Should I stay here? But I could not do it. It was not my world, and there was so much to be done in the others.
~Greta Wells in The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells by Andrew Sean Greer
This is how I imagine the conversation we have with ourselves at death, as we contemplate moving on to our eventual next life. Because, of course, I do believe in reincarnation.
Let me clarify: I am not religious, as in go-to-a-church-and-believe-its-doctrine. I am not Christian. Or a Jew. Or Buddhist. Or any of the major religions. No affiliation.
But I hold a deep belief in the existence of a greater meaning to life and to life after this one. Life after death.
I think about these things a lot now, especially as I study hundreds of years of writing and research about the afterlife. And while my reading has taken a good bit of the fear of death from me, it hasn’t taken it all.
Why not? I wonder. Why wouldn’t I look forward to my next amazing life with enthusiasm?
Few of us do. We fight death tooth and nail, as if our life depends on it. Even if we believe our lives are bigger than what we’re experiencing in the here and now.
And then, I realize what it is: What’s next is going to be unfamiliar. And while many of those who have visited the afterlife and come back report that at least in the first stages, our environment is more familiar than not (but in a super-real way), that won’t always be true. Because as we move through our stages of development what lies ahead is going to be strange and new, at least to our selves that contemplate it now. That makes us a little uncomfortable. Not to mention our reluctance to leave family and friends. Even if we believe we’ll see them again.
Because, truth is, we’re not really sure.
These days I’m looking at the next step as a grand adventure, entry to a world I could barely imagine, although I’m sure I knew it once. I don’t plan to travel soon, but when I do, I want to embrace the experience with all my heart and soul.
We’re here as part of our soul’s journey, but this isn’t the only part of the trip. No, there’s so much more, and as Greta Wells says in Greer’s book, there’s so much to be done in our other lives.
How about you? I’d love to know what you think about death and what comes next.
I’ve also got a few books to recommend:
The Top Ten Things Dead People Want to Tell You by Mike Dooley
Your Soul’s Plan: Discovering the Real Meaning of the Life You Planned Before You Were Born by Robert Schwartz
Many Lives, Many Masters by Brian L. Weiss, M.D.