Wednesday, July 20, 2011

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, ten, or
fifteen 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 was 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.

Heaven is an end point, whereby definitions, 

all transformation, stops. Souls lounge around in a
blessed state that sounds, frankly, like eternal
assisted living. Why should consciousness become
inert? In the afterlife survival would be meaningless
unless we continued to respond.

Ghosts and spirits have much to teach. Every former
self you have left behind is a ghost. Your body is
no longer the body of a child. Your thoughts, desires,
fears, and hopes have changed. It would be terrible
to walk around with all your dead selves holding on.
Let them go.

Even the self you had today is a ghost. What they
have to teach you is that death has been with you
every moment of your life. You have survived thousands
of deaths every day as your old thoughts, your old
cells, your old emotions, and even your old identity
passed away. Everyone is living in the afterlife right
now. What is there to fear or doubt?

Ghosts are as real as dreams. But you are in the here
and now, not in the past. Seeing yourself in this
way will give you new courage.

  •   Adapted from Life After Death: The Burden of Proof,
by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 2006).

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