Seth Speaks, Session 535
The “Death” Experience
What happens at the point of death? The question is much more easily asked than answered. Basically there is not any particular point of death in those terms, even in the case of a sudden accident. I will attempt to give you a practical answer to what you think of as this practical question, however. What the question really means to most people is this: What will happen when I am not alive in physical terms any longer? What will I feel? Will I still be myself? Will the emotions that propelled me in life continue to do so? Is there a heaven or a hell? Will I be greeted by gods or demons, enemies, or beloved ones? Most of all the question means: When I am dead, will I still be who I am now, and will I remember those who are dear to me now?
I will answer the questions in those terms also, then; but before I do so, there are several seemingly impractical considerations concerning the nature of life and death, with which we must deal.
First of all, let us consider the fact just mentioned. There is no separate, indivisible, specific point of death. Life is a state of becoming, and death is a part of this process of becoming. You are alive now, a consciousness knowing itself, sparkling with cognition amid a debris of dead and dying cells; alive while the atoms and molecules of your body die and are reborn. You are alive, therefore, in the midst of small deaths; portions of your own image crumble away moment by moment and are replaced, and you scarcely give the matter a thought. So you are to some extent now alive in the midst of the death of yourself – alive despite, and yet because of, the multitudinous deaths and rebirths that occur within your body in physical terms.
If the cells did not die and were not replenished, the physical image would not continue to exist, so now in the present, as you know it, your consciousness flickers about your ever-changing corporeal image.
In many ways you can compare your consciousness as you know it now to a firefly, for while it seems to you that your consciousness is continuous, this is not so. It also flickers off and on, though as we mentioned earlier, it is never completely extinguished. It focus is not nearly as constant as you suppose, however. So as you are alive in the midst of your own multitudinous small deaths, so though you do not realize it, you are often “dead”, even amid the sparkling life of your own consciousness.
I am using your own terms here. By “dead”, therefore, I mean completely unfocused in physical reality. Now your consciousness, quite simply, is not physically alive, physically oriented, for exactly the same amount of time as it is physically alive and oriented. This may sound confusing, but hopefully we shall make it clearer. There are pulsations of consciousness, though again you may not be aware of them.
Consider this analogy. For one instant your consciousness is “alive”, focused in physical reality. Now for the next instant it is focused somewhere else entirely, in a different system of reality. It is un-alive, or “dead” to your way of thinking. The next instant it is “alive” again, focused in your reality, but you are not aware of the intervening instant of un-aliveness. Your sense of continuity therefore is built up entirely on every other pulsation of consciousness.
Remember this is an analogy, so that the word “instant” should not be taken too literally. There is, then, what we can call an underside of consciousness. Now, in the same way, atoms and molecules exist so that they are “dead”, or inactive within your system, then alive or active, but you cannot perceive the instant in which they do not exist. Since your bodies and your entire physical universe are composed of atoms and molecules, then I am telling you that the entire structure exists in the same manner. It flickers off and on, in other words, and in a certain rhythm, as, say, the rhythm of breath.
There are overall rhythms, and within them an infinity of individual variations – almost like cosmic metabolism. In these terms, what you call death is simply the insertion of a longer duration of that pulsation of which you are not aware, a long pause in that other dimension, so to speak.
The death, say, of physical tissue, is merely a part of the process of life as you know it in your system, a part of the process of becoming. And from those tissues, as you know, new life will spring.
Consciousness – human consciousness – is not dependent upon the tissues, and yet there is no physical matter that is not brought into being by some portion of consciousness. For example, when your individual consciousness has left the body in a way that I will shortly explain, then the simple consciousnesses of atoms and molecules remain, and are not annihilated.
In your present situation you arbitrarily consider yourselves to be dependent upon one given physical image: You identify yourself with your body.
As mentioned earlier, all through your lifetime, portions of that body die, and the body that you have now does not contain one particle of physical matter that “it” had, say ten years ago. Your body is completely different now, then, than it was ten years ago. The body that you had ten years ago, my dear readers, is dead. Yet obviously you do not feel that you are dead, and you are quite able to read this book with eyes that are composed of completely new matter. The pupils, the “identical” pupils that you have now, did not exist ten years ago and yet there seems to be no great gap in your vision.
This process, you see, continues so smoothly that you are not aware of it. The pulses mentioned earlier are so short in duration that your consciousness skips over them merrily, yet your physical perception cannot seem to bridge the gap when the longer rhythm of pulsation occurs. And so this is the time that you perceive as death. What you want to know, therefore, is what happens when your consciousness is directed away from physical reality, and when momentarily it seems to have no image to wear.
Quite practically speaking, there is no one answer, for each of you is an individual. Generally speaking, of course, there is no answer that will serve to cover main issues of this experience, but the kinds of deaths have much to do with the experience that consciousness undergoes. Also involved is the development of the consciousness itself, and its overall characteristic method of handling experience.
The ideas that you have involving the nature of reality will strongly color your experiences, for you will interpret them in the light of your beliefs, even as now you interpret daily life according to your ideas of what is possible or not possible. Your consciousness may withdraw from your body slowly or quickly, according to many variables.
