The continuing exploration of what happens after we die

June 11, 2014
Dia de los muerots

Dia de los muertos

I’m continuing my series that explores what happens after we die. Yesterday I talked about the journey I began after my mother died to to answer the question, “Where did she go?”  In yesterday’s post, I talked about how that journey took me to well-regarded mediums and afterlife investigations by Raymond Moody, MD and Gary Schwartz, PhD.

Then, I began to read everything I could. Scholars and scientists. Doctors and mediums. (I’ve included a reading list at the end of this post.)

My journey has been more than colored by my need to wrap more than my heart around the idea of an afterlife. I had to wrap my brain and my intellect around it, as well.

So, about religion. Religion is institutionalized spirituality. Some call it superstition, but I don’t. Religion is a way to make sense of why we live, I think, and what happens after. And it’s almost always culturally based, or at least was, until missionaries began traveling.

REligionblog4Now, I always believed Jesus Christ walked the earth. I believe he was a teacher and a holy man. But I never could get myself on board with the concept of “Son of God dying for our sins.” I had no idea what “accepting Jesus Christ as my personal savior” meant and further, I really didn’t think he WAS a Savior. Holy man, yes. Teacher, yes. Savior? No.

This has bothered some of my fundamental Christian friends no end. They fear I’ll go to hell because I’m not saved. That’s not what I believe.

In my belief structure, we all end up the same place. It might take some of us longer, but no one literally burns in hell. That’s not how it works in my belief structure.

When I had the chance to hear Prof. Stafford Betty speak on Heaven and Hell Redefined at the Afterlife Awareness Conference, I was super –impressed. He’s one of the world’s most significant scholars in all religions and has read all of the master works on evidence of afterlife going back centuries–finding significant consistencies in those reports.  and his talk summarized some of them.  Heaven, he says, is reported to be full of pilgrims on an infinite march, because the Divine Source wants us to evolve and perfect our souls.

I wasn’t as surprised as some of my friends will be to hear him say that reports from the Afterlife do not mention Christ as God. Jesus is revered as a holy man, but not God. There is no one and only true faith–heaven is pluralistic. The dead tell us there are many paths to Heaven. It’s not just reserved for Christians. But I knew that already.
And that it’s not faith that saves us, it’s good character.

Does it seem weird that scholars quote the dead? Yeah, it does to me, too. But why wouldn’t they communicate?

open-mindsIt sounds fantastical, doesn’t it?  But what new discovery didn’t sound that way at first?  That’s why if you really want to know what happens, an open mind is imperative. Imperative.

What I’m describing is just one tiny fraction of the information that has been studied but there is really no way that I can summarize here everything I’ve read and heard, except to encourage you to begin reading on your own and formulate your own conclusion.

Key for me was remaining open to the possibilities. Any possibilities.

Often, people who hold fast to dogmatic beliefs –or even disbelief–won’t let in any contradictory evidence or information. They deflect it because it doesn’t fit their paradigm. That wasn’t a problem for me because I didn’t have a paradigm.

I was , in fact, a blank slate, or better, a big lump of quarried marble waiting for a chisel. And slowly, very slowly, over a period of years, my beliefs began taking shape. They were evidence-based. Carved out by science. Colored with personal narratives.

It was one big stew, to switch metaphors and it’s still simmering. New ingredients are added as I come across them. I fully anticipate this will be a lifelong study, because new information comes out all the time. It’s not a static field, not by a long shot.

If you’re shaking your head in disbelief, or think I’m crazy or misguided or going to hell–but still, you’re interested in what happens after we die–I recommend you do as I did—begin to study it. Read everything you can. Have experiences of your own. Analyze them with an open and objective mind. And a critical eye—and I mean critical in the best of ways.

image_1If this is of interest to you, here’s a beginning reading list that will provide the basis for the concepts I describe. By the way, I’ve met all these authors and have even had discussions with a few of them. Please note the academic degrees these folks have.  Oh, and  yes, this series is continuing….more to come.

