What happens to us after this life? I’m dying to know….
My consciousness… that presence behind the eyes that processes my thoughts and experiences–does it drift away and go somewhere else? Does it turn off with a small blip like the screen of a computer? Is it like sleep where the consciousness relaxes and simply lets go so it can live in its dreams? Does it ever awaken again?
As I get older and the physical brain atrophies will there actually be less identity or will it still be there fully formed, gradually imprisoned a small increment at a time, subject to slower blood flow and fragile brain cells ? When the body comes to a full stop, will the mind be released to return to its complete version, or will it simply fire one last synapse before it’s gone?
What happens when a body comes to a sudden violent stop? Does the consciousness disappear instantly, or does it wander about like someone who lost everything when a tornado destroys her home in an instant?
When I see the body of a loved one at a funeral, I find myself watching for the chest to rise and fall, allowing myself a small hope that maybe it has all been a mistake and the person is still alive. It’s nearly impossible to accept that a life simply ceases. But there doesn’t seem to be proof one way or the other about an afterlife unless we accept the accounts of people who were technically unalive and then brought back. Is there really a bright light for us to go toward where people wait to welcome us? What about those of us who are sure we’ve seen loved ones after their deaths? About half of those surveyed say they have experienced this. Do we discount those reports simply because we don’t understand how it could be true?
Is there another state of existence? Those interested in quantum physics have been discussing the idea of different dimensions existing within each other, but it’s becoming passé these days. Others say that our individuality fades into a collective consciousness. Perhaps that’s what Jesus was trying to say when he prayed, “May we all be one, Father… I in thee, and thee in me, and they in us.”
Or is it all just a physical and chemical thing, where the life impulse dies when the body succumbs to the law of entropy and becomes integrated with the rest of the earth, and the only reincarnation is when the atoms come together again in a reformation of life? I have to admit that’s kind of amazing.
All I know is that this life is passing quickly which sometimes fills me with an urgency to make everything count while I still exist. Other times, I remember to be less urgent and simply enjoy each moment. Often, I am filled with relief to know that one day I’ll be finished. I will have done my best but now I get to stop. And if it is a matter of simply blinking out of existence, that’s okay with me.