My dear friend Teresa died yesterday from complications of a rare form of cancer. She knew she was dying and totally prepared for the event. I was fortunate in being able to see her before I left on my trip to South America in early March. I was one of the few of her friends that saw her in her last days before her doctor prohibited such visits due to her weakened condition. Our friendship was unusual in that we rarely saw each other but for some reason that I can’t explain, there was just this underlying like and appreciation for each other. Unlike myself, her life path had included a very healthy marriage with children and grandchildren that loved her very much.
During my visit with Teresa, she recounted a near-death experience she’d had several years ago, where, during a heart attack and treatment in the hospital she essentially died on the operating table. During this episode, she sensed her soul floating up to the ceiling of the operating room, hovering over her body where she could see the doctors and nurses working to revive her. She was aware of what they were saying as well. I could appreciate what she was telling me, although never experiencing an out of body experience, I have spoken to souls after they’ve passed on. So there was no issue in my believing her story. She also told me about seeing the most magnificent light as she travelled very fast through a tunnel of time and experienced what she believed was God. She was told that it was not her time and she needed to return to the Earthly plane.
When she returned to her body, the doctors had no rational explanation. Her heart seemed fine and she fully recovered. But Teresa knew in her heart, excuse the expression that she was merely being given time to prepare her family for her eventual passing. However, she was also angry with God for sending her back. She felt such love that she really wanted to stay in that other spiritual dimension. For the last two years she’s really been in a preparation mode planning her funeral her last days being happy with her family knowing full well that she would leave. Thus, when the diagnosis came of cancer it came quickly without much warning but she was ready.
Teresa and her husband had gone on trips that had many happy days and she was ready; so, in her words “Don’t Cry For Me because I’m going to be okay as I know what it looks like on the other side and my departed family are there and I am looking forward to being there too. I know my family will be okay here; they will miss me but they will be okay.” So when the call came last night from the rabbi’s wife that my dear friend had departed yesterday morning, part of me was glad that her suffering was over.
I will try not to cry for you. You were a good friend and I will miss you.
Ever walk by an interesting tree and wonder about it? Old is It? Do animals live in its branches or inside part of its trunk? What stories could it tell you about people that have been walking by. Some trees are called witness trees because they’ve seen horrible events… or maybe two people got engaged under a tree. All of these are possibilities if a tree could tell you what it’s seen or heard.
What is precipitating this question for me? Recently there was a tree that fell across the walking path behind my townhome. As I stood looking at this huge brown tree devoid of leaves, essentially dead, it fell across the path, having fallen due to excessive rain, I wondered about its life.
After a heavy rain storm, I decided to get out and take a walk on my to find the path blocked by this fallen tree. For some strange reason I actually felt sorry for the tree, as it had come to the end of its life. Then I thought again. No, perhaps it was the end of its living life but in death it would provide a means of life to other creatures. Does that mean it continues on in another fashion?
Can we say the same thing about our own lives? When we end our physical lives and change our form do we continue on in another fashion and live life in another form ourselves? It might be another version of us; the spiritual version that is eternal just like the tree continues on even when it decays into bits of wood and then into bits of earth. It then becomes elements that give nourishment to plants and other living things. As we change form do we help other living things to flourish? Does the spirit inside us help others to flourish? I believe we can do so when we become spirit guides also known as guardian angels. This is when our souls choose to help others while we are in spirit form.
Just as this tree will one day provide a place for a nest for birds, a home for squirrels as well as mosquitoes or even other little creatures, we too can help other people thrive once we cross over.
Many of the world’s spiritual traditions have a concept of an afterlife where souls depart after life; not all include both a “good place” as well as a “dark place” based on the type of life one has lived. Assuming one has lived according to the ideals of the stated precepts that each of these traditions lays out, the believers may ascend to a beautiful world or heavenly type place where there is no hurt, pain, or sorrow but only joy and love. Following this line, these traditions then hold if one has not been a good follower of the “Way”, then the soul is lost to a kind of damnation with hell fire and brimstone of various sorts. This dichotomy of good and bad is based on souls having choice or free will to choose a lifestyle that is either according to, or against the various laws of the chosen tradition.
