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Beyond Life


The question of life after death is one that continues to intrigue and mystify. The theories of existence beyond life on the material plane are many and varied. Some believe there is nothing beyond the physical life, while others believe that we continue to survive as a spiritual beings. Most of us have been taught to believe that the way we live our lives on earth will determine whether we will live blissfully in heaven or suffer eternal damnation in hell. Yet we continue in our quest to determine whether life continues beyond the physical realm. There are those who believe that the answer lies in belief itself. Knowledge that life exists beyond this plane of existence would alleviate the fear of death and comfort those suffering the loss of a loved one.

So the search continues for some sort of tangible evidence of life after death. Most people agree that some part of an individual's being does survive bodily death, namely the soul. But what constitutes the soul? The spirit or soul is thought to be perception, thoughts and feelings that make up the individual. Down through the ages, people have sought to prove the existence of life after death and to communicate with those on the other side. They have enlisted the help of psychic mediums and tried a variety of techniques to make contact with the spirit world. Some of the methods and psychics seem to be valid while others have proved to be no more than parlor tricks performed by skilled deceivers.

Those who have had near death experiences do not seem to need any further confirmation of survival beyond death. The experiences all have similar details with the individual describing a tunnel, the bright light, meeting a figure that is interpreted by the experiencer as God, usually encountering a relative and being told to go back because their time on earth is not yet done. Those who have had near death experiences also have no further fear of dying. They come back with a more positive outlook on life, a greater knowledge of their purpose and a reassurance that life does not end with bodily death.

Reincarnation is another possibility of life after death that suggests that we are reborn many times. Through the process of reincarnation we are thought to live many lives until we reach a certain level of attainment. Death has been described as the sum of all we are and have been and is only a transition, more of an altered state of consciousness. Death might be thought of as a progressive climb up the spiritual ladder of attainment. Some experiencers of near death have reported similarities to a dream state. One element that lends credence to the theory that fragments of the mind survive death is that material surroundings are created by mere thought, indicating that some sort of imaginative process is at work.

The same beliefs a person had in life seem to be present in the afterlife. It has been speculated that what we believe to be life is only an illusion created by the human mind to make our experiences more understandable. We have to wonder if this could be true. It has also been said that what we perceive to be as living is actually a type of sleep and that at the moment of death we awaken from our sleep-like state to the true experience of life. Is death merely an extension of the physical life? Does death reveal the true inner self as the physical garment is shed? The outer layers of matter and materialism may need to be stripped away before the inner self can truly be realized and eventually progress to its fullness. Then why the need for life in the physical plane? Existence on the physical plane would be necessary to learn through experience in order to evolve. Perhaps death is nothing more than a revelation of the true self and, in dying, the real journey begins.

Darlene Zagata is a freelance writer and columnist for the print publication Moon Shadows Magazine. She is also the author of "Aftertaste: A Collection of Poems" and "The Choosing." Her work has been published extensively both online and in print. For more information visit her website at http://darlenezagata.tripod.com or contact Darlene at darzagata@yahoo.com


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