THE TUNNEL OF LIGHT
SUMMARY: Article by Craig Hamilton-Parker about The After Death Journey and the Egyptian view of the afterlife. About the After-Death Journey and the Egyptian Afterlife. What is the after death journey like?
The Journey to the Next World
The Zen master Gudo was asked, “What happens to an enlightened man after death?” Gudo replied, “How should I know, I haven’t died yet.”
Since the earliest times, mythology and religion have used allegories of a journey to represent the transition to the next life. The earliest peoples associated the death journey with the dawn of the sun and its journey across the sky. To early man the sun was immortal, as it “died” every evening, travelled through the underworld, and was “reborn” every morning. They therefore buried their dead facing the position of the rising sun and covered the bodies in red ochre to symbolize new blood and life. Confident of their rebirth, the Neanderthal mourners of 60,000 years ago supplied their dead with the adornments, tools, and food needed when they returned.. These rituals may date back to the times before our evolution into Homo Sapiens.
AFTER DEATH JOURNEY ACCORDING TO THE EGYPTIANS
The symbolism of a journey is taken up by other early religions, in particular the ancient Egyptians. During the Old Kingdom, the sun god was Ra, who gave immortality to the collective state through the Pharaoh, his son. Consequently, only the Pharaoh could attain immortality and there was no solace for the common people.
Much of our understanding about their ideas comes from The Egyptian Book of the Dead, now accurately translated as the Book of Going Forth by Day. It contains a large number of funeral texts spanning the entire history of ancient Egypt. It is a guidebook about how to behave in the afterlife, providing lots of tips to help you get a good deal. In particular, there are the stock answers and spells you will need when the god Osiris asks about your life and sins. He will weigh the deceased’s heart and then judge his soul according to the good and bad deeds done on earth. The power-obsessed Pharaohs took care to have a spell or two handy to ensure passing the test.
In later periods, the Egyptian hierarchy were also given these spells, and also anyone who could afford to pay for them. Provided the soul had purity of heart, it coexisted with the gods in the afterlife. The Egyptians also believed in a sort of astral double, that they called the ka, which was the guardian spirit or life force. This ka looked exactly like the person and would spend time after death hovering around the tomb. They also spoke of the ba. Associated with the breath, or soul, this was the source animating the person. It was represented by a human-headed bird.
Egyptian Techniques for Buying Your Way into Heaven
According to the Egyptians, the soul sets out, staff in hand, on its journey to the Osirian Field of Reeds, which is a happy place where the dead enjoy the rewards of the afterlife. It was considered to be in the general direction of the Milky Way, the Great White Nile of the sky. The soul is taken into the divine realms in the boat of the sun god Ra, as he makes his way across the sky.
The passenger would disembark in the underworld when the sun set in the west and be taken though one of seven gates. Escorted by a jackal-headed god or a faithful dog, the soul enters the Hall of Truth and is brought forward to be judged by Osiris.
Osiris then weighs the soul against a feather. If it does not tip the scales, the soul is deemed worthy and is given entry into the Osirian Fields. However, if the heart is heavy with sin, it fails the test and is taken to a place where stern correctional treatment is meted out. In some accounts, the condemned soul is thrown into the lair of a terrible creature called Ammit.
The symbolism of a journey is found in mythology throughout history. The deceased is taken to the “other side” across a river, a bridge, or even on a bird’s back. The symbolism of the boat dates back to the Neolithic period. The most well-known boat is that of Charon, the Greek ferryman who transports the souls of the dead across the river Styx to Hades. To this day, some people still put coins in the eyes or mouth of the dead so that they have money to pay the ferryman. And, in Europe, there is an amusing superstition that if two of these coins are removed from the corpse and dropped briefly in a glass of wine, which is afterwards given to a husband or a wife, it will “blind” them to any affairs or infidelities of the other partner!
Tunnel of Light Experience
Summary: Article about the Tunnel of Light Experience. What is the tunnel experience after death? Article about the tunnel of light seen by dying people and the tunnel experience and near-death experiences of lights, spirits and tunnels.
The Journey of Light
Today we still think of the transition to the afterlife as a journey. We speak of passing over, the other side, departure, going home, and so on. For example, the Incas believed that the soul had to cross a bridge made of hair over a large river to reach the “silent land.” Although the dreams of the dying are still filled with this ancient imagery, we no longer take the mythical stories to be fact. Instead, we talk somewhat clinically of a tunnel of light to the next world. This would appear to be a real experience that has been described in contemporary reports of near-death experiences (NDEs).
