Laura Ivers looks at the topic of death and what happens to us when we die.
Throughout the narrative of my life there has been one particular recurring theme which has moulded my worldview significantly; death. That it is a taboo topic is bizarre considering every one of us will be affected by it, and experience it subjectively, within our lifetimes.
By the time I was eleven I had experienced, in quick succession, the death of my grandfather, a close surrogate grandfather and the death of my father. Aside from the plethora of predictable emotional issues I undoubtedly developed, I was also left with a profound fear of death. At age thirteen I have a vivid memory of waking in the middle of the night full of terror at the thought that I would someday die, that my existence would one day simply cease. It was an extremely traumatising recurring experience and even now as I write of it I can feel that creeping uncertainty and the terror that would crawl over me, consuming me. For many years when asked my greatest fear I would without hesitation say death.
I then, of course, forgot about these metaphysical concerns as I grew to become more occupied by the hugely important dramas of an adolescent female and it has only been in recent years, with the awakening of my mind and heart to possible truths outside of my cultural conditioning, that I have revisited the topic.
I now see death as an unknown. I cannot in good reason accept the worldview that existence ceases at death as I have encountered a significant amount of information based on many subjective accounts which show this not to be the case. It is as if though, because there is no observable material evidence, that many believe existence must simply cease at death for that is what is observed within the material world. Science tends not to accept subjective experience as valid which causes the eternal rift between the scientific attitude and the spiritual, or faith based, perspective.
However, if on a level the separation of the spirit from the body can be shown to be an acceptable phenomena (and there is much scientific evidence for the validity of experiences of astral projection, or out of body experiences, for example which could be seen to prove this to be the case), then how can we be certain that existence, outside of the material realm, ends at death?
The answer is simple; we can’t.
If the correlation between numerous accounts of subjective experience shows the possibility of existence outside of the constraints of the physical body then, I believe, it should be taken as true, or at the very least possible. While this article does not claim to propound any theories as to the nature of this possible incorporeal state of existence, it simply strives to logically posit the claim that we cannot be certain that non-physical existence ends at death. Should this be accepted to be true then it opens up the discussion to questions concerning the possible nature of this incorporeal existence. Upon this I intend to make no claims but I would recommend the writings of Dr. Brian Weiss and the documentary Infinity: The Ultimate Trip-Journey Beyond Death should you be interested in exploring these ideas.
The significance, for me, of the acceptance of this truth becomes apparent when the thought of death occurs to me now and I experience an emotion entirely different to the despair which plagued my adolescent metaphysical ponderings. Now I become overwhelmed with a sense of melancholic joyousness; I feel my eyes well up with tears and my lips twitch into a smile, as the sense of serenity I have grown to feel in life washes over me. I know that because I have felt this, even for a moment, that my life has been fulfilled and that I can gladly go in absolute peace ready for what happens to us when we die, what can only be, the next great adventure.