Monday, September 12, 2005

A small topic: life after death

Inspirational stories of hope after the storm, from beliefnet.com

These stories brought tears to my eyes, you might enjoy.

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Someone I know had a relative who accidentally killed himself over the weekend. There wasn't much I could say to comfort her, the situation was too sad. I've been left thinking again about what happens after death, not that I know for sure.

I don't believe in a heaven or hell or judgment or any of that. But I do believe that consciousness continues. I believe it will be like waking up somewhere else, or perhaps we'll have the experience of moving somewhere else. Near death experiences that I've heard about confirm this; the person feels they are turning from their material form and moving toward a light. They never seem to get much beyond that, though, so maybe there's a point of no return.

Anyway, the out-of-body nature of the experience indicates to me that we do have the possibility of being out of our bodies. Meaning, we exist independent of our body. We see when our eyes are closed. We hear when our ears are dead. We continue when the body stops.

So then I wonder, will I be able to make up for the mistakes I made here, to correct them and make them right?

Here's what Mary Baker Eddy says:

After the change called death takes place, do we meet those gone before? — or does life continue in thought only as in a dream?

Man is not annihilated, nor does he lose his identity, by passing through the belief called death. After the momentary belief of dying passes from mortal mind, this mind is still in a conscious state of existence; and the individual has but passed through a moment of extreme mortal fear, to awaken with thoughts, and being, as material as before. Science and Health clearly states that spiritualization of thought is not attained by the death of the body, but by a conscious union with God. When we shall have passed the ordeal called death, or destroyed this last enemy, and shall have come upon the same plane of conscious existence with those gone before, then we shall be able to communicate with and to recognize them.

If, before the change whereby we meet the dear departed, our life-work proves to have been well done, we shall not have to repeat it; but our joys and means of advancing will be proportionately increased.

The difference between a belief of material existence and the spiritual fact of Life is, that the former is a dream and unreal, while the latter is real and eternal. Only as we understand God, and learn that good, not evil, lives and is immortal, that immortality exists only in spiritual perfection, shall we drop our false sense of Life in sin or sense material, and recognize a better state of existence.

--Miscellaneous Writings

So it sounds like waking from a dream. Like we'll then be that much closer to understanding that this entire mortal seeming was a dream.

And how much do we blame ourselves for things we did in our dreams?

I'm finding this profoundly comforting today, that since this mortal seeming is a dream I don't have to worry about being saddled with my failings through all eternity, unable to correct them. True, while I'm here, I have an obligation to live the best way I know how. This is having my "life-work" be "well done" as Eddy says. I have to make what progress I can within the parameters of what I’m experiencing now.

But when I wake from the dream, all I'll have is the lessons I've learned that I can then build on. The failings will be seen as a part of the dream, not part of me.

Ah, thank you Lord, for that insight today.


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1 Comments:

At 9/12/2005 12:59:00 PM, Anonymous Steph said...

The afterlife question in S&H has always puzzled me. It sounds as if after death there is only positive renforcement. The closer we come to understanding the spiritual sense of ourselves here on Earth, the more advance we will be in the hereafter. I noticed no talk of the flames of hell (what a relief).

 

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