Is there Life After Death?

by mary jaksch

When a young Turkish boy named Celal Kapan first began to speak, almost the first thing he said was:

“What am I doing here? I was at the port.”

Later  he told his parents that he had been  a dockworker who had fallen asleep in the hold of a ship when a heavy oil drum fell on him and killed him instantly.

Was he remembering a previous life?

What happens when we die?

Is there life after death?

From the earliest beginnings of the human race, people have asked these questions. This week’s article is about reincarnation. Others on past life regression, near death experiences, death bed visions, crisis apparitions, and ghosts, will follow at irregular intervals.

Reincarnation

Reincarnation is the belief that the human soul is reborn into a new body after death. Many Buddhists and Hindus believe in reincarnation. Even some strands of Christianity believed in reincarnation, until the Council of Nice banned such beliefs in 553 A.D.

What do we really know about reincarnation? Is there any evidence for it?

The foremost researcher of reincarnation was Dr. Ian Stevenson, Professor of Psychiatry and Director or the Division of Personality Studies at the University of Virginia. He died in 2007 after a long, distinguished, and fruitful career. Stevenson researched cases of children between the age of two and five who suddenly started speaking of a previous life and offered details.

His research was published in reputable scientific journals. In Stevenson’s book “Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation”, he recounts the story of the Indian girl Swarnlata Misha: When Swarnlata was three, she was traveling in a car with her father and a driver. When they were in Katni, an area 100 miles from her home, she suddenly pointed and said to the driver:

“Please go along this road here. We can go to my house. We can get a better cup of tea there than on the road.”

Her father was taken aback because this area was unknown to him and to her. She then related more details of her previous life in Katni, giving her name as Biya Pathak, and describing the house in detail. She said that she had two sons and had died of “a pain in her throat”. When she was ten years old, an Indian researcher, Prof Banerjee, heard about her story and decided to investigate. He found the house where the Pathak family lived, using only Swarnlata’s description.

Everything was just as Swarnlata had described it. He interviewed the Pathak family and they informed him that Biya Pathak had died in 1939 and had left two sons and a husband. Her brother and one of her sons paid a surprise visit to the girl in order to see her and test her memories. You can imagine the turmoil they must have felt as went on this mission. She recognised her family and even knew their nicknames.

It’s hard to imagine what it might have been like for Chintamini Pandey, Biya’s husband. To meet a 10-year old who seems to be a reincarnation of his beloved wife who died twenty years ago must have been an extraordinary experience. I wonder how Swarnlata felt about all this? It must have been confusing to remember the life of a grown woman when she was only a child.

Stevenson visited her in later years and corresponded with her for ten years after this case was investigated. He reports that she grew up normally, received an advanced degree in botany, and got married. She visited her ‘former family’ in Katni regularly. You can read a candid interview with Stevenson, as well as the full story of Swarnlata here. Stevenson said of his research:

All the cases I’ve investigated so far have shortcomings. Even taken together, they do not offer anything like proof. But as the body of evidence accumulates, it’s more likely that more and more people will see its relevance.

To round off the picture, here is an article in which the author critizises Stevenson’s methods and findings.

What do you make of reincarnation? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

I plan to explore themes that may shine some light on what happens when we die in a series of seven articles that will appear at irregular intervalls. The themes are: past life regression, near death experiences, death bed visions, crisis apparitions, ghosts, and beliefs about death and afterlife.

The next article of the series is on past life regression. I’l reveal a mysterious experience of mine that could be construed as a past life regression.

Read these related posts:
Past Life Regression: Evidence of Life after Death?
What Near Death Research Reveals About the Purpose of Life
Do Ghosts Exist?

Photo by juliakoz

{ 4 trackbacks }

{ 154 Comments }

  1. Mary, yes, publish more! This is an interesting topic, and certainly one that I don’t know much about. I like how you take a balanced approach, for example by posting that link to the article criticizing Stevenson, which I’m off to read now.

  2. This is a fascinating subject. I wasn’t really sure I believed in reincarnation until I had a very vivid dream as a teenager. That dream is very, very special to me, and I believe that it may have been memories of a previous life. I wish that I could’ve remembered as much as the girl in the story, but I don’t remember anything that specific.

    When a friend of mine recently passed away, I made a conscious decision to adopt reincarnation into my belief system. Such a beautiful, vibrant soul surely must be recycled.

  3. Mary,

    I’m a Hindu. Naturally, I believe in reincarnation. I also believe that there is a natural progression of our soul through reincarnation. The more spiritual the soul, it seeks womb or a mother with higher spirituality. It’s sort of how radio works.

    Shilpan

    • victor says:

      I’ve got a question for all of those belifes out there(still trying to find one for myself) how does all these things work,they are all based on this planet and as related to this article,we are set to reborn after death in to a human,insect,animal from here,from Earth.But how could all the religions didn’t tell nothing about the outer space and all whats out there.I like to belive in reincarnation(so far it’s the best thing i found) but there are still some question that makes me think …
      Thanks anyway for this articole.

  4. Mary Jaksch says:

    @ Hunter
    A reader recently emailed me and said, “You’re so down to earth. I like that!” That’s why I was a bit apprehensive about publishing this article. My aim was to offer a wide spectrum of facts and beliefs without trying to push people into a certain way of seeing things.
    Thanks for your encouragement!

  5. Mary Jaksch says:

    @ Holly
    I’m very interested in your dream, Holly. Maybe that’s because I had a similar experience (which I’ll relate in the next installment of this series). Might you be willing to tell us more about your dream?

  6. Mary Jaksch says:

    @ Shilpan
    You make reincarnation sound like the most natral thing in the world!

    I think it makes a big difference what kind of belief system one’s family of origin had. My parents were agnostics. As a consequence I’m on one hand very open-minded and down-to-earth, and on the other hand a bit shy about ‘irrational’ beliefs.

    Your example of the radio makes incarnation sound like a very rational belief!

  7. Art Gonzalez says:

    I am a Christian, so there are two options on life after death. 1) Receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior (Romans 8, 10), and spend eternity in Heaven 2) Spend eternity on Hell. You make the choice.

    Many blessings to all,

    Art Gonzalez
    Check my Squidoo Lens at: Quantum Knights

    • jj says:

      If the creator can be satisfied with the eternal torture of his own creation then it is he who is flawed and responsible for the flaws and failures of his own making. Only a very cruel intellect would want or enjoy the eternal torture of anything.

  8. Mary Jaksch says:

    @Art Gonzales
    Thank you for sharing your belief with us.

  9. Personally, I believe in the existence of reincarnation. If the value of life is beyond measure, then it makes good sense that humanity would have a go at it more than once. That being said, this is just my personal belief. No proof on the matter.

  10. Mary Jaksch says:

    @Bamboo Forest
    I like the fact that you delicately distinguish between belief and proof. You say that’the value of life is beyond measure’. That’s lovely. Do you mean human life or all life? If it’s all life, are cats, caterpillars, and crocodiles also reincarnated in your opinion?

  11. Annie Binns says:

    So interesting – I have read many, many books about past lives and I do believe in reincarnation without having any personal experiences to share in that area. Mary, I think your down-to-earthness is more about your personality and way of relating stories rather than the topic you choose. You could write about little green men and still seem quite down to earth. So to speak. :-)

  12. Mary Jaksch says:

    @Annie
    Little green men?! Ok, there’s my next theme :-)

  13. riddim says:

    Your ego may die. By that I mean, your personal life-story does end. But awareness itself never ends. It is eternal. Never starts and never ends. A mind cannot think “I don’t exist.” Therefore, if it exists now it always has existed and forever will. Not necessarily in this universe but in some form.

    I know my beliefs are pretty out there but it’s logical to me.

  14. Jenna Smith says:

    The Universe reuses or recycles EVERYTHING. From leaves to bodies to stars…..nothing is left unused. If leaves become dirt which in turn become grass which bears grain which becomes bread for people to eat, then why would something as valuable and precious as a soul be used only once? It seems to me a soul is so ever much more important and useful than a leaf, yet many religions blow off reincarnation as a myth. I think they may do this to shelter their own frail belief system based on fear. If you know you will live again and again, then you have nothing to truly fear. And fear is the motivating factor in some religions(see Art Gonzalez’s post for illustration of this type of belief). Reincarnation simply makes sense in the grand scheme of things.

  15. @ Mary Jaksch: I meant in particular, human life. I think what distinguishes human life from animal life is the ability to choose. It seems to me, that animal life and its conduct is based mostly on instinct (if not all). Instinct is what drives an animals behavior. Human beings on the contrary, can rise above their instincts. Humans can choose to do what they know is right and best even if it’s not what they feel like at the time! That’s the beauty of a human being.

  16. Mary Jaksch says:

    @riddim
    You say, “I know my beliefs are pretty out there but it’s logical to me.” I don’t think your ideas are just pretty. The interesting point you make is that awareness – the vast mind – continues even though the personal life story may end.
    I think that’s very interesting because the reason many people want to believe in life after death is because we are so attached to our life story and don’t want to lose it. Here’s an example

    I was at the deathbed of a friend of mine.
    “I’ll miss you,” I said, squeezing his hand.
    “I’ll miss myself too,” he said.

  17. Mary Jaksch says:

    @Jenna Smith
    It’s true that nature recycles everything.

    I”m not so sure about the absence of fear in belief systems that favour reincarnation.

    A friend of mine was recently in China and was aghast at the millions poured into new temples. The reasons people contribute to such projects is the fear that might get a bad rebirth if they don’t offer money.

  18. Mary Jaksch says:

    @Bamboo Forest
    Yes, we can rise about our instincts. (Now, where’s that piece of chocolate cake I left in the fridge…)
    Another defining factor is that know we are going to die.

  19. riddim says:

    Yeah, I think you understand sort of what I’m talking about. Have you heard of Eckhart Tolle? He’s all about dissolving the ego while you’re still alive. If you really look hard at yourself you’ll realize that you are only the awareness of this present moment, not your life story.

    Which means we arent separate from the vast mind you are talking about. I’m curious. What are your beliefs on this subject?

  20. Hello Mary,

    My Wife and I have one Son. He is now 31. When he was maybe 2 (I can’t recall his exact age), we were hiking in a park here in British Columbia.

    The trail we were on was surrounded by dry grasses and Ponderosa Pines. My Wife and myself were busy taking photos.

    When we looked back to where our Son was playing, we saw that he was building what looked like the start of a camp fire. Curious, we watched from a distance.

    Bear in mind that we did not have TV at that time, and that we had not yet taken him on a camping trip, nor did we describe to him anything about building a camp fire.

    Well, on a closer look, we found that he built this starting with some hair lichen and birch bark (good fuels for fire starting), followed by twigs placed across each other so as to allow for good air flow for the fire. On the twigs, he placed larger pieces of wood. He was totally engrossed in this.

    Finally we went up to him and I asked what he was doing. He said that he was going to start a fire. I asked him where he had learned to do that. His answer was, “from before.” I asked what he meant by that. He said, “you know–from before.” I said that I didn’t know. He then said, “you know, from the TIME before.”

    Though I was beginning to understand what he was implying, I asked him what he meant by the “time before.” “Before what” I said.

    His answer was: “You know–the time before I was born–that time”

    The above account may sound a little weird, but I can attest that it is factual. There is absolutely no possibility that our Son had any previous knowledge of what he was doing.

    We totally believe that what he said was true; that he had remembered that from — the time before.

    There is no other explanation.

