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Don Ruch

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Death is nothing to be apprehensive or afraid of.

Death cannot be experienced,in the physical plane, because by definition death is the cessation of all physical experience. Therefore it is not nessisary to fear a non-experience. If a spiritual plane exists (and I do believe ) then upon the moment of physical death one would supose that this would be a spiritual sense of freedom, also not to be feared.

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  • Apr 22 2012: Death itself cannot be controlled. However, how we live our life is, but most people are so focused on not wanting to die they never live; they end up dying with too many regrets about what they did or didn't do.

    Live with honor to our self and fellow man and the rest does not matter.
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    Apr 23 2012: This article might throw some light on this matter. http://www.nariphaltan.org/death.pdf

    Cheers.
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    Apr 23 2012: Whether or not you fear death depends on how you lived your life. I spoke to a nurse in a nursing home who witnessed the death of residents on a regular basis.

    She said that you could tell the people who lead a good life vs a not so good life in their final hours before death. People who lived a life of regret or doing not-so-nice things to others often worry about their comeuppance in the after-world. (whether there really is an after world, I am not certain). People who were at peace with their lives and the way that they behaved towards others often experienced serenity.

    I don't believe that people need to die to experience their just desserts - people's lives often reflects the way they treat others and their attitudes. Nasty people will find a way to muck up their lives while pleasant people find a way to sort things out.
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      Apr 23 2012: I agree Robin,
      While caring for several friends and relatives who were dying, and volunteering in a terminal care facility for two years, where I witnessed death on a daily basis, I observed that people often live as they die, and die as they live. Those who created peace and contentment in their lives, regardless of the circumstances, were more peaceful with the death experience, while those whose lives were often chaotic and filled with anger, anxiety and regrets, faced the death experience in the same way.
  • Apr 23 2012: If there is no afterlife then death is the cessation of existence. If existence is a desirable state then it's logical to fear it's end. Even if that logic does not follow, the process of dying is often a painful one both physically but also emotionally knowing that your loved ones will have to deal with their loss.

    If there is an afterlife then it's nature is an absolute mystery. It could be fantastic, it could be terrible and it could be any number of infinite possible things in between, the only thing you know for sure is that it will be different from what you have already experienced. We fear that which we do not know for a reason, it's often dangerous.

    People want to find a comfortable way to resolve the discomfort of uncertainty with death and they'll adopt religion or spirituality to get it but no matter what twist of logic you apply, it's still going to be that same big black scary question mark.

    You can dress a bear in a silly costume and put it in a cage and maybe it wont look so scary anymore but when it gets out, it's still going to rip you to shreds...
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    Apr 23 2012: The dying bit if long and painful is still a worry.

    Also I think we fear the unknown.

    Also I think we fear losing life and the options that brings us.

    Not many options and experiences when you are dead.

    Seems natural to have some fear or sadness or sense of loss. But there is not much we can do about avoiding this inevitability in the long run so developing a degree of acceptance may be a positive.

    We have evolved to avoid death, to survive, and reproduce, so its natural to fear pain, injury and death.
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      Apr 24 2012: Obey,
      If it's any consolation....
      I volunteered in a terminal care facility for two years, and as people were sick and dying daily, I only saw one person in excessive pain. She chose NOT to take the full dosage of prescibed pain meds because she wanted to be as alert as possible while spending her last time with those she loved. The pain meds we have these days are pretty effective, so generally, a person does not have to feel a lot of pain.

      Re: Fear of the unknown, losing life and the options it brings us, etc.
      How does it serve you to be afraid of something we can do nothing about? We all leave this earth school at some point...like you say...we can't avoid it so acceptance may be a positive. I believe acceptance frees us from fear.

      I don't agree that it is "natural" to fear death. I DO agree that some western cultures encourage clinging to youth, avoiding aging, pain and death. Death IS a natural process for all of us...is it not?
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    Apr 22 2012: Don,

    This is a pretty awesome topic!

    I have a pretty awesome tedx I saw a few months ago. It possibly could be one of you tedx videos that are attached to your debate in the description.

    http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/jae_rhim_lee.html

    This video talks about helping the earth after death, a universal acceptance of death, and a growing point for society to accept it. =)

    Thanks for reading my thoughts. =P
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      Apr 22 2012: Thank you so much Derek! I'm glad everyone is enjoying the discussion. Don
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    Apr 22 2012: I do personally not believe in any spiritual afterlife. I do not mean to offend anyone; I am just voicing my opinion. So, to me death means the end of it all. It means your time living is gone to an end and that from now on everyone and everything is out of your control. You are now just a casket in the ground.

