A knowing

7th January 2012

I have read widely to explore current thinking on the afterlife. Putting religious and spiritual texts to one side (these are written in the language of metaphor and so are easy to misinterpret), there are many good books on near death experiences. There is also a lot of material from psychologists who use hypnosis. This material creates a powerful body of evidence for the fact that consciousness continues to exist when we leave the body. Is it scientific? Probably not in the current framework of scientific practice (i.e. objective results capable of independent verification). However, one interesting piece of research that is related to NDEs is the work down in the 1990s by Rick Strassman, an American doctor and researcher. The research involved giving volunteers DMT – a chemical that is produced in the human body, particularly in the pituitary gland, as well as in plants – to induce altered states of consciousness. The results of the research clearly showed that we are all capable of altered states of consciousness and having mystical experiences. This type of information is fascinating and helps to expand our mental understanding of what is possible. Click here if you want more information on this research.

I have also had enough spiritual experiences to know and understand that consciousness does not “die” or “fizzle out” (like a television switched off at the mains) when the physical body dies. ¬†However, this knowing is a personal knowing and it is hard to share with others. What I can share is the knowledge that there is a deeper knowing within each of us that we can connect to and anchor ourselves. Doing that is possible if we let go and trust this part of us.

Letting go is tricky because part of our consciousness, which Freud and Jung label the “ego”, is strongly identified with the physical body. As the physical body is mortal and vulnerable, the ego is concerned with survival. Therefore when we are rooted in ego consciousness, the idea of “death” is very frightening at an existential level. If we are connected to the higher state of consciousness that is within all of us, then we are centred in a place that does not identify solely with the physical body. Therefore we can feel that deeper knowing and learn to let go and trust it. “Death” in our life here is still a big deal – it is still painful to let go of someone. However, it is as if there is a part of us providing constant reassurance and comfort, and so we no longer feel that existential fear that often characterizes our response to it.

Some of us are naturally in this place because we are heart centred and just know or trust that there is something else. Others reach this place after a crisis or a period of spiritual development. There are many ways to reach this place, and we all get there in the end.





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