SCEPTICS AND THE TUNNEL OF LIGHT EXPERIENCE
Some sceptics believe that this is a hallucination caused by the release of chemicals in the brain during times of acute stress. Others say it a memory of our birth. Another suggestion is that the experience is the result of drugs used in medication, but this is seen to be unacceptable when the matter is considered in any depth. Dr. Susan Blackmore of the University of Bristol says that the tunnel experience and the bright light are due to brain cells in the frontal lobes firing “’rapidly and randomly” through a lack of oxygen. However, the tunnel effect also exists in out-of-body experiences (OBEs), where death or approaching death does not arise–and there is certainly no incidence of oxygen deprivation.
Some psychologists believe that when the brain shuts down there is a frenzy of short-lived activity in the temporal lobes. This creates the tunnel-of-light illusion that many dying people have described. You then experience a period of heightened fantasy, as opium-like chemicals are released by the brain. Your brain “tricks” you into reliving memories of loved ones and constructs a fantasy world leading you to believe that there is an afterlife. In reality, it is a figment of your imagination, created by the brain to make the process of dying more acceptable to you. Nothing but the darkness of unconsciousness follows the demise of your physical body.
THE TUNNEL OF LIGHT EXPERIENCE
What if these theorists are right. What then is there to fear? So what! You’re gone. That’s it for you, but humanity will continue to strive towards understanding a meaningless universe. Scientists will continue to ask “How?” while religious people ask “Why?” Yet all such questions are equally meaningless, for over the aeons of time everything will return to lifeless space. They will be blissfully unaware of the futility of their existence.
Evolution was only the mathematics of DNA and served no purpose. The universe either burns itself out or becomes spread so thin that matter cannot form. The brief light of man’s consciousness, wherever it may have come from, disappears for eternity. Like you, everything will be dead. Nothing will have self-awareness or awareness of existence. However, you will not suffer, or be disappointed that life is meaningless, for there will be no “you” to experience the suffering.
An alternative theory is that the tunnel experience is the result of our shift in consciousness as we move away from time and space. There’s an increase of energy at the moment of death, an increase of vibration speed. This shift is experienced as movement, but is actually a change in frequency as our consciousness goes from one level of reality to another. You don’t “die;” you just change your vibration speed. The tunnel of light is the dawning of your new awareness.
Through the Tunnel
Hallucination or not, there will be a tunnel of light. Once your physical body is dead you will see the light appear far in the distance. Next, you will feel yourself drawn into darkness and through the tunnel. You will feel yourself moving at high speed, as if you have been fired from a cannon. You shoot towards the light, perhaps at the speed of light. You hear a loud buzzing sound, or a sound like rustling wind. You have feelings of lightness, freedom, and elation. But most importantly, you feel the irresistible pull of ineffable love. All fear falls away and it is replaced by bliss.
Ahead of you, you are aware of a golden light. You tumble towards it as your new spiritual senses awaken. It is like the time of your earthly birth, when your senses were first flooded with awareness of your new reality. Although the experience is unlike anything you have ever experienced on earth, it feels strangely familiar. You are becoming at one with your true reality. It is like waking up from a dream.
Most who have experienced this journey beyond the body say that there are no words that can adequately describe it. The light you will see is …brighter than any earthly light, and wonderfully beautiful. Brighter than the sun, yet it does not harm the eyes of those who look directly into it. Many people who have returned from a NDE say that, as they are drawn to this Light, they experience total love and acceptance.
You have encountered the formless nature of God. It is beyond description. To say it is infinite love or infinite light does not even begin to express the glory of what you experience. This is the all and end all everything. It is the infinite oneness. No wonder the ancient Egyptians likened the experience of the afterlife to the sun’s journey across the sky.
Find Out More:
‘What to Do When You are Dead’ explores what happens after death and describes the world we will find there. It is a powerful book that draws on near death experiences, spiritual traditions as well as the mediums direct experiences.
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References and Works Cited
- Hamilton-Parker, Craig (2010) What To Do When You Are Dead Sterling imprint Barnes & Noble ISBN 978-1-4027-7660-1 (Languages: English, Dutch, Portuguese) BUY THE BOOK HERE