    I am young and I do fear death. I enjoy living and I enjoy the ability to do something in the world. I imagine that when the time comes I will embrace death, but I will fight as long as I possibly can to stay alive.
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      Apr 22 2012: Hi Jake, you can and should totally life your life the way you see fit. No one should tell you either what to believe or where to go. How you life your life makes you who you are, that's all there is to it.

      What works for me may not work for you, but if you ever have a question, feel free..
      • Apr 22 2012: Adriaan

        ... its called "live your life" not "life your life"

        As to what one "believes" .... can not be so important.... as what actually "is"

        Let the collected facts speak for themselves.

        Greetings from Daniel
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          Apr 22 2012: Oh yeah, live a life. thanks Daniel

          Very interesting point about believing.
          I don't think anyone can fully know what actually "is". We can only have a perception of it and so an interpretation and thus a belief.
          Seems to me we can only believe something to the point we understand it. The part we do not understand (yet?) we can trust or doubt.

          Swedenborg makes a distinction between positive and negative doubt. There is nothing wrong with positive doubt. Negative doubt goes nowhere.

          Thanks for your correction, have a great weekend
  • Apr 22 2012: Death can most definitely be experienced.
    In fact, it should not be missed.
    Believe it or not, and I don't expect you will,
    I have had several near death experiences in my life.
    They were the most beautiful, serene, secure, and euphoric experiences I have ever had and nothing in my life as ever come close to this kind of beauty.

    However, two years ago I almost died from a stroke (I'm getting closer and don't have much time, me thinks) and it was an absolutely horrible experience.

    I have very clear pre-earth memories and pre-birth memories as well and at the age of two clearly described in detail to my mother my birth, the inside of the delivery room and how my birth was handled and what happened. She seemed to want to leave her skin and body when she realized what I was saying.

    Since I don't have many days left now,I thought I would just mention it here. I have told a few in my lifetime but rarely mention it to anyone.

    What does it all mean? I'm not sure. It can and does mean something to me but that doesn't mean it is proof of anything, nor anything I can prove to another.

    But I will say that in spite of saying, "don't fear death," that might be closer to the truth when one is old or older and nearer to it, but for younger people, they will fear it because "it does mean something" or it wouldn't have so much charge to it in our lives. Just be present for it and during it as best and for as long as you can. It only really comes once and it's left last because it is really something!
    • Apr 22 2012: Thank you so much for sharing Random Chance,

      It was really amazing to hear your story.

      I hope you will tell us more as we move on in the discussion.
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      Apr 22 2012: HI Random and Don, I think you are both saying the same thing. For instance a NDE is an experience but a spiritual one. one of the mind.
      There is one person who had many, daily spiritual out of body experiences for the last 27 years of his life. This was about 250 years ago, when the cutting edge of medicine was the use of leaches.
      http://www.near-death.com/experiences/triggers14.html or the links on my profile.
      He wrote down those experiences and many are recorded on the site just mentioned. The 30+ books he wrote are easy to find. His name is Emanuel Swedenborg and he describes dying as going from one room to another. In fact it is harder on the people left behind than the one leaving :)

      Understandably these experiences by a well known and respected scientist happened for a reason and if you Google the name, there is a lot more to discover.
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    Apr 22 2012: I'd be apprehensive if I was staring death in the face and I'd run or fight like hell to save myself. I suggest you would to. Long term, it's not a big worry. As there is not a shred of evidence (beyond stories) there is a spiritual plane I debate that assertion. As to those stories, there are a thousand different faiths people swear to. If one is true then most of the others are not which means some one has a vivid imagination. Lucky that, because who needs to worry about death?
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    Apr 22 2012: I would argue that all experience (sensory included) are all mental experiences that may have a physical basis. In other words, without consciousness or something that would allow us to realize that we are having experiences, death or the after-life means nothing because there is nothing to know what it is like to experience eternity as well as suffering, which I think both are states of mind that rely on the brain and consciousness (if consciousness is not contingent upon brain function).

    My second point is, why would one need to fear death if they are certain that something beyond death awaits them in some other life? In this sense, death would be liberating because one would not worry about being well-situated in this life.

    I'm going to be honest here and I apologize in advanced for any offenses: I personally do not believe that its heroic or courageous to assume that their is an afterlife. I personally see it as a way of not facing up to the true nature of the human condition and I really think that this is a problem because we are not embracing something that is really a big part of all our lives. I'm not saying that its wrong to grieve or hope for the best for our loved ones. I totally understand the reasons for solace in the face of death but I think if we come to terms with our mortality early in life and be intellectually honest enough, we would not have much issues facing our deaths and only then can we truly value this life.

    and don't get me wrong, I'm terrified to die but I also realize that there is nothing I can do if I was to die at this very moment, which for me makes this moment and this life valuable (in spite of the mood that I am in).
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      Apr 22 2012: I don't think those are offensive Orlando.

