The Afterlife - Part 7
Both are ignorant: there is neither slayer or slain.
You were never born; you will never die.
You have changed; you can never change.
Unborn, eternal, immutable, immemorial, you do not die when the body dies.
Realizing that which is indestructible, eternal, unborn, unchanging,
How can you slay or cause another to slay?
As one abandons worn-out clothes and acquires new ones,
So when the body is worn out a new one is acquired by the Self, who lives within.
The Self cannot be pierced by weapons, or burned by fire;
Water cannot wet it, nor can wind dry it.
The Self cannot be pierced or burned, made wet or dry.
It is everlasting and infinite, standing on the motionless foundation of eternity.
The Self is unmanifested, beyond all thought, beyond all change.
Knowing this, you should not grieve. (Bhagavad-Gita)
These verses from the Bhagavad-Gita on 'Self Realization' were read at the funeral of our friend Ian Marshall yesterday, and although I have read them several times before, I had never heard them in such an appropriate setting. And they struck to the heart very clearly, for although Ian's highly intelligent spirit was as vital as ever, his garment of a body was seriously getting worn out. And I thought then of these verses of Rumi below, that I once heard Robert Bly recite several times. The robes of life really can get stained and torn, and for Ian it felt that dying was like taking off a pair of very tight and heavy old shoes.
I lived for hundreds and thousands of years as a mineral,
And then I died and was reborn as a plant.
Then I lived for hundreds and thousands of years as a plant,
And then I died and was reborn as an animal.
Then I lived for hundreds and thousands of years as an animal,
And then I died and was reborn as a human being.
Tell me: What have I ever lost by dying?
Why cling to this robe of life that's already stained and torn?
Don't you know that the Sun squanders millions of lives every second?
God decreed that you should have life,
And that means another, and another, and another. (Rumi)
Below is an account of an anonymous near-death experience (NDE) that I recently came across at the end of Anthony Peake's book, 'Is There Life After Death'. The title of this book is different from the content that I expected, as it deals more with the experiences of temporal lobe epilepsy and déjà vu in a scientific 'Groundhog Day/Matrix/Philip K Dick' scenario or context than it does with the NDE, which I believe to be purely beyond modern research into mind-science and neuroscience. I was attracted to this book because of its foreword written by Professor Bruce Greyson, for whom I have enormous respect as one of our finest NDE researchers.
What is most meaningful about this NDE account is its revelation of how time is either distorted or ceases to exist in the out-of-body experience (OBE), as does the concept of 'location', since physicality is either distorted or ceases to exist also. To expand upon this 'inconceivable conceptuality' I am including a story I wrote in a separate blog entry, entitled: "The Night Journey".
"This is my NDE. Even though I've talked to several people about this experience, I didn't realize how hard it would be to put it into written words. Oh well, here goes...
It happened in May, 1992. I was driving a '68 Spitfire convertible and a friend was riding as a passenger. We were driving on a narrow country road and as we entered a ninety-degree turn one of the back tires blew out and separated from the rim. The car spun around and slid off the road backwards while still spinning. A three or four foot drop off at the edge of the road gave the car enough momentum to flip endwise.
I clearly remember most of the events leading up to the car leaving the road. I remember I was laying on my back in the grass as the car pushed me down the hill. It felt like I was under a bulldozer. As I looked up, I saw the car as it was hovering above me, balanced on the back fender. I watched it as is fell upon me. An instant before the impact, I had a very lucid memory of a conversation I just had with my friend (who was riding with me) about convertibles. I had casually made the comment, "convertibles are nice, but if you rolled one, you'd be dead for sure!" Talk about irony...
As the car hit me, I heard a loud crunch, then everything changed instantly. It was like sitting in a movie theater watching a crash scene and then the film breaks. You suddenly realize that you are in a theater and the crash (and the associated stress, excitement, etc.) is just an illusion.
There was no discontinuity of consciousness. My first thought was: "Well, I guess this is what it's like to be dead". There was no fear or anxiety. I wondered what happened to my friend. Was he dead, too? I thought that I should look for him, but realized that I had no body. Actually, there was no physical reality whatsoever. Physical movement had no meaning.
On the other hand, I knew that this new place had some type of dimension. I just didn't know what it was. It seemed like I was in an area of 'lesser concentration' surrounded by an area of 'greater concentration' located at a 'distance'. The 'area of greater concentration' felt like it might be a 'city' of some kind. I sensed that there were many entities there. I also had a feeling that I would also eventually go there as well.
I decided to wait for someone or something to make contact with me. I assumed that whoever or whatever entities existed in this new reality knew I had arrived. There was no worry whatsoever and I felt very comfortable just waiting.
While I waited I become aware of how good I felt. I'd go so far as to say it was a feeling of peaceful bliss. That's an understatement, but it's hard to describe the actual feeling. It seemed that my efforts in life were like mowing the lawn on a very hot, very humid summer day. This place was like coming inside to air conditioning and drinking cold lemonade while sitting in a big cushy chair.
I was thinking about these feelings when I felt something 'move' near me. At that point, I realized the meaning of 'movement' in this place. I was in an emotional space. The movement was the movement of emotions. I realize now that we all are aware of this type of movement and use related phrases in our everyday language. For example, we say: "I feel close to her". "He seems distant", or "We are drifting apart". Since my NDE, I realize that I exist in this 'other place' at the same time as I exist in this physical space. This was true before the NDE as well, but I didn't realize it. (Yes, I know it sounds strange).
I recognized the 'movement' as being the movement of an entity. I 'recognized' that this entity had been with me all my life. I don't know if it was what people call a guardian angel or if it was just another disassociated aspect of my psyche. However, I suddenly remembered that this entity had 'spoken' to me many times earlier in my life. I had always labeled the communication as 'intuition'. The 'speaking' was clear, yet didn't really involve words (although I remember the conversation as words).
The entity then asked me a series of questions. It asked, "Do you like where you are?" I said I thought it was fantastic - I felt better than I ever had before. It then asked, "Do you want to stay here?" My first thought was that this was a silly question given my first answer, but I said, "Yeah, sure! I want to stay." The entity then 'reminded' me that I had not fulfilled my purpose yet. Suddenly, I remembered events that had happened before I was conceived. I had chosen to come to this physical existence for a particular reason. I wasn't supposed to know what that reason was until it was time to fulfill my purpose. I also knew that I could stay in this other place without fulfilling the purpose and it wouldn't be held against me. However, I felt it was better to go back (to Earth), fulfill my purpose, and then return.
As I had this thought, I started to have a spinning and falling sensation. It was like I was being poured through a funnel. As I spun, I slowly felt the sensation of weight and solidity. When the spinning stopped, I opened my eyes. I was standing next to the car at the bottom of a ravine. I observed, more with curiosity than terror, large amounts of blood flowing from my face. I again wondered what had happened to my friend. I called his name and, out of the corner of my eye, I saw him still rolling in the grass as the result of being thrown from the car. The whole experience had happened in a fraction of a second.
I felt the presence of 'grace' throughout the aftermath of the accident (and I still do). My injuries required 200 stitches worth of plastic surgery in my face and 40 stitches in my arm. However, I was able to leave the hospital after three days instead of the estimated three weeks. Although several doctors thought that my nose was damaged beyond repair, today my nose looks completely normal. You have to look closely to see any scars at all.
This experience changed my outlook on life and reality in more ways that I can describe in this message. I hesitated to post it since it didn't actually involve clinical death, but I thought somebody might find it meaningful (or at least interesting)."