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Hieronymous Bosch - Ascent to the Empyrean - c. 1480



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Anne Baring

Seeing through the Veil

The Survival of the Soul and Life Beyond Death
Conference Rembrandt Hotel, London February 18th, 2012

For life is eternal and love is immortal
and death is only an horizon,
and an horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.


Man looking beyond known world

There can be no one in this room who hasn’t been touched by death and no-one who hasn’t wondered about what happens to us when we die. But what image do we have of death? Why is it that, after millennia of life on this planet and all the vast amount of knowledge available to us, we still know so little about the most mysterious, challenging and awesome experience of our lives?

There is a strange silence about death in our secular culture and an unpleasant tendency to censure and disparage anything perceived as non-rational. For centuries, humanity has been held back by powerful institutions which have tried to exercise total control over what others believe. Now we are told by science that consciousness originates with the physical brain and the death of the brain is therefore the end of consciousness. And so the greatest sorrow, the greatest fear we may experience in our lives is the loss of a beloved parent, partner or child, believing that he or she may be lost to us forever or that reunion with them is uncertain. A child who loses a parent will carry that grief for the rest of his life, particularly if he or she believes what science is saying. Suppose we knew beyond any possibility of doubt that we are immortal, that the finality of death is the greatest of our illusions. Suppose we knew that death is simply a change of worlds, as an Indian chief once said, and that when we die we enter another reality, like this man looking beyond the familiar world.

Here are two contrasting statements about the experience of death. The first is by Stephen Hawking which reflects the materialist beliefs of science — beliefs which are usually presented as incontrovertible truth: “Brains are like computers. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken-down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.” (source: The Guardian)

The second is from the great Indian sage Rhabindranath Tagore: “Death is not extinguishing the light but putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.”

Which of these resonates with you?

Einstein said: “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift. The rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society which honours the servant and has forgotten the gift.” Perhaps we need to recover the gift.

Cosmos, tree, ladder and light bulb

All of us are climbing an evolutionary ladder leading to greater and greater consciousness and understanding, symbolised in this picture by the light bulb on the left of the tree. The evolution of our consciousness is far from complete. Cosmologists are giving us a revelation about the staggering size and beauty of the visible universe and its hundred billion galaxies. But there is another revelation offered by the mass of evidence that has been gathered over the last 150 years about our survival beyond death. We have constructed a kind of firewall, closing our minds to this evidence, confining ourselves to a prison of our own making. This is quite simply absurd. Beyond the death of the body, an incredible vista of life is waiting to be discovered. The more we explore it, the more prepared we will be for our own death and the more we will understand about the meaning and value of our lives here, in this dimension of reality.

Bosch painting

In the fifteenth century, when he painted this around 1480, Hieronymous Bosch knew about the near-death experience and the tunnel leading to the light. He knew that we would be met by someone from the spirit-world as we leave this world. People at that time still believed in angels and Bosch painted one accompanying the soul as it moves through the tunnel into another dimension of reality, another state of being.

How would the perspective on all our lives change if we knew that death is like a second birth — a birth into a world that is as real and tangible as this one, where we are reunited with family and close friends, and can explore, grow and use our creative gifts with a freedom that many of us do not have here? How would we feel if we knew that the journey through death leads us into a vastly expanded life in countless invisible dimensions or worlds beyond this one?

Brian Cox

Only 4% of the universe is visible. What lies in the other 96%? What are dark matter, dark energy, dark flow? Brilliant cosmologists like Brian Cox ask: Are we alone in the universe? But he is thinking in terms of the visible universe and searching for life on planets similar to our own. He is not aware of the presence of invisible worlds and the fact that we are not alone but surrounded by orders of reality beyond imagining. Quantum physics has shown that we are not separate from what we observe. The huge implications of this discovery have not yet sunk in. Brian Cox is gazing into a universe which is alive, conscious, and the ground of his own consciousness, a universe he is part of.

Paul Davies quote
“The Universe is not a collection of objects, but is an inseparable web of vibrating energy patterns in which no one component has reality independently from the entirety. Included in the entirety is the observer.”