      Those are just normal modern realizations,for the young mortality is the furthest thing from there minds but that's been that way since the beginning and it's a purely natural state to be in,it is only when we get older that we feel time passing us by(not that i'm saying that you're 12 or anything)

      Some of us believe their is something out there and some don't,the day we start burning people at the stake is the day we lose our individual right to that choice.
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        Apr 23 2012: Hi Ken,

        I do agree with you that the younger you are, the farther your inevitable end seems to be and I don't think its a bad thing until a certain point. After all I would rather have my 12 year old sister worry about playing with her friends then contemplating her own end.

        Just out of curiosity, why do you think people have been concerned with this question about the afterlife?
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          Apr 24 2012: They don't want to tell their kids there isn't an afterlife... because they don't want their children to be sad. Adults never want their children to grow up... so they create stories "for their own good".
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          Apr 24 2012: Everyone goes through a phase of "What if" i can't say that you will but a good number do.I'm a believer but not in the classic sense,it's a more logical belief not based on what our scientists have worked out but just plain common sense when it comes to the nutty christian world of today,relax.I'm not out to convert anyone here like others try to do.

          I will say this,there is phenomena out there that we can't measure so it gets filtered out of the system,which is natural and understandable,I'm hoping we will develop goggles that will let us see across most of the spectrum,then we will see what's out there.
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        Apr 24 2012: I actually disagree completely with this. I think modern culture has learned to fear death, and desire religion more at the end of life... because modern culture never grew up.

        An adult doesn't fear death... A child does. We are a culture of children right now.
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          Apr 24 2012: All humans fear death at some point in their lives,since the beginning of mankind til now and til the end of time.To deny it is to deny that which is hardcoded into you,me and everyone of us,modern man, really. just wants to ignore it,push it to the side,something that happens to other people,it doesn't exist within my game.I'm safe so for now i'm immortal,i have a future ahead of me,money,accolades,parties,partners,status icons to collect,toys,children,politics the big game,life,sunset years,grandchildren,and all through this is the one true cosmological constant in our lives,Death,people, i've found, want to change it to something less ominous,transition,translation,ascendance,return to Gaia,whatever, but it is regardless what it is, changing the name won't change what it is.

          Why i say this? I've seen a lot of death,some good,some heartbreaking but mostly modern death for me, is morphine and plus in my culture we raise our children from babies to accept it by taking our dead home or to what we call a meeting house,for five days we talk of the person,sleep next to them,sing about them,recall stories good and bad and on the fifth day we carry them out feet first as it is their last walk, to be buried then we get hell drunk but for the family they are usually too tired and just want to sleep and start back to life.

          Modern culture to me, looks more like it has distanced itself from it in a cold mortuary way.

          EDIT=I prefer the irish wake,they usually start drinking well before the person is buried.
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        Apr 27 2012: HI Ken,

        To a degree you are right....Humans have always concerned themselves with death and it does seem that we are psychologically hard wired to have fears of our inevitable end.

        But I do not think this is what David is rejecting.

        If I understand what David is saying (and David correct me if I'm wrong) is the reason why he believes modern culture has taught us to fear death is because if you look towards the past (I would say before Christianity was established) many cultures embraced death. Individually they may have feared it and there may have been grief but at the same time it was celebrated. It was ritualistic and for some cultures it was not seen as a lost.

        Some cultures did have notions of the afterlife but their approach to it was more philosophical and for many it was not about eternal punishment and pleasure. I tend to think the afterlife is for psychological solace for many because as humans we cannot imagine not existing. And instead of embracing this fact, we have, as David mentioned, treated people like children and placed our hands on their shoulder....

        If this is what David is alluding to then I'd have to agree with him..If not, this is just my take on death and the afterlife.
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        Apr 28 2012: Interesting thread you have going here Orlando, Ken and David:>)
        It seems like there is some agreement that children and young people don't usually ponder death? I agree with that. I remember feeling quite immortal when I was a young person, and as I age, I do tend to think more about the possibility. As we age, there are more and more friends and relatives around us who are dying, so it's more of a constant reminder that we too are facing death...maybe in the not too distant future! I observe that some elders fear death more than children. I also have noticed that those who were fearful in life, tend to be fearful of the dying process as well. Those who have lived a life with no regrets, seem to be more content with the dying process. This is simply about how one lives his/her life. It doesn't have anything to do with a particular religion. My observations come from caring for friends and relatives who were dying and from volunteering in a terminal care facility, where I often sat with people who were actively dying (a recognized process in which the organs start to shut down).