Life After Life by Raymond Moody, MD, PhD

The Afterlife Experiments: Breakthrough Scientific Evidence of Life After Death by Gary Schwartz, PhD

The G.O.D Experiments: How Science is Discovering God in Everything, Including Us also by Gary Schwartz, PhD

Proof of Heaven by Eben Alexander MD

The Last Frontier: Exploring the Afterlife and Transforming our Fear of Deathby Julia Assante, PhD

The Afterlife Unveiled: What the Dead are Telling Us About Their World by Stafford Betty, PhD

I’ll post a second tier reading list in the future, too.

24 comments on “The continuing exploration of what happens after we die
  1. I wonder if you would like this book as much as I do: The Laughing Jesus by Tim Freke and Peter Gandy.

    Love that image in your post!

  2. I have an open mind and enjoyed reading your thoughts on this.

  3. Hi Carol! Great links for people who are interested and searching. I will second the recommendations for Raymond Moody, Gary Schwartz, and Eben Alexander. Such interesting stories and approaches to the subject. Because life and death are two of the most AMAZING things that happen to every single one of us at some point, I am surprised when I find people who AREN’T interested in these fascinating subjects. Now I’m going to check out the other authors you recommend. Thanks! ~Kathy

  4. kim tackett says:

    Carol, I am really enjoying your approach to this subject. I am learning about you, about the subject, and even about myself. Thank you. This is the line that resonated with me (the most….as many of them did): Key for me was remaining open to the possibilities. Any possibilities.

  5. Roz Warren says:

    I believe that when I do I’m going to the same place the data on my computer goes when I hit Delete. That being said, I’ve been enjoying your posts. 🙂

    • That’s what my husband used to think until he lived with me. Then he said, “either there’s something to it, or you have more ‘coincidences’ in your life than I thought possible.” He’s now agnostic. Which is to say, open to the possibility!

    • I always tell people, say you are an agnostic. I mean, you don’t want to hurt God’s feelings, right? (or whomever or whatever). LOL.

  6. Roz Warren says:

    I meant to say when I die. Not when I do. When will I learn to proof before posting?? Sorry.

  7. Ruth Curran says:

    No one switches metaphors as seamlessly as you do, Carol! I love the depth of your exploration and your honestly and openness about the evolving process. Most of all I am so excited about the reading list! Thank you.

  8. Helene Cohen Bludman says:

    I’m fascinated by all of this and have an open mind. Enjoying this series of yours very much.

  9. I’m open, and would love to have someone visit me. My mother promised to haunt me, but I haven’t seen her yet. I’d be happy to, though.

    • I am actually just picking myself off the floor. My father (through a medium) told me last fall about something that was going to happen in someone else’s life and a few minutes ago, I found out that it has, just as my father said it would. Even though I believe this, it kind of freaks me out that he really is talking to me. Oh, and also that he is on top of this kind of gossip that he never knew in this life! LOL

  10. I’m Jewish and am always open to and fascinated by hearing about other people’s religions and beliefs. I’ve enjoyed reading every part of this series of yours, and can’t wait to check out some of the books you’ve recommended.

  11. Lana says:

    I have enjoyed reading this series so much. You’ve put into words many of my own thoughts on this fascinating subject. Thanks so much for the reading list!

  12. So how many readings would you say you’ve had and how do you tell when you’re being jerked around. How do you find these people? I have so many unanswered questions. I can’t wait to read these books and at least get a better understanding of the basics.

    • I’d say I’ve had about 40-50 readings in my lifetime. The 2 mediums I’ve seen who were tested scientifically by Gary Schwartz were John Edward (no S, just Edward) and Suzane Northrup. Hollister Rand is also excellent. She’ll be at my house to do a reading for 10 of us next month, as she was last year. Jamie Butler is another medium I respect–her skills confirmed today with something that happened. How you find them is reading and research, really. I always discount the professional skeptic websites, as they have a position, not an open minded evaluation. I was lucky in that I was able to watch that JE TV show for years, and then saw him at appearances. I know a young medium who reads very reasonably and is considered excellent; he’ll Skype read. If you want to know about him message me.

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