Net of Indra – blue fractal image

This takes me on to something that is called the Net of Indra in Hindu and Buddhist cosmology. The silken strands of Indra’s Net extend across space in every direction. At every intersection of the Net is a luminous pearl and the surface of every pearl reflects every other — with the process continuing to infinity. The pearls themselves represent the souls of animate beings — our souls and the souls of all life forms. Within each pearl, there is a boundless universe of images and experiences. All souls are connected to each other through the Net which is illumined and sustained by the light and love of the divine ground. Through the unifying nature of the Net all life is One.

The Flower of Life

I connected the Net of Indra with this beautiful image known as the Flower of Life. This image was found in Egypt, burnt by some unknown method into a wall in the temple of Osiris at Abydos. It has also been found in India, in Turkey, in Israel and many temples in China and Japan. It sits beneath the giant paw of a guardian lion in the great temple in Beijing. It is an image of the basic geometric pattern of all life in the universe, a pattern that replicates itself at many levels, like a hologram.

Second Image of Flower of Life

Here is a second, modern image of the same exquisite geometric pattern of overlapping circles and equilateral triangles. As you draw the circles, they create the shape of the flowers. The triangles are hidden within the design. The Flower of Life, like the Net of Indra, is an image of what we are part of — a fantastic, living cosmic web of life. And that web is the ground of our own consciousness.

Hathor

Indigenous (shamanic) cultures knew there was no death. They were in touch with the ancestors. They knew about travelling to other worlds. Greece had the Eleusinian Mysteries that gave people trust in their survival. Long before Greece, Egypt had a very detailed description of the journey of the soul after death. The Goddess Hathor, shown here holding the emblem of her healing power, was thought to receive the souls of the dead into her cosmic womb which was identified with the Milky Way. This extraordinary civilisation was as aware of the Afterlife as of this life. People lived in awareness of the presence of the unseen world and the goddesses and gods who inhabited the starry cosmos and descended each day into their temples. Far from seeing death as extinction, the Egyptians saw death as a journey towards awakening to cosmic life and the invisible dimension of reality that they called the Dwat.

The Dwat

This is a picture of the goddess Nut as the night sky. The stars are her outward visible form but the space between her arms and legs encloses the Dwat or the invisible realm of the cosmos. (Jeremy Naydler) The Book of the Dead and many books that concern the Underworld are guides to entering ever more refined states of spiritual awareness in this invisible realm. When an Egyptian left his physical body, his ba or soul might cling to the body, unable to free itself from identifying with his former life and he might therefore be bound to this earthly plane. But with the help of the gods he could find release from this state as he moved into a finer body called the sah or sahu. This was a shining body of light. In its fully awakened state this body of light was represented by the akh, symbolised by the crested ibis. In this light-body, the soul could be carried to the higher cosmic planes associated with the sun and the stars. The Egyptians described this experience as “Coming forth into the Day”.

Kabbalah (picture from cover of Warren Kenton’s book on Kabbalah)

There are four other cosmologies besides that of Egypt that speak of multiple hidden worlds and dimensions and were in contact with them: the Vedic, the Sufi, the Tibetan and the Jewish mystical tradition of Kabbalah. Kabbalah recognises four interconnected worlds or planes of existence, set out as a Tree of Life, each one containing many more worlds or dimensions. This beautiful painting of the Tree of Life shows four sections, each in a different colour. The white section at the top stands for the divine world that is called the World of Emanation. The red section at the bottom stands for this material world. The two sections in between are called the World of Creation and the World of Formation. They transmit the light emanating from the divine source, eventually bringing our material world into manifestation. Everything in this world is the reflection of its prototype in the higher worlds of finer vibrations. Everything is sacred because it is contained within the divine ground. Hence the kabbalistic saying, which actually derives from Egypt: “As Above, so Below.”

Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

Like the Egyptians of 4000 years ago, the Tibetans are a shamanic culture and are aware of the fact that death is a transition to another level of reality. Sogyal Rinpoche tells us in The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, that “All the greatest spiritual traditions of the world, including Christianity, have told us clearly that death is not the end. But despite their teachings, modern society is largely a spiritual desert where the majority believe that this life is all that there is. Without any real or authentic faith in an afterlife, most people live lives deprived of any ultimate meaning.”