        You guys also talk about modern culture and how we may have learned to fear death. I think/feel that it depends on the culture. Western cultures seem to stress youth, staying young, and doing everything possible to avoid the appearence of the aging process, while many other cultures honor aging and death.

        It feels like the culture I live in (western) does not accept death or the aging process very well, and that perception would cause more fear, don't you think?
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          Apr 28 2012: Hi Colleen

          Down here in NZ we call those units where you volunteered, Hospice units and as you said terminally ill,i used to work in a geriatric/obstetric hospital,i worked there for five years,it was a low paid job but i loved it,the people kept me there until it changed to a business model then i left.

          For most of us,our view of death is for us to be in a bed surrounded by our loved ones drifting off into the beyond and it generally does end up that way but not for all.A good amount of people i know have died from heart attack.The other day i was chatting to a paramedic and he was telling me that they attend more suicide attempts than anything else,atleast three a night,no specific age group but mostly those that want atention,the only thing that worried him was that people are becoming more inventive and can't be pulled back.i.e Iron tablets,if someone pops a whole bottle the tablets get stuck in the folds of the stomach and all they can do is give the person pain relief.
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        Apr 28 2012: Hi Ken,
        We call it hospice care here too, whether it happens in a facility, or the home. I like taking the journey with those who are passing over, and I've been asked to be with friends/family as they were dying. Many people are afraid of the process, and I feel comfortable with it...guess that's why I get invited to participate.

        Three suicide attempts a night for the same response team? WOW...that's a lot!
        I never heard of overdosing on iron tablets! I would think they could pump the stomach out?

        I have that same view of my death....comfortable in a bed, surrouded by loved ones and alert, while drifting off into the beyond. We'll see if that is how it actually happens:>)

        I've already had the opportunity to pass over...near fatal head/brain injury from which I was not expected to recover. It would have been easy to leave after that one...no pain because I was unconscious....I visited the other side, and didn't stay.....obviously:>)
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      Apr 22 2012: Orlando. I appreciate your openness and thoughtfulness as well. There is a tiny small 'distance' between us and the body, because I do not believe we are our body. I do believe our body, and every single move it makes, is the effect of our mind.

      The physical world is the effect of the spiritual, not the other way round. The mind can reflect on our life, think about what we've done or what to plan next. Chemicals or neurons cannot do that.

      To me the biggest and practically the only proof of the spirit is the Near Death Experience. By now millions of people have had at least one. They are all practically the same and could be, with some exceptions, a road to truth. Please see my link to NDE above.

      That being said, we can only live the life we choose. Nothing is set and certain. We do have the free will to change what we do, like and believe, everything mental about us.

      I am really appreciative of the fact you decided to be honest! :) have a great weekend
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        Apr 23 2012: Hi Adriaan,

        As always, I enjoy reading your post and responses being that they always get me to think about the other side of this discussion.

        Anyhow, I would have to argue that everything we take to be subjectivity can be found in the brain with the exception of consciousness, being that there is no evidence of consciousness in the natural world.

        So I would have to disagree with the statement about the physical world being affected by the spiritual. You are right that the mind is responsible for reflecting on our life but this may and I think there is good reason to postulate this, be the result of bio-chemicals and neurons...This is evident when one damages areas of their brain in which a part of their subjectivity is lost.

        My take on NDE is that they may give us some insight into the nature of death but I would have to disagree with you that it may be the only proof....many mystics have similar experience without having NDE...
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          Apr 24 2012: Hello Orlando, thank you very much for your kind words! BTW that's not me but what I've read in some of Swedenborg's books.

          Very basically put, I see the brain as the receiver of the mind, how the mind connects to and controls the body.

          You mention how some of the subjectivity may be lost when one damages areas of their brain. The amazing thing that might then happen is that (and this is the way I put it) the mind finds another part of the brain it can use to do the same thing.
          As you know, we may not see part of the TV signal on our TV because the receiver is faulty. We could hit the TV and all of a sudden everything is fine.. The signal was always there but part of the receiver let go.

          Yes, you're right there is a lot more proof around than just NDEs. And then again, a lot of people don't even need any proof.

          Thanks again.
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          Apr 28 2012: I agree with your statement Orlando, "My take on NDE is that they may give us some insight into the nature of death but I would have to disagree with you that it may be the only proof....many mystics have similar experience without having NDE... "

          I do not agree with your statement Adriaan..."To me the biggest and practically the only proof of the spirit is the Near Death Experience. By now millions of people have had at least one. They are all practically the same and could be, with some exceptions, a road to truth".

