1. Prominent themes:
The afterlife is a place of newfound clarity.
The afterlife isn’t static. We continue to evolve and grow after we die.
Choice doesn’t end with death; it expands.
Earthly images carry us into the afterlife (we see what our culture has conditioned us to see), but then the soul makes creative leaps that open new worlds.
Who you meet in the afterlife and what you experience there reflect your present beliefs, expectations and level of awareness. Death is about transformation – an endless soul journey with the possibility of infinite lifetimes extending backwards and forwards. A soul can experience hundreds of heavens and hells. Death ends nothing. It opens up limitless adventures – impermanence. A classic east Indian view.
Heaven, hell, purgatory are not places at all. They are states of awareness. This material world we are now experiencing is simply consciousness expressing itself at one particular frequency. Elsewhere in space time, different planes exist simultaneously.
If the Earth is a dense spiritual world, there must be higher spiritual planes, known as Lokas. In the West Lokas are known as astral planes. Long ago the West gave up trying to hear the music of the spheres. In India it is believed a person with finely tuned consciousness can go inward and actually hear the vibrations of various higher planes.
In the lower astral planes we find clairvoyance, telepathy and other refinements of the five senses, as well as ghosts, disembodied souls and spirits that are stuck. Slipping in and out of material existence can be likened to traveling to outer space.
2. Part One – Life After Death – Selected quotes.
Whatever occurs at death, I believe it deserves to be called a miracle. The miracle, ironically, is that we don’t die.
“Death is our wedding with eternity.” — Rumi
The appearance of death is illusory, for the frontier where all activity ends marks the beginning of a new region, known as virtual reality, where matter and energy exist as pure potentiality.
My physical body anchors me here every moment. But the soul manages to be in this world while remaining firmly outside time and space.
Pure love exists even in the absence of a person to love. Spiritual truth needs no crusade to follow.
Our minds put us in hell, and they can take us out again.
That millions of people believe literally in this myth [the Christian myth of Satan, heaven and hell] says a great deal about our refusal to take responsibility for the afterlife.
When we become disconnected from ourselves, a sense of deserving to suffer begins. Hell is the suffering you think you deserve. When connection is repaired, we no longer believe we deserve punishment: we are back in the flow of life with all its healing properties.
Like Greek gods, Satan has outlived his usefulness.
It doesn’t take dying to go beyond thoughts and images. When someone meditates deeply enough, thoughts disappear and leave only the experience of silence.
Self exploration is the most important thing one can do to prepare for the afterlife.
Buddhism sometimes describes its practices as conscious dying. One dies to old memories, conditioning, habits and self-denial, all the things that the mind uses not to see itself.
Eternity gives you more freedom than the mind can conceive.
The first step for anyone who wants to enter the sub-worlds of consciousness is to drop one’s inflexible rules about what is real and unreal. Many cultures have viewed the barrier between life and death as permeable. We insist on making it into a wall.
Yet, to create in consciousness is our greatest gift, and what we create continues to evolve. If you open yourself without judgment to your role as a creator, you gain more freedom. Genesis doesn’t have to be a far-off event that put the universe into play. It can be a constant event that renews itself at every moment.
3. Part Two – The Burden of Proof
Is Akasha Real? Akasha – empty space is not empty at all. An invisible ether that can’t be seen or measured allows light to travel from the stars. The Zero Point Field is compared with the Akashic Field. Incorporating consciousness with science.
Thinking Outside the Brain. The concept of extended mind – the possibility of intelligence outside the brain. Again the field theory in physics. Also Sheldrake and his theory on how life could have evolved, and continues to evolve, through its own self-interacting intelligence.
The Mechanics of Creation. Emergence – the appearance of new phenomenon in nature. The idea of a self aware universe where science and spirit are blended. Remote viewing is also discussed.
The above chapters in the book have extensive discussion on the scientific cases that can be made for the existence of the spiritual matters discussed throughout the book.
4. The process of death and rebirth. This is a long summary. It provides a excellent overview of the Vedic/Eastern view so I thought it was well worth including:
Every physical body is assigned an astral body – a complete mirror of your physical body. During life the physical body provides a garment for the soul – it gives it the appearance of being localized in the material world. In death as the material body begins to disintegrate, the departing soul enters an astral plane that corresponds to its existence on the material plane, the frequency that corresponds most closely to its former life.
A soul moves according to its desire from one astral plane to another, projecting as in a dream whatever sights and people, guides and astral entities it needs for its own advancement.
