None of us has much in the way of personal experience to go by when thinking about what comes after death. Unless you've had a Near Death Experience or unless you have had something else happen to you, what do you rely on? I spoke with someone recently who reported experiencing a strong smell - a clean smell of her father some time after he had died and been removed from the home. It's an amazing experience which she shared with her mother and which meant a lot to them. But what can that tell us? It made them feel that they had somehow made a connection with a loved one who had "crossed over".
As for me, I "saw" a vision of my father shortly after he died. I was, in fact, laying in his old bed looking up at the ceiling when I saw a smokey image of my dad thanking me for coming. I can picture it to this day. Whether it was something my mind put together in the form of an image, it was as real to me as the chair I'm sitting in. Whatever it was, I felt that it was a very real connection with my father, almost a day after he passed.
So I try to put this all together in the context of what I believe in or what I am learning to believe. I believe we are all created from energy and that this energy vibrates at different frequencies (Why do I believe this? Why not?). Clearly, there would be a substantial attraction between energies that resonate at the same frequency. We see this in real life as we find ourselves attracted to some people (spouses, lovers, friends) more so than others. If you follow this line of thinking, then the "soul" or "essence" of a person would have a pretty strong vibrational attraction to their earthly body and this attraction would likely take days to pull apart completely. Even the Buddhists believe that the soul remains with the body for several days. I saw my father. My friend smelled her father and both of us derived peace from the connection. Whether it's a vision, a dream or even a smell there would seem to be some kind of purposeful communication from our loved ones who have passed on.
This, of course, is intrinsically tied to a belief in an afterlife. If the alternative is "lights out"..... nothing..... then I choose to believe in an afterlife. I just don't know what form it takes exactly. Yet.
But this belief is intrinsic to who we are. I think, deep down inside, we all believe that there is something "after". It helps us to live and enjoy our lives on earth and to not feel like we are wasting our time so often. There are atheists and humanists who don't believe in life after death but I can't help but think there is something missing from their lives. They probably wouldn't agree, but I couldn't do it. Here are some other aspects of the Universe that I "believe".
The larger, Spiritual Universe is like an ocean full of currents and eddies with energy forms constantly floating, drifting, touching, sharing, dispersing, and combining in infinite variations. When we die, our own spirit melts into that ocean and we become part of it again in a different way. We bring with us the sum total of all of our experiences in our earthly bodies, experiences of the body, experiences of the mind, the result of interactions with other energy forms or people. We bring our fears, our happiness, our anger, our love... everything that made us who we are. In this way, we contribute back to the Universe in a small way or a big way, depending on what we've been through.
I also believe that striving for good, living life, and experiencing all that life has to offer develops the soul - the personal and the broader spiritual - in a good way and, incidentally, defines a life of worth. Striving for evil and for material things has the opposite effect and, in effect, devalues our lives and the contribution we can make.
If you think about this - if you bring yourself to believe this, there are two kinds of immortality. We are immortal in the sense that the enlightened/experienced energy of our existence feeds back and adds value to the greater spiritual universe. That is true immortality. But we also derive immortality back on the earthly plane if we have truly lived a life of worth and, in so doing, have contributed to make life on earth a better thing.
Do you see how all of this ties neatly together? You can choose to believe one simple thing and it branches naturally into a broader belief system. And as I've said many times, It doesn't have to be provable for me to believe in. In fact, we can choose to believe something that is unprovable precisely because it is! Ideas like eternity and infinity may be expressible mathematically, but that doesn't prove anything to me or many others yet they are acceptable root beliefs for all of us.
And as I've also said before, I don't care what you believe and I don't care if you don't accept my beliefs. The beliefs you choose are very personal. They are entirely up to you and they are only meaningful to you. I am sharing mine essentially as they are developing to show you how important and how personal they are. If it gets you thinking about your own belief system, then I'm very happy. I'm beginning to realize that everyone needs something to believe in. I'll have to think about that some more!
Things have not been going well for me lately. The last few days - almost a week - have been incredibly bad. It began with waking up to an horrendous pain in my right shoulder, resulting in having to ask my daughter to take me to the hospital and a final determination that it was an existing metastasis which had grown enough to start causing me noticeable pain. I have had to increase my pain meds to manage this extra pain and now I am dealing with an order of magnitude increase in fatigue. I can hardly keep awake anymore (no matter how many Red Bulls I have) and, when I am awake, I find myself forgetting more and more. I hate it! I hate it! It is so frustrating and it makes me worry about how much longer I will have with a reasonable degree of productivity. It's a real concern. In the meantime, I'll keep writing.
To my new readers on Facebook, welcome!