What does the Afterlife Look Like?
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.”
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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 the spirit world. There is an eternal day, as everything radiates its own light so that there is no need of a 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 a sun but from the creator itself.
What does the Afterlife look like?
Colour in the Afterlife
The communications made by Fredrick Myers to the Society of Psychical Research show some interesting things about colour in the afterlife. He says: “A human being cannot imagine a new sound, or a new colour, or a feeling entirely outside the range of his previous experience. It is impossible for him to conceive the infinite variety of new sounds, colours, 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 colour”
The afterlife worlds have exquisite colours 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 colour,” no longer needs to sleep and the environment expresses love, truth, and beauty. The main work on the “plane of colour” 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 colour of the spirit world is similar to those in our world but what is indescribable is the feelings that they evoke. You may have had times in your own life when you have feelings which 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 become obsolete. The way communication works in the afterlife is 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 in 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.
Time in the Afterlife
From the standpoint of consciousness, the past is just a memory and the future is an expectation. The only reality we can be certain about is that there is “now.” I believe that this awareness of the “now” still continues in the afterlife worlds. However, in the higher levels of the afterlife, realities all events happen simultaneously. There is a timeless state in which past, present, and future become one. There may also be states of being that are beyond time and space and therefore impossible for us, with our reasoning, to comprehend.
Although all things in the afterlife have their successions and progressions as in this world, the advanced spirits move beyond time and space. According to some sources, the angels do not even know what time and space are. For beings that have progressed to this level, there are no days and years, only changes of state of being. Eternity is not an infinite time, it is an infinite state.
The messages we have received from mediumship show that the spirit people are aware of linear time. For those on the first planes of the afterlife, time still moves from the past through the present and into the future. However, the sense of the passing of time is different. For example, loved ones who have passed to the spirit world reassure us that they feel no suffering when they consider the wait before they can be reunited with their loved ones on earth. For them, the time from the moment they died to the time we join them feels like only an instant.
What does the afterlife look like to higher consciousness?
Time in the spirit is relative to the state of consciousness being experienced. It is perhaps an extended perception of time as we know it on earth. When Einstein was asked to explain relativity to the average person he may have inadvertently also described the way time is experienced in the next life: “Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity.”
The spirit people tell us that they cannot predict the future. It is in our own hands. They may, however, recognize the trends happening in our lives and give advice about the best course to follow, but they cannot make predictions. Spiritualism is clear about this. Each person has to take “personal responsibility” for his or her life–a principle that includes free will.
Part of the training of mediums is to urge them not to use fortune-telling as part of their mediumship demonstrations. (Even with my extensive background and experience, although I often do predictions work for my own sitters, I never mix mediumship with what I call “psychic counseling.”)
I have spoken earlier about the record of the past that some call the “Akashic record.” This is a theosophical concept, which refers to the spiritual record of all worldly events and personal experiences. (Akasha is taken from a Sanskrit word meaning luminous.) It is an omnipresent medium–similar to the ether of nineteenth-century physics–that acts as a cosmic memory. Attunement with the Akashic record will enable you to be aware of your own personal history and of the history of everything that has ever happened.
People often ask me “How big is the afterlife?” It is answered by asking a similar question. “How big is a dream?” “A dream has no size,” you say. So it is with the afterlife. Like a dream, the afterlife world is a “state” of being, so it is as big or as small as you want it to be. The form of the afterlife is created by consciousness. Our minds have complete control of our surroundings. As we think, so we become. I also believe that this is the material destiny of man and that one day we will have complete mental control of time and space in this world we live in now.
In the higher spiritual planes, the angelic inhabitants have evolved beyond place and space. They may seem to move normally , but it is in effect their state that changes. The societies in each level of heaven are aware of this reality to different degrees. In some planes, the reality is very similar to the world we are experiencing now. All things appear in place and in space exactly as they do in the world. However, for some people, the afterlife is a fluid place that is molded and changed by consciousness. The highest states of all are completely formless.
How we see Afterlife Clothes
I recall giving a consultation to a lady whose husband showed himself in full Masonic regalia. This was important proof to the woman, as her husband had a keen interest in Freemasonry and had been a member of the Grand Lodge in London. Interestingly, the spirit person went on to say that he still attends his Lodge meetings in the afterlife. He explained that the “secrets” were not secrets at all but were states of being that could only be understood by people who were able to realize them. To the rational mind, these states “appeared” like secrets. The objective of afterlife Freemasonry, he said, was to unite individuals with the “greatest secret” by making them aware of the grand architect of the universe that some call God.
People can dress as they like in the afterlife. White robes are not the obligatory uniform. Just as we manifest in the afterlife according to our thoughts, so too clothes appear from the imagination. You are most likely to wear the type of clothing that you used to wear during your life. Nonetheless, I would imagine that some people, for whom clothes were important, will manifest clothing according to their own personal tastes. And without regard now to cost or availability, the afterlife is full of elaborate costumes. Who knows what designers and fashions are in the next world?
The spirit communicators who have made themselves known through my mediumship have always shown themselves in the earthly clothes they once wore, so this is the limitation of my knowledge. However, some mediums and Spiritualist thinkers have spoken of heavenly clothes that are worn by the higher beings and angels. The angels are said to wear clothing that is symbolic of a higher state of spiritual perfection.
The garments they choose to wear to clothe themselves also come from their advanced intelligence, and they are even more beautifully clad. Their clothing shines with white light, because white corresponds to goodness. The angels of the inmost heaven are not clothed, because they exist in total innocence, which corresponds to the complete openness of nudity.
In the lower planes, the clothes reflect the lower consciousness of the people from these planes. They appear in ragged garments that are squalid, and filthy.
In a world where the mind can create whatever you may want, there is clearly no need for money. However, some people may still have such an attachment to money that they will continue to use it. The desire for money can restrict a person’s spiritual progress and make it hard for them to ascend to the higher spiritual states. (Such as the man named “Walter” mentioned earlier, related from the spirit of Fredrick Myers, who continued to work the stock market even in the afterlife.)
Some may continue to use the money, just as some will continue to eat, or go to the toilet. These souls are still trapped in their illusionary worldly attachments.
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