As humans, we naturally move toward what is comfortable and serves us well. If this is true, and seems to be so in my estimation, then why would anyone intentionally want to go to the bad place? Of course they wouldn’t; yet it is also true that people are human in the purest sense and just don’t always behave in their own best interest. This means that although they may know that mean behavior begets a life of trials and tribulation as well as an afterlife of more of the same… oh well… bring it on.
I have to say that the Jewish religion takes a different view of this dichotomy of worldly afterlives. If there’s a “good place” then everyone gets to go there once the prophecy of the Old Testament comes to pass – but we won’t go there right now. For this discussion, it’s what happens to those souls that don’t follow the program so to speak according to what’s really right and wrong – as in really wrong. Even within Judaism there is some disagreement, but according to those believing in Kabbalah or Kabbalists, we create our own hell – our own bad place upon death. Wow, how does this occur? The Kabbalists will tell you that upon death there is a life review; and, when the soul sees the deeds that he or she has committed with missed opportunities to help others/be of service, this is their own personal hell that’s created. So hell is not a place but more of a situation. Don’t create your own hell; do unto others as you’d wish them to do to you! hopefully, then when you have your life review their will be fewer regrets.
Several weeks ago, I attended a conference at the ARE (Association for Research and Enlightenment) in Virginia Beach on Our Soul Life. It concerned all aspects of the soul as in our current lifetime, past lifetimes, as well as how the soul moves through from one lifetime to another.
It was an enlightening conference, although this material is relatively familiar to me, since the speakers provided new and interesting information. The presentations included notable, scientific, and what I normally call left-brain (well-grounded) individuals; one such speaker was a neurosurgeon, Eben Alexander, who had an experience of dying and describes his experience into the afterlife in his book entitled, Proof of Heaven. During his approximately 20 minutes in a near death state, Dr. Alexander experienced what he called heaven prior to being revived. In his talk, he described experiencing levels of consciousness that included an ameba-like experience all the way up to sensing an all knowing and totally love being.
The next speaker was Suzanne Giesemann, a Navy officer who became spiritually receptive after the trauma of losing her stepdaughter to a freak lightning strike. She studied for in the UK to become a medium to make contact with loved ones that have crossed over and now helps others with their grief by such contact. She emphasized that not all psychics are mediums.
And yet another speaker, Greg Underberger detailed what his clinical experience with clients moving into a hypnotic state where they experienced contact with others in a “life between lives” state found to be extremely healing. Greg showed a video of a woman, who had suffered extreme trauma at the loss of a loved one, enter a hypnotic state only to advance into a state that appeared to transcend this dimension wherein she spoke with her dearly departed and in so doing, gained tremendous grief relief. She described the realm she was experiencing with eyes closed yet, to the audience, appeared to be interacting with other souls somewhere else. It was very interesting to watch and probably even more so for the one on stage.
All of the speakers together led the audience to wonder and perhaps take in the concept of life after death in a new, more believable way. I, for one, already believe in the continuation of the soul. Yet, to hear these stories described in such detail was exhilarating anyway. I’m sure that my summary doesn’t do the conference justice; that said, I hope that if you were on the edge, you might give the concepts further consideration.
On a more personal note, I’ve had my own experiences with after death communication when my father used me as a channel to convey messages to my Mom that she was not supposed to follow after him. The series of messages was healing, revealing, scary and soul developing for all those involved in both planes of existence. (The Circle of Life-A Journey Through Grief to Understanding) For more, see http://www.josanpress.com/store.html
Inspirational memoir capturing a love that extends beyond the veil of death, of care-giving, of the ravages of Alzheimer's Disease as well as a widow's restructuring her life after the only man she ever loved was gone. Buy safely via PayPal