One of my favorite Shakespeare quotes goes as follows: “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Going back as far as I can remember, I’ve pondered where we as beings came from before birth and go to after we die. After all, if you think for a moment about our brief physical existence, as Shakespeare also wrote, strutting and fretting our hours upon this stage, don’t you wonder what’s behind the veil? There was a moment in Woody Allen’s film “Hannah and Her Sisters” where his hypochondriacal character Mickey thinks he’s dying, gets a clean bill of health, and then becomes ecstatic–until moments later he realizes that his stay of execution is only temporary, that we’re all going to die. He then goes on a temporary quest to find out what it’s all about, reading all the spiritual literature he can. Well, that would also be me. I’ve been obsessed, given the fact that I’ve not lived the life I’d have scripted out for myself, with finding out what it’s all about. My life often reflects the sentiment Daniel Stern expressed in “City Slickers” when he said that he wanted his life to be a “do-over.”
Do we have souls that survive physical death and move into an unseen dimension or are we literally our bodies? I’m inclined to lean heavily on the former rather than the latter and the reason is more than simply self-serving wishful thinking. Let’s face facts, in a very real sense, if we don’t survive physical death we won’t even exist to be upset about it. If we do survive it’s an adventure I can imagine being very excited about. Having no fundamentalist religious beliefs that instill fear, I have no worries about how I’ve lived my life and any possible negative karmic consequences.
My hypothesis that we survive physical death is based on many things I’ve read, bizarre synchronicities I’ve experienced, appreciation for the complexity and brilliance of all things alive (if it’s Darwinism, what creative force put Darwinism into place?), and most convincingly, amazing accounts I’ve read and listened to from those who have shared near death experiences. I fully acknowledge that surviving the deaths of our bodies seems too good to be true, and that hypothetically the dying brain can conjure up imaginings of life after death as a way to comfort us in our fear of non-existence, but what convinces me beyond a reasonable doubt that we aren’t our bodies are accounts of NDE’ers reporting what they witnessed from outside their bodies during surgery or above accident scenes or of hearing conversations that went on way away from the physical space their bodies were located at. Many neurosurgeons are totally baffled by such NDE’er accounts, especially since during heart stoppage for only a few seconds, the brain stops functioning. Such doctors don’t talk about these phenomena readily since they have no explanation for how it’s possible and at the same time they don’t want to lose credibility with their scientifically-oriented peers. They routinely ignore the writings of various doctors such as cardiologist and writer Dr. Pim van Lommel, NDE experiencer Dr. Eben Alexander, NDE experiencer Dr. Mary Neal, Dr. Raymond Moody, and many others who’ve been brave enough in their search for the truth to ignore the peer pressure to remain silent.
Scientists often dismiss the notion that we aren’t our bodies before even examining the evidence, which has given rise to the de facto religion of scientism, which means, according to Wikipedia, “the universal applicability of the scientific method and approach, and the view that empirical science constitutes the most authoritative world view or the most valuable part of human learning–to the exclusion of other viewpoints.” The credo of scientism is “if it doesn’t fit with our existing world view and we can’t reproduce extraordinary claims in a laboratory, it must not be given any credence.”
For my money the exploration of inner space should be the next frontier of a more enlightened science. If only NDE accounts were followed up by open-minded scientists who don’t automatically discount all anecdotal evidence as nonsense, perhaps we’d be headed to a place where people wouldn’t have such a dreaded fear of what lies beyond. Frankly, science may never even get there since it might be wholly inadequate for material science to prove an immaterial reality.
I challenge readers to explore YouTube, listen to and watch as many NDE accounts as you can, and come away at least open-minded about the possibility of there being more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy. Check out channels like NDEAccounts, IANDSvideos, Anita Moorjani, Raymond Moody, Near Death Experience: Healed by the Light.