What Happens When We "Die"?abracad, · Categories: survival
At traditional times of togetherness such as Christmas we remember those who have departed and ponder the fate of personalities we have loved and shared our pathway with.
What is Life?
Spirituality considers the physical universe as but one manifestation of an infinite and eternal source (= Spirit = God). The universe almost certainly holds an enormous variety of life forms in addition to humanity and the creatures we share the earth with. The nature of our source is an insatiable thirst for experience, and it is this thirst that is responsible for this multitude of manifestations, including the bio-chemical phenomena called “life” possessed of varying degrees of free will.
The key points are:
- all that exists comes from source and is part of source, individuality is an illusion
- source is unbounded, whereas all manifestations are finite
The end of a given life, ie the cessation of function of the supporting organism ( “death”) is actually the point at which the associated life-force (soul) returns to its natural state of pure Spirit, much like an individual rain drop falling back into the ocean.
A Christian Perspective of “Death”
A common interpretation of death expounded by orthodox Christianity considers humans (and presumably other life forms) as purely physical, mortal, creatures. At death, the cessation of bodily function, consciousness simultaneously ceases to exist. The individual enters a state of unconsciousness, awaiting the coming of God's kingdom on earth. In this interpretation the numerous pieces of plausible evidence of survival provided, eg by Spiritualism, are in fact trickery perpetrated by mischievous entities.
Such a view requires that the earth, or at least the physical universe, exist forever. However, science suggests the available energy of the universe is slowly winding down towards a so-called “heat death”). Earth also has a bleak long-term future, the sun will eventually burn out, the planet may be struck by a meteor, or man may bring about his own downfall from war or environmental catastrophe.
Jesus the Christ is both enlightened master and messenger, and one of humankind's greatest teachers, but we should be aware of the degree that modern Christianity has been shaped by human intervention towards human ends. Much of Jesus' teachings are metaphorical rather than literal, eg much of His teaching was given in the form of parables.
A Spiritual Perspective of “Death”
Just as physical matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed but only changed into different form so it is with Spirit, manifest or otherwise. The personality exhibited upon the earth plane, along with the memories and experiences acquired by the personality continue as part of the source for all eternity. Feelings that existed between individuals during life continue undiminished after one returns to Spirit. Those whose earth journey continues merely have to open their minds to allow the presence of the departed to come in.
In this perspective death is not as loss of individuality but an expansion of the boundaries of a single soul into the infinite potential of source.
Transition - the Near Death Experience
Many patients that have come close to death, or indeed clinically died before being revived report remarkably similar experiences (ie the well-documented Near Death Experience, NDE), irrespective of cultural background, including some or all of the following:
- Sensation of consciousness leaving the physical body and floating above it, including being able to look down on their own body
- Sensation of travelling along a tunnel towards a light
- Being greeted by pre-departed loved ones
- Some kind of life review
- A tremendous feeling of peace and well-being, before being told they need to return
- Post-recovery changed outlook on life, including loss of fear of death, enhanced sense of purpose and acquisition of psychic powers
Despite attempts by science to offer a physical explanation for such experiences it seems unlikely that dead or dying brains would collapse in so similar a way, there is no evolutionary advantage in this phenomenon. Additionally many NDEs include awareness of events, conversations or objects that could not have been known from the physical location of the percipient.
As such we must surmise that somehow the NDE offers a glimpse into the transition between incarnation and source.
The Spirit Realm
Unlike NDEs, which are supported by a significant volume of well-documented evidence, knowledge of what lies at the end of “the tunnel” is more speculative.
Some form of life review is highly likely, but this is carried out by the returned soul themselves and is not judgmental. What may be considered morally wrong, or evil, may simply be imperfect choices made with free will, or may even be a specifically pre-assigned role to create experience-rich circumstances. There is no punishment or hell, but missed opportunities may present themselves, at the permission of the soul, in future lives (reincarnation).
Spiritualist mediums often describe an idyllic existence much like the classical view of heaven, with beautiful fields of flowers, the ability to design and build a house merely by imagining it, freedom from pain and suffering of all kinds, all kinds of food and drink available for pleasure rather than a necessity for sustenance, and huge halls of learning in which we may spend as long as we need.
An adjustment period is available for as long as needed in which the individual gets used to being back home (in pure Spirit form). The continuation of consciousness often comes a surprise to those who in life were more materially-minded.
Although all are part of a single source we also each belong to a particular soul group (family), a finite number of souls who work together to maximize experience. Some members of the group may act as guides to others in incarnation, or members may choose to incarnate together, playing a significant part in each other’s life paths.
As source can manifest in many ways, so there are many ways of existence within Spirit. These forms may be considered on different levels according to the advancement of the individual soul, much as we may graduate high school, finish a bachelor’s degree, then a master’s, right through to a doctorate and beyond. As a soul advances so it may be asked to help others in incarnate form, eg as a guide.
Many Lives - Reincarnation
The concept of reincarnation is an ancient one held by certain cultures. It describes the process whereby a single soul may incarnate into many different lives. Reincarnation may be a means of learning different lessons from each new identity, or it may be an opportunity to “re-take” a lesson not handled particularly well. Often we reincarnate with the same members of our soul group, but playing different roles. Reincarnation only happens with full agreement of the reincarnated soul.
The Good News
A reasoned analysis of current knowledge and evidence suggests that what is experienced as “consciousness”, “personality”, or “will” is of a different nature to purely physical matter and energy. As such there is no reason to believe it just vanishes when the hosting organism ceases to function. Spiritualism has been providing evidence of the survival of consciousness and the facility of communication between the living and departed for the best part of two centuries. Attend some meetings at a local Spiritualist church and judge for yourself.
But it isn’t even necessary to have a gifted or trained medium in order to achieve communication. Just by thinking of or talking (internally or aloud) to departed loved ones we invite them to draw close and make their presence felt.
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