One of the greatest mysteries of our human existence is – what happens when we die? Typically, society in the western world would categorise their beliefs based on one of the world religions – Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. I was raised as a Christian Scientist until the age of nine. Later on in my early 20’s I sought answers to my existence and the afterlife while attending an evangelical Christian Church. I could not help being transfixed on the afterlife. Ultimately, the base line of the Christian teaching is that if you live a good, pure and honest life, you are guaranteed a place in heaven. I grappled to equate a loving God with one who would send me to hell.
I remember thinking that heaven and hell were more of a mind-set rather than an actuality. I was relieved when I discovered this same line of thinking in Eckart Tolle’s book, ‘The New Earth.’ My mortality has been very present for me for as long as I can remember. I have wondered throughout my life, ‘if I died tomorrow, am I doing everything I want to be doing today?’ I often wonder, why we put such an emphasis on this life? We worry so much about our futures when really we have no control over when our time is up.
Maybe what is waiting for us on the other side is the most remarkable and wonderful thing we could ever imagine. Maybe we will get there and think, why did I grip on so tightly to a life on earth?
Last summer I was invited on a boat off of Ibiza. The eccentric gentleman who owned the boat was declaring that he saves thousands of live’s a day in Africa because he has developed a highly caloric food that can help starving people to survive. He quipped that in the time it takes him to get dressed, he has already saved 2000 lives. He turned to me and said, ‘you would dress me wouldn’t you, if it meant saving two thousand lives?’
I was so perplexed by this short, rotund ranting man. I had a vision of him standing on a raised platform while I pulled up his pants and placed them on his pop belly. I thought, this is a ridiculous and hypothetical conversation, but yet I could not answer with a swift and definitive yes, because in my heart, it was not so much about dressing this tit, it was more about the fact that he was playing the roll of God. He’s feeding these people to keep them alive, but how did he know that this life was better than the next?
The rest of the afternoon was a little awkward. I think he thought I was some sadist for not wanting to save the lives of 2000 people. Meanwhile, I was stuck on this boat while wanting to get as far away from it as I could. And I was grappling with this question – was this life really the best it gets?
I have always been fascinated by the ‘spirit’ world. Many years ago, my Godparents went to see a healer. Quite unexpectedly this healer lady connected to what sounded exactly like my Father (my Father was cousins and a best friend of my Godfather). The healer said she had a vision of a blonde man with a white fluffy dog. He’s saying he’s having a great time and it’s a party on the ‘other side’ or ‘up there.’ My Mum relayed the message to me and I wrote it down in my journal. Later in my Mother’s life, she dismissed this event as it was not in line with her Born Again Christian beliefs.
I too had been indoctrinated by fear about the ‘occult,’ but I secretly longed to know more. I only wanted to speak to a medium if they had been personally recommended to me. At the end of last year, a friend told me she had a reading and I asked for the medium’s contact info. I met with her and I had a profound experience. It was like having a conversation with my parents and there was no doubt in my mind that it was real. The details were uncanny. It was emotional, but in a positive and healing way. At the end of the reading, the medium said, “your Mum will come to you with the scent of Chanel no 5.” I did not really think much about this because my Mum didn’t wear Chanel no 5.
A couple of months ago, I was lying in bed and I could smell fragrance. I looked up and thought that maybe it was coming from the neighbors upstairs. I smelt the sheets and my freshly washed nightdress, but the smell wasn’t coming from them. The smell was coming directly from my chest; I did not have any perfume in my apartment at the time. I suddenly thought about the medium and I started to whisper to my Mum, “are you there? Is that you?” I then started to cry softly and felt a knowing that she was with me. I am not familiar with the scent of Chanel no.5 and by the time I made it to a store a week or two later it was no longer fresh in my mind. As crazy and cuckoo as this all may sound, that smell felt like the presence of my Mum.
Intuitives do say that those who are in the spirit world can appear to us with smells, white feathers and birds. Many people who I have spoken to have experienced this. The number 11.11 is also Spirit telling us they are with us. I see this combination of numbers all of the time and it gives me great comfort.
As we become more awakened to the fact that we are all one, that we are a ‘collective consciousness’ and that we all share ‘consciousness,’ it makes sense that this entity would live on after our physical body is deceased. Most of us have no idea how the internet works, how we can make a call on Skype and see the other person on the other side of the world from a piece of metal that is not even attached to anything, and yet we question the connection we can have to Spirit. It is so interesting to me that some of us have connections to places, like we must have been there before. There are streams of evidence about people recounting specific details about places on the other side of the world which cannot be explained by logic and lean towards the explanation that they had been there in a past life.
There is a theory that our Soul chooses the life that we have. Our Soul decides the experiences we need and the lessons that are required in this life time. Why then, you might ask, do some people choose traumatic and horrific lives? One of my interviewees said:
“Do you always want to be on the tea cups at Disneyland? No, sometimes you want to go on the Hollywood Tower Hotel.”
What I understand from this quote is in the harder times of struggle the soul chooses to learn and evolve . The soul has an eternal journey that keeps returning to earth for new experiences. As part of my project I did two separate Gestalt exercises with my Mother and Father. To Gestalt means to have an imaginary conversation and a transcendental experience that can give very effective information. When I was talking with my Mum, I asked her what she misses about the physical world reality. She said, ‘the flesh.’ I even spoke with someone who told me that their dead spouse misses avocados and curries!
The human condition can be painful. However, if we learn to embrace each emotion, our range of experience can give us a very rich journey. The planet we live on is so beautiful and so diverse. The five senses that we are most commonly associated with can give us so much pleasure and fulfilment. Every moment, every sight, sound, touch, taste and feeling of love that swells our heart is something sacred to us in our human experience.
Anita Moorjani writes about her Near Death Experience in ‘Dying to Be Me.’ She describes crossing over to the other side where there was no judgment and an overwhelming sense of unconditional love. She describes being omnipresent in the spiritual form. If you had the choice between being able to fly or being invisible, which would you choose? According to Anita, when we pass over to the other side, we are able to do both. We can be anywhere at any time. Moorjani’s experiences removes all of my fear about transitioning to another realm.
Not everyone has such a positive Near Death Experience, but what seems common is that the people learn the importance of transforming their life’s now. If we romanticize death and the experience of the afterlife, the point of life being a sacred and remarkable experience is lost. The one thing that Near Death Experience’s have in common is that the experiencer becomes more engaged with life on earth.
I recently attended a beautiful memorial in Los Angeles and the minister said, there are two questions you ask when you die, ‘Did I love well?’ ‘Did I live my own life or an imprint of someone else’s?’ I thought that these are questions that we should be asking ourselves daily, not waiting until the end of our lives. If we live constantly as if we are about to face our death, perhaps this makes us the most present and gives us the most gratitude for what we have.
Therefore connecting with death and keeping it at the forefront of our daily experience keeps us being connected and engaged with life. The most important thing is, if our consciousness is fulfilled and we are living lives of meaning and purpose we let go lightly into the next dimension, whatever that is…