When you die, it might be like changing channels.
Imagination will continue to do what it has always
been doing–popping new images upon the screen.
Some traditions believe that there’s a complex
process of reliving karma when you die so that as
person can learn what this lifetime was about and
prepare to make a new soul bargain for the next
The moment of death is described as having your
life flash before you, not at lightening speed as
experienced by people when they’re drowning, but
slowly and with full understanding of every choice
one has made since birth.
If you are conditioned to think in terms of heaven
and hell, going to one or the other will be your
experience. The creative machinery of consciousness
will produce the experience of that other place,
while to someone who has led the same life under no
such belief system, these images might appear to be
a blissful dream or a reliving of collective fantasies
(life a fairy tale), or the unspooling of themes from
But if you go to another world after death, that world
will be in you as much as this one is. Does that mean
heaven and hell are not real? Look out the window at
a tree. It has no reality except as a specific
space-time event being actualized out of the infinite
potential of the field. Therefore, it’s only fair to
say that heaven and hell are just as real as that tree,
and just as unreal.
The absolute break between life and death is an illusion.
What bothers people about losing the body is that it seems
like a terrible break or interruption. This interruption
is imagined as going into the void; it is total personal
extinction. Yet that perspective, which arouses huge fears,
is limited to the ego.
+ Adapted from The Book of Secrets,
+ by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 2004).