          I DO agree that NDEs are common.
          I DO NOT agree that "they are all practically the same..."

          After I experienced a NDE/OBE, I did some extensive research and read hundreds of recorded cases. Although there are some similarities with many people, they are not "all practically the same", nor do I believe it to be "proof" of anything which can be substantiated.

          I agree with you Orlando, that NDEs may provide information. NDEs are being researched and studied by scientists, and maybe one day we will understand more about the information they actually provide.
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    May 21 2012: As a person who almost died recently, i can assure you that staying alive is far more preferable. In a TED conversation not long before my surgery, I confidently asserted that i was not afraid of death. While that may be true, I must share that some unconscious part of me fought the battle of my life to stay on this planet- when I was in a coma, when I was throwing up 10 times a day and losing 80 pounds and ever after. Death may not be terrible but I DO NOT WANT TO FIND OUT UNTIL THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE!
  • May 7 2012: Don,

    Seems like this debate has kinda ..... died out ....

    Maybe we can resurrect it
  • May 4 2012: Having been brought up among Christians, and majored in history, I am pretty familiar with the Christian scheme of things, and it always amazes me even the most fanatic Athieists, Deists, etc. seem to go along with it's basic arrangements of the Universe, as if there were no alternatives. As a Quaker-Buddhist-Engineer, I find a lot of these anxieties basically incomprehensible. I'm not particularly afraid of dying; when I was seven years old I was hit with a slung baseball bat, and knocked out cold. I can't see how that would differ much from being shot in the chest; it was not painful in the slightest, and I didn't even have time to worry about it. Later as a Medic in the Army, I observed that fellows that had really serious injuries didn't seem to feel much pain at all; if you're in pain, you're still allive.l As for the "afterlife", both Buddhist ideas and developments in Science make me think we are already IN the afterlife. Note the great difficulty in deciding when "life" begins, as well as when it ends. Even the Jesuits couldn't solve it. It is a viable theory that "Consciousness" is something basic in the Universe, analogous to an Electric Field. So yes, it needs a "brain" or some organic contruct, to manifest itself, but it, like electricity is not a "product" of the brain any more than electricity is a product of the motor. It follows that "Death" would not be something fearful,( although pain is unpleasant , to be sure).; one would merely wake up as a baby., of some sort, with no memories, at least coherent ones. This concept solves a great many incomprehensible puzzles that christians have, very neatly. There is nothing unscientific about it either. Look up E.O. Wilson's work in Biology; the "Superorganism". Not the he is making any claims like I do, but it seems quite compatible with such a scheme.
  • Apr 29 2012: I have edited my initial post to include the article by James Owen, who reports of a study that makes the first clinical link between high levels of carbon dioxide and NDE's.

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/04/100408-near-death-experiences-blood-carbon-dioxide/

    I find it difficult to believe that anyone in this century believes in an afterlife. We are just beginning to unravel how our brains function. This is leading to new understandings of everything about what makes us human. With the research that has already been done, continuing to believe anything based only on subjective or anecdotal evidence, and religious guesses is unwise.

    The research being done in the neurosciences should already be enough for any reasonable person to drop these unfounded beliefs in favor of more realistic physiological causes for our experiences. Those who continue to believe in supernatural and metaphysical explanations of any phenomena, without any verifiable evidence to support those beliefs, while ignoring peer reviewed scientific evidence, are engaging in delusion and fantasy.

    And that is OK, as long as the person understands that what they are doing is similar to someone dressing up and pretending to be a king at a renaissance festival. However, the problem we have is these people are walking around town believing they are the king and convincing others to help them control the kingdom based on their delusions.
    • May 4 2012: To posit that Consciousness is a basic , if liittle studied"Field" in the Universe, is not at all unscientific; and not really anecdotall, either, and in no way Theological , although I suppose one could identify "God" with the Field, allthough that would result in controversies which would make the Quaker-Christian antagonism seem tame.
  • Apr 29 2012: Actually, it's over, so much over that we don't get to intellectualize that it's over. That's a good thing. Close your eyes.
  • Apr 29 2012: There is nothing to be afraid of because nothing happens when we die; we just leave the party. Depending on your age, state of mind, and physical health this can really suck.

    The reason people fear death, other than simply fearing the unknown, is because religions have scared the crap out of them with tales of an afterlife, and capricious gods.