    Cheers,
    John

  21. Deb says:

    I’m at work and instead of focusing on the task at hand I am taking some time out to read this blog and comment.

    Reincarnation. I do not know if we reincarnate. I have no knowledge of a past life. And I am not sure that I care one way or the other.

    For me the focus is trying to live in the now. Looking at the past or dreaming of future lives, only feeds into my desire to be other than where I am.

    I also wary of how beliefs such as reincarnation – and even life after death in heaven or wherever – can be used to control and manipulate us, by either making us believe we deserve the poor conditions or injustices we face now, or by making us believe that if we accept our lot here we will be delivered in the future to a glorious comfortable life.

    Now, back to my tasks.

    I know that tr I am wary about placing too much emphasis on

  22. Mary Jaksch says:

    @riddim
    My beliefs? I don’t really have any. I’m curious though. I think dying is going to be a great adventure!

    As to awareness: The experience that awareness is without boundary is at the centre of Buddhism. That’s what attracted me in the first place.

    I keep an open mind. But, as someone once said, not so open as to let my brains fall out!

    My focus is on ‘now’. At the same time, I find that looking at death with a steady eye helps me to live my life fully. Every moment counts!

  23. Mary Jaksch says:

    @John Rocheleau
    Oh, my! What an amazing story! When I was reading it, I felt goose bumps all over my body.

    There is something very convincing about a young child behaving like that and speaking as your son spoke. As you rightly said, it seems unlikely that he would pick up such knowledge from another source. How then did he know?

    Thank you so much for your comment! It’s one thing to read about Stevenson’s research, but quite another to hear a personal story from a dad like you!

  24. Mary Jaksch says:

    @Deb
    I have it on highest authority that people who waste time at work will neither go to heaven nor be incarnated! :-)

    You say: “For me the focus is trying to live in the now. Looking at the past or dreaming of future lives, only feeds into my desire to be other than where I am.”

    In part I agree with you. However, I do think it depends on what kind of thoughts we have about a possible life after death. If we are entrapped in fear of a ‘low’ rebirth, or hope for a ‘high’ new life, it leads us away from the moment that life presents right now. And that is a great loss!

    On the other hand, when we live with the intimation that there is no past or future, and that all is vast without boundary – then each moment of life resonates in the depth with this awareness.

    Yes, it’s just this moment of drinking tea, just this moment of resting your head in your hand, just this moment of getting up, and yet… and yet…

  25. Jane says:

    Mary, I find this subject absolutely fascinating, and I would love to hear more about your thoughts and experienes on this. There is a lot of evidence for reincarnation, to be sure, but I wonder how my consciousness could get inside another being in-utero, and be born again. It is a mystery to me.

    I like to ponder on the fact that every part of us is as old as the universe, and that we will, in some form, still be around at the end of time.

  26. Mary Jaksch says:

    @Jane
    Death is a mystery. But so is a shaft of sunlight on a bead of dew.

    I hold with Prof. Stevenson that we don’t have final proof of reincarnation. What we do have is a certain weight of anectodal evidence. Each story is not strong enough to furnish proof, but together, the stories are rather compelling. Non more so than the story of John Rocheleau’s son that he kindly shared with us in the comments.

  27. Mary Jaksch says:

    @John Rocheleau
    Does your son still remember his ‘previous life’ today?

  28. Bane says:

    For the “death rate is lower than the birth rate” argument : Imagine 2 worlds . On one world (ours for example) population is growing . On the other one , either something apocalyptic happen , or system starts reducing population to maintain itself . They could say , “birth rate is lower than the death rate , where did all those souls go ? ” Also , you were dead before you got born , so there is logical possibility to be born again (it already happened once)

    — paste of my comment on SU

    cheers

  29. riddim says:

    @Bane
    I don’t think humans are the only beings in all of existence with souls. Is that what you believe?

  30. Mary,

    You asked if our Son remembers his previous life now that he is older. No he does not. It was only when he under 3 years of age.

    What struck us most about that incident was the way he was talking about it; almost like we should have known what he was referring to. As if anyone would know that. It was nothing special to him to refer to that “other time.”

    As he was growing up we went on many canoe trips into wilderness areas. I must say that he was a natural at being in the mountains. And maybe predictably, he had a particular fascination for the campfire :-)

  31. Mary Jaksch says:

    @John
    You and your wife must have been slack-jawed at his words!

    Your story ties up with Prof Stevenson’s research that such ‘memories’ surface very early on and are then often forgotten or contaminated with other stories.

  32. Eric says:

    Hi Mary I am fascinated by these children that suddenly remember some place or event that happened in a past life. One thing to keep in mind is that young kids normally don’t lie and suddenly make up things like that. I only wonder why there isn’t more interest in the work of Ian Stevenson and others like him. What are we so afraid of that we might find out?

    Erics last blog post..MTV reality show for graphic designers

  33. Mary Jaksch says:

    @Eric
    Your making an important point here. It’s a sad fact that we have to teach a child to lie, and – if I remember rightly -the ability to lie only develops at the age of three.

  34. Eric,

    You asked “What are we so afraid of that we might find out?”

    I think you have hit home with that question. It sums up why we don’t explore and embrace many aspects of reality. Life is manageable when the field of the possible is narrow. Society loses grip on it and fear rises when it expands.

    I have seen this phenomenon in society in general, as well as in friends and family, all my life. Whenever I have tried to be truthful about certain experiences, I feel the walls go up.

    Introducing concepts that shake people’s reality conception tends to raise a primal fear. It is as if their world will be overturned and they will fall off the edge if they accepted such concepts into their book of definitions of reality.

    My own childhood was filled with experiences of an unusual, frightening, awe-inspiring, and often painful nature. It taught me never to limit my conception of the possible. At the same time though, growing up like that clearly showed me that what I have experienced would be very unsettling and fearful for most people to consider — and so they don’t.

    The thing is, people are not just fearful of accepting disturbing facts, but any fact or reasonable theory that would cause them to reconsider their world view.

    It’s easier for them that way, and I understand.

    Don’t know whether I answered anything there at all, or just talked around it :-)

    John Rocheleaus last blog post..Customer Relationship Management = Job Satisfaction

  35. Di says:

    @ Jenna Smith

    I like your logic Jenna, that everything physical is recycled so why not the soul (is our soul non-physical or is it energy?). That way of looking at things has not occurred to me b4. The soul, as part of the matrix of life would surely merely re-enter the pool on physical death. Is it ever a discrete entity though? Did it ever leave the pool? Has it full access to the combined knowing of all life at any time? In a physical sense are we each diamonds on the net of Indra, but on an energetic level are there perhaps no diamonds just one huge net, not unlike how Odo, in Deep Space 9 (for Science Fiction fans) must experience becoming one with the molten sea of his people, the Founders.

    I have a very practical outlook on life and do like to see a few fairly solid leads indicating something to be true before I am willing to meet the possibility half way and throw in a bit of faith myself, so the jury is still out on reincarnation.

    To me, it has always felt rather irrelevant to the way I lead my life in this lifetime, so I haven’t tended to dwell on it too much. Karma, in the sense of cause and effect seems a more relevant focus, as I see that what I do affects people, plants, animals and the planet all in this lifetime (and beyond) and really thats enough to be going on with!

    I have a couple of Tibetan Buddhist friends for whom reincarnation is a given, and more latterly this certainty has given me reason to ponder. Given my respect for their tradition and the results that I see of their focused spiritual path, I am prodded more and more to consider the possibility of reincarnation.

    So… now there is anecdotal evidence, the recyclable nature of everything and the fervent belief of a tradition I respect. I’m getting close to that point where I can throw in a bit of faith me thinks!

    …however, I still don’t see that it is important in the sense of how we live and experience our lives now. For me it has curiosity value only.

  36. chriso says:

    I am happy in my uncertainty regarding life after death in the literal sense. When I consider the idea of little deaths, dying to attachments, then certainly there is life afterwards, a much enhanced life even.
    Despite a certain ambivalence as to the facts of life after death, I have woven an idea of reincarnation into my thinking that I find inspiring. Here it is… when I die I’ll be born again at the start of my life, back in 1973, and re live the whole thing with all its joys and sorrows and in between bits, over and over again… BLEAK EH?! (-:
    SO when I am caught in anxiety, this idea of reccurrence can be like a splash of cold water. I have a chance to diminish my suffering as I live to be kind to my future self.. Maurice Nichol writes beautifully about reccurrence and eternity in his book LIVING TIME.
    Gassho.

  37. Mary Jaksch says:

    @Chriso
    Your idea of reincarnation as living our life again and again and yet again made me chuckle. Just imagine making the same mistakes over and over and over. Oh, my!

  38. The way I see it our soul is energy, a concept like prana or ki – chi – qi. Our soul is a separate entity but we are all parts of something bigger. When we grow spiritually we get access to knowledge from prior lives and also from the combined knowledge of others.

    John Rocheleau tells an amazing story about his son and memories from past life. I do not think his son has forgotten as he got older, it is just that those past life memories are stored away.

    There is a book titled ‘You Are a Spiritual Being Having a Human Experience’. I have not read the book but the phrase itself makes sense to me.
    Namaste

    Bengt – btwendels last blog post..The Power of Your Other Hand

  39. Mary Jaksch says:

    @Bengt – btwendel
    As Prof Ian Stevenson pointed out, the memories that could be traced to a past life tend to fade after the children are 5 years old. I suppose they get overlaid with other memories. And, of course they don’t fit with life as the child experiences it.

    Whether they are still latent or not – difficult to say. Maybe all our memories still there, but we can’t recall them?

  40. Bengt says:

    @ Mary
    Around 5 years of age is when the grownup world tells us what is real and what is not. We adapt to the outside world in order to fit in.

    I do not think memories from past life get overlaid by memories from current life, they are still there but harder to recall.
    Namaste

    Bengts last blog post..The Power of Your Other Hand

  41. Mary Jaksch says:

    @Bengt
    Very true, at that age we learn what is ‘real’ and what is not. That’s an interesting point, Bengt. Just imagine what it would be like if we never learnt that lesson!

    Maybe we suppress all kinds of strange experiences because we have learned that they are not ‘real’.

  42. Bengt says:

    @Mary
    The lessons about what is ‘real’ and what is not limit our thinking and feeling. But those lessons can be unlearned. That does open up to many kinds of ‘strange’ experiences.

    Bengts last blog post..The Power of Your Other Hand

  43. Mete says:

    My take on this matter is, I guess, kind of based in my scientific education, drawn out with my spiritual feeling and rather excitable imagination, and held at arms length again by my critical post-catholic scepticism… That is, I have a picture in mind that I think I can describe in some depth, however I won’t hold myself to it because I guess I can’t give any real evidence for it, nor do I feel it necessary to prove or disprove…

    Well I feel like sharing that picture anyway ;) I think it resonates with what Di says about the net of Indra being diamondless actually. When I studied electromagnetics in university, I discovered my own particular take on understanding the whole physics dichotomy of classical vs quantum physics – e.g. the question is light made of particles or waves? The way I began to see it, light, just as electricity, can be seen as a field of energy, where the direction of that energy flow goes from higher potential to lower potentials, just as gravity pulls us from higher distances to smaller distances from the centre of the earth. When we look at an electric field and focus our attention, we begin to see what we call electrons, small particles moving with the flow of the field carrying charge – the basic premise of the theory of electrical current. But these electrons – or photons of light – are just that – points in the field where we can focus our attention. In this way it seems a little nicer to grasp that light can be made of waves and particles at the same time, as the waves are describing the field in terms of its journey while the particles are describing the field in terms of where we are looking…

    So, if anyone is still with me, thats kind of how I see it with us too. Its as if the universe were a blanket woven of one pure substance. the blanket is unimaginably enormous (and shouldnt be imagined in more than 3 dimensions ;)), and has millions of little vibrating bumps and lumps in it. these bumps and lumps make up the things that we think of as “particles” – you, me, mountains, atoms, anything that we can discern as an object in its own right, can be viewed as a bump or conglomerate of bumps in the blanket. We can look at these bumps, and we can give them names, and its all good and useful but ultimately you know, if someone was to stretch the blanket by its ends those bumps and lumps would disappear, but the blanket would remain whole and undamaged for the loss. Ultimately, you and I and anything else may be just vibrating points of the universe’s field of energy, upon whom attention is able to be focused by ourselves and others.

