(Published in the Spiritually Speaking column of The Daily Guardian on September 28, 2020)
What is the opposite of death? Think about this question and note down the first thing that comes to your mind. You will get your answer sooner than you think.
“What happens after death?” This is perhaps the most asked question in human history. There is nobody on this planet who has never wondered about the answer to this question. There is nobody in this world who has never lost a loved one. One of the biggest ironies of life is that the only thing certain is that everybody will die someday. Nobody can escape death. But life goes on forever!
What does this mean? Nobody can escape death but life goes on forever! This sounds like a very contradictory thing to say. But you will realise that this is one of the most esoteric truths of our human condition. So we will approach this question from various points of view.
Religions in our world are supposed to teach us good things. Unfortunately, people of different religions often disagree on many things and these disagreements have often caused many problems. There is, however, one thing that they all seem to agree on — the existence of spiritual beings in a heavenly afterlife realm. Whether Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs or Christians — they all believe in this. Not only do they believe in the eternal life of the soul but also the existence of an elaborate and well hierarchical and organised spiritual realm of the afterlife. They all believe also in the existence of angels and spiritual beings of a higher nature.
Modern day science also has opened up majorly to the concept of extra-dimensional existence and multiple planes of existence. Quantum theory talks about many more dimensions of existence and also about the superior nature of consciousness when it comes to reality and what exactly reality is. If consciousness can exist here, why can’t it continue to exist forever in some other realm of existence? Plus, what is reality anyway?
Now coming to another point of view — that of medical cases of NDEs (near death experiences). In 1975, Dr Raymond Moody wrote the life-changing book Life After Life which was the world’s first major glimpse into the world of NDEs. Near death experiences have now been reported in large numbers across the world since 1975. Not only are the accounts of people who were declared clinically dead fascinating, even more fascinating and convincing is the similarity of reports that have emerged cutting across religions, castes, educational, financial and national barriers.
Most of the accounts clearly describe that the person who ‘died’ was fully aware of peacefully and painlessly leaving their human body, floating upwards and being drawn into a tunnel of light. This light has been described as being a thousand times brighter than the sun but does not hurt the eyes. When they emerged on the other end of this tunnel, they were greeted by deceased family, friends and relatives and it was like a big reunion party. Then there was a being of light who came and who emitted an overpowering (in a good way) sense of peace and love and particularly causing the person experiencing this to feel loved beyond anything they could ever have experienced on earth. One person explains this as (paraphrasing): “Imagine the love of a mother towards her baby, the love of two people madly in love and every other love you have ever experienced while on Earth, add all that up and then multiply it by 100 billion. That is coming close to the magnitude of love you feel in that world.”
Then the person is shown what is called a life review in which they see some events from their life and see how their actions impacted others. So if you made somebody feel very good and loved, you would feel what they felt. If you hurt somebody and made them feel unloved, you will feel what they felt. This is judgement and karma right there. It is not a punishment, it is a realisation and your next life will be a chance to work through differences. Then these souls were either given an option to return or were told it was not their time and they had to return and they did return to earth. Medical records confirm these things. Some of these patients’ hearts were stopped for nearly 30 minutes and today doctors and nurses increasingly talk more openly about these things that they were witness to. The NDE in most cases had a very positive effect on the experiencer. They became a lot more compassionate and spiritual after the NDE.
Michael Newton, in his book Journey of Souls, talks about how in his hypnotic regressions that he conducted on thousands of patients they were taken back to the place between incarnations. “Life Between Life” (LBL) sessions he calls them. These fascinating accounts tell about how we all have soul groups, soul families, spirit guides and how life on the other side is well organised and much like earth but without the bad things like wars and diseases. But again there is not a single place or dimension to go to. It is very hierarchical. There are lower, middle and high and higher and highest levels and each one of these can have hundreds or thousands of sub levels. The world of light and spirit is eternal and infinite.
Both NDE and LBL cases also shared more interesting things about the world beyond this physical world. All the experiencers say they felt as if they were back to their true ‘home’. Earth is not our true home but a place where the soul comes to have a “human experience”. The world of the spirit is more real than Earth. Much like we perceive the wakeful state to be more real than the dream state. Colours and sounds are highly enhanced and there are colours that do not exist on Earth. Another very interesting observation is the absence of linear time. “The past, present and future are all happening simultaneously and time is not at all the way it is perceived on Earth,” says an NDEr.
So this is a topic that can be written about in reams of reams. But for now, it is comforting to know that our loved ones who passed away are still there and are watching over us from that side. Many have communicated in dreams and through other messages. Sometimes you see something like a billboard that reminds you of somebody you have lost. Maybe a song suddenly plays that was their favourite. Sometimes butterflies are considered to be signs of the afterlife as butterflies are a sign of transformation from a lower grosser life to a higher subtle form of life.
You and your loved ones who have passed away will be reunited. In fact, it goes beyond that. When you cross over you meet your family and friends not only from this life but from all your past lives as well. Even if they are reincarnated it doesn’t matter. According to Journey of Souls, the soul that comes to Earth only brings about 30 percent of its energy in each incarnation. 70 per cent of the soul’s energy is always in the spirit world. This is often called the “Higher Self”. Our higher selves are still in the spirit world along with our departed loved ones. We do not realise this because our waking consciousness is tied with this physical body. Sometimes we can experience the higher world during dreams. That is why sometimes in dreams we feel like we meet our departed loved ones and even the ones who are still on Earth. This is the meeting of the higher selves irrespective whether they or on earth or have returned back ‘home’. Even the word ‘death’ itself proves that it is not the opposite of life.
Remember that question I asked you in the beginning of this article? Many of you probably said that ‘life’ is the opposite of death. Wrong answer! The opposite of death is ‘birth’. Life is eternal and therefore has no opposite. Enjoy your eternal and infinite adventure of life. Whether on Earth or beyond, we always have been, always will be; and even at this moment, somewhere in some form are alive!