Sogyal’s book contains a wealth of advice on how to help a person through the process of death, how to offer support to the soul who suddenly finds himself in another world, totally unprepared for that experience, how to guide the soul towards what Tibetans call the Clear Light of the Void. And he asks us to reflect on the time of our transition so we are prepared for it and not frightened by it. He tells us to focus on what Tibetans call the Clear Light of the Void at that time.

The Tibetans, as you know, believe in reincarnation. What is less well known is that reincarnation was once part of Christian beliefs until the Emperor Justinian in 533 AD forbade any mention of it. He also ordered the closing down of the Platonic School in Athens that had lasted for a 1000 years. Thus the teaching about the nature of the soul as developed by Plato and Plotinus, two of the greatest philosophers of the ancient world, was almost lost to Christian civilisation until the time of the Renaissance. But it was not lost to Persian and Islamic civilisation because the ruler of Persia invited the teachers from the Platonic School to teach in Persia, in a university situation near the modern city of Basra. When the Arabs conquered Persia, they did not destroy these universities and the great learning and manuscripts they safeguarded survived. (see Europe's Debt to Persia by Minou Reeves)

In the Renaissance the idea of the soul had a brief flowering, reflected in the magnificent art of that time. Then, with the Reformation and the scientific revolution that followed it, a purely secular philosophy came into being which glorified the rational mind and claimed that the only reality was this material world. Although the Romantic poets brought it briefly alive, the soul was increasingly forgotten, as was the existence of other worlds.

Reincarnation and karmic responsibility
So many questions, so many injustices, can never be answered or corrected in the context of one life. So many close relationships are left hanging in the air. One brief life bounded by the fear of impending death enormously increases anxiety, greed, the desire for power and the fear and pain of loss, especially if we are told that death is the end of consciousness. The fear of death and the desire to ensure our own survival leads us to kill others without the awareness that in doing so, we are injuring the great web of life which connects each one of us to all others. I have put this picture in red because of the blood we continue to shed and the wars we continue to become involved in. We reap what we sow, both as nations and as individuals and seem to be largely unconscious of this fact.

Blake

This is Blake’s visionary painting of Jacob’s dream. For thousands of years shamanic cultures have known that there is a ladder of connection between this world and the unseen reality which permeates and interacts with our own. The greatest spiritual teachers of all cultures have testified to the existence of this reality, have experienced the higher dimensions of it. Some may even have come from them. Only by cleansing the doors of perception, as Blake advised us to do, can we become aware of the presence of these transcendent worlds.

Major sources of Documentation
The evidence for our survival beyond the death of the body has been carefully examined by a number of distinguished people who were interested in finding out the facts. One of the most important testimonies comes from a book called The Supreme Adventure by a distinguished scientist called Robert Crookall (1961 and 1974). He analysed a vast amount of material about our survival from every country and continent – from Brazil, from South Africa, from Tibet, from Europe, from India and from Australia. He found that all accounts were consistent. There are seven main sources of evidence for our survival after death:

1.Tens of thousands of OBE’s and NDE’s
2.Communications through high-level mediums from people who have died.
3. Direct experience through clairvoyance, clairaudience and deathbed visions.
4. The out-of-body experiences of shamans and remote viewers
5.The testimony of cardiologists including Dr. Pim van Lommel of the Netherlands – Consciousness Beyond Life: the Science of the Near-Death Experience, published in 2010.
6. Hypnosis, dreams and the holotropic states recorded by Stanislav Grof, M.D. and Hal Zina Bennett in The Holotropic Mind and by Christopher Bache in his Dark Night, Early Dawn, who describes his experience of an incredible field of personal, collective and planetary memories.
7. electronic voice phenomena (EVP) and instrumental trans-communication (ITC)

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
Now I would like to talk about Elisabeth Kübler-Ross who was one of the greatest pioneers in opening up this subject. Like the stunning impact of Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring in 1962, which alerted us to what we were doing to the Earth, the publication of her book On Death and Dying in 1969, tore away the veil that had shrouded the subject of death. She was a doctor and a psychiatrist and almost single-handedly, helped by her strong personality as well as her extensive clinical experience, she transformed attitudes towards death and the care of the dying.

