelligent. They sent light into my spirit body which calmed me down and let me know how to adjust to this new environment. This light was energy and information — a sort of telepathic and energetic communication.
The angels were not only able to interact with my spirit body, but they were also able to interact with the two neurosurgeons and through them. Just before the monitor started to beep, signaling that my heart had stopped, the angels slowed down their communication and looked at me intently. Then, with great force, they said, “Watch this!”
The same light that they beamed into my spirit body, they sent through the back of the doctors, through their hands, and into my physical body. While the surgeons were probably unaware of this interaction, the angels wanted me to know that they could work through them to help pick out the bone fragments from my spine; the angels wanted me to understand that my body would heal, that I would walk again, that they would be helping me energetically, and that I could call on them to aid my healing process. Though I could not process everything the angels were telling me in that moment, I knew that their communication would be something that helped me throughout my life. These messages would wait inside of me for the right time.
My near-death experience continued with a life review, time in a heavenly realm, and an overwhelming moment in the deeply loving presence of God where I would be redirected in my life to work as a teacher. Those first few moments with the angels stayed with me for the twenty-five years that I have worked in classrooms at the junior high, high school, and college level. I often prayed before classes that the angels might work through me to bless the lives of my students. I knew that the angels could work through me to help students just as they worked through my surgeons to help my body heal.
There is a great need for healing and love in this world and if we are willing to be conduits of that love, lives can be transformed. The angels were the point at which my consciousness completely changed. I like to think that many other people’s realities have shifted in beautiful ways as they became more aware of their light, their connection to Source, and their ability to heal and create a more positive future for themselves and their loved ones while on their educational journey.
I am grateful every day for the life I returned to after my near-death experience. I am no longer limited in my thinking, but I am connected to a universe of love that wants to be brought into this world in large and small ways. We can all do our part to bring in this love in all of our interactions with others.
(From 31:40 – 35:30)
[After my NDE] I was so young, and innocent, and full of love — this 22 year old young woman — and I was oblivious to the darkness; I was oblivious to how to protect myself in this world. I think part of my work is to remind young near-death experiencers how to protect themselves. Part of my story is a tough story. I lived in this blissful, happy state of connection with everyone. I loved teaching and I loved my life so much, but when I was in South Korea, I was asleep in my bed and an acquaintance of a friend came in and raped me. I was shocked and horrified. I was this sensitive soul who was completely open to people. I tried to fight in that moment. It was totally shocking. The South Koreans look at foreign women in a different way than they look at South Korean women and all of my Korean female friends said don’t even bother going to the police… so I just tried to spread the word as much as I could to other English teachers. Tell them that there are dangers that you might face and to really protect yourselves…
I felt like something was shot right through me and I could see my energetic form and it looked as if I had been shot. It looked like I had this wound that went through me. When I met with other rape victims and rape survivors, I saw that there were different levels of healing that had occurred, as if they were sewing themselves back together. It was beautiful, but it was also very painful because when you saw someone who was just wide open with that wound, then you saw that they had a long way to go; there’s a lot of healing to be done. It’s a long journey.
I didn’t know why I was fated to have that [experience] until years later many of my students — male and female, even young boys and young girls — would come to me and tell me their stories of being molested or raped. Sometimes in a crisis situation, I would have to call Child Protective Services and deal with something that was going on in the home at that moment. I was good in those crisis situations because I understood all the things that didn’t happen for me. I had to make sure that they were supported, they were loved, they called the police; I had to make sure that everything was done correctly and right for them. I can’t tell you how many students I’ve met over the years from all ages — from junior high, high school, and college, and at various levels of recovery. They were drawn to me. I was a safe person that they could talk to. So [everything came] full circle. For many years, I was angry and upset. I had to go through the whole healing process, but I realized whatever our wounds are, they prepare us to be stronger and more loving in this world. What I didn’t receive, I can now give to others.