The Reality of Life After Death
For as long as humans have existed upon planet Earth, mankind has pondered the concept of human mortality and immortality. Every religion that has ever existed, as well as most philosophies, have explored the question.
I would like to express clearly that I do not actually believe that we can change the thoughts or opinions of someone who is most hardened against the idea of life after death, nor do I think it entirely a won argument to bring religious beliefs into the arena. It is true that probably all religions without exception do believe in some form of existence after death, although in varied forms, yet sharing many similarities also. We could discuss the religious topic alone through many volumes.
My aim therefore, is to instead present some of the more prominent and perhaps up-to-date findings based on logic and scientific research into the nature of matter itself and allow this logical rationale to support the proposition of life beyond the physical world as we understand it.
Those Who Have Direct Experience
For my own part, I have had many personal experiences since babyhood and beyond, which have convinced me that the soul (we will use that name for the surviving consciousness aspect of our individuality) continues to live after the death of the physical body. There are also myriads of books and television programmes which expound upon this vast subject most compellingly.
I do not necessarily hold that the pure weight of numbers of people believing in a subject or following a fashion is necessarily proof positive of a Truth revealed, but I do think that when enough people have had experiences which cannot be ordinarily explained in a logical way, it defies common sense to disbelieve them simply based on the grounds that because you may not have personally experienced these things for yourself, they therefore cannot be true.
If someone travels to Australia and returns and tells me about it I do not then disbelieve that Australia exists simply because I have never been there. Even in the days long before television or radio, the stories of explorers were not necessarily disbelieved because the listeners had not travelled to far-away places themselves. The travellers may have exaggerated, they may have even invented some fables, but always a large amount of truth would fill their narrative nonetheless; it would be completely unreasonable to disbelieve everything that we are told simply because we didn’t witness it, smell it, taste it, touch it, etc.
We base an enormous amount of our life experience on the experiences of others without question (look at recorded history for example in which very few of us may have actually been present at any one event) and this attitude has caused knowledge to be passed along, bringing us out of caves and mud huts into civilization, due to our being prepared to trust in and utilise what others have discovered.
So we must view experience of life after death in the same way; let us be prepared to accept that someone has had an experience, has seen a glimpse, even if we have not seen it. Let us be open to the possibility that their experiences may be biased in some ways according to religious beliefs. But at least let us grant them the credibility of acceptance that they have had an experience that we have not had, and by reading between the lines recognise a fundamental reality that unites us all.
Matter Is Not Solid
All living things on Earth breathed oxygen millions of years before the oxygen atom was isolated, identified and named by Joseph Priestley in 1774. Before this momentous event, how and what we actually breathed was a mystery and remained in the realm of the nebulous. Now because no one could see oxygen with the naked eye, or smell it, because oxygen is an odourless, colourless, gas, should we conclude then that oxygen did not exist prior to 1774? It would be ridiculous to think so. Yet it still remains an odourless, colourless gas. Oxygen of course had always existed, and man just gave it a name to categorise it.
Could it also be that the soul has always existed, and mankind has been struggling for aeons to understand and describe it? To our physical senses, the realm of the next world may be as undetectable as oxygen, at least that is, until we have discovered the instrumentality to perceive it?
This brings us to examine “matter” itself, as we call it. Most people think of the physical world as dense and solid. It is very difficult for the vast majority of people to change their perception of physical reality and hold a constant background concept of their bodies as being composed of particulate matter, such as cells, atoms or even as light particles known as photons.
People hold the idea that when something is destroyed, including a body, that’s the end of the matter. It disappears from sight; it disintegrates to be no more. We need to fully understand what actually takes place at the level of matter as we know it.
A Burning Log
Let us now hold in our minds the image of a dense log of wood and mentally place it on a fire to burn. When you set fire to the log it will begin to become consumed by the flames and the component parts of the wood, the bark, cellulose etc, will be broken apart right down to the atomic level by the application of heat. The moisture part of the log will be separated into its atomic parts from H20 (water) to individual hydrogen (H) and oxygen (0) atoms and released into the atmosphere. The basic building blocks that formed the bulk of the log of wood will be split up into units of carbon atoms seen mostly as ash when the log has finally burned right down.