Her later books, particularly On Life After Death (1991) kept the subject before the eyes of the public and, thanks to the rapid dissemination of her ideas through the media as well as many workshops in different countries, led to many thousands, if not millions, having a greater trust in their own and their loved ones’ survival after death and to far better care of the dying.

Many of her dying patients told her that their NDE’s and OBE’s gave them trust in their survival and their reunion with loved ones. Increasingly fascinated by these accounts, she reviewed the case-histories of over twenty thousand people from all over the world and every cultural and social background, most of whom had had NDE’s and death bed visions. Some had returned to life after being declared clinically dead. To her, the death of the physical body was like the shedding of a worn-out casing or cocoon, releasing the ‘butterfly’ of the soul into life in another dimension. These thousands of testimonies convinced her that there is no such thing as death: death is an experience of transition to another dimension of reality.

With a fierce and passionate strength she tried to bring her vision through into a culture which denies death and treats old people with shocking indifference. She concluded, through her experience of working with the dying for many years, that “Death is the final stage of growth in life. Only the body dies. The self or spirit is eternal.”

Summary as suggested by the evidence:

1. We are immortal and it is possible that we retain our individuality.
2. There are literally millions of unseen worlds, planes or dimensions inhabited by countless billions of souls. Some reincarnate here. Others don’t.
3. there is no specific heaven or hell but there are states of being which are comparable to these. The words “Summerland” and “Shadow Lands” are often mentioned.
4. It is not so much what we believe in but how we live our lives here that draws us to the plane we will inhabit there. No saviour accomplishes our redemption for us. We save, redeem and heal ourselves because we have the innate capacity to do so and because we carry divinity within us, as part of the innate divinity of all life.

The Three Orders of Reality

Many years ago when Roger Woolger and I were speaking at a conference in Cambridge, he gave me the transcript of his talk. It was called “The Presence of Other Worlds in Psychotherapy and Healing.” In it he drew a diagram of three circles representing three planes or orders of reality and put in the terms from different religions that relate to them.

1. the plane of spirit, of pure light beyond form; angelic intelligences. Identified with nirvana
2. The intermediary plane of subtle forms, that I will call the soul-world.
3. the plane of earth or material reality. Identified with samsara

Within the different planes of spirit and soul are many, many worlds but they all interpenetrate and interact with each other and with our world. We may recall the saying of Jesus: “In My Father’s House are many mansions.” Time as it exists in our world does not appear to exist in those worlds. Nor does gravity act in the way it does in our world. We have to imagine an existence without the physical body where we are able to move freely and instantaneously. The great Sufi scholar Henri Corbin called this plane of reality the Imaginal World. “The Imaginal World”, he said, “is a perfectly real world preserving all the richness and diversity of the sensible world but in a spiritual state.” (This plane is called Alam-al Mittal in the Sufi tradition)

We need to imagine the spirit and soul planes of reality filled with countless concentric belts, spheres or zones of matter far finer than the composition of our world and varying in vibratory frequency. Billions of souls inhabit these spheres or zones, attracted to the vibrational level that relates to their spiritual development. In these spheres or zones there are varying levels of higher and lower worlds, both angelic and demonic. Both of these can influence us here. Christianity in the Middle Ages was aware of nine celestial orders and Chartres Cathedral was built to incorporate that knowledge. (It was also supposed to have nine towers but this plan was abandoned because of the difficulties of realising it).

Underlying and permeating this plethora of worlds is the light and love of the divine ground which emanates from the highest world and animates and sustains all worlds, all levels of reality. What separates them from each other and makes them invisible to each other is the faster or slower vibrational rate of each level, world or sphere.