    As to near death experiences, they are meaningless when discussing any possibility of an afterlife, because you did not die, you just passed out, completely. Resupply the brain with oxygen and we come back, very simple stuff. No one has been dead and come back, no matter what they want to believe. If you were revived, you were not dead. Dead means the brain is in a condition of zero neural activity that can not be reversed, anything else is near death, not dead. Near death experiences are all relatively similar because our minds all behave relatively similarly when deprived of oxygen and flooded with carbon dioxide*. Obviously, if the person is suffering from a traumatic brain injury, stroke or cerebral hemorrhage then their experience will differ depending on the area of the brain that is immediately affected.

    However, there are a lot of people out there still believing in a bunch of ancient B.S. that you will never convince otherwise. Some people are even convinced their area of expertise is the afterlife. This is absolutely hilarious stuff. I keep wondering how often they go back and forth, or if they give tours?

    Show me someone whose cold dead, unrefrigerated corpse returns to life, falling through the ice don't count, or supply proof of communicating with dead people and then I'll start to believe. The Amazing Randi has waited years, and no one has stepped forward to claim the prize.

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/04/100408-near-death-experiences-blood-carbon-dioxide/

    *"Near-death experiences are tricks of the mind triggered by an overload of carbon dioxide in the bloodstream, a new study suggests."
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    Apr 28 2012: Death is part of life, the last part and I accept it. However, as I view your question I see that you have used the image of Shiva and find this selection a major part of the question. The Hindu Shiva: Destroyer and restorer of worlds and the destroyer of the ego; Jewish Shiva: Week long mourning for first degree relatives; Shiva cannabis: Named after the hindu God of transformation; Shiva the chief among the Trimurti: Brahma-Creator .. Vinshnu-Maintainer .. Shiva-Destroyer.

    This would indicate that you have given some thought to the different approaches to the death cycle. Christian being that there is life after death; Hindu that the God Shiva is the destroyer and restorer; Islamic that the garden of Allaha awaits the faithful. etc.

    All religions are faith based and that the faithful will be rewarded when their time on Earth has ended.

    Don, I believe that you have reached a decision that you are comfortable with and have presented this question so that we may share our innermost doubts, fears, and joys to become comfortable in this discussion.

    Don I am going to ask a question that you may or may not want to share. Has something in your life or that of a loved one that has caused you to face this question sooner than you had wished? There is nothing more important than the circle of family and friends we enjoy. Cherish them. If I am right or wrong is of no difference I do, however, wish you and yours all of the best. Bob.
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    Apr 24 2012: Yes, death is not something to be afraid of......

    i also beleive that spiritual plane exist, the other dimensions. and in the state you die, you will meet youself in that state only after death.

    our life is like a sleep and once dead, we awake, facing the Truth with open eyes!
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    Apr 24 2012: The truth is that it doesn't matter what one believes about death nor does it matter how one feels about it. None of these things will prevent the inevitable from occurring. I believe a more productive focus would be the meaning and purpose of life and what one can do to extend it eternally so that death never occurs. Now, it is easy to read my last sentence and think of it as an impossibility, but while you're doing so please keep in mind that you are running out of time and can not count on the "next generation" to carry on the endeavor. PEACE
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    Apr 23 2012: Has anyone here slept next to a loved one that is lying in state in their coffin?(not actually in the coffin but beside it:)
  • Apr 22 2012: Don,
    Your operating with a few misconstrued ideas from point one.

    Of course we all experience death. It is a process that we all go through at the end of our lives. Both a physical process as well as an emotional one.
    Your logic also short circuits because you say that death cannot be experienced in the physical plane. But it is the separation from the physical body that we experience... for example in NDE's OBE's etc. This is the nature of the soul and spirit bodies separating from the 2 lower bodies... the life body and the physical body.
    And another thing, you must not confuse the senses to be physical experiences. There not. Again when you are asleep and someone touches you ... you may not feel it at all. We are all different in this respect as to how deeply we sleep..You have no conscious experience. A person who has fainted, or is unconscious for some reason, the same principles are at work. The astral body or soul body is outside of the physical body. This is also why we don't feel pain under hypnosis. This is just another phenomenon that modern science has no explanation for.

    But as to you last comment, the experience of freedom is also told to be very very intense. ... even as the most beautiful experience ever! So I guess in that respect I should agree. However, the initial experience is not all there is. There comes more.... much more. These things you can read about.
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    Apr 22 2012: But it is not the goal either.
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    Apr 22 2012: John 3:16 (NIV)
    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

    That's what I believe. Sure, I have a healthy apprehension about the actual transition, but in the long run I'm looking forward to it. It is difficult to get the most out of life without first getting death sorted out, I guess that's why very many try to ignore it.

