My topic for today’s thoughts and musings: If there is an afterlife, what are the implications and effects it may have on how I live my life right now?
But before I start, I will say that although I hope there is, I don’t know if there is an afterlife. I have found no proof, only hearsay, tales of personal experiences and of course books and stories from various cultures and religions. Even my own (quite extensive) range of experiences have always been during sleep, meditation or after the ingestion of some substance, never when in a normal ‘awake’ state of consciousness, so I still have no tangible or quantitative frame of reference, I guess that is the engineer or sceptic within me, this I like and dislike equally.
There is a part of me that would like to have the ‘blind faith’ that some people seem to possess; that there is a God and an afterlife but I have a problem with ‘blind faith’, I need some sort of evidence. Either way, after reading hundreds of books on spirituality, religion, energy, healing and personal development, I’m still sitting on the fence! As Descartes pointed out, we have an inner experience as well as an outer one, or I might say I have my subjective experience within my limited senses, of an external universe that in truth, I know very little about.
What happens when you die?
I am OK if when I die the lights just get switched off and it is game over – and I am OK if some part of me moves onto a new plane. One thing is for sure though, my physical body won’t be going over, therefore it would be an experience that I have no frame of reference for and that excites me, a new adventure, a new source of knowledge and experience.
Because I don’t know what will happen, I like to use metaphors or ‘models’ for how I live my life now rather than following all the new age hype available on the internet. Perhaps, the Universe will provide what I wish for or ‘hold in mind’. I feel, however, that I should have to contribute as well. It’s no use me asking for the universe to provide me with a job if I am not engaging with society, applying for jobs and attaining qualifications, knowledge or skills necessary.
This may not be true. Indeed, a model that I personally prefer is that; I am a ‘spiritual essence having a human experience’ and that my time in this human form is for me to learn and grow emotionally, so that in the next life I will have accrued skills that will serve me well (or undo my Karma) and if I have not learned enough this time I’ll come back around and be faced with new challenges that enable me to continue to grow.
Caroline Myss refers to it as ‘Earth School’ and David R Hawkins says ‘Earth is the ideal place to face challenge after challenge so we can learn to grow, accept, challenge and move towards love. I really like that and it is a metaphor that I try to apply to my own life (with varying degrees of success) regardless or whether it is true or not.
I have no idea what skills and abilities of love and acceptance I may need in the next life, should there be one, however, if I can’t stay calm or make friends, or eat what I like or let go of control or find a partner or accept others as they are in this life – I don’t think that bodes well for the next one!
So, for me, I don’t really want to think about the afterlife, as I don’t really know what it is or what it may want from me, however, I do want to prepare myself for anything that may be, and for me that is to be calm, accepting and where possible loving – to be the best I can be.
Finally, some thoughts on the word love. I feel that as a person grows spiritually this word reconceptualises at each level of growth. At the lower levels, a person tries to love everybody even if they are being used or abused by another and they may berate themselves if they can’t love that person. Then, at the higher levels, the individual begins to love the other through acceptance of who they are. Then finally a true acceptance of people with no need to change them – they don’t need to be different for you to feel a certain way.
I feel it is the same process for accepting and loving yourself. At first, you try hard, then you move through self-realisation, you release blocked energy and programmed beliefs, then what emerges is a calm acceptance of that which you are and it is accepting, gentle, loving and calm.
So in summary, for me, I don’t want to dwell on what happens next. I would like to continue to grow in this realm and potentially prepare myself for whatever is possibly next by letting go of fear, accepting change and being comfortable not knowing what the future may hold once my energy has been released from this body.