The cosmic ground of being is an immeasurable ocean of light and love. We are all the embodiment, the creation of that love. Light in the higher worlds does not come from the sun but from this ineffable source of light. The closer the zones or spheres are to the source, the more radiant they are. The beauty of these higher, inner or finer zones is indescribable. Our world is permeated and sustained by this cosmic light and love and but we cannot see it or feel it until, with meditative practice and in our dreams, we become aware of it.

Electro-magnetic spectrum map

Just as there are different frequencies on the electro-magnetic spectrum, so there are different levels, worlds or planes on the spectrum of invisible reality – from the lowest level of vibrations to the highest. The electro-magnetic spectrum can help us to understand the existence of these different vibrational frequencies and the states of being corresponding to them.

A communication from the Intermediary world says: “Our world is composed of matter as real and definite as your own, but that matter vibrates at a higher rate, consequently it is difficult for people in our world to manifest on yours. The principle of cooperation between the two planes is what we desire to establish, for this principle of cooperation is an essential condition for the development of the consciousness from your level of vibrations to those that are higher and more in keeping with the spirit’s deepest longing, more in harmony with that process that is working for the ultimate and absolute destiny of the evolving spirit of man.”

Here, clearly expressed, is the idea of an evolutionary intention for humanity. ( Randall, Frontiers of the Afterlife, p . 66)

Three Bodies
Each of us has several bodies corresponding to the three orders of reality:
1. We have a physical body for this material world.

2. We have a soul-body within or, some say, surrounding the physical body, sometimes called an etheric or astral body, composed of much finer particles than the physical body but resembling it exactly. At the point of death this soul-body emerges from the physical body and is connected to it by a silver cord. Death ensues when the silver cord is severed from the physical body. This soul-body can move freely; it can create form through thought and imagination alone. It communicates telepathically.

3. Thirdly, we have a spirit or light body or bodies of ever finer particles that correspond to more enlightened states of consciousness that are, as it were, gradually unveiled as we move closer and closer to the light of the divine ground. When we discard the physical body our soul body comes into its own and we discover to our surprise that we are not dead but very much alive in a ‘body’ which has the same features as our old one but in a more youthful and healthy state. In this soul-body we can see and hear as before, only more intensely. We have instantaneous access to the thoughts of others as well as to places or people whom we wish to see or communicate with. To some extent we can visit other planes of that subtle reality but we cannot visit the higher realms of the spirit world for very long until our soul-vibrations are attuned to the finer vibrations of that plane of reality.

Those who don’t realise they are dead or who cling to the memories and habits of their earthly life may remain in the denser, darker regions known as the Shadow Lands because of the harm they did to others or to themselves or because of their fixed beliefs. Our culture encourages addictions of all kinds and when they die, people may remain trapped in these addictions. But with help from those in higher spheres they can move towards the light if they choose to do so. Still-born children and children who died young are cared for by loving adults and are eventually reunited with their parents when the time comes for them to make the transition.

“When any individual, on earth, or here, omits doing something that he feels and knows he should do, the whole creation feels the loss. Whereas when we do something that adds grandeur and stature to life, the whole created universe gains from that action. It can make you shiver inside to know and appreciate how far-reaching a thought or deed or word of any person can be.” (Betty, The Afterlife Unveiled, p. 94)

Prototype of the Forms in this World
The forms of the intermediate soul world and the higher spirit world are prototypes of the forms of this world, only more beautiful and extraordinary. (see Plato’s Theory of Forms) In these worlds are mountains, oceans, rivers and lakes; rocks, trees and flowers; animals, wonderful birds and exquisite butterflies. (see poetry of Thomas Traherne) Everything is as real and familiar to the inhabitants of these worlds as the forms of this planet are to us. But there we don’t need to eat, to earn our living, to procreate. There, we can move about freely in our soul or spirit bodies and so we don’t need concrete roads, cars, trains, aeroplanes. We don’t need oil or electricity. We can communicate telepathically by thought alone so we don’t need mobiles. Above all, we don’t need money or banks because we can create the houses, furnishings and gardens we would like to live in with the imagination alone.

