I recently had a conversation with a friend on the subject of fear of death and what happens when we die. I think readers here may find the discussion interesting so I am posting it below. I've edited it to remove personal information and to make it easier to read. I've inserted some text that I only referred to in the conversation and I added a few things I wish I had said during the conversation. I also reordered some of it to put similar subjects together. So, it is not a verbatim transcript, but it is representative of what we discussed and it conveys much of the same information.
I would like to thank my friend for asking these questions and permitting me to post our conversation here. I think there will be other people who have the same questions and reading this may be of some help to them. I could not have produced this post on my own because I don't know what questions other people have, so I am grateful for my friend's participation.
What happens when we die? A conversation about fear of death.
- An Overview of the Afterlife
- How Do We Know About the Afterlife?
- What Should You Do In This Life To Make Sure You Will Be Okay in the Afterlife?
- Preparation for Death
- Who Will We be with in the Afterlife?
- Connecting with Loved Ones Who Are in the Afterlife.
- Fear of Death.
Q. Hi, how are you? I need a little help please.
A. What's up?
Q. I'm scared of dying. Can you tell me about the afterlife and is there a hell?
A. There is a lot of information about the afterlife that comes to us from people who have had near-death experiences who have visited the afterlife and returned to tell us about it, and there is also a lot of information from spirits who have communicated through mediums.
There is no eternal damnation and there is no free ticket into the highest levels of the afterlife (i.e. heaven) because of faith. Your religion, your beliefs or lack of them doesn't matter. What determines where you go after death is your level of spiritual development.
There are various "levels" in the afterlife and spirits at a similar stage of spiritual development are together in the same level. Each level has different areas within it. Assuming you are an average person at an average state of development, after death you will go to a place in the afterlife that is similar to the environment you lived in during your earth life. An American will go to a place that looks familiar to Americans. A person from a primitive, non-technological society will go to a place that looks familiar to them. This is to help you feel comfortable as you adjust to being a spirit. You will have a body, there will be natural areas and also buildings. You will also find yourself among people who are similar to you. This is to prevent conflicts. As spirits develop they become more tolerant and associate with more and more different types of people. But spirits are telepathic. You can take average incarnated people and mix them up in nonhomogeneous groups and they can get along. But if they were telepathic and everyone knew the cynical stereotyped thoughts of everyone else, they might not get along so well. This segregation into levels of the afterlife and regions within each level occurs more through natural laws than judgment. You "gravitate" to the place where you belong. The higher levels are nicer, they are more brightly lit, the flowers are prettier. A person who is nasty and likes being nasty and wants to do more nasty things, will go to a lower level in the spirit world where he will be among other nasty people and they will have the opportunity to be nasty to each other. It is not a very nice place but it is not punishment. He stays there only until he figures out that being nasty is not really such a nice way of being and then guides will help him to develop so he can rise to a higher level.
You can find out more about afterlife from these links:
- Near-death.com has information about the afterlife brought back by people who have had near-death experiences. See the section on Notable NDEs.
- Spiritwritings.com has free e-books about the afterlife as told by spirits communicating through mediums. Scroll down to the section: Future Life in the Spirit World.
I also have some articles on my blog and web site that provide more information:
- Evidence for the Afterlife
- What you need to know to prepare for the afterlife: The principles of Spiritualism
- What is it like in the afterlife?
- You can do no wrong, what does that mean?
Q. And what about people who say there is a hell?
A. Well, it depends on what you mean by hell. Eternal damnation is not true, you can change your ways anytime you choose to, here or hereafter, and start working your way up to the higher levels in the spirit world. As I said above, in the afterlife, people find themselves among people who are like themselves. A nasty person will find himself among nasty people and it will not be a very nice place because it is full of nasty people. But it is only until he figures out that being nasty is not a very nice way to be. And when he wants to change, guides will come to him to help him advance. But there is no punishment in the afterlife. For example, you won't go to hell just because you did or didn't practice a certain religion, or because you did or didn't believe a certain doctrine. For example, when I was taking classes in mediumship, I communicated with a spirit who had committed suicide and he was not in any type of hell in the afterlife. Suicide doesn't solve any problems, you cannot escape your karma, but they don't send you to hell for it.
Q. What about reincarnation? I don't believe in it.
A. There is a lot of evidence that reincarnation occurs, but some people believe that it is actually different members of a soul group having different lives not the same individual reincarnating. Personally, I do think we reincarnate, but I suggest that you do not change your beliefs because of what I think, there are good arguments either way. The links below discuss some of the evidence for reincarnation and the reason for uncertainty about it. I recomend that you learn about the subject and make up your own mind.
Q. Is there anything to be afraid of?
Q. Am I still going to be myself?
A. Yes you are going to be yourself. I and many other people have communicated with spirits through a form of mediumship called mental mediumship. When we do this we have mental contact with the spirits and their personality comes through. Spirits are people. When someone gets a reading from a medium they often find the spirit use words and phrases that were characteristic of them in life. When I was taking classes in mediumship, during a reading, I would sometimes use gestures that the spirit used in life. Your personality survives death. Spirits are people with normal human personalities.
