What we don’t know

February 15, 2016

We don’t know what we don’t know.  I love this thought, because for me it sums up the question of whether or not there is an afterlife, a place we go to when we no longer walk the earth.

If we haven’t died, ourselves, we have no first-hand knowledge of the afterlife.

If we HAVE died and come back, and if we had what is called a near-death experience, we may have first-hand knowledge, after all.

If we have faith, there is no question. Whether it’s floating on clouds with harp-playing angels or something else, we know there’s something after this life.

Now, there are lots of physicians and scientists who believe that near-death experiences are simply hallucinations of a dying brain.

But there are others who are not so quick to discount the idea that consciousness doesn’t reside in the brain at all. They understand that knowledge, like everything else, is evolving. And that truly, we don’t know what we don’t know. Instead of looking to disprove life after death, they’re studying the phenomenon with rigorous scientific method, fascinated with the exploration.  Physicians who have had near-death experiences of their own are the most interesting to me, because most of them completely changed their point of view after they experienced near-death.

Even though I’ve had many experiences that point in the direction of life going on after this life, I still wish something unequivocal would happen.  Everything, it seems, is open to interpretation and I’m not a pushover.

Occam’s Razor

….says that the simplest explanation is usually the best. So, I tested it against that text that originated from my friend’s cellphone a full week after she died and when her cell phone was in an empty house. I’m pretty sure she sent it to let me know she’d arrived on the other side, sense of humor intact. But maybe, in some weird way, she or someone else had accidentally scheduled it to send. Of course, I know darn well that she had no earthly idea how to schedule a text. It is possible that someone else scheduled it after she died, but not probable. So the simplest explanation is that she sent it from the afterlife.

And then there was that day in San Diego when I was listening to a lecture about funeral rites and my father “appeared” on my right. I didn’t see him but I knew he was there. He spoke, and I didn’t hear him, but I know what he said. And the most amazing feeling of love washed over me again and again for some minutes.  There are alternate explanations. Maybe I was day dreaming and dreamed it up. Maybe it never really happened.  But I know I wasn’t day dreaming. I know it happened and I wrote about it, HERE. So the simplest explanation is that my father visited me with a message of love from the other side.

What more proof do I need?

We believe we are a technologically advanced nation, don’t we? And yes, we can do amazing things, like make music play off a thumb-sized device, build a driverless car, fly to the moon.

But every era thinks it is technologically advanced–just think about the telegraph, the telephone, jet planes and the cotton gin. (What elementary student DIDN’T learn about Eli Whitney and his cotton gin?) And we are not as advanced a society as we will be in 20 years. Or 50. Or 100, assuming we don’t bring about the world’s demise before then.

The truth is so simple

…that Occam, himself, would agree:  We don’t know what we don’t know.

My mind is open.

My experiences tell me there is life after this. But I’ll continue to go beyond faith alone, seeking opportunities to expand my own knowledge of what comes next.  I’ll still be looking for convincing evidence. I’m just a curious girl, for one, but for two, at this age my real-time knowledge of afterlife will come sooner rather than the later of my youth.  I’d like just a little more certainty.

I’m interested in your thoughts on life after this life. And then, there will be a future post on this topic. After I wrote that I’d like just a little more certainty and that I wanted something unequivocal, I got it, courtesy of my recently passed girlfriend. You’ll be reading about that one day soon.



27 comments on “What we don’t know
  1. Jayne says:

    I think the soul can do many things. The physical body is gone but really who knows? Just have to live for the now and enjoy. Ever wonder if this is actually hell? A thought…interesting post, would love to hear more discussion on this…

  2. T.O. Weller says:

    I believe we all know there’s more beyond this body/life, via our collective unconscious, and that our experiences in time and place, language/culture/geography, dictate how we articulate that knowing.

    Myth, religion, and the stories we tell each other and ourselves are all rooted in that knowing.

    Now science is slowly getting it too. The more they explore the implications of Quantum Physics and the quantum field, the more they are finding it impossible to deny that consciousness exists separate and apart from our physical form and is its creator.

    LOVE this stuff Carol!!

  3. I am a big believer, most of the time. Then I start to doubt myself when I hear others say how crazy it all is. I don’t have any recollection of experiences so clear as yours, but things will happen like, I will be thinking of some loved one who is gone for no apparent reason and a bird will sit on my windowsill for an inordinate amount of time, just looking at me . And I will talk to the bird like it’s my loved one. And it feels so right, I just go with it. I believe that we need to open ourselves constantly to the unknown and if we can put fear aside, we will have luscious experiences like you are so lucky to have had.

  4. I do believe in an afterlife and angels in our lives while we are here. I had a crazy scary car accident in 2000. I was flying down the Garden State Pkwy in my VW Cabrio with the top down. As I was passing a car my right rear tire blew completely off the wheel and I went up into the air rolling over a few times before landing in the grassy median. The entire time I was airborne I heard the most calming voice (female) saying over and over, “You’re going to be fine, you’re going to be fine…”.