There is plenty to do in these worlds. We can study whatever interests us, grow things, imagine, invent, discover and generally develop ourselves as well as help those lost in denser, darker regions to move out of them. Here are houses, gardens, temples, amazing cities, schools, wonderful universities and libraries, places for scientists to experiment, for artists to create, for teachers to teach, for musicians to play instruments. Beautiful music is one of the features most often commented on. Music can apparently create form. There are hospitals where people can rest as they adjust to their new environment. New discoveries can be made which can be communicated to scientists on earth if they will listen.

Dante gazing across stream

This is Blake’s painting of Dante gazing across the river at Beatrice standing in the winged chariot. What does it feel like to move from one reality to another? Here is a description from a near-death experience which is included in a book by Dr. Marie-Louise von Franz called On Dreams and Death which suggests that when we die we move into a field that vibrates at a faster rate than our own:

“I was moving very quickly toward a bright shining net which vibrated with a remarkable cold energy at the intersecting points of its radiant strands. The net was like a lattice which I did not want to break through. For a brief moment my forward movement seemed to slow down, but then I was in the lattice. As I came in touch with it, the light flickering increased to such an intensity that it consumed and at the same time, transformed me. I felt no pain. From then on everything was different. The whole thing was like a transformer, an energy-transformer, which transported me into a formlessness beyond time and space. I was not in another place but rather in another state of being.” (On Death and Dying, p. 146)

The Subtle Body

In 1919 George Mead, who translated many of the Gnostic documents, published his Doctrine of the Subtle Body in the Western Tradition. A new edition was published in 2005. In the introduction Mead says that there is and always has been an esoteric tradition in the West, as well as in the East, concerning the ‘subtle body’ of man. This would seem to correspond with what is called the soul in the Christian tradition. “The underlying conception makes good its claim to be one of the most persistent persuasions of mankind in all ages and climes.” Mead anticipated that physicists would one day discover the existence of subtle energy fields. Rupert Sheldrake’s hypothesis of morphic fields and morphic resonance is one discovery that takes us closer to understanding these fields. (recent audio lecture on his website, www.rupertsheldrake.com The Science Delusion)

The Names of the Subtle Body

There are many writers of earlier times who speak of a subtle, ethereal or etheric body, a radiant, luminous or shining body, a starry body; and, in the Tibetan tradition, a diamond body. St Paul spoke of a resurrection body. In the sixteenth century, an alchemist who goes by the unforgettable name of Ruland the Lexicographer, wrote these wonderful words: “Imagination is the star in man; the celestial and super-celestial body.”

The Great Work of Alchemy

The aim of the Great Work of Alchemy was and is the creation of an immortal “body of light”, the integration of body, soul and spirit and the conscious reunion with the divine ground. The white and red roses symbolise the 2nd and 3rd stages of alchemy, known as the Albedo and the Rubedo.

The Hymn of the Pearl

One of the most beautiful descriptions of the subtle body is The Hymn of the Robe of Glory or Hymn of the Pearl as it is also known. Believed to be written by a Gnostic called Bardasanes, who lived in Edessa in the third century AD. and originally translated by Mead, it tells the story of a man taking leave of his father and mother in the heavenly realms, his descent into materiality, his lapse into forgetfulness of his divine origin, his being awakened by an eagle carrying a letter from his parents, his seizure of a pearl from the jaws of a great dragon and his return to the source from which he came, where he is finally clothed in the ‘robe of glory’ and received into the Kingdom. These beautiful words describe his meeting with the exquisite robe of the ‘body of light’.

My bright embroidered robe,
Which, with glorious colours;
With gold and with beryls,
And rubies and agates
And sardonyxes varied in colour…
And like the sapphire stone were its manifold hues
hastened that I might take it.
And my love urged me on
That I should run to meet it and receive it;
And I stretched forth and received it;
With the beauty of its colours I adorned myself
And in my royal robe of brilliant colours
I clothed myself
And ascended to the gate of salutation and homage. (see The Robe of Glory by John Davidson)

Six Stages of the Near-death Experience
1. Feelings of peace, bliss, intense happiness. No more pain
(see YouTube video of Ben Breedlove “I will never forget the peace I felt”)
2. Separation from the body — Sense of weightlessness — like taking off a diving suit.
3. Going through a tunnel – sometimes a rushing, roaring noise
4. Seeing a bright light and feeling a magnetic pull towards it
5. Someone coming to meet us, a close relative, or a being of light. Feeling of being embraced by love
6. Restoration to perfect state of health – eyesight – hearing – limbs, even those who have had MS or Motor- Neurone Disease. Return to body if time for passing over has not yet come. Sometimes a life review – awareness of all we have done to others.

