Article by Craig Hamilton-Parker asking what does the afterlife look like?
One of the things that NDE researchers have found is that fear is not the dominant emotion in most dying patients. There is sometimes discomfort and pain, but a surprisingly large number are elated at the time of death, even to the point of rapture and seeing visions. According to Dr. Karlis Orsis, these reports amount to about one in twenty.
Most of these patients were fully awake and described visions of the next life. They would see beautiful landscapes, hear the birds singing, and often express sentiments such as “I want to go back.”
The Afterlife Garden
Reports given us by NDE subjects and ancient and modern seers tell us that the world of the afterlife is like our own world but that certain things we take for granted are fundamentally different. What follows now is a composite of these ideas, to give you an overview of the world you will experience. I have touched upon some of these subjects in other places throughout the book but here is a simple summary, together with some more information:
Light in the Afterlife
Compared to the light of heaven, the sun of our world appears dark. In our reality, our sun produces light by nuclear reaction. Our sun’s spiritual equal in the afterlife is the light of love. According to Swedenborg, what the spirit people perceive as the Sun is, in fact, the light of God. There, the sun is the radiance of love, because the moon is the radiance of faith.
Some mediums say that there is no Sun in the spirit world. There is an eternal day, as everything radiates its own light so that there is no need of the Sun. It is an incandescent world. Sometimes the light darkens for a time so that those that still need to sleep may do so. In the higher realms of the afterlife all is light, so there is no distinction between light and dark, day or night. In the nether regions, darkness prevails and the light of the higher planes is intolerable to those that shun the light of love.
The main thrust of creation is not physical evolution but spiritual evolution. Those who have cast off all association with the physical form will move into an abundant, energetic life with no physical form at all. This will be a state of being that is best described as a world of pure light.
However, the word “light” can only partly express the brilliance of the luminescence of the beyond for it is not a natural light as we know it; it is pure spiritual light. The brilliance of the light you will see varies according to your receptivity to divine truth, for the light radiates not from the Sun but from the creator itself.
Colour in the Afterlife
The communications made by Fredrick Myers to the Society of Psychical Research show some interesting things about color in the afterlife. He says: “A human being cannot imagine a new sound, or a new color, or a feeling entirely outside the range of his previous experience. It is impossible for him to conceive the infinite variety of new sounds, colors, and feelings experienced by us.” In addition, Myers talks about a whole realm of existence that he calls the “fourth plane” or the “Eidos–plane of color”
The afterlife worlds have exquisite colors that are not seen on earth and become more incredible as you ascend to the higher levels. Everything is more intense and highly energized. A person that progresses to the “plane of color,” no longer needs to sleep and the environment expresses love, truth, and beauty. The main work on the “plane of color” is towards understanding how the mind controls energy and the life-force from which the outward manifestation of the afterlife world is created.
Spirit communicators have told me that the form and color of the spirit world is similar to those in our world but what is indescribable is the feeling that they evoke. You may have had times in your own life when you have feelings that you can only describe as a sense of joy and uplift? It does not normally last long but is a taste of the feelings which you will have all the time in the afterlife planes.
Sound and Language in the Afterlife
Sound has a much richer nature than the sounds we experience on earth. There are frequencies of sound that we could not even begin to imagine. It is hard for us to comprehend the beauty of the music played in the afterlife, as mentioned earlier when I spoke of the section about the halls of learning. Similarly, in the higher planes of the afterlife, music permeates the worlds of light.
Here we experience the delights of the angels “singing.” In reality, it is a musical expression of the blissful thoughts of those who know the infinity of God. In the East, they claim that the sound that most expresses the highest state of spirituality is the mantra “Om.” It is similar to the Christian word “Amen” and reverberates in the background. expressing the totality of all things.
One of the main uses of sound during earthly life is of course language. In the afterlife, language becomes obsolete. The way communication works in the afterlife are expressed in an interesting communication from the spirit of Fredrick Myers who says: “I have but to concentrate my thought for what you might call a moment and I can build up a likeness of myself, send that likeness speeding across our vast world to a friend, to one, that is, in tune with me. Instantly I appear before that friend, though I am remote from him. My likeness holds speech–in thought, remember, not words–with this friend.
Yet, all the time, I control it from an enormous distance; and as soon as the interview is concluded I withdraw the life of my thought from that image of myself, and it vanishes.”
Perceiving Heat and Cold
According to Swedenborg, the heat of the afterlife is like the light described earlier, in that it is everywhere varied and different according to your receptivity to divine truth. It differs in each level of the afterlife in both degree and quality. The heat in the heavenly realms is the fire of divine love. In the “hell” planes it manifests as the fire of hatred. Coolness corresponds with divine peace, but the absence of heat corresponds to being separated from divine love.
The Spiritualist thinker Arthur Findlay, who sat with the direct-voice medium John Sloan, postulated a similar idea saying that there are eight different suns in Etheria (the afterlife) One of these is our own sun which is “a rotating globe surrounded by, and interpenetrated by, seven other rotating globes…. Each surface in Etheria receives the light from the etheric sun’s surface to which it is attuned.”
Levels of the Afterlife
Findlay is talking about different lights at different levels of the afterlife. Again, I believe we are here in a situation where words and images are not adequate to describe sensations outside our usual experience. Others have described the heat of heaven differently. I suppose the warmth we feel in this heavenly world is akin to the simile used in describing the warmth of the human heart.
I am reminded of the classic story from India of blind men trying to describe an elephant. One wraps his arms around the elephant’s leg and exclaims that the elephant is like a tree. Another, touching the elephant’s side, insists that it’s like a wall. And a third, holding the trunk, exclaims that it is like a rope.
We are in a similar quandary when we try to describe experiences that are beyond the reach of our normal senses.
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 medium’s 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