    All of this being the background to my ideas of reincarnation. We die, and become unseeable again – the bump in the blanket smoothes out a little, perhaps merges into other lumps around it. New lumps appear in the blanket all the time, so if a new lump appears in the blanket that overlaps some of the same position of a previous bump, wouldn’t it share some of the characteristics and memories – vibrational momentum – of that previous bump? Or be recognised (think Dalai Lamas) by other insightful bumps who focused their attention on the same spot on the blanket, despite losing the previous bump’s shape previously? Hope I haven’t overabused my blanket metaphor :D My point being, there’s no ‘I’ in ‘blanket’, and “my” memories which might be passed on to some other being after I die belong to the blanket and not at all to this particular bump in space and time… I think I’m saying that even if there were reincarnation, I still can’t see it as something personal!

  44. Mary Jaksch says:

    @Mete
    Thank you for you fantastic comment! I send you greeting from one bump to another…

  45. Liara Covert says:

    If you believe whole-heartedly in something, then you have no reason to justify or substantiate your belief. It is only when fear, doubt and other negative vibes begin to influence your mind that you are no longer content to simply believe something as true. Now, if you sense that life is about peeling the layers of what you thought was truth in order to reveal what lies underneath, well, then you experience a memorable process of self-discovery.

  46. Mary Jaksch says:

    @Liara
    I like “peeling the layers of what you thought was truth in order to reveal what lies underneath”.
    Ultimately, we have to peel away every thought about ourselves and the world.

  47. I believe in past lives. I’ve “seen” quite a number of them myself in my meditation and during lucid dreaming. How do I know if it is true? Firstly, it is an inner knowing. Secondly, I also have the benefit of having a psychic friend, who confirmed every single one that I’ve come to know. In the end, it is not the past life per se but the wisdom that unfolds which is key to my living a fuller life!

    Evelyn Lim | Attraction Mind Maps last blog post..How To Calm Down From Unresolved Anger Quickly

  48. Mary Jaksch says:

    @Evelyn Lim I AttractionMindMap
    I think you’ve reminded us of something very important: It’s not the experience that shapes a life, but how we allow the wisdom of that experience to nuture and transform our future.

  49. Joseph says:

    Mete’s comment (#43) dovetails beautifully in something that I wanted to add to this conversation. I know I’m coming late to the party but here goes…

    For years, I’ve kicked around whether or not I believe in reincarnation. Many books have been read and I’ve given it lots of thought. Usually, I come down on the “pro” side but some days I feel skeptical and don’t want to be “duped”. Also, I come down on the “con” side when my inquisitive child-self gets hyperactive and wants to know answers that our not-fully-developed brains can’t grasp. Like… Do only humans reincarnate? Can you go from a dog (for example) to a human? (Why not?) What about an ape? Can you go from a plant to a dog? (Why not?) At what point do you *have* your first soul-experience? At this point in human evolution, ARE there any “new” souls being born? If so, where do they come from?

    All of that aside, my question is “Do you think that multiple reincarnated souls can make up a single human experience?” Especially when they have overlapping bumps/lumps! And if they *do* overlap, does that create a “new” soul/energy?

    Additionally, I like Mete’s analogy of the blanket. Many years ago I decided that “god” for me was the sum of all consciousness and energy of the universe combined (at the same “time”.) Everything. Our thoughts. The rays of the sun. Our electromagnetic Energy. Gravity. Wind. Mass. etc. That’s meant a lot to me over the years.

    Wow, how did I circle around to defining god/religion?? It made sense in my head. I think I’ll stop while I’m behind.

    Great blog. I’ll subscribe to the rss feed.

  50. Mary Jaksch says:

    @Joseph
    Your comment is certainly not short of questions :-)

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and doubts with us, Joseph. It’s a rich and difficult field of enquiry.

    I think it’s important to surrender to uncertainty and not-knowing. When we do that, we can let go of what think we know.

  51. mark kollra says:

    Everything is on its way to somewhere!!!
    Death is only a small part of this giant thing we call life. Remember; whatever happens here on earth with you goes with you no matter where you go (Geographically)after we pass on into the new relm of life. And no matter what happens with your experiences here on Earth, you will live with eternal peace forever and ever. Nothing that you’ve done here on Earth – Good or Bad, life is only a learning experience, and some fun. In the BIG picture, nothing is your own fault. People are aloud to make mistakes, provided that you try not to fall over the same missfortunes all the time is to be the wiser of an outcome of your plight in the next life. Nothing is realy your fault. Were all in this big world together – mainly to do two basic things – and those are to take care of other people when needed, and to take care of yourself. It will all turn just fine in the end. And that is that in your plight of lifes’ itinorary, you will turn out to be just fine. You’ll be in Good Hands. Its not your fault. You dont have to do the best you can, just do what you can within reason. Don’t worry. It will all be OK :)

  52. […] Goodlife Zen has a post about Is there Life After Death? […]

  53. Jake says:

    Mary,
    I am only 21 years old, and whether it’s right or wrong to think about death a lot at my age matters not, I suppose. What’s been haunting me for the longest time is the idea that there may be no afterlife. I come from a family that is entirely Christian, but I am not. I am like you…agnostic and no selected beliefs that influence my life. I wish someone could understand the fear in my mind at the thought of not living past this life. It literally strikes depression in my heart. I want to be able to have some sort of afterlife, even if that means being punished for my sins (referring to Art’s comment before). I want to know that I will go on, that I will live, because frankly…I LOVE LIVING. I suppose none of us can truly say he or she knows where we go when we die, but this blog has inspired me to see all of the different beliefs congregated into one place. I was extremely inspired by your acceptance of death (not that we can’t accept it), but your lack of fear. I want to be able to not fear death, but the truth is, it is my biggest fear…and one I think about on a regular basis, even at my age at 21…I hope someday that I can have a positive outlook on death like you someday…for my happiness’ sake. Thanks for writing this blog.

    –Jake

  54. Goran says:

    reincarnation couldn’t be possible unless there are other planets with life. What happens when this planet comes to it’s end and everyone dies. Does reincarnation stop there? If it does then it never existed. Reincarnation means we die and than are reborn in someone else’s body. If there are no bodies to support us then what?

  55. PJ says:

    @Jake

    I feel like I’m in the same boat as you, in a way. I’m 22 myself and recently married, and literally in the past month I’ve thought more about death than I think I ever have in my life. It’s probably because, at the verge of starting a new family, with a wife I love more than life itself, I’ve found a happiness that I never, ever want to loss, even in death. So the thought of death, and the possibility of no afterlife, has been weighing heavily on me lately. I, too, feel a bit silly, worrying about this stuff when I’m so young, but I don’t think that makes our worries any less real.

    But about six years ago, I had an experience that, to me, proves the existence of SOMETHING beyond human out there. I was in a horrible accident, flipped the van I was driving several times and came to a rest upside down. I blacked out, and when I came to I was hanging upside down from my seatbelt in the drivers seat. I started to freak out and thrash around when–I was in shock–when someone walked up to the driver’s side door. All I could see were their shoes (I remember them clearly–they were nice shoes, loafers). Whoever it was just stood there, didn’t try to look in at me or reach in and get me or anything. Just stood there. Then, the person just said, in a man’s voice: “Calm down. Take a deep breath, calm down, and get yourself out of there.”

    I remember that clearly, and the sense of calm just washing over me–washing away my panic–is probably what I remember most. It was almost physical, like water running over my body.

    Anyway, I managed to disengage the seatbelt and fell out of the chair onto the roof of the van. I blacked out again, and next thing I knew I was wandering along the side of the highway next to the crashed car.

    The first person to reach the scene of my accident arrived less than a minute after I regained consciousness. I was still in shock, so I immediately started screaming at the poor guy, asking him where “He” went. The guy was horribly confused and just tried to tell me that there wasn’t anyone else there.

    In the shock and trauma of all that happened, I’ve forgotten a lot of what happened in that accident, but I don’t think I’ll ever forget whatever it was that helped me out of that van.

    It just seems natural to me that there’s something else out there. Sure, we don’t have any physical evidence of it–and we may never–but was there any evidence of subatomic particles before they discovered them? And think of the things that science has proven exist, but which we cannot touch, see, explain or even begin to understand (just look up Dark Matter or multiverse light particle experiments). Think of how little we know about how our own brains work.

    Even though I worry–and its terrible to worry about this kind of thing, it really weighs on you, like you said, it depresses you–it just seems natural to me that there’s just some essence of life that exists after death, that goes on. And personally, the more I examine my own life, the more I find solid personal reasons to believe that a benevolent being is out there, looking after us.

    I feel like this post is forever long, but I also feel like this last bit is relevant: a few days after the accident, we went to look at what remained of the van I crashed.

    The roof of the van had been warped in the crash, and it came down to a sharp funnel that reached halfway down the front of the driver’s seat.

    I walked away from that crash with a few scratches on the back of my hand.

  56. ricardo says:

    In another article you’ve said that life is a dot not a path…
    Then I assumed that there is nothing before or after…
    now, in this article you say that there is life after death…confuse….
    there is only oneway thought
    or reincarnation or life’s a dot…
    both can not living together

    I’d rather believe that life is a dot….
    nothing before neither after….even life

    cheers

  57. Mete says:

    @ricardo

    I like this question! For me, these two issues are completely separate.

    Life as a “dot” is not an answer to the questions of the universe, rather its a practice to live my life more fully in the present moment. Whether we look at life as a path to follow to the end, or a present-moment dot, it’s undeniable that both the dot and the path are valid viewpoints of reality – the dot can be seen in the present moment, and the path can be seen in the fact that when you go to bed on a tuesday it is dark, and then you wake up on a wednesday and it’s light outside (normally!).

    Asking the question of whether there is reincarnation or after-lives is simply curiously asking questions about the ultimate nature of life when seen as a path. And seeing life as a dot is a way to experience the colours and smells and sights of life more vividly, as they are there to be experienced!

    Well, just my two cents! :)

  58. liliana comstock says:

    my husband past away a month ago, is feel so empty miss him a lot.

  59. George says:

    I think reincarnation IS HELL and that Jesus is the savior who entered this reality to explain it and offer the escape to eternal perfect life. The Lie is that this life is THE life, when it is merely just a tree (of the knowledge of good and evil) in a vast and wonderous garden.

  60. Christine says:

    @Jake

    I had to choke back tears when I read your comment. I can completely relate to everything you wrote. The fear of no afterlife is very scary and depressing. I think the exact thing as well, I love living! It seems that everyone in my life has some form of belief system or faith that keeps them going on without fearing what might or might not be there. I wish I had this, but no matter who I talk to or what I hear, I still have this intense fear that as a result causes panic attacks for me. I’m 25 with a beautiful 5 year old daughter and a loving partner. I’m in college right now, with so much more to look forward to. But, I get physically ill when I think of not being here anymore, or even existing in some way after the body dies.