In many cases of senility, for example, the strongly organized portions of personality have already left the body, and are meeting the new circumstances. The fear of death itself can cause such a psychological panic that out of a sense of self-preservation and defense you lower your consciousness so that you are in a state of coma, and you may take some time to recover.
A belief in hell fires can cause you to hallucinate Hades’ conditions. A belief in a stereotyped heaven can result in a hallucination of heavenly conditions. You always form your own reality according to your ideas and expectations. This is the nature of consciousness in whatever reality it finds itself. Such hallucinations, I assure you, are temporary.
Consciousness must use its abilities. The boredom and stagnation of a stereotyped heaven will not for long content the striving consciousness. There are teachers to explain the conditions and circumstances. You are not left alone, therefore, lost in mazes of hallucination. You may or may not realize immediately that you are dead in physical terms.
You will find yourself in another form, an image that will appear physical to you to a large degree, as long as you do not try to manipulate within the physical system with it. Then the differences between it and the physical body will become obvious.
If you firmly believe that your consciousness is a product of your physical body, then you may attempt to cling to it. There is an order of personalities, an honorary guard, so to speak, who are ever ready to lend assistance and aid, however.
Now this honorary guard is made up of people in your terms both living and dead. Those who are living in your system of reality perform these activities in an “out-of-body” experience while the physical body sleeps. They are familiar with the projection of consciousness, with the sensations involved, and they help orient those who will not be returning to the physical body.
These people are particularly helpful because they are still involved with physical reality, and have a more immediate understanding of the feelings and emotions involved at your end. Such persons may or may not have a memory of their nightly activities. Experiences with projection of consciousness and knowledge of the mobility of consciousness, are therefore very helpful as preparations for death. You can experience the after-death environment beforehand, so to speak, and learn the conditions that will be encountered.
This is not, incidentally, necessarily any kind of somber endeavor, nor are the after-death environments somber at all. To the contrary, they are generally far more intense and joyful than the reality you now know.
You will simply be learning to operate in a new environment in which different laws apply, and the laws are far less limiting than the physical ones with which you now operate. In other words, you must learn to understand and use new freedoms.
Even these experiences will vary, however, and even this state is a state of becoming, for many will continue into other physical lives. Some will exist and develop their abilities in different systems of reality altogether, and so for a time will remain in this “intermediary” state.
For those of you who are lazy I can offer no hope: Death will not bring you an eternal resting place. You may rest, if this is your wish, for a while. Not only must you use your abilities after death, however, but you must face up to yourself for those that you did not use during your previous existence.
Those of you who had faith in life after death will find it much easier to accustom yourself to the new conditions. Those of you who do not have such faith may gain it in a different way, by following through in the exercises I will give you later in this book; for these will enable you to extend your perceptions to these other layers of reality if you are persistent, expectant, and determined.
Now consciousness as you know it is used to these brief gaps of physical nonexistence mentioned earlier. Longer gaps disorient it to varying degrees, but these are not unusual. When the physical body sleeps, consciousness often leaves the physical system for fairly long periods, in your terms. But because the consciousness is not in the normally physically awake state, it is not aware of these gaps and is relatively unconcerned.
If consciousness vacated the body for the same amount of time from a normally physically awake state, it would consider itself dead, for it could not rationalize the gap of dimension and experience. Therefore in the sleep state, each of you have undergone – to some degree – the same kind of absence of consciousness from physical reality that you experience during death.
In these cases, you return to the body, but you have passed over the threshold into these other existences many many times, so it will not be as unfamiliar to you as you may now suppose. Dream-recall experiments and other mental disciplines to be mentioned later will make these points quite clear to all of you who embark upon the suggested exercises.
Now, you may or may not be greeted by friends or relatives immediately following death. This is a personal matter, as always. Overall, you may be far more interested in people that you have known in past lives than those close to you in the present one, for example.
Your true feeling toward relatives who are also dead will be known to you and to them. There is no hypocrisy. You do not pretend to love a parent who did little to earn your respect or love. Telepathy operates without distortion in this after-death period, so you must deal with the true relationships that exist between yourself and all relatives and friends that await you.
You may find that someone you considered merely an enemy actually deserved your love and respect, for example, and you will then treat him accordingly. Your own motives will be crystal clear. You will react to this clearness, however, in your own way. You will not be automatically wise if you were not so before, but neither will there be a way to hide from your own feelings, emotions, or motives. Whether or not you accept inferior motives in yourself or learn from them is still up to you. The opportunities for growth and development are very rich, however, and the learning methods at your disposal very effective.
You examine the fabric of the existence you have left, and you learn to understand how your experiences were the result of your own thoughts and emotions and how these affected others. Until this examination is through, you are not yet aware of the larger portions of your own identity. When you realize the significance and meaning of the life you have just left, then you are ready for conscious knowledge of your other existences.
You become aware, then, of an expanded awareness. What you are begins to include what you have been in other lives, and you begin to make plans for your next physical existence, if you decide upon one. You can instead enter another level of reality, and then return to a physical existence if you choose.