Birth after death

April 27, 2014
Rebirth card

From The Gita deck of inspirational cards

I first encountered the Bhagavad Gita in my freshmen religion class, when it was part of our assigned reading. I can’t say it made any impact then, but once I got to India, it came to mind again.  I bought a copy and then this deck of inspirational cards with wisdom from the Gita.

Here’s the copy on the back of the Rebirth card:

For one who is born, death is certain; for one who has died, birth is certain. Since you cannot avoid either fate, you should not lament.

Most religious traditions talk about some form of rebirth, but I particularly like the idea that like birth, death is inevitable, so why fight it?  Because, the Gita points out, we will be born again.

So many of my aging friends are thinking about their mortality. For those who have not solidified their spiritual beliefs, this is a particularly significant time. Drawing closer to the veil, we’re forced to examine what we believe.

The logical thinkers among us seek proof of life after life. I was like that, too, for a long time.  It was a long quest and proof was hard to come by. But I turned up enough evidence to solidify my spiritual beliefs in unexpected ways.

Most of us fear death because we fear the unknown. Interestingly, those who have had near-death experiences report they no longer fear death, because they’ve seen what comes next. I’m taking their word for it.

My quest for more information continues. In June I’m going to an after-life conference in Portland. The two keynoters are Raymond Moody, M.D., who started the life-after-life movement decades ago, and neurosurgeon Eben Alexander, M.D., whose near-death experience got a lot of media attention when his book describing it came out.

I watched my mother’s attempts to come to terms with her death in 1999.  At that time I was unprepared to assist or even listen, but I was aware of her thoughts.  I have few regrets about the way I supported my mother at that time, but my inability to serve as an effective sounding board for those hard thoughts is one of them.  It’s no wonder that her only appearance in my dreams contained an admonition that I should get my spiritual act together.

(So, Mom, how am I doing?)

18 comments on “Birth after death
  1. Rebirth can also happen by abandoning old thought forms. In that case, it looks like you’re striving for one of life’s rebirths. I think Mom would be happy. 🙂

  2. Diane says:

    I’d love to hear about your experiences at that conference! My Husby is presently reading Dr. Alexander’s book!

    • admin says:

      I’ve seen Eben speak, he’s interesting. But he pretty much re-hashed his book. I’m hoping this conference will give him a chance to expand on his experience.

  3. Kymberly says:

    I will be curious whether my views change with time, but so far, I believe the most I will live on after death is through memories of others.

  4. We have lost many of my husbands family members, three last year alone and I’d like to believe they are waiting to show us the way. I also believe they watch over us. I’ll be explaining more about that in an upcoming post!

  5. Puneet Kumar says:

    I am very happy to read you today. On your topic that touches the area of life which makes the life mysterious, interesting and worth living. I can say I don’t believe in God and at the same time I do believe. I am saying like this only because I want to know and experience. I tried to read many Holy books and I find only one common theme i’e human connect with God.
    As you quoted “Gita” & “life and rebirth”. I think, you will feel happy to read some preacher, thinkers and religious from India. Please read – Swami Vivekananda, Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Osho Rajneesh,
    Please see this link just to know in brief : http://gita-blog.blogspot.in/2012/03/from-deity-to-infinity.html
    Whenever I get time I read their book.

  6. Suzanne Gray says:

    I love your “quest for more information.” That’s the trick, I think. Keep searching, keep learning and whenever the inevitable comes, I think I’ll be ready.

    Great post!

    • admin says:

      yep…and more info than ever is available.Thanks for stopping by and hope you’ll do so regularly and add to this conversation!

  7. Carey Giudici says:

    The more you are able to consider yourself and other human beings part of of nature, rather than somehow standing god-like outside of it, the easier it becomes to accept that concept. The more clearly you see yourself as a soul, rather than as a physical being with your spirit as a kind of internal appendage, the more easily you can join the ranks of the animal and plant life that surround and sustain us.

    All the evidence you need, if you can see the world in that new way, is at your fingertips. Everything around us is constantly dying and becoming part of some new life. The biggest riddle, “what is life?” is one we’ll probably never be able to answer until we actually lose it … and become one (again) with the universe.

    For a life-long adventurer, death isn’t scary. It will be the ultimate adventure, since nobody really knows what to expect (or even in what form we experience it).

    To cope with my ingrained fear of “not being,” I prepare to go gently into that good night by getting past my ego and the monkey brain that keeps me feeling like a little god. Death’s going to happen in any case, so why not start getting ready for it as a party?

  8. Kelly Byrne says:

    Reincarnation is something I’ve been interested in and reading about for a little while. It’s difficult for me to grasp and support on a gut level having been raised Catholic and chosen a more universal Christianity in my adult life, without all the ties to a central religion. I’ve been taught my whole life that this is it. We get one shot. Do it right. So the idea of there being more – more lives, more chances, more experiences to live – is both foreign and fascinating. The jury is still out for me, but I really enjoy learning and I will continue to do so keeping my mind open to the possibilities.

    I really enjoyed your post, Carol.

  9. Kay Lynn says:

    My husband and I talk about death much more in the past two years after losing our last parents. We are now the oldest in the families we grew up in. I can’t wait to hear about the conference.

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