    I really do hope there is an afterlife. It’s torturous to go about my days then have a thought of not existing anymore. I feel lost in a sense, and ask myself often, what am I going to tell my child when she asks those questions about how we got here and such. Maybe this sounds irrational to some people, but it’s very real to me. I suppose I’m just seeking answers that I wont get until my time is up.

  61. Mary Jaksch says:

    Hi Jake!
    I was touched by your post. It’s wonderful that you love life so much! Even though your passion for love breeds fear about death.

    I’ve always been comforted by the fact that the people who had near death experiences all say that they do not fear death any more.

  62. Mary Jaksch says:

    Hi PJ!
    Thank you for sharing the wonderful and strange story of your accident.

    You have experienced something quite amazing. I can feel that it’s given you some inner knowledge and certainty that goes beyond reasoning.

  63. Mary Jaksch says:

    Hi Christine!
    It seems like you’re really suffering from a deep-seated fear about death. I think some amount of fear is natural and healthy. But if you have panic attacks – that’s a different matter.

    Maybe you could consider going to a therapist? I think that might be helpful.

    I would love to see you strong, happy, and enjoying life – without the crippling fear, Christine.

  64. liliana comstock says:

    nothing chance still so pain inside i lost my bestfriend and wonderful man

  65. Buz Liteyear says:

    There is no reincarnation. Only the Judgment by the Lord…

  66. Simon says:

    Hi
    This thread has really helped me out, I was extremely scared of what happens when I die, I didnt sleep properly for ages, but when I read this, im starting to believe there is an after-life, or reincarnation.

    I guess if there is a reincarnation system, every time you get reincarnated, your memories will be whiped out, but apparently some people can still remember.

    Anyway, thanks

  67. E Ramirez says:

    I’m assuming Art Gonzalez is HIspanic/ Latino. I am as well but I DO believe in reincarnation unlike him.

    I wrote a great editorial I’d like to share with you all. I wrote this while I was a graduate student here in San Antonio, Texas. I am 29 years of age and live near downtown San Antonio.

    May, 2004
    Learning from religious fanaticism can prevent future atrocities – Logos

    As we reflect back upon history, one thing remains clear regardless of one’s religious affiliation or no affiliation: More people have died in the name of God than any other way throughout history.
    Indeed, for hundreds of years, religious elites and common people have used their own religious interpretation (and passed down interpretation) to oppress based on gender, sexual orientation, religion and ethnicity. We have come to know of the atrocities that were all tied to religion such as the Holocaust, African-American enslavement, and the persecution of Jews.
    In his book, “Holy Horrors: An Illustrated History of Religious Murder and Madness,” James A. Haught chronicles a thousand years of religious hate ranging from the witch hunts, to the numerous crusades, to the Holy Inquisition, to the religious anti-Semitic influence that later fueled the Holocaust. Haught says, “Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burned, tortured, fined, and imprisoned, yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of the coercion? To make one half of the world fools and the other half hypocrites.” Furthermore, theologian Richard Rubenstein wrote that the Nazis “did not invent a new villain…they took over the 2,000-year-old Christian tradition of the Jew as a villain. The roots of the death camps must be sought in the mythic structure of Christianity.”
    We have also seen throughout history how numerous religious leaders and common people have pointed to specific passages in the Bible that have been used to validate slavery. One insightful book, “Noah’s Curse: The Biblical Justification of American Slavery,” by Stephen R. Haynes, further shows how just “one” biblical passage fueled anti-African-American sentiment over the course of hundreds of years. The biblical passage, “A servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren,” reads Noah’s curse on Ham. Ham is later identified as the ancestor of black Africans, and this particular biblical passage is just one that has been used historically to justify African-American slavery. Also many Christian clergymen throughout history were pro-slavery. Historian Larry Hise says in his book, “Pro Slavery,” that ministers “wrote almost half of all defenses of slavery published in America.” He also lists more than 250 religious men who used the Bible to prove white people were entitled to own black people.
    Similarly, Hitler and other anti-Semitic leaders throughout history have used biblical passages to validate the persecution of Jews. Here is just one passage that fueled anti-Semitism: “You suffered from your own countrymen the same things those churches suffered from the Jews, who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to all men in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last.” (1 Thessalonians 2:14-16).
    In the year 2000, Pope John Paul II issued a historical pardon at St. Peter’s Basilica regarding the Catholic Church’s prime role in the persecution of Jews for the past 1,000 years. In addition, they also released a document that named (and officially validated) other multiple “sins” on their part including the Holocaust, Inquisition, Crusades and other religious acts.
    Not surprisingly, comparable negative sentiment that existed hundreds of years ago against African-Americans and Jews, fixated on non-heterosexuals around 50 years ago during its national peak. True, much progress has been made for gay and bisexual rights. But even today, when discussing bisexuality and heterosexuality, some people are quick to (just as in history) point to biblical passages that condemn anyone who is not heterosexual.
    Earlier this year we witnessed a progressive change in history as gay and bisexual men and women fought back against hegemonic norms and married in San Francisco. With the right time to pass, it will not be long when equal marriage rights under the law will be given to non-heterosexuals; similar to the way segregation was outlawed and ruled unconstitutional in the 1960s despite such opposition.
    Still, some do not consider gay and bisexual rights a “civil rights” issue. However, Coretta Scott King, wife of the late Martin Luther King Jr., disagrees with them. In 1998, on the 30th anniversary of her husband’s assassination she commented: “I still hear people say that I should… stick to the issue of racial justice, but I hasten to remind them Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ ” I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream to make room at the table of brother-and-sisterhood for lesbian and gay (and bisexual) people.”
    Clearly, religion has also been used against women throughout history, which has solidly set the foundation for our dominating patriarchal world. One such biblical passage has been used to prohibit women from being ministers: “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak.” (I Corinthians I 4:34). Many believe this biblical passage and others like it fueled misogynistic beliefs at the time, which viewed women as merely second-class citizens. Not long after, The Women’s Suffrage Movement was a prime example of how women fought against the male-dominated world. Finally with the passage of the 19th Amendment, women got their long-deserved right to vote.
    Yes, it is true more people have died in the name of God throughout our history than any other way. So it behooves us today to not forget our history, for we may be doomed to repeat it. As we have seen through hundreds of years, indeed it has been repeated. I know I will never identify myself as a Catholic or with any other religion that is not in line with my life-changing (progressive) and liberal beliefs. However, I do believe in God very much and always will; there is a higher Creator, and I believe that our higher Creator would want us to most definitely learn from our horrid history, so that we will never repeat it again. The time is now for us to continue to fight for civil rights in all aspects. The work is never done!

  68. Will says:

    “…it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgement” – Hebrews 9:27

  69. I’m inclined not to believe in reincarnation, or any other form of life after death in which the individual soul lives on. In the end, it seems simply a way to get around, rather than overcome, our fear of death. Nonetheless, I kind of like the idea, and may change my mind about it. What I’m more interested in, though, is making life meaningful before death, and reincarnation is a useful metaphor for the ways in which we die and are reborn again and again within our lives.

    YogaforCynicss last blog post..Not Saying Anything

  70. Mary Jaksch says:

    Hi YogaforCynics!
    Thank you for reminding us that the key issue is how we are ‘reborn’ again and again within our lives.

    Each time we come back to the moment right now, we are ‘reborn’.

  71. Barry L says:

    I died seven years ago at home after an illness. While on the other side, I was flying over the hills where I went to school. A young child with open arms appeared to me crying. Then, my former girlfriend came to my house with her daughter holding her hand as they approached my front gate. I was brought back to life by my brother calling my name and these visions kept me from further flying over the hills. I was then revived and went to the hospital.
    Seven years later I contacted my former girlfriend who told me that week of November that year I died she lost her baby. She then got pregnant again with a daughter. Although I never met her daughter I described her in detail. I saw this child before she was even born while on the other side. I am still amazed!

  72. O. B. Ray says:

    Hello Mary,

    Like you, I practice Zen in the Diamond Sangha, and like you I have recently received a Doctorate in Psychology (Psy D.). Currently I am not practicing as a therapist and have not become licensed yet, although I did therapy for a year and a half. After working for the State of California for over 18 years, can someone say “career change?” Anyway, at first I can’t help but have compassion for all of these beings and their responses. You must know it took me awhile (a few days, with interruptions) to read them all.

    When it comes to reincarnation: I do not buy into it. I really like Mete’s explanation about the blanket in #43 (above). But when it comes to having a soul, I do not agree. Aren’t there any Buddhists out there? By the way, I was brought up Christian, Open Bible, and Presbyterian. Buddhist do not believe in a soul (anatta – no self). Although in high school they used to call me soul brother. Buddhism denies the existence of an undying or eternal soul. No soul or insubstantiality or emptiness. In my own experience I have found this to be so.

    How could anything pass over? Any aggregate, trait or bit of character, from one life to the next? My experience of it is more like “Vast emptiness, nothing holly,” attributed to Bodhidharma, in reply to questions from, and in personal attendance before the emperor of China. By the way, if you find something holly, I might be interested in it. Show it to me.

    Or Hui Neng; “In essence there is really nothing, on what can dust gather? I hope you don’t mind if I chop that one up for convenience.

    Emptiness does not have aggregates, traits or bits of individual, separate character.

    Of course we left it open, but watch what you accept.

    In one of my experiences from the practice of zazen meditation I remember walking by a funeral. The experience for me was “don’t they know, there is nothing to grieve for? But then as a therapist I also know that grieving is a natural process that nurtures us and makes us more able to be more feeling as a person.

    Since you are writing about death, here is one that has come to me; I haven’t shared it in writing before:

    In a closet, a shirt fell from a hanger (like Dogen’s body and mind falling away).
    Let it all fall away.
    Looking up at the hanger, as if looking back at life,
    Don’t get hung up there…

    Then in the end, all of these insights are impermanent, falling away, falling away; or to write them down and share them with you.

    Gassho,

    O. B. Ray

  73. Pat Quinn says:

    12) Drive all Blames into One. (Suffering has no other cause than Ego Clinging)

    Belief in reincarnation is the ultimate in ego clinging. “Kids say the darnedest things”, and if speculating on all this is fun – go ahead.

    Pat Quinns last blog post..1.d.) First, learn the preliminaries (4 of 4 parts)

  74. Amr says:

    I believe in reincarnation.We all are very sure about our death and is unavoidable.It is told that we came to the human level after taking millions of birth, trevelling all the lower or higher forms of live.
    Our feature should be decided after considering our present kerma or work.
    Death is boundry of seas once crossed cannot returne with same boat of this Body.

    Until we find full proof of reincarnation materially for the present science we find our self nearing death.

    Regards

  75. Max says:

    This is a test…

  76. Max says:

    I don’t know if reincarnation exists or not. I do know one thing though…

    If I have a choice, I will NOT be coming back here again. I feel like I’ve lived many lifetimes already and I’m very tired and ready to hang it up, lol. I mean that seriously.

  77. O. B. says:

    Max,

    And if you are really liberated you will not need another life anyway. What you came to do, has been done. Why return to form again.

    I would be bowing all over the place.

