Monday, January 7, 2008

When This Life Ends and the Next Begins

What are your thoughts on life after death? What happens to "us" after we die? I think it is safe to say that we have all wondered about what happens to us after we die at sometime in our lives. Much of what we believe is gleaned from our religion or culture and there is a wide variety of scenarios to choose from.

The Bon religion of Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism both maintain that crucial moments of transition are charged with great spiritual potential, especially the intervening moments between death and rebirth. This intermediate period, called bardo, is a state of suspended reality in which the deceased are presented with a series of opportunities for recognition of the true nature of Reality. If the deceased persons are capable of recognizing the confusing and often frightening bardo visions as simply their own mental projections reflective of the previous life's thoughts and deeds (karma), the ongoing cycle of birth and death will be overcome. Failure to recognize these appearances, on the other hand, leads eventually to rebirth and further suffering in cyclic existence (samsara).

Neville Goddard, 20th Century mystic, recounts his ideas about the life/death transition at the time of his father's death: "Saturday when I learned he had made his exit I thought of him constantly and I filled my very being with thoughts of my father and all he represented in my world. And then the whole night began to unfold and everything with which I had crowded my mind during the day now became objective. I saw my father as he was at sixty and the peak of his power, and all his children and grandchildren. I saw everything, and now I know there is no death and that he is moving into the world that he himself has created."

What do YOU think?


D.H. Pang said...

Right after this life ends and before the next begins, we go into "limbo." In this "place", we begin to remember all our past lives as one long memory. It is then that we realize what we need to do in our next life to accomplish balance, and so we make the intention to the Universe/God of what we will do/be in the next life.

Then we leave it up to God.

Kathleen said...

Very nice topic. I always see a thread in all the religious teachings; just different verbage.
Re: Neville Goddard - I can related to that completely. It took me years to get to that place with my own father. Once I was able to "realize" him, also in his prime, doing exactly what I know he would have loved to be doing in this life, I too saw how we move on, how he had reached his potential.
Also, sometimes I just sense that I am "practicing" for this by being here.
Make any sense?

Timothy said...

I don't think we ever die. We are just a big ball of energy. You can get all of the chemical make-up of a human from a drugstore...ahhh but the spirit = ENERGY

love your stuff kid

freeatlast said...

I tend to agree... that ppl/things are bundles of energy... some more bundled up than others and when "death" occurs, the energy disperses in different ways... some ppl's/thing's energy doesn't break down and absorb into the earth/ether as smoothly as others... some energies find their way into little nooks and crannies of ppl/places/things and take longer to relax and disperse... sometimes reentering a new person/thing with great force... and i suppose "nirvana" is absolute relaxation of the energy... sivasana.

I don't buy into reincarnation myths per-se... but a more scientific approach to the dispersal and gathering of energy/force/intent/desire.

My other answer about death/life boundaries is that we don't know, and as of today, can't know, and probably don't need to know. I'm I'm Very okay with Not Knowing.

weihreu said...

I thought the objective was to get off the wheel and go to heaven, nirvana, or wherever you are supposed to go if you can free your mind from this existence when you die. I would much rather not be reborn.

Stephen said...

There was one place that I read that there are 7 realms of the heavens, each higher level of consciousness invisible to the one below.
Emmanual Swedenborg, 17th Century Christian mystic wrote that there is no heaven or hell, they are all projections of the individual soul based upon their alignment with God source. He also wrote that souls tended to group in communities based upon their own focus of spiritual lessons that they continue to work on after dying. He fully incorporated the ancient axiom "as above, so below" and indicated that heaven was a more rarified experience of what we have on earth.
I have read that at a soul level, there is a recognizable vibration that distinguishes one expression or being from another. A soul level persona, though the levels of personality as we know it on earth, plus physical, mental and emotional bodies have all been jettisoned.
In the exquisite movie "Defending Your Life", coming back was based upon how fearlessly you lived your life - or not.
I believe that as Souls in conjunction with our Angels, we get to choose our evolution, and we keep incarnating until we have fully recognized our innate Divinity on a Soul level, and are ready to return with that Divinity and our unique pathway to rediscovering it- back to the infinite light of God, like a raindrop returning to the ocean.
Until we return as Souls to that onement, I believe that once we have moved beyond the necessity for physical incarnation, then we take on roles as helpers for currently incarnated beings.