Q. And from what you know? You know ... is it better there?
Yes, it is better in the afterlife. You don't have to slave to make a living to get the necessities to life. You take classes, help other people, if you like music or art or gardening or whatever, you can do that also. The atmosphere is permeated with love. When you are near God, you feel love. That is what they mean when they say "God is love", when you perceive God, it feels like love.
Q. If you die and then go on to the spirit world, doesn't that mean that everything that happens during your life is meaningless?
A. No, because you learn things from life that help you to advance in the afterlife. The earth is a school which prepares us for things we will do later in the afterlife. There are many levels there and things to do. When we finish with the earth school, there is a whole universe out there to explore.
Q. How do you know this is all true?
A. Many people who have near-death experiences visit the afterlife temporarily and then return to their bodies. When they regain consciousness, they can tell us what they learned about the afterlife. Also, spirits communicating through mediums have told us about the afterlife. These communications corroborate each other. I posted the web sites where this information can be found above.
I have also taken classes in mediumship and I have experienced communicating with spirits. I have written about this on my web site and blog:
Q. But how do you know you are not wrong?
A. I explained, the source of the information comes from many people who have had near death experiences and spirits who have communicated through mediums. Near death experiences are real experiences (more here) that people have when their body is dead (more here, and here, and here ). None of the attempts by materialists to explain near-death experiences actually explain the phenomenon. I've done a bit of mediumship myself so I trust what other mediums have done. If a medium can tell a person things about their deceased relatives that they would have no ordinary way of knowing, that indicates they may be somewhat reliable and there is reason to take seriously what they say about the afterlife.
Read some biographical books by mediums, such as John Edward or George Anderson. When you understand what they experience, it will make things clearer.
Q. Were you ever scared of dying?
A. When I was in my 20's and just out of school and started working I was a afraid. But somehow I got involved with work and life and I don't remember exactly why or how or when but I stopped worrying about it. At that time I was a skeptical atheist.
Q. What made you believe?
A. I didn't have any philosophical objections to belief. I was just ignorant of the evidence. When I read a book about a medium, it seemed genuine so I started to read more and what I read made sense to me and the authors seemed sincere and credible. Then, when I took classes in mediumship, it became real to me at a much higher level
Q. Did you ever have an experience that removed all doubt?
A. Communicating with spirits in class and having my classmates confirm what I was perceiving about their dead relatives was pretty amazing. And to do it once a week month after month puts you in a frame of mind where you have no doubt. And getting readings in class from the other students and during Spiritualist church services is also very convincing.
After my father died he came to me. I was lying in bed one night when I felt his presence in the room, and I felt him touch me on the shoulder. It wasn't like a dream it was like it was real.
Knowing about other smart people who believe that consciousness exists independently of the body helps too. My web page on Eminent Researchers discusses many Nobel prize winning and other brilliant scientists who believed the evidence that consciousness exists separate from the physical body.
Q. What should you do to make sure you will go to a nice place in the afterlife where you will be happy?
A. During your life, desire to be a good person and try to be a good person. By good person I mean be nice to other people. I don't mean follow some religious doctrine or religious rules. And you don't have to become a slave to helping other people and you should respect your own limits and boundaries and needs also. Just live a normal life, take care of yourself too, but do your best to be nice to people.
I think meditation helps me to live more in accordance with my spiritual values, but it is not something everyone has to do. Near-death experiencers are not coming back from the afterlife and saying, "Everyone has to meditate". They are saying that you should just try to love other people and be nice to them.
Q. Do you need to be religious?
A. You don't need to be religious. But if you like religion, be aware that there is no "wrong" religion. The religion that brings you closest to God is the best religion for you. What the sources of information about the afterlife say is important is that you try to be nice to people as well as you can. There are many circumstances that make life hard, some beyond our control, so just do the best you can. If you desire to be a good person that is the most important thing. Everything else can be corrected and atoned for, but the most important thing is to desire to be good.
Q. What if you are really scared of dying, does it matter? Does it mean you'll go to a bad place in the afterlife?
A. No, it won't cause you to go to a bad place. As people approach death, spirit guides prepare them for crossing over. They have visions of the afterlife and deceased family coming to visit them. These phenomena are called Death Bed Visions
The more you learn about the afterlife, the more your mind will be prepared, the easier the transition will be because it will be easier for spirits to help you. So it is good that you are asking these questions now. The knowledge should make your transition very easy when the time eventually comes for you to cross over. Understanding the principles of spiritualism is all anyone needs to know to make their transition easy.
Q. Will we be with our relatives? My aunt died 3 months ago. Am I going to see my aunt one day?
A. It is very possible that you will meet your aunt in the afterlife. Usually when you die you are met by your family and friends that have preceded you and they will help you adjust to your new life as a spirit.
Q. Are you afraid?
A. No, I think the afterlife will be much nicer than the earth life.
Q. But doesn't it bother you that you will be alone?
A. I don't expect to be alone, why do you ask that?
Q. What if you are not in the same level as your friends and family?
A. But we have friends in our own level, and we have our soul group. We don't remember, but most likely some of them are people you know in this life. You can also visit with spirits in other regions of your own level and spirits in other levels if they are not too far above or below yours.