“As quietly as the dawn meets morning, the separation comes. Out of the housing of the flesh, the inner body emerges, and it is welcomed by those who have gone before. There are mid-wives on the other side, waiting to assist with our birth into that other dimension. This is the second birth, so like the first, except that all the knowledge, individuality and spirituality gained in our earth life is retained, and we live on in the fullness of our mentality and strength as before. Dissolution neither adds to nor subtracts from the sum total of our knowledge. The inner body in which we have functioned, we shall still function in for all eternity.” (Randall, p. 11)

Near the end of her book On Life After Death, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross describes her own experience of the light and love of the divine ground. “It started,” she writes, “with a very fast vibration, or pulsation, of my abdominal area which spread through my entire body and then to anything that my eyes could see – the ceiling, the horizons outside of my window, the trees, and eventually the whole planet earth. It was as if the whole planet was in a very high speed vibration, every molecule vibrated. At the same time, something that looked like a lotus flower bud appeared and opened into an incredible, beautiful, colourful flower. Behind the lotus flower appeared the light that my patients so often talk about. And as I approached this light through the open lotus flower, with a whirl in a deep, fast vibration, I gradually and slowly merged into this incredible unconditional love, into this light. I became one with it.”

Soon afterwards, she wrote, “I experienced the greatest ecstasy of existence that human beings can ever experience on this physical plane. I was in total love and awe of all life around me. I was in love with every leaf, every cloud, every piece of grass, every living creature.” There was, she says, “no questioning the validity of this experience, it was simply an awareness of a cosmic consciousness of life in every living thing, and of a love that can never ever be described in words.”

Quote about consciousness being eternal

“Nothing is more important for our well being than to know that when we die we move into another reality that is as real and vitally alive as this one. Consciousness does not die with the death of the body; consciousness is eternal.”

Fra Angelico Angel

The great spiritual teachers of the world, as well as artists, poets, musicians and mystics have given us glimpses of the eternal worlds but for too long we have paid little attention to their message. All have emphasized the importance of the heart.

The Heart

This is perhaps the most momentous time in our 14 billion year history. The soul of humanity is going through a great transformation and the focus of this transformation is the awakening of the heart. The heart is our bridge to the cosmos. The heart could help us to unite the two worlds of our experience — the visible and invisible worlds — and begin to live our lives in awareness that there is only one life, one reality, one consciousness and we are all, thrillingly, amazingly, part of it.


List of Websites

www.mellen-thomas.com ( for an extraordinary account of an NDE)

Books: See list on Victor Zammit’s website for a much more complete list of authors.
*The Afterlife Unveiled – Stafford Betty 2011
*Frontiers of the Afterlife – Edward C. Randall reprinted 2005
*Frances Bates – Testimony of Light
Dr. Robert Crookall – The Supreme Adventure (rather difficult to read because so concentrated)
Margot Grey – Return from Death 1985
Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross – all her books but particularly the last two: Death as the Final Stage of Life and On Life After Death
Raymond Moody – several books including Life After Life
* Dr. Pim van Lommel – Consciousness Beyond Life: the Science of the Near-Death Experience 2010
David Fontana – Is There Life After Death? (very long and dense) 2010
The Undiscovered Country – edited by Harold Bayley 1918. Well worth trying to find
Kenneth Ring – several books
Peter Fenwick – several books
* highly recommended, particularly Dr. Pim van Lommel because he approaches this subject through his clinical experience

Anita Moorjani speaking about her near-death experience and her book Dying to be Me can be heard on YouTube

 

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