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Oddly enough, it all puts me in mind of Van Morrison's song, 'Whenever God Shines His Light'.

That aside, I read once (forget where) that it is important to shed any state of depression before death. Perhaps blind optimism is the order of the day? :)

"What Dreams May Come", a movie in which Robin Williams had the main role depicted an afterlife which seemed to be based on similar kinds of afterlife reports. I enjoyed this movie, but it was not appreciated by the movie critics. I see that it is sometimes not included on lists of movies in which Robin Williams starred. Apparently the mainstream public is not ready to entertain such ideas of the afterlife.

\\Matthew 18:18 "Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."//

I just want it all back. Everything and everybody I have loved and lost, I want it back. All the stuff and people that I have loved in this life that I have lost, been separated from, I want back. If this side is just a holographic projection and the other side is the original holographic film which our universe is projected from, then whatever is here should be there. I believe we get it all back. Whatever we have loved in this life is there waiting for us; and whatever we haven't loved isn't. I think it's as simple as that.

Excerpt from Mark H's NDE description,
"Suddenly I thought of a mountain, I had seen as a child. When I looked up from the road there it was; The Mountain! Not just the mountain! But the most breathtaking mountain I had ever seen!"'s_nde.htm

The usually reliable Leonard Maltin rated "What Dreams May Come" a "bomb"- a rating reserved for the worst of the worst. I thought this showed a strange bias on his part. While the movie is far from perfect, it is imaginative and features beautiful production design and impressive special effects. There are some effective scenes and good performances, and the basic idea is highly original; it's not just another sequel, reboot, or generic action flick. It deserves at least two stars, maybe three. So why the "bomb" rating? I assume Maltin (or whichever contributor wrote the review) was simply turned off by the subject matter, which he found either disturbing or inherently ridiculous.

To understand the astral realms, a good starting pont is knowledge about our own subconscious mind. Dreams and synchronicities (being aware of certain coincidences) can be learning tools for most of us.

My question is: how much can we influence what we will perceive after moving on, by preparing ourselves in advance?

I like What Dreams May Come and I think some parts of it are probably close to true, or as true as one can get with what little information about the other side we can glean from the evidence we are allowed to know about the other side.

I wasn't crazy about the ending though (spoiler alert) where Chris and Annie are reincarnated to do it all over again. Yuck! After the life they had the first time why in the world would they want to repeat the heartache and loss they suffered? Who would want to come back to this life once they were in Heaven? Thanks but no thanks!

Yes I agree Michael. I think the subject matter was just too far from mainstream thought for materialist reviewers to seriously consider. True, the movie is not perfect but there are some interesting concepts depicted in it. I think a movie like that must be difficult to put together so that it won't come off as a cartoon. I don't think it was a 'bomb', I just think one has to be primed to appreciate what the writer and director were trying to do. - AOD

Oh yes Art! Seeing the afterlife as a projection of our thoughts I firmly believe that we'll have *there* everything we ever wanted *here*!

Yes, I would like to have it all back too. I just finished posting a couple of poems by Patience Worth about the afterlife at and if we are to believe her, we will 'awake in yesteryear'. She continues by writing that "I do promise at the waking—old joys,and sorrows ripened to a mellow heart; and e’en the crime-stained wretch, abasked in light, Shall cast his seed and spring afruit!" - AOD

Art, I don't like the feeling that I have failed. So if I failed with something big in my life I think I might want to repeat that life in hopes I'd get it right the next time. Or even do that as many times as it took to get it right.

Maybe life might make most sense as a game, one in which we will - well, one of the things, but maybe a very important one - learn how to deal with failure, by not letting it get us down, or to allow this to compromise our principles, in a situation where we have no guarantees that such things as justice exist.

Michael, excellent and extremely educational post illustrative of the fact, I posit, that one's state of mind, or mode of thinking, at death is critical to the immediate experience of the afterlife, viz., the Tibetan Book of the Dead's requirement, or admonition, that the book's contents be read into the ear of the recently deceased continuously for three days after death. Three days also correlates with the Resurrection of Jesus and is supposedly the amount of time it takes for the soul to leave the body - one reason I do not believe in embalming or organ donation :-)

Perhaps the ancients saw the afterlife as dim and murky with half aware muttering spirits because that is how communication from the other side seemed to them? They had Mediums that communicated with departed spirits and perhaps the messages they received seemed disjointed and difficult to understand because they were filtered through the mind of the Medium?

