“Where do we go when we die?” I heard a child behind me on the train ask his mother.
“Is heaven up or down, mummy?”
She paused and then answered, trying to maintain an air of authority but obviously having no idea what to say. I don’t remember her words, but the child, unsatisfied with the reply asked again. His mother changed the subject—as we do.
It’s a big question—so big, people avoid it altogether. But it’s an important question to deal with. It’s been said that until we come to terms with death, we can’t really live. It’s something that happens to everyone and affects everyone, so let’s not push it away again. Let’s deal with this.
The limitations of the mind
Our intellect can’t really answer all our questions, although it tries to. As much as we have been trained by society to believe that intellect and education hold the pathway to truth, this isn’t quite the case—and the subject of what is beyond this life illustrates these limitations. Much like trying to make sense of a timeless and spaceless universe, trying to understand death is another endeavor in which the mind, at some point, just has to give up and realize it’s not going to know.
This is an invitation to step aside from the intellect and get in touch with a part of us beyond that. That feeling sense of all-knowing. The realm of intuition and instinct. To get in touch with that part of us that can satisfy us with an answer.
Fiction through the ages
Religions come up with stories about what happens after we die, but they don’t really know—we can feel this confusion when we read religious texts. I have studied all the major religions and met with many great teachers and gurus, and never once have I really received a satisfying answer, much like the child I mentioned at the beginning. This is because the theories we have typically come from the limited mind chatter of the intellect. Often when people in a position of authority don’t know answers to questions, their ego takes over and prevents them from admitting that. Instead, they make things up. This is how much of the fiction and folklore from theology and philosophy alike has arisen.
The predominant worldview on death is off center.
Making peace with the mystery
In truth, it’s all a great mystery. When we believe this mystery is good, we feel good. And when we don’t, we feel afraid. There is really no fear of death, we just fear our own thoughts around death. It’s just another way the mind uses chatter to torment us and delay our mission. The feeling of being afraid simply means you’ve gone into thoughts.
Someone said to me, “But what if it’s awful?” I replied, “Well, what if it’s not? What if it’s amazing?” Why do we assume things will get worse when we leave the planet? My knowing, which I trust, tells me that it gets better.
The mind gets frightened with anything it can’t partake in—and as I said, this is one of those subjects where the intellectual mind just cannot go. Thoughts haven’t got the answer, which feels scary.
So give it up. Step aside from the mind. Meditate. Contemplate. And you will feel that resonance; that knowing that even if you don’t intellectually know, all is well—and that’s all you need to know.
Another way of looking at life—and life after life
Another way of looking at people dying is this: We aren’t born, and we don’t die. Our Real Self is an eternal God that projects into form—into a body. In the projected world, forms seem to come and go. But this is merely a step backward into another plane.
When someone seems to leave through the process we call death, they don’t go at all. They have stepped back and united with their Real Self. They do not leave this earth; that is one of the biggest lies pervading the planet, and one that has even fooled major religions. Our departed loved ones are right here. And when we sync up with our Real Self, we can feel them.
This may sound far-fetched, but then again the whole reality of life sounds far-fetched. The fact that we are on this globe in the middle of a timeless, spaceless, infinite universe is alone a great mystery. So hold your logic for a while. Our very existence defies logic—or at least the logic we have available to us. All of the stories that we have created around death are based in ego—they’re mind chatter. And they are all fictions.
Truth feels like joy.
Become like little children
Small children have the right attitude: they act like they know death isn’t a bad thing, and like it isn’t even real. They don’t spend a moment getting upset when someone seems to leaves the planet, unless they’ve been influenced by adults.
They don’t want to hear about missing someone; they just want to play. The only thing that upsets them is seeing adults upset or the fact they might get one less Christmas present next year.
Children are the most enlightened beings; they are the closest to God and have had the least amount of time to make up lies or to be overloaded with the intellectual “knowledge of good and evil,” which clouds our light. So why do we not listen to them? Instead, we train them with nonsense, man-made theology.
Look at life with wonder rather than the heaviness of the intellect and needing to know. Be as a child. Realize that life is joy.
This is the child’s mind, and this is the truth.
Children realize they can’t think their way to answers. We can’t either, at least about topics as mysterious as death. So we must choose to use our thinking mind when appropriate, and surrender when it’s not.
Author: Michael James
Image: Ian Dooley/Unsplash
Editor: Callie Rushton
Copy Editor: Sara Kärpänen
Social Editor: Waylon Lewis