Yet to all intents and purposes the original log has perished and is no more. But the reality is that only the structure of the log has changed. In truth, nothing has actually been destroyed at all, for atomic matter is in fact indestructible. What has really taken place is that all those component parts that formed the log of wood, the atoms of hydrogen, oxygen and carbon have been separated out from their chains which were interlinked via electrons (the tiny particles that are exchanged between atoms and form the molecular bonding of material structures) which therefore had formed the log of wood.
The application of intense heat from the fire causes the atoms to vibrate rapidly and this means that these atoms can no longer hold their bonds and must separate. Nothing has actually been lost from matter. Nature does not destroy its products, it merely recycles them and changes their composition. The illusion that was the solid log of wood which now leaves only a small trace of very fine ash left behind, now far less in weight than the original log, has been transmuted, and all the billions of atoms that formed the illusion have either been deposited as ash in the form of carbon chains or evaporated into the atmosphere as hydrogen and oxygen. All that has taken place is a profound change from one state of being to another.
This is a principle law in Nature that everything will continue to exist in one form or another, only changing form to make something else. The carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms of the log will now regroup and form other chains and soon become the components of something completely different. But nothing has actually been destroyed.
There is more than a suggestion here, then, that if Nature does not actually destroy anything but only alters the forms found in Nature, then the material world is always in a state of flux, ever changing from impermanence to impermanence but not perishing. It might be acceptable to many then, that consciousness itself, which impregnates matter and the living forms in matter, can also never be destroyed.
Consider that your own physical body, which so many identify with, changes completely every seven years, right down to the bone cells because the atoms are replaced constantly. You do not possess the same body now that you once had, seven or more years ago, yet your consciousness remains. You are still the indwelling entity who looks out through the physical eyes of your body, despite the bodily changes and transformations.
So the conscious ‘I’ must be separate from the bodily changes. Just because the cellular changes take place, the atoms exchange electrons and the components of the form break down and are replaced, consciousness does not necessarily change with them. The Indweller remains constant, eternal.
Different Levels of Matter
We must remind ourselves that matter itself is formed into many different grades, from heavy minerals and metals to finer grades of particles such as those found in smoke. Take the example of water for instance. Water in its fluid state is a fairly fine form of matter, but not dense except by volume only. As ice, water is very dense and can be very heavy. As steam, water is vaporous and ascends into the atmosphere, being so light as to form microscopic particles that will diffuse away very rapidly. You can hold a piece of ice in your hand but water is difficult to keep in the palm of your hand for long. Steam cannot be tangibly held at all. Yet all of this is water (H20) made up of two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen per molecule. Is it not possible then, that the realm of spirit may in fact be but an extension of Nature, but made up of particles of a much finer order than those found in the physical world?
A Spinning Fan
We could posit that the components of spiritual realities are also made of atomic structure, just as in the physical world, but arranged differently or in considerably finer grades. The difference might be comparable to the following analogy:
Imagine that you have on a desk a fan that is not yet switched on. We can see all the blades clearly and these blades represent the physical world. If we now switch the fan on to high speed, the blades whirl around at great velocity and disappear to our physical sight. We can see through the blades, beyond and behind them. Yet we know that the blades are still there but we certainly cannot see them anymore. Whether there were three or four blades to the fan, we can no longer tell how many blades there are, as they become a whirling blur.
We could conjecture that the spiritual worlds exist in a manner similar to the blades of the fan, revolving (or vibrating) at such a degree of speed that due to this faster vibration it becomes invisible to our sight. The spiritual worlds therefore are made of the same stuff as physical matter, only vibrating at a higher speed, or vibratory rate, just as the fan’s blades are made of the same substance whether switched off or switched on.
The distinction between understanding or not understanding that the spiritual worlds exist and that the conscious Self continues to exist after the death of the physical body is only one of perception of that reality. Remember that because we cannot see oxygen, that lack of perception does not infer that oxygen isn’t there.
Think of radio waves ~ they’re passing through our bodies all the time, as are various other waves. Radar cannot be seen, nor can light waves or photons and we need special equipment to produce x-rays. Beyond that there are gamma rays and even cosmic rays, none of which we can see or hear, taste or smell or touch. Yet science proves the existence of all of them.
Humans cannot see into the ultraviolet, but bees can. Does ultraviolet not exist then? It does for bees, and science proves it. So because our human perceptions are inadequate, it does not mean that we can base all existential facts upon those limited perceptions.
