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When you say “after-life,” some people grow nervous and believe they’re beginning to smell sulfur. If that describes you, stop reading now and have a nice day. When I wrote my new novel RETURN TICKET about a man reacting to a near-death experience, I didn’t rely on any single description of the Other Side, even though I have no death experience of my own…that I recall. I did use quantities of reports delivered to psychiatrists and others who were open to the validity of such accounts, whether or not the testimonies they recorded matched one another. Much of what we see in everyday life is what we expect to see. We miss huge hunks of data that fall outside our anticipation. That’s human, and science is human, as well.
What I share here is a summary of the accounts of both those who had near-death experiences they say took them to another realm and those thousands who described inter-life experiences under professional hypnosis. I can’t ensure the validity of the accounts beyond their volume and general consistency across ages and cultures. (I’ve included a brief bibliography at the rear of my novel. In retrospect, I should’ve annotated it.) What I’m sharing here is meant to pique the interest of the curious and share the comfort of community with those who tremble at the thought of death. Take what you will and discard the rest. I’m neither preacher nor scientist.
General opinion holds that each of us has an essence, an energy, many refer to as a soul. The age of the soul is debatable, some contending it’s immortal and some that it can be young or old. Your soul is far more than who you perceive yourself to be. In fact, many accounts say who you are in this life is only once piece extracted from what your soul is. It splits itself so you can have human experiences that you bring back to your greater soul on the Other Side. Using the free will with which you are designed, you choose the circumstances of each life you live according to the goal you have in living it.
Many claim a soul, like energy, can be in more than one place at a time, although most people don’t carry old memories into new lives. Old incarnations of your soul energy remain intact on the Other Side for your descendants to address even while new incarnations may be active on Earth. Love remains immortal. The souls of those who are most important to you in this life were probably present in your lives before and may be again, although their appearance and relationship with you will have changed. You might recognize them as especially comfortable. Many claim each of us is assigned a guide when we’re born, a spirit guide who stays with us throughout life, doing what’s permissible to answer pleas for help, although other spirits (some call angels) also come to our aid. A guide isn’t allowed to direct.
Not everyone who dies chooses to zip directly to the Other Side. Many fear retribution as described by certain religions and refuse to cross for a time, lingering in a half-life. Some remain attached to Earth to complete a task left undone—perhaps to seek justice or revenge. Some don’t realize they’re dead. You may see what you expect to see when you arrive on the Other Side and be greeted by those deceased persons and/or pets you held most dear, a design meant to ease your transition. Although all is love on the Other Side, those who elect to avoid crossing may not experience peace. Those who despise themselves may need to learn to love themselves unconditionally before they’re ready to be there. The Other Side is dedicated to the advancement of souls—including education.
I surmise that religions are interpretations—differing by culture and perspective—of an ineffable truth that lies beyond. (You’ll note that I’m carefully avoiding religious words such as Creator or God because such words carry too much baggage for a simplistic explanation.) People come to the Other Side from any culture, age, or life experience. Some will reincarnate; some won’t. The bottom line is that we, like all matter, are made of energy and our thoughts and intentions can impact what we are and how we see what happens to us—here and beyond.