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What Happens After We Die?

What Happens After We Die?

Instead of being unknowable, perhaps the afterlife is something we haven’t looked at hard enough. And if so, why not?

For one thing, the mind is addicted to repetition. We pursue the same desires today that we had yesterday. Even our thoughts today are generally about 90 percent the same as the thoughts we had yesterday, according to some studies. Habit rules our actions; a fixed roster of likes and dislikes governs our taste.

On the positive side, psychologists point out that the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain motivate us every day, and generally to good effect. We’re reassured by what we know.

At the same time that is reassures us, repetition has a deadening effect. By keeping out what’s new, it forces reality into the strait-jacket of the old. Each of us lives behind a wall, beyond which lies the infinite potential of the unknown. Only the smallest gates are built into the wall, and we stand guard at these, allowing one experience to enter but excluding another, calling this experience good and that one evil. As long as we keep on taking in reality so selectively, freedom is a remote possibility.

In this regard, death is a great gift, because it throws open all the doors and windows. Dying forces us outside the wall. Instead of seeing the familiar things we’ve assiduously collected and labeled as reality, we must start over.

Whatever our dream is right now, that dream continues. Consciousness is tied by thousands of threads to old memories, habits, preferences, and relationships.

Who are you? You have to know where you are right now, in order to know where you will be tomorrow, and the afterlife is just a special kind of tomorrow.


Adapted from Life After Death: The Burden of Proof, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 2006).

Read more: Deepak Chopra's Tips, Spirit, , , , , , ,

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Deepak Chopra

Acknowledged as one of the world's greatest leaders in the field of mind body medicine, Deepak Chopra, M.D. continues to transform our understanding of the meaning of health. Chopra is known as a prolific author of over 49 books with 12 best sellers on mind-body health, quantum mechanics, spirituality, and peace. A global force in the field of human empowerment, Dr. Chopra's books have been published in more than 35 languages with more than 20 million copies in print.

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1:28AM PDT on Jul 31, 2013

Footnote to my post... After reading my post, it made me sad. I should add, I hope for someone to devise a way to prove something survives physical death. But atlas, there is no proof that can be documented, verified, and is repeatable. Perhaps, if some life-force, spirit, energy that survives, however you want to think about it, does exist... perhaps it is so elusive to us mortals because it, after leaving our body, has no desire for the physical plane of our existence. Maybe does not even relate to who it was as human. It is something else now and has moved on with no memory of it's former mortal life. Well, I feel better now. See, fiction is so much more fun that fact and being right all the time!

12:43AM PDT on Jul 31, 2013

Belief in an afterlife is just wishful thinking, fear of death. When you die it is lights out, you are gone, game over... you cease to exist. No spirit to mingle with loved ones who have died before you. No heaven or hell... no god. Religion equals superstition. A way to keep people ignorant and subservient. A big business. People need to wise up. Take the good messages from organized religion and actually apply them to your life. Realize that you cannot "sin" during the week and then absolve yourself of your actions in church on Sunday. Absurd, ridiculous... wake up people... NO HEAVEN, NO HELL, NO GOD, NO AFTERLIFE.
Of course, that is just my opinion... I could be wrong. (However, it would be the first time. The burden of being a genius. Being right all the time is not as fun as it appears to be.)

3:00AM PDT on Jul 26, 2013

What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for another remains eternal.

7:27PM PDT on Jul 20, 2013

I figure I'll know when I know and I ain't in no hurry to find out...

7:09PM PDT on Jul 18, 2013

Ahh, @Pat M: It just so happens to be an age-old biblical exhortation to honor your parents - very good advice indeed. As to who created? Well, that has been part of voluminous debate across societies and centuries and one either gets it or not...pretty much a personal thing, personal conviction. "A watch has a watchmaker". I never liked to debunk anything without having done some serious research into whatever caught my interest. As such I have studied esoteric matters, religious doctrine grounded in scientific methodology (or not) and Quantum Physics and so have developed, for my own sake, a good motive to believe what I believe. Taking your focus on the "Now" in your previous post again, perhaps you might like Eckhart Tolle's "The Power of Now"?

8:52AM PDT on Jul 16, 2013

Michael W, IMO it's all the same fear. And as for paying homage to our 'Creator', I believe your parents create you when you are conceived so it's a good thing to pay homage to your parents..unless they have been terrible parents who have abused you- and I don't mean like so many spoiled kids today who consider it 'abuse' if they don't get whatever they want, I mean serious abuse. But then I don't believe 'God' creates us any more than he creates all living things.

2:47AM PDT on Jul 16, 2013

Dear @Pat M, I just happened across this page again. A short note, if I may: Many people, I would venture, go to churches etc not so much because of a fear of death but because of their fear of not going to heaven or worse - going to hell. Without fear of being contradicted too much I would also contend that people go to church etc to pay homage to their Creator. But there are, of course, many arguments either way. But - and this is the real reason for me responding to you - you make a most important point: We shouldn't worry about the future, rather enjoy or make the most of Now.

9:23PM PDT on Jul 15, 2013


9:13PM PDT on Jul 15, 2013

Most people are afraid of death, which narrows the outlook of what happens. Most people really don't even want to know as they are so choked by the thought of death..
I think we are energy and will continue on after we shed the vessel of a body. I do believe in spirits and that they try to contact us. We should spend more time in making those contacts that those from outer space. Hey, me might get an answer to the question
In the meantime let's just be kind to one another

10:46AM PDT on Jul 15, 2013

I'm afraid the proof is in the pudding. We'll never really know until we experience it!

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