    Gassho,

    O. B. Ray

  78. dennis says:

    When you lose someone close to you it makes you think really hard, so many things left unsaid and to do, how to see them again ? Its the only thing i dislike about reincarntion

  79. nora says:

    i think life is abig stage or like anexamining paper .you need to do your best to get high grades and that is of course your deeds .simply we are inside the realm of almighty allah and as humans we seek for eternal happiness….

  80. jaimie says:

    I do believe in reincarnation. When I was young I got really sick and while my grandmother sat by my bed side praying I would get better. I looked at her and said to her “do you know who I am” and with some disappear my grandmother looked at me wondering were this topic was going and “no, who are you” and then I told her “my name is Tedimody” with shook my grandmother started to cry. Now for those still not following the story, my name is Jaimie and Tedimody happened to be my grandmother daughter that had died at age 2. Most people ever knew about her as she was my grandmother’s first child and because she had died at such a young age, in my culture you don’t really talk about young children that pass. So, how is it that I clam to be this girl I knew nothing about? In addition, may year later I met a lady on a train that told me I had been in this world before without me asking her, and come to find out later she was a psychic. I have come to find this topic about rein carnation interesting and do believe more and more that I have been in this world before.

  81. Jon says:

    While experiences and opinions are valuable they can often lead us astray. Believing oneself to be a be a rock can not make it so. In the same way, believing or choosing different beliefs of the after life and who is the ruler of the after life does not change who the true ruler is. It is very egocentric to believe that the afterlife is also all about us and our desires. It would wise to not pick our beliefs like we do food at a buffet but seek the truth. If we truly seek the true God and what he says about the after life, he will be found… He loves to disclose himself to those who seek.

    Question… If Jesus thought there were multiple ways for you to be reconcilled to God, do you think he would have willingly given his life in such a painful way?

  82. Naa says:

    Answer: since Jesus’ story is a fairy tale, it’s not an interesting question.

    Besides, many people gave their lives in excruciating ways for their own different beliefs, no evidence makes your jesus story any more valid than theirs. (btw, the bible ain’t evidence).

  83. MuzzieShah says:

    There is no God except allah and Mohammamed is his final prophet and messenger. All these talks about reincarnation are kufr and those who talk stuff like this are doomed to hell for an eternity. Ameen

  84. Tim says:

    Charming Ameen, thanks so much for your intelligent input into this discussion. I for one will be delighted to learn that there is no chance of YOU being rencarnated! asshole

  85. Eric says:

    This may upset some people, but after years of contemplating this, I wonder if reincarnation actually matters. Since it is intimately connection with the idea of karma, it seems to me that what matters most is how one lives NOW as this will affect one’s future. So, while thinking about past lives etc. may be entertaining, what should be getting all my serious attention is how I live and behave now. I don’t care what I was in the past. I only care about how I treat current situations and people now.
    .-= Eric´s last blog ..Meditation is not about learning to meditate =-.

  86. Tim says:

    I was reincarnated

  87. majnu says:

    hi
    There is no God except allah and Mohammamed is his final prophet and messenger.
    dont think about reincarnation or nothing not mentioned by islam. These kind of experiences are created by shaithan (iblees), inorder to change muslims mind and to through them into hell. in islamic view life after death is very clear, mentioned by prophet
    that all persons should have questioning regarding his knowledge of GOD, messengers etc after death.
    and on the day of judgement each and every seconds of our life is checked and questioned it longs several thousands of years .if you are a beliver and succeeded go to heaven and not to hell

  88. CJ says:

    Hi… I have been searching the internet lately for topics on reincarnation and I found this one. After reading some of the posts, I feel as though this is a great place to pose my comments/questions. Our only child/son, passed away at the age of 21 on 9/3/02. He was an amazing old soul and taught our family so much about life… .way more than we taught him. He was a philosophy major in college and would write the most profound papers… they were amazing… I never knew how he knew the stuff he wrote about.

    Anyway, he was a passenger in a serious car accident in 2000 and while he never said, I am pretty certain he had a near death experience. His four right fingers were amputated and he had to have skin grafts on his right leg. His injuries didn’t stop him and continued to work, etc., although he was different. He seemed to start drinking more… and would often make comments about wanting to go home… which at first, I thought he wanted to leave college!! DUH!

    The weekend he passed, my husband and I went to see him at our little beach house, where he was living while going to college. When we got there, he had already started drinking, which I think he did because he had such a hard time living in this world. He would get so angry at the news and always say that he couldn’t understand how people could treat each other so badly… he would always say… people don’t get it… we are all connected!!! We got into an argument about his drinking and he started crying. He said to me… “You don’t understand… I just want to go home… ” Then… I knew what he meant… Naturally, I was worried about him and immediately thought he may be thinking about suicide. I said to him.. you would never … and he said “No, mom… I would never do anything to hurt myself… but I was supposed to accomplish a lot in this lifetime and I screwed up…. but it’s ok… I’m going to come back and get it right.” Not knowing what to say through my sobbing, we hugged and cried together… The next morning, he never mentioned anything about it so I thought maybe it was just the alcohol… We spent the next two days together and had a great weekend… We left on Monday evening and he called us when we got home. I told him to call me the next day (his first day of his senior year) and let me know how his classes went and he said he would.

    The next morning I woke up and did not feel well at all. I went into work late and left early. After several calls home and other things that were so well orchestrated by a much higher power than I could imagine, the police came to our home and told us that our son had drowned. We immediately thought it was deliberate, however, the Medical Examiner called us and told us that he had suffered a head injury… probably while surfing … and was knocked unconscious and drowned.

    Needless to say we were devastated… he was our life… our best friend… our teacher… and now he was gone. We went to see several mediums because we wanted to know for sure whether it was an accident or not. Every person we saw told us that it was a tragic accident… HOWEVER… he wanted to return home and “God” answered his prayers.

    Then, about 6 months ago, I went to see a person I see one a year… she is fabulous as a medium and also all around great person. She had told me once before that our son had a chance to reincarnate… but never said anything more. Then six months ago, she told me he was back. He was born … possibly on the day he passed… (9/3)… and his mom is a very young single mom. She said that he would come back into our lives.. mainly for me to help him accomplish what he came to do in this life. She told me that he is supposed to do great things … especially in the coming years. Then, last week I saw a friend that also can communicate with the other side and she told me the same thing… that he was reborn… and also said that it was a young single mother. She also said that we would meet her and as soon as I saw the baby, I would know it was our son…. At first, it didn’t bother me… but the more I think about it… it does bother me. I feel as though it must have been us that weren’t good enough that he had to leave us and come back so soon. I believe in reincarnation but never gave it a whole lot of thought… and now two people tell me our son is reincarnated… within 7 years!! Has anyone ever heard of this before? I would love to hear if you have. Thanks so much for listening and sorry I ranted. Have a great week…

  89. Mary Jaksch says:

    Dear CJ , you have been through a terrible tragedy.
    As suffering human beings we try to make sense of a catastrophe. And because we can’t, we start to blame ourselves, like you do: “I feel as though it must have been us that weren’t good enough that he had to leave us and come back so soon.”

    It’s obvious from your comment that you have been loving parents to your son. You did the best you could – and then the accident happened. Please don’t make your terrible burden any worse by adding a sense of guilt!

    You ask whether your son has been reincarnated. I don’t know. Nobody can know – because the veil of death prevents us from seeing what lies beyond. I have my doubts whether visiting mediums will ultimately help you to heal from this terrible grief.

    Maybe there is another way:

    One way to honor your son is to plant something in your garden – or in a pot – that he would have enjoyed and go through a simple ceremony dedicating it to him.

    Another way is to continue his legacy. He was obviously a very thoughtful and wise person. And reading your comment, I can see where he got that from!
    Maybe you could start a blog to suppot other parents on their healing journey. You have much to give – don’t waste it!

    I send you my heartfelt regards. Thank you for sharing your painful story with us, Carol.
    Mary

  90. Ann says:

    I believe that De’javue is not just a coincident, but a memory of a life past. There are just too many things in this life that I have seen, that I know in my heart are from past lives. I also know that when I’m done with this lifetime I’ll be back because there are lessons still to be learned much to my dismay. I feel that it clears up a lot of questions in life if you believe that once you get it right you don’t have to come back, hence the death of children, their early death is not to hurt or punish them but to help others learn the lessons they were sent back to learn. For most forgiveness, acceptance, and patience are some of the most difficult ones to learn. I also believe that earth is hell where all the sins are, murder, drugs, rapes, abuse etc… Once you are free of here you are free to explore a life or after life of serenity….

  91. molly l says:

    I had a son that passed away five years ago.He was extremely close to me.About the fourth day after he passed I was sitting in the kitchen having coffee when all of a sudden I started smelling him. I asked he’s dad do you smell that ? He said I don’t smell anything. Anyway the smell stayed with me for four months off and on. The years have passed and I have never smelled him again. Even after all these years the pain of losing him has never gone away.I know someday I will see him again.People don;t believe me but I swear it’s true.

    • khushboo says:

      i really belive ur words & experience. i had lost my father & grandfather ,we almost felt there presence especially of my grandfather. i can understand what u must be gone through.

  92. cherry says:

    we have a sister who passed away this year january 10,2010. she died because of breast cancer. we love her so much;. we are 3 sisters in the family. now she left us two . Now, me especially dont know were to start my life again. i cant work, and i cant do my things anymore. we always go together, in malls, in outings, in family and friends gatherings, in short we always stick together. we are still in deep sadness for we always miss her so much. i guess will always grieve for my sisters loss. but what i’ve noticed was, evrytime i cry and alone in the room,i feel someone touching my right legs that makes my hair in my legs stand. ( during her dying days, i always touching her legs, while saying evrthing will be ok),could it be she ?…now the one saying to me that everything will be ok,.. i always say i love her so much. and how much i miss her company, her laughter, for everything. and if ever my time will come that i have to leave this world too, i want her to meet me.

  93. Eli K says:

    I almost can’t believe I am writing this. At 14 years old, there should not be much about death that would bother me.
    However, there is.
    About two years, my grandfather was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and died about a year after. I have also recently began a relationship with a girl I have known for almost a year now.
    These two experiences have made me wonder about life and death and what lies beyond life.
    For me, reincarnation is very suspect subject. I was raised as a reform Jew, but still taught heavily with the values of mitzvot (good deeds) and going to heaven in the thoughts of all people. With this knowledge, I tried to always keep my grandfather in mind. I figured that with all these good memories of him, I was certainly keeping him in heaven.
    I soon learned otherwise.
    My epiphany, if you will, happened in my grandfathers favorite bathroom in his house. I was there for the unveiling of his tombstone and had decided I would stay at the house rather then at a hotel to make my grandmother happy. I have vivid memories as a child of that bathroom. It was a small room with almost all mirrored walls and I small glass shower enclosure and a toilet. My grandfather would sit there for hours on the toilet reading TIME, Buisness Week, and even the occasional Maxim. Now, as I walked in, the bathroom had been stripped down. No more magazines. No more shower gels or random shampoos. I sat in the shower sullenly for close to thirty minutes. When I looked up from my washing, I saw my grandfather sitting on the toilet. I have never been sure if he saw me there. He kept saying “Only look for the child”. I left the shower confused and upset. A week later, my cousin finally had her baby. The baby was a boy and named him after my grandfather, Howard. Since then, Howard has grown to be an intelligent, playful two year old. I see my grandfather in that kid every time I see him.
    Through these experiences, I have come to accept that our real fate may be to be reborn again.

    Thank you Mary,
    -Eli

  94. Billy says:

    @ Molly

    I have smelled ppl who have passed that I’ve known…
    strange, when I read your reply, I know what you’re talking about.
    I believe you.