Some of the evidence for reincarnation indicates that spirits incarnate together with different relationships each time. One time you are the mother, another time the son, another time a family friend. Before you incarnate, you meet with your spirit friends and plan your future lives. You will know the same people in life and in the afterlife.
There will also be spirit guides, more advanced spirits that have advised you in the past, who you will remember when you cross over.
Q. But i don't like changes!!!! And I want to be with my friends and family for good!
A. You will have friends who make progress at the same rate as you. Some of these are probably people you consider part of your family now. As you advance you will make more and more friends. Eternity is a long time. You will want new things to do.
Q. And what about love?
A. Spirits love each other as friends. They don't have to keep to marriages because earth relationships are only for the earth life. But if two or more spirits want to stay together they can. One spirit can delay advancing to a higher level while waiting for a less advanced friend to catch up. Some people say spirits have something like sex but there isn't a lot known about it.
Everything in the earth plane corresponds to something in the spirit world but the earth version is a pale shadow compared to what it is in the afterlife, including love. One time when I was in mediumship class, the spirit of a woman communicated through me. She wanted to tell to her boyfriend, who was one of my classmates, that she still loved him. She did this by causing me to feel the love that she felt for him. It was very powerful. All I could think of was, "I wish someone loved me that much." I tried to tell my classmate, "She says she loves you ... a lot", but human words cannot describe the feelings of pure spirit.
Q. Is it going to be okay? What about my aunt?
A. I don't see any reason to think you or you aunt will have any problems. Is there something in particular that concerns you about her?
Q. She had problems with anxiety for many years.
A. I am sure she is much happier now that she is disconnected from her physical brain.
Q. Do you think she can still see me?
A. Very probably. If you want to tell her something just talk to her.
Q. Do you think she knows that I still love her and miss her? I don't feel her presence.
A. Yes, she most likely knows. But you can tell her if you want to. Spirits also like it if we pray for them, something positive, for example, that they may be happy in their new environment and among people who love them.
If you want to try to communicate with her, have a look at this article: How to Communicate with Spirits. You don't have to try it, but you might find it helpful to understand some of the ways we can communicate with them.
If you are interested, these links are about my experiences communicating with spirits:
Q. I'm so Jealous that you aren't scared. I cant do anything because all I can think about that its all going to end.
A. When you get a chance, read some of the material I suggested and it might help you feel better.
Q. The thing is that there are a lot of scary stories so how do you know what to believe?
A. A lot of scary things happen to people while they are alive. Do you live your life in fear?
Q. I know that a lot things happen here, but I don't know about the afterlife so that's what's scared me ... if its going to be worse than here.
A. The people who have near-death experiences and the spirits who communicate through mediums say that it is much, much nicer in the afterlife than in the earth life. Often, near-death experiencers don't want to come back to the earth, they would rather stay in the afterlife. They say the atmosphere is permeated with love. Those that do want to come back usually feel that way only because they have children who need them.
I went to a workshop once on trance mediumship. That is a different form of mediumship than I was learning in my classes. In trance mediumship, the spirit comes into the body of the medium and speaks in his own words through the medium. I was a new student at the time so I was not allowed to participate I could only observe. But most of the other students were well known to me because they were in my mediumship class and were members of my church. When they each took at turn at trance mediumship, the spirits who were communicating through them were asked by the teacher of the workshop if they wanted to come back and live another life on the earth. None of them said they would like to do that. They all preferred the afterlife to the earth life. It is much nicer there than here. I knew these students, I saw what happened, they were not hypnotized or faking.
All of this is a lot to absorb at once, particularly if you haven't come across this information before. You can't change your whole world view instantly. Try reading some of the material I suggested, biographies of mediums and accounts of near-death experiences. Maybe over time you will absorb the ideas and feel better. But I can only give you information, I am not trained to help you with emotions as a therapist or psychologist would be. If your fear remains, there are therapists who specialize in spiritual issues you could try. A therapist might help you with grief for your aunt as well.
Sometimes people may fear death, or experience excessive grief, or question the purpose of life, due to psychological factors and in that case no amount of knowledge about the afterlife or any answers to spiritual questions will help them. In such cases, a person might do better by seeking answers in psychology either through self-help books or seeing a therapist.
It's like when someone is afraid to fly in an airplane. They know thousands of people fly everyday and the chance of a problem occurring is next to zero, but they still panic when they think of flying. The problem is not knowledge, it is something psychological and the solution will be found through psychology rather than through studying information about flying.
I have to go now, if you have more questions send me a message and I will try to get to them later. My main suggestion is to try to read some biographical books by John Edward and George Anderson or other mediums. There are also some free e-books at Spiritwritings.com see the section "Future Life in the Spirit World". Or read about people who have had near-death experiences, try this web site: Near-death.com see the section on "Notable NDEs"
Bye for now.
Q. Thank you very much for your time.
A. You're welcome.