Fredrick Myers said about communicating through a Medium, "The nearest simile I can find to express the difficulty of sending a message is that I appear to be standing behind a sheet of frosted glass, which blurs sight and deadens sound, dictating feebly to a reluctant and somewhat obtuse secretary."

One of the complaints of skeptics is that messages from the other side seem so inane and banal. With knowledge of the Universe at their fingertips spirits talk about Aunt Edith and her dentures or the last time you talked.

So it's no wonder that ancient people thought that spirits had lost their mind and the other side was dark and murky - because that is how communication with the other side seemed to them. They didn't understand that the problem was not with the spirits or the other side but with what separates this side from the other side.

Art, I think reincarnation could be very useful for the soul (actually I think that the soul decides to reincarnate) if he/she wants to experience something in this life that it could not experience before (in another life). If I died at age 15, I would like to return and to know what sex feels like, what to drive a car feels like. Or what to live in Australia feels like.

Life is not only misery, it can be beautiful too, and I think souls decide to come here because they love what we can experience here: A dinner with our family, falling in love like it was the first time, being with the friends you love. That's what has the soul so enamored with *this* life here.

This description reminds me a lot of what the writer Ursula LeGuin wrote of the afterlife in her "Earthsea" books. She described the afterlife as a sort of dim, murky place where all passion and emotion was gone. For instance, lovers who had died for each other on earth barely acknowledged each other with a nod. I thought it was very chilling. Those are excellent books by the way. They're in the Tolkien fantasy genre, but the author really explored life and death in very interesting ways I thought.

I'll tell you what Luciano, if you want to come back, be my guest but the only way they'll get me back here is kicking and screaming! I'm going to grab hold of whatever is closest and pitch a fit if they try and get me to come back here! Buy you go on right ahead if you want to!

@Luciano: If we can experience our heart's desire on 'the other side' then, surely,we can have those experiences over 'there' too?

Great post and comments!

That is *very* interesting about the evolution of thought/perception from Hades/Sheol to what we typically call the Summerland these days. I have seen the actual Summerland in my dreams/visions, and I find Alexander's and Petrarch's descriptions to jibe with what I have experienced.

Check out The Road to Eleusis by Gordon Wasson and Albert Hoffman.

@Art: I don't think anyone is going to force you back into this life in Earth. I'm sure you won't have to come back if you wish to stay in the spiritual realm. And you will reincarnate when you want to do it.

@Julie: Of course, but if I was to experience something new that belongs to the physical realm, I'd go first with the 'real thing' and then re-create it in the non-physical. But maybe that won't be necessary when we arrive there!

"Check out The Road to Eleusis by Gordon Wasson and Albert Hoffman."

Wasn't that a Hope & Crosby picture?

We're off on the road to Eleusis.
Hey, look out, well, clear the way, 'cause here we come!
We'll drink a potion, skip our meals, grope our way through some caves -
Seems to us it shouldn't be so tough for our souls to be saved!

We're off on the road to Eleusis.
We'll soon kick back with Queen Persephone and Demeter her kid!!
(Didja meet her? Demeter? Nice gal!)
Underground we'll hang our hats with the bats all winter long
Then pop up in the springtime singing this crazy song!

We're off on the road to Eleusis.
'Cause like Philo Vance and Mr. Moto, we love a Mystery!

What's interesting with regards to Negative NDEs is that, according to the data we have, the majority of negative NDEers ultimately come to view the negative NDE as having a positive effect on their lives. Not in all cases, but certainly in the majority, the negative experience serves to disrupt old thought patterns and unhelpful habits.

I find it interesting that they eventually come to the realisation that the experience was beneficial to them in the final analysis.

With this in mind, maybe we need to think of the negative NDE as a confrontation with deep-rooted fears and character traits that the higher self/super ego (or whatever you want to call it) wants to move beyond. It's an extreme way of doing it, but perhaps necessary in some cases.

Off-topic, here's a long NY Times Magazine article about James Randi:

I didn't read the whole article, but as far as I've read, it seems to portray James Randi as an honest person. But I don't quite trust him...

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