    :-)
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      Apr 22 2012: Yes Peter, I think I know the feeling. I may sound selfish saying this (and my wife disagrees :) but I'd rather go today than tomorrow. The timing, however, is out of my hands because I'm not in charge. The very last thing anyone should even contemplate is to leave early.

      There is a lot more involved with the timing than we can possibly be conscious of,
      http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=ZGVmYXVsdGRvbWFpbnxsaXZlaXR1cHNwaXJpdHVhbGx5fGd4OjEwZDA0MGU1YjNiZThiOTc
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        Apr 23 2012: Hi Adriaan.
        I too would rather go sooner than later, & as quickly as possible. Read the link, but confused. What makes Swedenborg any more reliable than say; Sunmyung Moon, Charles Taze Russell, Ron Hubbard, Jim Jones, Joseph Di Mambro, David Koresh, or Mohammed himself? Hundreds of people have piggy backed their beliefs on the bible. To me, the bible is the word of God. We are warned against adding to it using man's ideas? Personally I will head that warning, although Mr. Swedenborg has some interesting ideas; they are just that; ideas.

        :-)
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          Apr 23 2012: Thanks for having a look Peter.
          I don't think there are any instructions from God that say which books should be part of the Bible and which not.
          We can take all of the text literally and sort out what we can use and what (we think) was not meant for us. A lot of people base their beliefs on what Paul wrote and came up with some funny stuff too. We see them as Paul's words, not God's.
          In fact, we believe that what makes the Bible, and all its historical text, God's Word is the spiritual meaning.

          Over the many ages there were many prophets. We see Swedenborg as one fitting in perfectly because of how he explains things, often word for word, and fully consistent.
          In fact it is the spiritual meaning that makes the contradictions in the Bible believable and applicable. When was the last time you applied the Creation Story in your life?

          We believe that the spiritual experiences that happened to Swedenborg (verified by Kant all the way to the Queen of Sweden) have opened the Bible without adding a word to it.

          We can only believe what we see, and accept as truth. You are completely free to believe whatever you see as truth. I assume you know my motto, believe whatever makes you a better person.
          The bottom line is, I could not believe in a God of Love who only saves (and loves) Christians.
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        Apr 23 2012: Hi Adriaan.
        That's what I thought, it is a common view.

        God Bless

        :-)
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        Apr 24 2012: Re: I'd rather go today than tomorrow
        I understand this is the case for many suffering and in pain with no hope for improvement.
        For those just facing everyday challenges this is one of the most frightening aspects of religions with afterlife beliefs with many potential terrible ramifications.
        I guess you'd both be happy if the rapture went ahead tomorrow.
        Sad and scary.
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          Apr 24 2012: Hi Obey.
          Nothing sad or scary about looking forward to a better tomorrow.

          :-)
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          Apr 24 2012: I agree Obey, that the concept of the "afterlife" has many ramifications, one of which is that those anticipating the "afterlife" as it is in their perception, often tend to be missing the HERE and NOW. We are on this earth in the human experience...it would never make sense to me to NOT be totally in the moment of this experience.

          It doesn't make sense to me, that a god of love (if there is one) would create this earth experience, put us in it as humans, then expect us to spend all our time here anticipating heaven/hell! Didn't make sense to me even as a child! As a thinking, feeling adult, it makes even LESS sense!
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        Apr 24 2012: Adriaan, I wonder if Swedenborg had been born into another culture he would have interpreted these experiences in the fram of another religion?
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          Apr 24 2012: Interesting question. I do not know the 'condition' of any of the other religions and their cultures. So I do not know if they need steering or braking or what.
          I do know, through Swedenborg, how far Christianity had swayed of the path of truth and how this religion has gone spiritually bankrupt. If you read one of the last books Swedenborg wrote. It's called True Christian Religion.
          http://sites.google.com/site/liveitupspiritually/home/writings/True%20Christian%20Religion%2001.pdf?attredirects=0&d=1
          This is the first volume of two. Swedenborg's books straighten out so many issues that it is seen as the Second Coming. Which by the way is not the end of the world but the end of (a religious) time.
          (The sun disappearing is the love of God disappearing. The moon going is the application of our love of God to the neighbour stopping. The stars coming down are all our knowledges about the spiritual side of life 'going into the ground.') The first numbers in this book deal with this in detail.
          https://sites.google.com/site/liveitupspiritually/home/writings/Heaven%20and%20Hell.pdf?attredirects=0&d=1

          Your other comment about some of us looking forward to going.. What if you have gone to school for so many years. Special training. You have spent most of your time and effort to become a useful person in society. Now, at one point you will be looking forward to getting a position where you can put your expertise and love into useful acts.
          Now you have an idea what it means to live with purpose. To learn what life is all about, trying to make the right decisions, etc. etc. Basically we are all born to become angels, if we want to. I'm just looking forward to becoming one.