  95. Lans says:

    Nothing of you will remain when you expire. Let me re-iterate nothing will remain once you go. You come from nothing and go to back to nothing. It’s the fear of death and that’s why people keep having these thoughts, about life after death. At the end of the day it’s all fairy-tales.

  96. Troy says:

    Well since we are all mammals like our fellow dogs and what not, I believe that if we are to go somewhere, it will be where ever they go, if they go somewhere. Personally, i believe that once you die, it is just an eternity of nothingness, many people are to afraid to believe this. We are animals on this planet as well, we are just the most developed in technology, although research has shown that dolphins, in fact, are much smarter than humans, but do to their physical shape, they are not allowed the opportunities we are. When you die, you die. I imagine death is sort of like what it was before birth… Nothing. You don’t remember it, because there is nothing to remember. There are over 12 trillion galaxies out there, we aren’t the only intelligent beings, there is no reason why we would be the ones to live in “eternal peace” forever. Just face it, when you die, there is nothing. There is nothing to be afraid of, but yet, nothing to be happy for, life is life, live it up because you only have one.

  97. Dolores says:

    Everyone has the right to their views
    And yes there is life after death you either go to heaven or hell
    Try and get hold of Dr.D.G.S.Dhinakaran’s dvd from http://www.jesuscalls.org

    You all will be blessed when you see the reality of heaven and hell.
    GOD BLESS
    Dolores

  98. Jack says:

    Believers and Non-believers alike, remember this: Just as we somehow mysteriously appeared here on Earth, it’s just as possible that we can mysteriously appear somewhere else! I can’t explain it – don’t believe that anyone can, but whether you belive in Biblical Principles or not, I believe there are far greater and wondrous things in store for us than reincarnation back into an Earth form.

    The whole universe and beyond presents itself as an option to explore and that God, whomever or whateveer you believe that Power to be, will release and encourage us to explore it! I believe that when we get to “the other side” we’ll wonder why we ever tried so hard to stay here as long as we could, but we will also understand why we were here for the first time. In fact, I think our consciousness will open so that answers to all of our wonders and questions appear.

    I have a friend who died twice, left her body, floated above herself in the hospital room and told everyone the exact wording above the surgical lights in her room – words that could not possibly have been seen from floor level. It was verified to be true. No way is the body the end thing. When we die and leave our physical bodies, I think it’s going to be the greatest journey on Earth – oops! The wonderful infiniteness of eternity!

  99. buzzz says:

    I really want to believe there is something after death of the physical body. As soon as I learned about evolution in high school I completely discarded the religion I had been brought up in because evolution was incredibly fascinating to me and explained so much more than religion did. However, if we are simply here to reproduce and continue the species’ existence, then why give us consciousness of our death? Why not have us reproduce, take care of offspring and then die? If this was the case, then we would feel that we have “found our purpose” yet there are so many people who do this (have many children, take care of them, take care of grandchildren) and they are still searching for the meaning and purpose of their life. Deep down I want to reconcile both religion and science, but who knows.

  100. nick says:

    i am a twenty-two year old young gay adult in tears during my apparent “quarter life crisis.” I love God and went to a Christian school and went to church, but I am struggling so hard in my faith that tears roll down my face. I absolutely love life. I love eating and breathing and dancing and laughing and using my five senses to their greatest abilities. What if I die and I’m just dead? Nothing ever again? Never allowed to laugh or smile or even have tears stream down my face?

    Again, I love God, I am just being tugged and pulled internally and externally. So many people hate me because I am gay. There are so many interpretations of the words ‘homosexual’ and ‘sexual orientation’ that I do not know what to believe. I am a man that just graduated college that is completely emotionally shattered.

    I read ‘descriptions’ of heaven, how are concepts of earthly love and customs disappear as we experience this totally new dimension, free of this and that. THAT FREAKS ME OUT! What if God is really serious and doesn’t like to laugh? What if we can’t eat (I love eating.. especially cupcakes)?

    I know my worries are totally juvenile but I have had terrible trouble sleeping every night and all I can think about is rotting six feet under ground while everyone above me carries on with their lives and dinner plans while I am slowly forgotten.

    I have really appreciated this website to read what others think. Just being in my boyfriend’s bedroom this week I have had eerie ‘flashbacks’ to me climbing a mountain and also being inside of a barn with colonial-esque furniture around me. It’s the first time I have ever had feelings of living outside my body. I’m totally going crazy aren’t I….

    The only aspect of my life that is COMPLETELY unexplained, and still bothers me, is a dream I had when I was pre-K/Kindergarten. I remember floating looking from the ceiling down in this room with yellow wallpaper and Victorian-esque furniture. The summer before third grade, my aunt and cousin died in a tragic car accident. After the service, we all (family) were ushered into a room that everyone that attended would then walk through. IT WAS THE SAME ROOM IN MY DREAM. I HAD NEVER BEEN THERE. UGH It still freaks me out.

    I’m going to end this with an open letter to God.

    God,

    I love you. When I pray I can feel you. You have helped me tremendously throughout life and have blessed me with so many opportunities and people. Please God, renew my faith. Give me answers. Allow my soul to rest and appreciate the short period I will be on this planet. Help me, help my family/friends, and help all those on this website looking for an answer. Please God, I need you.

  101. can i meet a ghost or not.

  102. Margaret says:

    I don’t remember much of my past life just dying. I know that I was a gypsy who travelled in a caravan around Europe until my death at the hands of two German boys who set fire to it. I remember choking, tears in my eye from the smoke and looking out of the caravan, I was trapped and seeing my two dogs playing and the camp fire still going.

  103. Kamini Joshi says:

    Why do we come to this world, our purpose is not understood. I am a hindu but until i have proof i cannot believe it. I have heard some people say it or rebirth in hinduism is a strong belief but one needs proof for such things.

    • sarath says:

      @Kamini Joshi,
      hello friend,

      my name is sarath,iam a hindu.I belive in rebirth.but i have small doute regarding that.”if rebirth is really true then y the population is incresing year by year?” y the ratio between the people’s death and the people’s birth is not same.can you please give me the resons with examples to my e-mail:k.sarath8@gmail.com.

  104. parag jain says:

    yes, there is life after death. jainism is the religion which speaks that there is life after death.

    the living beings are classified into four types:
    human
    sub-human(plants and animals)
    terrestrial(devi and devtas)
    devils

    all living beings(the four above) have soul. this soul is bonded by karmas……and until all the karmas are shed away completely the cycle of life and death goes on.

    when the soul sheds of all the bonded karmas gathered through deeds than it becomes free from the cycle of life and death i. e. it attains moksha.

    if we do good karmas(deeds) than we can get next birth as human or terrestrial living beings.the terrestrial living beings live in heaven whereas the humans live on the planet earth.

    if our deeds are bad than we have to face hell.

    so the soul undergoes the cycle of life and death again and again until it attains moksha.

    hence, there is life after death.

  105. vicky says:

    Well, I’ve heard many of the cases of re-incarnation. Being a hindu by religion, it is stresed that there is something which is beyond Humangrasp .Most of the books on spiritual line highlight this. However, it should be cautioned that such issues might go out of control inorder to know that Is there life after death? by ending their very present existence.

  106. vineesh says:

    Simple & scientific theory is already there. “Energy can neither be created nor destroyed, it can only be transformed from one state to another”
    Human beings are also a form of energy in other words a combination of energies.
    After the death, the body has to transform to any other form of energy. Sometimes it will utilized for creating another Organism may be a human; of course we can call it as an incarnation. does it make sense????!!!!!!!

  107. Shafeeque says:

    For every thing there is a creation. Just think that who would have been created this world?? Even the Sun,Moon,Earth,Sky,Ocean,Mountain,Water Animals etc…… The one who created is that we have to go at last to him. Some of the worshippers of Sun, they think that sun in god. If such why sun sets?????? For every creation and the universe there is an end. But without end is one an only the god. And also he is alone.

  108. vineesh says:

    There is no doubt that Human beings are the most developed and wonderful creation by God. People are changing definitions those which are in vedas and those given by Christ & Mohammad Nabi.
    People don’t remember that there were only 12 followers when Jesus was alive!!!!!
    But now Christianity is the largest religion in the world.
    In vedas there is no saying that god is a man sitting in heaven having crown and wearing gold ornaments & silk cloths.
    In old ages people worshiped sun as god. It’s their belief without knowing sun is a star.
    In actually speaking there is ‘no sun sets’!!!!!???. If the sun sets, don’t forget that the other side of the earth is having sun rise!!!!!!!!!!1111

  109. Louise says:

    I loved your post! I think perhaps we have a choice to come back or stay. I’ve had past life regression (a young lad in the early hundreds killed when an army attacked an outpost; hundreds of years later, again a young lad, who somehow fell to his death from the top of a mast of a sailing ship; a priestess in the southwest islands).

    I’ve had links with family members who have passed and it is truly beautiful. I know the spirit lives on.

  110. vineesh says:

    What is the meaning of god?
    One who ‘G’enerates- ‘O’perates- ‘D’estroys
    this is what in vedas termed as Srishti-Sthithi-Samhara or Brahma-vishnu-Mahesha
    There is one and only god in the universe.

  111. anjali says:

    being hindu by religion , i wont understand why humans sent to earth… is ghost, god really exist?? my mum has strong belief on god.dts why me 2 belive in god bt nt in ghosts……… if god has created evrythng dn wat scietists do here?? i think dhey r destroyin gods natural beuty…. one question always raise in my mind is dt why discrimination occurs in evry country????
    why v hv lot of religion??? olot of gods??? ??? if human is one den why evryone has diffrnt diffrnt god?/,religion?? in hindu dere r lots of god—————–

    me dnt hv one god………. i belive in al gods n al religion……..n respect every one equally….. nevr discrimate anyone on any basis…..

    mere acording agr hm kisi b god k pas jake pray kare wish mange to wo jarur puri hogi…. koi b god ho kisi b religion ke…….wo hmesha apka sth denge……..kbi ni kahenge ki ye mere religion ka ni hai mere caste ka ni h to m help ni krta…………

    jb wo apki wish puri karenge….to ap kyu krte ho larai discrimination……….inhhi chejo ka terrorist fayda uthte h……….
    so
    always respect,help, pray4 each otr
    soch ke dekhna thande shant maan se ye sb…….

  112. vineesh says:

    Be thankful for what you have. You can’t see god outside.
    He is present inside you. see him in others too.

  113. Shunmathi says:

    Is rebirth is possible…? If it is possible why all people can’t reember their own past life…? If a person reminds his/her pasts can they live a normal life like Others…? What a confusible WORLD & Reality…?

  114. pat says:

    past life? Our DNA may hold more secrets then meet the eye. When I first learned that the nobility of aincent europe where the only people welthy enough to where purple (not only did they pay with gold but they had to endure the awfule smell of the die.) I instantly could recall a fear of that smell and had a vision of being a slave or servent that was beaten by he who wore the oder. Was that a past life or something more then my blue eyes handed down to me?

  115. YWSZ says:

    we can’t believe rebirth,
    because our mind attach to the current body,
    when we recognize the current body is in rebirth in every moment,
    our mind will detach from the current life,
    when we realize the mind is in rebirth in every moment,
    we will detach from the soul.
    we are living in dependent arising,
    the past, now and future depend on each other,
    though we can’t stay in any of them,
    take care of every moment of now.

  116. sarada says:

    Is it really true that there is life after death?