Many people, including myself, have been able to see beyond the so-called normal limits of the human senses and can confirm that there is a world of realities outside of the physical dimension. Faculties such as Extra-Sensory Perception, Telepathy, Clairvoyance, Clairaudience, Clairsentience, Precognition, Deja-vu and Out-of-Body Experiences are all terms to describe these faculties of the spirit and the modes of experiencing them.
E = mc2
It is vital to remind ourselves of Einstein’s famous equation E = mc2 which holds that mass is energy and that energy can be converted into mass and mass back into energy. Simply put, the whole Universe is energy that forms itself into mass, or matter.
In the study of particle physics it has been discovered that subatomic particles sometimes exhibit a particle-like structure and at other times they seem to be like a wave, i.e., without a definite form per se. Light itself also forms either waves or particles, known as photons.
This contradictory behaviour of matter, in which it is hard to comprehend how something can be both a particle and an electromagnetic wave, gave rise to the theory of Quantum Physics. Quantum Physics itself, now a phrase reasonably familiar to us, is yet still confined to the realm of the abstract because it can be hard to comprehend it fully.
Yet it is in this area where the life after death hypothesis fits in beautifully because so much that is described in Quantum Physics parallels spiritual realities. For example, in Quantum Physics, scientists are talking openly of a multidimensional universe which has no equivalent to our physical reality, yet it surrounds us all the time, just like the “many mansions” spoken of by Jesus or the Heaven Realms found in many esoteric and religious treatises on this subject.
We hear of worm-holes through Time and String Theory, all of which, if you take the time to study them, match up with the concept of life after death and near-death experiences. Our understanding of the Universe is changing, and it seems that where religion has failed us, science is rediscovering ancient spiritual truths.
If the soul is consciousness itself, as I assert, and as do many others, it is in fact only the soul that has any knowledge of self-awareness or identification with the concept of being a separate entity which we might refer to as the Self. Without the inner soul looking out through these physical eyes we would be no more than elaborate machines.
The body itself is indeed a machine, but the Indweller, the Self, is the real, conscious being that possesses Life.
Even if a person has not directly experienced anything of an otherworldly nature, logic would suggest that due to the overwhelming amount of evidence extant in the world on such inexplicable subjects, even the smallest percentage of unexplainable phenomena would suggest that there are “More things in Heaven and Earth” as Hamlet wisely says, than we have dreamed in our philosophy.
A scientific mind does not reject any phenomenon just because he doesn’t believe it; he studies it, and tries to understand it. Many scientists and doctors are doing this very thing right now, concerning studies on life after death, and there are even studies going on in certain hospitals to try and confirm Out-of-Body-Experiences.
The world of matter is a mass of energy that interchanges, reacts, transforms and transmutes; it is entirely electrical in all its exchanges and beyond that the ultimate components of matter go much further than our current understanding of electricity, a phenomenon which incidentally, mankind knows very little about except for its basic level.
We are creatures of energy, even at the bodily level, and science has given us the great gift of that knowledge, confirming what the mystics have always known. If the soul exists, as I’m convinced it does, then we must take into account our actions here on Earth and know that this is a great school of learning where the soul develops its true nature and potential. When we begin to live as spiritual beings inhabiting physical bodies, our entire perception of reality shifts, and just as the Quantum Physicists are finding in their experiments with particle physics, our very thoughts and our feelings are the stuff that shapes this Universe.
We know that matter cannot be destroyed; neither can the soul, and there is a soul in everything that is.
Websites for More Info
www.near-death.com: This is an excellent resource, concerning the Near-Death experience, which many people have experienced throughout the world. Having been brought near to the brink of death, through accident or illness, these witnesses have brought back compelling stories of what we can expect after death.
What is remarkable in these accounts is the great similarity of these experiences, regardless of religious or ethic background. This is highly suggestive that there is a natural process of survival of consciousness after death, regardless of beliefs in life after death or not.
fritjofcapra.net: Particle physicist Fritjof Capra wrote a brilliant book in 1975 called The Tao of Physics which marries up Eastern Mysticism with Quantum Physics. I urge anyone who is seriously interested in this subject to read that book. He explains most lucidly how physicists have discovered that their inner state of expectancy during their experiments with atomic particles in particle chambers would actually influence the outcome of the experiments. This was repeated many times over. These experiments have demonstrated time and time again that matter is basically intelligent energy and responds to us. In essence, the world is formed by our expectations of it.
Questions & Answers
© 2018 S P Austen