          Don't get me wrong. There is a big difference about wanting to leave this world, and being in the next. I am not anxious to get out of here. It is just that being in the next life is so much better than being here. We can love being useful here too, and again learn more as we go along.
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          Apr 30 2012: sorry Obey, just wanted to let you know I finally responded below :)
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        Apr 24 2012: why,,,,we must not think of leaving early.
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          Apr 24 2012: You are absolutely right! I would not think for a moment to leave early. But when the time comes.. I'm all for it.

          I believe we are only in our mother's womb to prepare a body for this physical world. (if we were conscious of it, we'd be just as afraid of birth as we are now of death) And now we are only in this world to develop a spirit / character for our spiritual birth in the spiritual world.
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          Apr 26 2012: Thanks for clarifying Adriaan.
          I expect you can also see where my concerns come from.
          People not living fully in this life.
          People accepting bad situations in this life.
          People doing suicidal and murderous things thinking they will be rewarded in the next life.
          Worst case scenario might be apocolyptic believers getting there hands on nuclear or biological weapons.
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          Apr 26 2012: Hi Obey.
          Depends on your viewpoint. I understand your reservations about bombers & such, & fully agree it is worrying. You also get folks murdering children & committing suicide; presumably to escape consequences.
          Basically there are two types of people; one believes that there are eternal consequences, the other that death is an escape. The former is unlikely to take life less seriously than the latter.

          :-)
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          Apr 30 2012: Hi Obey and Peter,
          "People not living fully in this life."
          Anyone dying before their rationality is active goes straight to heaven, and will grow up there. See the chapter on children In heaven in the book Heaven and Hell

          "People accepting bad situations in this life."
          Don't worry and get depressed about things you can't change. It will all be worth it in the end.

          "People doing suicidal and murderous things thinking they will be rewarded in the next life."
          In line with what Peter and I said about 'going', I feel more sorry for the person doing those things than the ones dying. The ones dying may well be angels within a very short time. The ones doing the killing etc. may well be going to hell, but there is no way for us to know.
          It depends 100% on why they did what they did. Being young, ignorant and brainwashed, I do not know the answer.
          Swedenborg did meet and talk to some religious leaders in hell.
          If someone's rejection of God is based on ignorance or mis-interpretation of the Bible, it may all work out in the end. We should worry about the person that understands the Bible, applies it to his/her life and then rejects it all. That goes against the Holy Spirit, or God's real presence/influence with humanity.

          "Worst case scenario might be apocolyptic believers getting there hands on nuclear or biological weapons."
          Well, I'd like to think Someone is in charge. Think of the many times throughout history when someone planned to do something evil, start a war, rob a bank and a stupid little event stops the whole thing from happening. A key is forgotten, a message is not received or mis-interpreted, a police cruiser is parked at the 'worst' spot.
          Also in our own life (in hindsight only) we may constantly see things that could make us ponder: 'someone must be in charge.'
          I'm convinced Someone is :)
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          Apr 30 2012: Hi Peter,

          Re: Basically there are two types of people; one believes that there are eternal consequences, the other that death is an escape. The former is unlikely to take life less seriously than the latter.

          I note you framed this with a value judgement - death as an escape. I'm not sure all those who see no convincing evidence for an afterlife all see death as an escape from responsibility. For me, I feel driven to do my best in this life. This is all I have to live and to give. I don't see death as a get out of jail card. In fact isn't that what Christians get if they take Jesus as their lord and saviour and repent?

          In my world view my crimes can not be forgiven or scape goated away, so I prefer not commit crimes or harm others etc. I know Christians also try to live like JC, but it is a subtle distinction.

          There are also those who believe in an afterlife or reincarnation without the sort of judgement and eternal punishment some believe happens after death.

          Probably take more than our guesses or opinion to determine if belief in an afterlife or not leads to better or worse behaviour on average.
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          Apr 30 2012: Hi Adriaan, I find myself partially agreeing or at least understanding and accepting some of your comments from your perspective.

          I whole issue of God intervening seems rather subjective and inconsistent - far from black and white. All the wars. The holocaust. The suffering. The starvation and disease. I understand some of the theological arguments for this. And yet some people believe god intervenes sometimes for some people. Perhaps it is just good and bad stuff happens whether you pray or not with or without god. Someone has to win the lottery. Some lose.

          I note god didn't stop Nagasaki and Hiroshima. To believe god intervenes, sometimes, always comes back to god moves in mysterious ways.