Friday, May 29, 2009

When people wonder if the personality
survives death, the answer is that
the personality doesn’t even survive
while we are alive. We are not
the same person we were five, 10,
or 15 years ago and it would be a
sorry state if we were.

Our personalities are constantly
evolving, transforming, growing.
If the question becomes “Does
the individual survive death?”
the answer is “What’s an individual?”
In reality what we call “me” is
different from day to day, week to
week, year to year.
Which individual are you talking
about, the young person who is in
love and full of romance and desire,
or the child who was full of innocence
and wonder?
Perhaps we must wait for the one who
is senescent and dying. Which one
would you survive as?

Perhaps none. Vedanta tells us
that the afterlife brings the opportunity
for a creative leap. As our choices
continue to expand, we will experience
a new reality that is far richer than
the conventional notion of heaven.

The biggest difference is that in
the afterlife the input of the five
senses no longer stimulates us.
The furniture of the mind has been
cleared away, leaving a space that
is both inside and outside ourselves.
It is full of possibilities.
Anything can be born there. In this
dream space we realize the transience
of all things and the immensity of
the unknown.

The stage of “crossing over”–the temporary
realm preceding the full experience
of the afterlife still feels personal.
People report seeing their deceased
friends and relations, for example.
The dying person continues to see
the room in which his body lies, and
memories and associations keep tying
him back to physical existence.
The possibility of taking a creative
leap has yet to be realized.

  • Adapted from Life After Death-The Burden of Proof,
    by Deepak Chopra

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