All these planes were imagined by Spirit, just as it imagined the material world. The Indian word for Spirit is Brahman which means Everything. The important thing is not the name but the concept of a single consciousness that creates everything and continues to do so in infinite dimensions at infinite speed. Here on our plane we experience Spirit as matter, solidity.
The cosmos is non-local – it can’t be mapped as a location. After death we gradually stop being local. We see ourselves as we really are from the soul’s perspective – everywhere at once. This adjustment is probably the biggest obstacle any of us will encounter in the astral plane. The transformational process after death is not a movement to some other place or time – it is just a change in the quality of our attention. You can only see what you vibrate to.
Deep meditation isn’t an inert state – it is a launching pad for consciousness. A shift in the quality of attention. When a person has a near death experience and goes into the light – the journey is involuntary. In deep mediation it is voluntary.
As the gross senses become duller, the subtle senses sharpen. We still see and hear after we die, but now the objects aren’t physical. Often a dying person feels something subtle around him – a certain warmth, a faint form or sound before leaving the body. Some kind of astral contact is being made in the transition zone from physical to subtle.
At death the astral counterpart of the physical body separates from it. According to Vedic wisdom the departed soul then sleeps for a time in the astral region – an incubation period. Normally the soul sleeps peacefully. If a person dies suddenly or prematurely or has many unfulfilled desires, this sleep may be restless and disturbed.
Saints and sages have the advantage of being able to travel freely through astral planes, unrestrained by desires. Disturbed souls remain caught between two worlds, and if loved ones left behind keep calling to the soul through prayers, grief, unfulfilled love or attempts to contact the dead, the soul will continue to be perturbed. The soul is meant to sleep in the astral body as it did in the womb, and peaceful death makes this possible.
During the deep sleep of the soul between births, all the memories of past events in the physical body get impressed onto the soul, forming the karmic software that will give rise to its future life.
The period of the soul’s sleep varies according to how evolved the soul is at the time of death. The main reason for the sleep of the soul is to shed its attachments. The strength of its attachments will determine how long it takes to shed them. When the soul awakens, it can only enter a plane of existence that is familiar. If you were to enter a plane higher than your level of evolution, you would become confused and uncomfortable. Likewise, you cannot go backward in your evolution – you can only progress.
A kind of cocoon surrounds the sleeping soul. When it wakes up it sheds this shell. During the astral journey souls meet other souls vibrating at a similar level of evolution. Souls are not drifting – they are directed by love. Love is a vibration, older than humanity itself.
Depending on your level of awareness, you project your own heavens, hells and purgatories to work through on the physical plane as well as astral planes. In the astral world you simply imagine what you want and it will appear seemingly as real and solid as in the physical world. Suffering and enjoyment occur in the imagination.
The body you inhabit in the astral world is the one you have most identified with in the physical world. This is an imaginary body and you can change it at will.
Desire is still crucial after death. Evolution is really the process of fulfillment of desire. In the astral world you fulfill and refine your desires left over from the physical world.
In India someone dies after reaching the maximum evolution allotted to that lifetime – they have come to the end of what their karma can teach them.
Somehow the soul finds a set of suitable parents so it may be reborn to continue its evolution. Thanks to what has happened on the astral plane, reincarnation occurs at a higher level than where one left off.
Between lifetimes we are perfectly capable of making our own evolutionary choices for the future.
Being born means arriving at a new level of insight and creativity. The process repeats itself over and over, each time progressing to a slightly higher plane. When your karma has been worked out, you reach the maximum limit for that plane, your soul slips back into slumber and the cycle continues.
The soul is always moving upwards. Your karma sees to it that your actions will always be better next time.
By developing the ability to see clearly – becoming the witness – you will be able to have more influence on the lives you incarnate into. Most people are so preoccupied with desire that when they try to see themselves truly as they are, they see only fog or blankness.
The soul’s motivation to keep coming back to the material plane is twofold – to fulfill desires and to rejoin with familiar souls.
At a certain high level of evolution, some souls may choose to complete their path. Once a soul has reached these levels it would not normally want to take another human birth except to provide a particular service – these souls are exceptions. Buddhism calls these souls bodhisattvas – the come to serve the cause of enlightenment.
Most people are not aware of all of this. Right here and now we are surrounded by an infinity of planes. If you could shift your awareness into a higher frequency, you could be with the angels this very minute, if you so desired. In the field of infinite possibilities you exist on all these levels at the same time, but at the level of experience, you exist on only one. We all yearn for these other planes and travel to them at night in our sleep. The astral body actually leaves the physical body, remaining attached by a filament that brings it back again.