Anonymous said...

When considering the spiritual needs of the dying, the basic principle
is to do whatever you can do to help the person die with a calm and
peaceful mind, with spiritual/positive thoughts uppermost. This is
because it is believed that the state of mind at the time of death is
vitally important and plays an important role in determining what will
happen to the person after death.

So whether we are a doctor or nurse relieving pain and other
distressing symptoms and reassuring the family, a counsellor helping to
resolve emotional issues, a minister of religion offering spiritual
counsel, or a volunteer who offers companionship and support for the
dying person and their loved ones, we are all contributing
significantly towards obtaining this calm and peaceful state of mind.

Within this basic principle, there are several ways we can categorise
people which will help to determine the type of spiritual support that
they need, namely:
Is the person conscious or unconscious?
- if conscious, you can do the practices with them or
get them to do them
- if unconscious, you have to do the practices for them
Does the person have specific religious beliefs or not?
- if religious, remind them of their religious
- if not religious, encourage them to have positive
thoughts, or remind them of positive things they have done

For a person with a spiritual faith it is beneficial to have spiritual
objects around them e.g. an altar, a rosary, photos of their spiritual
teacher, or to play spiritual music, or to burn incense, and so on -
whatever reminds them of their spiritual practice. It is good also to
talk to them about their spiritual practices, recite prayers with them
and so forth. For an unconscious person it is said to be good to recite
prayers, mantras etc into their ear.

If a person does not have a spiritual faith, it is helpful to remind
them of positive things they have done in their life, or of positive
qualities such as love and compassion and kindness.

It is important to avoid religious activities that are inappropriate or
unwanted by the dying person. Someone standing at the end of the bed
reciting prayers may be an annoyance, and I have seen a case of an
attempted deathbed salvation which greatly angered the dying person.

The basic aim is to avoid any objects or people that generate strong
attachment or anger in the mind of the dying person. From the spiritual
viewpoint it is desirable to avoid loud shows of emotion in the
presence of the dying person. We have to remind ourselves that the
dying process is of great spiritual importance and we don't want to
disturb the mind of the dying person, which is in an increasingly clear
and subtle state. We have to do whatever we can to allow the person to
die in a calm/happy/peaceful state of mind.

Tony Hogan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tony Hogan said...

There's a continuous stream of consciousness that changes shape, the shape being development of awareness of itself in progressive stages, from unconscious to conscious in many cases, but not all. This awareness manages to fool itself into thinking that it is locked within a body, which in truth is just a figment of its imagination but at various moments of its development it has glimpses of itself being greater than the limited identity which it believes itself to be.

And no, I don't take drugs :-)

Death is the constant recurring event that happens each time it is faced with letting go of the story about the identity that it has associated itself with. But really it is not the limited identity at all but something that has no centre but has its centre in all things. The journey of unconsciousness to consciousness is that awareness recognising its own existence as a stream of consciousness that never ever was imprisoned and limited. Once there is a total recognition of this process, it is aware that death never really was but was only just a false identification that it had created to experience its own existence.


Christine Vyrnon said...

freeatlast here: to anonymous... so how does the death process work for someone who has had no warning of their death... and is caught off guards by it? In what way does that affect the outcome? Any different?

Also, I like what TH says above about death of the body being a process of recognition for the everlasting conscious state.... the letting go of story. However i still think that somehow, even certain strains of awareness and consiousness can find total relaxation/sivasana. Or does everything... even those who are in states of "nirvana" get rebirthed... is it impossible to completely die? Is there such a thing as Absolute so-called enlightenment?