  117. angana. says:

    well i have gone through everybody’s comments.u guys know a lot more than me.but can any one say me that how does that supernatural power decides what is wrong and right.because its is a relative terms.how the punishments for our karma is decided..?

    • sarath says:

      @angana.,
      hello angana,

      my name is sarath.i saw ur que.If you belive in hinduisum then hear is your answer.do you know “YAMADHARMA raja’s assistent “chitraguptha” i.e chithra+guptha. the every work done by you is saved by him,as “chitram” thats why he is called as “chitraguptha”.in telugu:mana prathi chitramu athadu guptham(note) chesthadu.ok then it is very easy to say that what are the rights/wrongs done by you/me.then it is decided ur punishments on our karma.ok take care.

  118. M jagdeesh says:

    i hold that there is obviously a life after death, because do you know when you are going to born, where your are going to born, you are the unique in the entire world no one knows that we are taking born here. So on the basis of this, life is not in our hands that this is the time when i want to born, So obviously death is also not in our hands this means that life and death are captured may be by nature or any God or anything, i don’t know.

  119. Boban Joseph says:

    I think life after death belief is derived from fear to face death. It is a consolation from the all fears. Basis of fear is the fear of death ultimately. Every belief pointing God or gods or creator of universe is derived from the fear and especially fear to face death and a thought or hope of a peaceful life after death.

    At the starting of life in this earth, man had no imagination of God. His God was wind, sun, etc. etc. When man became modern, his imagination also increased day by day and the concept of a supernatural power, ruling every creatures of universe, was reason of creation of God by man. This decreased every fear from life and got hope a of life even after death.

  120. sarath says:

    hello friends,

    iam a hindu.i belive in rebirth.I got a small doute plz give me the reply to my mail id:k.sarath8@gmail.com,if you know.
    “if rebirth is really true why the population of the world is incresing day by day.why the ratio between birth’s and death’s is not same”if the rebirth is true ihe ratio should be same right?

  121. akki says:

    Is there is life after death ? it is a question which does not has an answer… we as a human we can only think about this but do we do not have any proof to state this no there are several questions which actually need a proof-
    *who is the creater of the world.
    *who made these planets .
    *who made the sun ,the moon.
    *does life exist beyond earth.
    *does there is something beyond this universe.
    there are many more questions but we do not have one of these answers.
    it is a mystery which will continue forever……………

    • Diya says:

      @akki, c, i feel there is nothing ….i mean nothing is true… the world the planets all systems they all are fake… all our imaginations… v live in a world …world is nothing but a desire…an imagination… an expectation… there is no you and no me… sometimes i feel that … may be i am wrong…

  122. mohit tewari says:

    i know that we all have many questions in our mind even i do but no one has answers for it today i still want to know that who i am and what i am doing here in this world.if there is realy a god than who created god this universe ,why we all are living i have many question in my mind since i was 14 years old but yet i have not got any answeers for them and still waiting if someone could give it to me…………………………………….

    • Your Inner Self says:

      @mohit tewari, Hi mohit,

      i hope that you get the answers for most of your questions..i shall pray to Almighty for your guidance..you too.
      Believe me i have also gone through such phase in my life…and thanks to Almighty he has made most of things clear to me…except a few that i leave it to Him for making me understand at later stage of my life or hereafter…i am patient enough to have His favours and be counted among believers rather than ask too many questions at single point of time. Acquiring the knowledge has to be in a planned and systematic way. All the best !!!

  123. Diya says:

    :) take life easy man…! v are humanbeings… greatest creation of god.. :)

  124. Your Inner Self says:

    Dear all,

    Life on earth is not so complicated for the believers of God.
    yes it is true that the human mind has its limitations..therefore it is recommended not to get into the mode of asking questions again and again. If we have not been knowing anything before our birth in this world, we should not wonder too much about the life in hereafter.
    I shall give you 1 example. – whenever my dad had to go out of house to some place he used to instruct us to be sincere to our studies & duties…however we childeren never gave any weightage to his words…as soon as he happened to be gone out of house we used to do hell lot of naughty activities and used to be most indisciplined lot…but suppose that on the pretext of going out if my returns to check us he would have surely come to about the deeds of each of his child………….in the same way God has send us on this earth,given us repective lives, provided inbuilt or inscribed his commandments to do right things in the hearts of each individual and told that….when u return to me after this worldy life your action/deeds will decide where you would life your eternal life..in heaven or hell.
    Believe me you all, we have only ONE LIFE……. & ONLY One God !!!
    This is the only true teaching of all the religions of the world which has time and again been distorted by scrupulous people….forcing God to send his prophets to all regions,languages with fresh commandments. (which we misinterept to be cause for dividing us).
    May Almighty guides us all. (Ameen)………….Please don’t ruin your eternal life through your ego…and therefore abstain from too many questioning. As a child you wouldn’t have understood what you understand today..in the same way as a traveller in this earthly life it is not necessary for you get drifted to wrong perceptions. Take care

  125. Tim Wilson says:

    If reincarnation exists, how does it fit in with the world’s ever expanding population? Does more people mean more souls that have been elevated from animal or plant life to the privileged status of ‘human’?
    .-= Tim Wilson´s last blog ..Oct 26 Messy Office Here’s How To Clean It Up =-.

  126. Deshvir Singh says:

    Hi All
    It was very interresting to read the article by Mary. My mother is very religous whereas my dad did not believe in God not to talk about rebirth ! However, after reading this article and so many other views, I think of a very distant relative whose son knew the nick names of his parents in the previous life and he could also tell the name of the place and the occupation of his parents in the past life (In India.) All the things he told at the age of 3 years turned out to be true although the place was about 1500 kilometers away from where he was born. His parents never told the other family about this and just got it verified from other sources. They discouraged their son to talk about it and forced him to forget it. I had thought that he might have been trained to lie just to get attention !!But may be now I will try to get in touch with them again and see if he really does remember more than that. Thanks

  127. Your Inner Self says:

    Here the question is not necessarily on rebirth but on whether there is a life after death ?

    Yes ! There is an eternal life after this this worldly life. And it is demand of our mind and soul that there should be a life so as to justify our efforts(Karmas) of this life otherwise everything becomes meaningless if there is no eternal life.

    As we have been acknowledging that ‘Salvation’ is the objective of this life, can anyone tell me why it can’t be attained in this life only and why there is a need to take multiple births for that.
    I’m afraid there is only one life for everybody. There is no point in giving multiple lives. If an examinee is given multiple chances to appear in an exam then the whole objective of conducting examination would become a mockery and nothing else.

    Therefore i sincerely request you all not try to glammerising your simple birth. For those who take pleasure in devising baseless concepts on the pretext of their false pride and intelligence shall get themselves into drastic troubles in life hereafter.

    As commented earlier, as a child you couldn’t comprehend what you know today, so shall be your understanding untill you’ve transcended into the hereafter.
    Hope you all understand stop propagating useless concepts. Take care.

  128. Be GOOD says:

    Really interesting topic and Good experiences shared which enhances knowledge however It is really stupid when people just write without even having the knowledege about the topic being discussed just to show that how lacking in intellect are they ? I mean what worth is it to discuss LIFE AFTER DEATH without including the concept of Rebirth. This a forum to discuss all the possibilities of life after death and as many readers have shared the experiences to enrichen the spectrum of discussion and how someone who is not too sure of his/her intelligence just wants to instruct everyone not to discuss what is really relevant. Please for GOD’s sake if you want to preach, do it your kids as they are ones who will have to listen or in other words bear the torture.
    What relevance does the question of passing the exams in limited attempts has to the idea of life after death. Now some babies learn to walk in varying times from 8 months to 12 months and have various(not limited) attempts to do so. Can you just tell a kid to learn to walk in a limited number of attempts or the legs would be broken? How silly it is ?? Very sad !! Here the concept is to understand that if ever we are given another chance at life after death and more the experiences and knowledge the better off we are and even the author states that he travelled to meet such an individual. So for God’s and Knowledge’s sake encourage people to share their insights and thoughts and do not discourage others as if they were treading on your property. DO IT TO THE PEOPLE WHO WILL HAVE TO BEAR YOUR TORTURE ( FAMILY Etc ) I encourage everyone to share the views about the topic !! and GOD Bless to have pity on such people who just want to preach and preach !!! God Willing !!

    • Your Inner Self says:

      Dear Be Good ,
      Warm Greetings !
      It is really good that you have taken out your precious time in going through my comments. However as far as lack of intelligence or knowledge is concerned on the matter I’m afraid but that seems with you. Let me try to tell you how :
      1. The basic question of this discussion is -“Is there a life after death” (with or without including the myth of Rebirth). You may check the primary question of the discussion.
      2. To this primary question I have commented in affirmative ‘YES- There is life after death’. I went ahead asking why can’t there be a life (Eternal one) after death when our own mind(with reasoning) and heart (with a longing) desires the same. And if there is no life after this life then everything of present life has no meaning and purpose.
      3. I only do not ascribe to the concept of Re-births because to me, it seems baseless. That’s why I questioned the objective of inserting the concept of Rebirths.
      4. What I have understood of the concept of Rebirths is for two reasons – Firstly, it is supposed that there is a cycle of births and rebirths. Secondly, one shall be subject to such birth and a rebirth until ones attains – Salvation (Moksha).
      5. Only good deeds can get you Salvation, so why can’t it be attained in the very life which you are living. Why do you need so many lives or births to do good deeds and attain salvation??
      6. When we all know the purpose of this life is to become entitled to Salvation (or get an eternal life (free from all sufferings)), it is like an examination.
      7. And any matured and sane individual should take the examinations of this life,- to test us as a good son/daughter, to test us as a good husband/wife, to test us as a good father/mother, or to test us as a good human being, very seriously. For at stake is our eternal life which you may spend at a good or bad place depending upon the quality of your deeds(Karma and its effects).
      8. Having the concept of ‘cycle of rebirths’ robs us from taking this life seriously and with purpose. With the baseless concepts -We tend to think this life is a mockery -without any purpose.
      9. Your logic of a child learning to walk is totally out of context. I feel sorry for your level of intelligence. Here we are not talking about the difference in learning by 2-4 months or by 2-4 years. I presume here we are talking about realization. To realize the purpose of this LIFE. I do not expect a child to understand this all but I do urge a grown up or matured person( a difference of 2 to 5 years is nothing) to realize his/her purpose of this life and be sincere to it.
      10. Our seniors do preach because they have seen and learned. And if you want to develop an attitude for learning you got to listen and ponder over others’ viewpoint to learn something.
      11. Knowledge is to spread and therefore it is the duty of all knowledgeable person (including our parents) to preach and spread it. And that’s what all prophets and great people of the world has done. It is an individual’s wish whether to take it or drop it. The accountability to choose your path lies on you not on the others.
      12. Lastly, thanks for your blessings to me and my family. May God Almighty guides you well.

  129. vasudev says:

    your inner self…

    there are lives (multiple) after death. you came to this level after having gone through multiple lives, starting as an organism till you purified yourself with every birth to attain this topmost life…a human being. even in this phase you have been born again and again and will be born again and again till you reach your salvation. look around you and you can find evidence by looking at the rich and healthy and beautiful in comparison to the poor, unhealthy and suffering. if only one birth why should god do the injustice? he cud make all same looking robots. you can do every good in a single life and attain moksha as well. early day rishis and munis to modern day budha and vivekananda or paramahamsa et al must have been these one birth characters. but who knows how many births they underwent before to attain this level of a purity that god passes it as suitable to be released unto his world. it is like in an organisation not everyone can reach the topmost position. out of tens of thousands of employees who join only one makes it to the top. likewise out of so many million souls only some may attain salvation while the others go back and get recycled. so be ready for recycling!