    I landed on the right rear quarter panel and was trying to get out of the seat belt when suddenly the median was full of people trying to help me. I was wandering around looking for my phone to call my husband and a man came and touched my shoulder, put his thumb in the middle of my forehead, (the third eye, if you believe that sort of thing), and said, “You need to lie down. I’m the head of surgery at Shore Memorial and you need to lie down.” There were 2 paramedics who were on their way home from Philly, a nurse who asked if she could call anyone for me, and it was overwhelming. The nurse called my daughter in law who was waiting for me at the shore.

    When the paramedics got there I was put on a backboard and strapped in. The head of the crew was a woman who was clearly in charge! She stood there saying, ‘Where’s my bird? Where’s my bird, dammit!” Suddenly I realized she was talking about a helicopter and I said, ‘Please don’t take me in a helicopter, I’m afraid of flying.”
    She looked down at me and said, “Honey, if you were going to die today you’d be dead already!”

    Made perfect sense to me!

  5. Jayne says:

    We can’t honestly believe we are the most evolved in the universe… There is a matter plan.. Not sure what it is though..

  6. Wonderfully thought- (and feeling-) provoking post, Carol. I truly believe there is something beyond this life as we know it. I have no idea what that is, but just have this sense that our unique energy doesn’t simply cease when our physical bodies die. Maybe it’s wishful thinking but, as you remind us, we don’t know what we don’t know. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

  7. Joan Stommen says:

    Wow! Well done, Carol…I’ve never stopped and wrote down my clear, seemingly real messages from the other side; but now I intend to! I’m happy knowing my husband is still taking care of me…but I’m curiouser and curioser because of you and your writings and research! Can’t wait to read the next installment.

  8. I am a big proponent of “we don’t know what we don’t know,” which can be very frustrating. Sometimes we just have to have faith that everything will be okay.

  9. Sheryl says:

    I always say “we don’t know what we don’t know;” perhaps a bit too much. And that’s because it’s true – there is so much we don’t know, which is good in a way, I suppose, as it keeps our minds open to all the possibilities.

  10. Helene Cohen Bludman says:

    I waver back and forth, from believing to not believing. But I do keep an open mind and love to hear about others’ perspectives on this.

  11. Tamuria says:

    There is a certain kind of wonder in not knowing what happens after we die – our last big adventure, or maybe our first. I’ve had a few gentle nudges from people whose bodies have gone and I know a few people who have had determined shoves from those who have died. It adds to the mystery.

  12. andrea says:

    oh if i didn’t have the love of God to trust – He gets me through it all

  13. Roz Warren says:

    I LOVE the idea of receiving a text from the Afterlife! As an atheist I don’t believe that’s possible — but I’d love to be proved wrong.

  14. MELISASource says:

    I believe in an afterlife, and I believe we can see glimpses of it. There are signs all around us of something greater than ourselves.

  15. Mary says:

    Carol, I truly believe that the text you received was meant to be delivered to you when you received it. I am so strong in my faith and there have been incidents in my life that make me know there is something beyond us here on earth. As far as hell, maybe that’s where we are now.

  16. Lizzi says:

    Fascinating article, and I love the experiences you’ve had which seem to suggest an afterlife. Whatever their heritage, those feelings generated moments of comfort and joy for you, and I can only think that your loved ones who had passed, would want that for you 🙂

  17. Alana says:

    Right now, I am in a place where I am questioning – why? What is the purpose of all this, if there is no afterlife? But some experiences I’ve had make me “almost” sure there is – something after death. Just one of these: Years ago my husband and I were driving on a two lane rural road in Oklahoma and, going around a curve, someone was suddenly in our lane heading right towards us. My husband swerved to avoid the other car, hit the shoulder, lost control, ended up spinning around on the highway and we finally came to a stop on the shoulder of the other side, facing the wrong way. All the time while we were spinning (and if another car had come upon us I probably would not be writing this) a voice was telling me “you are going to be all right”. And we were – neither we, or our car, were damaged. And then there was the phone call a few weeks after my father passed way…oh yes. I look forward to your future installments.

  18. Jennifer says:

    About six years after my father died, I was going through a rough patch and was missing my dad. One morning I woke up to a text that said “Hi sweetheart, I was thinking of you. Love Dad.”

    It was from a number I didn’t recognize, but it made me feel so much better.

  19. Estelle says:

    I am a believer and have many stories of protection coming from the other side. Thank you for this post.

  20. I believe there is something after this life, but have no idea what. I too am open to suggestion to find some answers. I have faith, but it’s not as solid as I’d like it to be. My grandmother was so confident in her faith and it made her passing so much easier for her and even those around her knowing she was looking forward to her heaven.

  21. Those who don’t know grace, don’t know they don’t know grace, until they know grace.

  22. I believe in an afterlife but I have no idea about this. I look forward to your future installments.

  23. Lisa Rios says:

    Such a wonderful thought & I loved reading every part of this beautiful post. I think the Faith we have in God is what keeps us going no mater what happens around. I definitely believe in after life & I think the way you live here will lead to a better after life.

  24. A.J. Sefton says:

    I taught REligious Education for a few years and the age range of students meant that there were a lot of philosophical debates around such issues. I often came away from the class sure I had the answer and then…not so sure.

    There was a lot of footage of people’s experiences that could not be explained by logic or science.
    Interesting post.

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