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Halloween, the Day of the Dead, the animated films COCO or SOUL—fall brings to mind ghosts and the afterlife. The prospect of stalking evil, including the undead, powers several popular TV series and movies that never seem to pass away but keep being remade with new victims, because people like to be scared by threats they can dismiss as not belonging in their own lives. Fright suits best when it happens to someone else. We use all manner of surgeries, cosmetics, and health regimens to help us avoid aging so we don’t have to consider the fact of dying. Some play Russian roulette with frequently fatal diseases, risks, or addictions to demonstrate their bravado. Even setting aside beliefs taught by religions (which we will do in this discussion), people don’t want to think about an eventuality some contend consists of “not being.”
As intrigued as TV viewers are with midnight ghost investigations (“What the hell WAS that?”), they push discussions of what an afterlife might look like out of their minds. Recent events suggest our society harbors many people who no longer believe there’s reckoning beyond death or are certain their church affiliation excuses them. They think they can act out with impunity. Ghosts are made of other dead people, so being virtuous is a waste of time. In contrast, survivors of NDEs (Near Death Experiences) often report undergoing life reviews early after their arrival on the Other Side. While popular views maintain life reviews result in reward or punishment, most NDEers recall reviews as their being forced to endure the emotions they evoked in others throughout their lives. What might have felt like an ordeal was made not punitive but educational as wise, loving guides led them through. Indeed, in place of traditional concepts of Hell, what you expect when you leave this life is what you get as an introduction to the afterlife, according to some sources. So if you know you’ve caused great harm in your life, you may manifest your own concept of punishment—complete with fire and brimstone—and sentence yourself to serve time until you finally realize you have options.
Theoretically, the afterlife is a jumping off place for learning. Some contend that the ghosts and demons we perceive on earth are formerly human spirits who chose not to pass to the greater reality. Afraid, overly attached, or too set in their evil to progress, they linger until they can be convinced to move on. (Free will remains central.) According to some who are able to delve deeply into the Other Side through past life regression, those especially evil/destructive souls who ignore opportunities to improve over more than one lifetime may eventually be disassembled to begin life again from the first spark. The goal for everyone is to progress in a positive direction, which is the reason they’re challenged by difficult physical lives on Earth. According to famous NDE survivor Anita Moorjani (DYING TO BE ME), the Other Side is a place of unconditional love for yourself and others, a model of joy.
Psychologists such as Brian Weiss (MANY LIVES, MANY MASTERS) or Michael Newton (JOURNEY OF SOULS) have written numerous books reflecting their experiences with patients they regressed with hypnosis to previous lives and even the period between lives to report that human souls are, indeed, immortal, so they are given as much time and as many lives in which to incarnate as they need to reach higher levels of consciousness. NDE researcher Debra Diamond (LIFE AFTER NEAR DEATH) concludes that higher consciousness is the only reality. Regardless of what you believe or reject, death is a fascinating mystery at any time of year…particularly when it’s happening to someone else.