    • Your inner self says:

      Dear Mr Vasu,
      Nice name…
      I’m afraid that I am still not got convinced with the notion of ‘going through many lives’ to have come to my present status. Why wouldn’t have God got me created simply as a human being at the first go, Why would he require me to go through various lives ,in various forms to get me into this present shape? And that too when I do not remember anything of my (presumed) past lives.
      We have a norm of letting a criminal know about his misdeed(s) before prosecuting him, then why would God commit a mistake (injustice) of not letting me know about my crime/mistake before or after pushing me through any of such (claimed) lives?
      As conveyed earlier, the purpose of this life is to test us all (as son/daughter,father/mother etc) or by giving us good/poor health, wealth or good or poor destiny. The establishment of this world order requires rich and poor, otherwise why would anyone work for other? And I may say How would you get an opportunity to do good karma if there would not be any one deprived of anything.
      As you have agreed to the fact that Salvation can be attained even in a single life as many great men of the world has achieved, same can be done by people like you and me with ‘realisation’.
      As in this world, many people attain different status, so in the hereafter people would be rewarded with different ranks based on the degree of their good or bad karma. Here the hope of making big in the hereafter is open for everybody whereas living under the notion of ‘cycle of rebirths’ misguides majority to frivolity and makes them endanger their eternal life. You can never be sure of this concept of rebirths, but you can always be sure of ‘accountability’ of your actions. So instead of risking your eternal why not to take a wise step and strive for the blessed life NOW, as it could be NEVER.

      • vasudev says:

        living in the now is a good thing and actually people should be doing that. but unfortunately people live in the past and the future all events happening within a miniscule span of 100 yrs max. we forget to live in the present and the now, which is so much within our control but unless you live the life of a monk who has left the materialistic world and got out of the ego zone, has no feelings for relatives but is concentrated on a single most desire to reach salvation despite personal discomforts (check how long can a person sit on the floor in ‘vajrasan’ w/o shifting in discomfort)…in this respect there is the story of valmiki in hindu mythology who sat in a dhyana position for so many years that his entire body was consumed by ants who made an anthill on his physical body and yet he kept on chanting rama-rama and attained salvation…but i drift…sorry!

        yes…the now has its dangers. the positive is that the now should make you entirely cheerful and positive thinking but what we see is the opposite. islam believes in the now and the heaven after death. this drives many of its youth to live in crime and accost death wantonly. we call them terrorists. i would like to believe in life after death and rebirth. though it might frighten me initially it gives me the will to do good things now and await even better life next time. why i believe in rebirth is because of the soul which is energy indestructible. where does the soul go? i think it gets re-allocated.

        i agree with the theory of testing. yes. that is what it is all about. only thing is that the testing is ever continuous till one is pure enough to be accepted to a higher zone from where he is. like filtering till you get the purest essence.

        i do not think i am yet ready for salvation cause i have sinned many-a-times (nothing major..even small lies and ego centrism is sin). but i am surely in the right direction and may attain it after a few hundred more births perhaps!

        talking of ‘making big hereafter’ is again masking the certain ‘now’ and promising the ‘uncertain’ good times in the future life, is it not?

        why god should have created you as a human being in the first go? why he shouldn’t have created you as a bleating sacrificial goat? ask yourself…so where did you come from that you should have the luxury of a human life and also have the power to deprive another living being to eat its flesh? therefore, if you have got the top most position in animal world then you must have gone through a process to reach there, either here or somewhere else in the cosmos?

        letting a criminal know of his misdeeds is the human system. making the mind look inwards in introspection is god’s will. we all have a good half and a bad half. often we ignore our good half’s sane voice and go to the satan for selfish gains. if we look inwards and listen to our sane inner voice we can learn many things which are good for our salvation.

  130. Justin says:

    Hi, Mary. When I was 3 or 4 I informed my family about a time when I was a “big boy” and took the trolleys to work and I lived by the ocean. from what people gathered from my numers stories they figured out i was talking about San Fransisco I was born in Arkansas and have to this day never been to San Fransisco.

  131. Dave says:

    I suppose as long as there are people there will be differing opinions on religion,life and afterlife. Most people take up the belief’s of their parent’s and never question what their taught…usually believing it to be blasphemy. I personally have spent a great deal of my 57 year’s reading, studying, and pondering religion and the afterlife…I believe that eternity by definition has no beginning and no end. That said where were we prior to being here? I believe that their is a physical world (here and now) and a spiritual world from whence we came, generally known as heaven…(think of it as home)! You have lived there before and will again…it is where our loved one’s go back to. Sin and punishment, like religion and so much else in the physical world are based on fear and are the invention’s of mankind! In heaven there is no sin, (therefore no punishment for it)…although there is questioning and chastisement for really serious misbehavior and bad conduct in the physical world. I do believe that heaven IS HOME and we can choose to stay or leave and travel and learn in this physical world and other’s if we choose to do so! I also believe that many of the great prophet’s and teacher’s of this world reside there, side by side, in harmony with the Great Spirit, or God the father of us all. So many people point to the Bible, (and other book’s) as their irrefutable proof of their religion! At the council of Nacea, it was decided what books would be tossed out of the (so called Old Testament…needed to ligitamize the New Testament) as well as what writing’s by the Apostle’s, Mary Magdalene and other’s made the final cut or not! Any scholar could go back and read book’s written in Samaria that predate the Bible…and have many of the same story’s. A lot of people never heard of Adam’s first wife Lillith…or would want to believe that Jesus ever was married, (although most Jewish men were required to be married, especially if they were Rabbi’s) and yes Jesus was Jewish! I’m only trying to get some of you to dig a little deeper, seek a little harder and definately don’t be led along like the sheep they constantly depict you as in most church”s! Paul started the church..Jesus said go ye therefore unto the people teaching and preaching and take nothing with you! So if it’s in church you heard it,remind them of what Jesus also said,”Beware those who come after me, teaching and preaching in my name” and tell them to “Go and sell all, their earthly possesion’s, THEN take up their cross! It was never meant to be a lucrative busness!

  132. Lilly says:

    I’d like to believe in reincarnation but only thing I could see to convince me of this is if humanity stopped reproducing at a certain world populous and hold at that population, thus reinforcing the law of conservation.
    Lilly´s last blog post ..san antonio clubs

  133. John says:

    Gowing off topic, if the universe is infinite, it definitely has an end. So, beyond this universe…lies a totally new one. These universes, are just as infinite as EVERYTHING! And they are unique and asymmetrical like humans. As we think up something, such as the Video game “Halo”…Halo is a universe…that technically is real…but is not “reality”, a new universe is created for everything imagined, as many people say God created us in his image. So could this mean that God is a human, Living in a world such as our own?

  134. Amia T. says:

    Another great post Mary!

    I recommend (since it seems you enjoy the children stories) to look up the famous James Leininger case (I’ll include a link). This is a boy who was an American pilot fighter and at a young age had mind boggling knowledge of war and combat. He knew about airplanes, shooting, defense, etc. Amazing! His father was also a strict Christian follower and began his own investigation. Well, I’ll leave you to do your own reading.

    The link is:

    http://www.iisis.net/index.php?page=semkiw-reincarnation-james-leininger-carol-bowman&hl=en_US

    If that doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what would.

  135. Tracy Carpenter says:

    Dear Mary, when I was doing hospice ursing, I saw a few things I cannot explain, and which have made me very curious. I like the idea of reincarnation, and I like the idea that day after day, we are allowed to decide when to “go out to play” for the afternoon, and to come home in the evening to share what we have learned with our loving Parent.

  136. John says:

    I’m very glad this post is back alive…

  137. […] Stevenson visited her in later years and corresponded with her for ten years after this case was investigated. He reports that she grew up normally, received an advanced degree in botany, and got married. She visited her ‘former family’ in Katni regularly. You can read a candid interview with Stevenson, as well as the full story of Swarnlata here. Stevenson said of his research: Source […]

  138. Lea G says:

    I believe that there is no life after death. But I was thought and believed until now that when judgement day will come, and everything will be at grace.. There will be an everlasting life.
    Lea G´s last blog post ..Period pain comics: it’s break time!

  139. […] Stevenson visited h&#1077r &#1110n later years &#1072nd corresponded w&#1110th h&#1077r f&#959r ten years &#1072ft&#1077r th&#1110&#1109 case w&#1072&#1109 investigated. H&#1077 reports th&#1072t &#1109h&#1077 grew up normally, received &#1072n advanced degree &#1110n botany, &#1072nd g&#959t married. Sh&#1077 visited h&#1077r ‘former family’ &#1110n Katni regularly. Y&#959&#965 &#1089&#1072n read a candid interview w&#1110th Stevenson, &#1072&#1109 well &#1072&#1109 th&#1077 full &#1109t&#959r&#1091 &#959f Swarnlata here. Stevenson &#1109&#1072&#1110d &#959f h&#1110&#1109 research: Source […]

  140. ramesh says:

    why do we care about reincarnation.we didnt do anything logical or useful in this lifetime.why do we have to research about life after death.

  141. jantichy says:

    Obsere yourself and you will know all the answers.. No need to debate, get into it by yourself. With Respect To All Souls out There, JT

  142. Anthea says:

    -I believe I don’t need to have the answers to eternal questions to live a fulfilling life.
    -I believe that if the creation force of the universe wanted us to know what happens when we die, then incontrovertible proof would appear.
    -I believe I don’t need proof of a hereafter or of reincarnation to live a life of principles and to be kind and loving to others and to myself.
    -I believe that when (in my youth) I used to search endlessly for answers to this unanswerable question, it was fear of the unknown that fueled my search.
    -I believe that endless searching for answers to unanswerable questions can become obsessive and a waste of precious time here on earth.
    -I believe there is much work to do in the here and now, and that focusing on the hereafter is a waste of resources.
    -I believe that I don’t know the answers and that it’s okay to not know the answers.
    -I believe that it takes great faith to persevere in living a good, kind life even in the absence of answers.

  143. mary says:

    hi Mary
    this is a vary interesting topic , thanks a lot, i do believe that this life is not the whole story , it must be an other life where good people will have the fruit of their good deeds ,and bad people will be punished for their crimes, the whole universe, human beings , plants and animals share a lot of things, we live in a harmony with nature , for me this means one thing: there is one and great god who creates all this, he must be greater than our imagination and he must be fair , our lives ends by death , but there is an etrnal life after death otherwise we cannot find a real meaning to our lives , i am muslim and in my religion i found the logical answers for such questions.
    thanks for your great posts!

  144. Lewguitar says:

    Of course, this is all speculation since none of us are “dead”. Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh says in the January Shambala Sun that if you believe that you are a soul that enters a body at birth and leaves that body at death and then enters another body and takes birth again, “that is not Buddhism.” I don’t know what to think. Sometimes I think I should spend less time speculating and seeking to get personally enlightened and work on myself for a better reason: to heal humanity and the Earth. That’s karma that can definitely be passed along and continuation or rebirth that’s both practical and helpful and not just self serving.

  145. Nate says:

    The problem is most people don’t ever bother to study the nature of God. Once you have an understanding of His nature and attributes, things begin to become clear. We must understand that God is not on our level and we can’t fit Him into one of our boxes.

Comments on this entry are closed.