DEATH, AND BEYOND
2: You WILL take it with you
will occur after we die? This question can be answered, on the basis
of a large body of reports across the centuries — on near-death experiences, experiences
with the dying, after-life experiences, reincarnation experiences, paranormal
phenomena, the experiences of sleeping and dreaming, and the direct awareness
and report of Spiritual Masters — as well as by studying the laws of the psyche
as we observe it in life, to predict its destiny after death. The report is not
all roses, though. In fact, its conclusion is that there is life after death,
and re-birth, but it is also likely that we are going to suffer greatly during
the period between lives, unless we develop, during our lifetime, a powerful Spiritual
practice that truly links up with God.
are appropriately indignant at "hell and brimstone" preachers who have
no direct experience of a Greater Reality and simply use such notions to terrify
and manipulate their congregations. But quite distinct from this is the question
of whether notions such as "heavens", "hells", and "bardos"
do have a basis in spiritual reality. As it turns out, they appear prominently
in the reports of every religious and spiritual tradition. We rightly understand
them as experiences generated by our own psyche, rather than “rewards” or “punishments”
imposed from without.
simple check on the dreams we have at night will confirm that our (spiritually
immature) psyche spontaneously generates a full range of experiences, from the
very positive (the pleasant dreams) to the very negative (the nightmares). That
same psyche survives the death of our physical body and, set free from the anchor
of the physical body and physical brain, starts freely generating experiences
over which we (in our immaturity) have relatively little control. Unlike when
we dream at night, we will not be able to wake up from the nightmares that our
own psyche creates, after the physical body has died.
days, many "New Age" spiritualists tend to subscribe to a romanticized
mythology about death, based on studies of near-death experiences. Reported near-death
experiences tend to be positive because they are only near-death experiences,
and thus generally include only the earliest events in the after-death sequence
(e.g., the Vision of God). But they don’t tend to report what occurs after that
in the actual death process, because the experiencers return to life instead at
are endless lifetimes, an endless wheel of births and deaths, until we Wake Up.
Between lives there is an extended process of purification that we go through
before reincarnate. We don’t simply go straight to some fixed place called “heaven”,
“hell”, or “purgatory”. We go through a series of dreamlike events, some positive
(even the Vision of the Divine Light) and some negative (even very hellish experiences).
What determines these events is how we have lived our lives.
conventionally “good” will not get us into “heaven”. (Which is not to say that
you can be conventionally “bad” and get into "heaven", either!) The
full expression of the great Spiritual law (summarized by Jesus and other great
Spiritual Masters) is to love God, then love all others. If we do (or rather,
try to do) the second without doing the first (which requires first finding
God for real; otherwise to speak of “loving God” is meaningless), we are
not fulfilling that fundamental law. Finding and communing with God, who is Love,
allows us to be Love, in turn, and fulfill the second part of the law.
we do not learn how to find and commune with God while alive, then we will not
be able to stay in communion with God, when the Vision of God appears (fairly
early on in the after-death sequence). We will then go through a series of dreams
determined by what was our “unconscious” in life, but which is now our environment
(as when we are in a dream); the physical body has dropped off, and we are now
in a realm of pure mind.
is commonly said that human beings do not know about death, since nobody has come
back to tell about it. Of course, this is false. Many people have died and been
revived, and their reports are very revealing. Likewise, many reliable individuals
devoted to one or another form of Spiritual practice have enjoyed and subsequently
communicated about the subtle and Transcendental aspects of human existence, all
of which relate to the process of death and one's destiny beyond it.
people truly mean when they say they do not know about death is that they do not
know exactly what will follow it in their own case. But the generalized attitude
of no-knowledge about death only provides an emotional excuse for avoiding confrontation
with the reality of death and the necessity to study it and prepare for co-operation
with its process.
death process, like all the common events of human experience, is clearly available
for you to witness in others and to study as a common as well as a personal physical
or psycho-physical event. You can and must prepare for that event, even as you
normally prepare for other great events, such as childbirth, or an operation,
or a test of knowledge and skills relating to a profession. Just so, like every
individual, you have many experiences during your lifetime that clearly duplicate
at least some of the psycho-physical aspects of the death process. These include
the regular act of going to sleep, the experiences endured during periods of illness,
and the progressive revelation enjoyed via a lifetime of meditation. Also, many
people are given remarkable experiences that reveal and demonstrate to them the
actualities of the death process. I Myself have had such experiences, including
complete duplication of the death process, leading to emergence from the physical
body, the mind-self, and this world, as well as to rebirth, or eventual resumption
of psycho-physical existence.
you should not presume that you do not and cannot know about the death process.
You can and must know about that process, and you must prepare for it through
psycho-physical self-study. Even if you do not come to know in advance exactly
what will follow your own death, you can know about and do preparatory exercises
in the death process itself, since it involves the familiar processes of your
present body-mind. And you can, while still alive in this world, enter into the
profound practices of esoteric Spirituality, wherein you can Realize your Real
Condition and Ultimate Destiny as well as the actual structures of your experiential
WILL Take It With You
3: You CAN take it with you