Reflections on existential questions
My near-death experience has lead me to think that it is not our thinking but our emotions that determine our fate. That our emotions and how we ‘live’ through emotions are the key to a — lets call it — ‘Visionary Passage to Heaven’.
Nobody knows how we’ve received or obtained our consciousness. We are born and after a while we become aware that we are living this life. But I have always been wondering whether there is a longer consciousness, a sort of ‘higher’ consciousness over several life spans.
Where your soul is capable of consciously choosing a ‘soul-journey’ and can return to or re-find your ‘higher consciousness’ after you die. I like to believe in the active and creative version of your soul being able to choose or even create its own ‘soul-journey’, and predetermine the conditions under which it is (re)born, over: ‘your fate is predestined and there is nothing you can do about it’.
Journey towards Heaven
I would define a ‘soul-journey’ as a soul temporarily choosing to (re)incarnate into a ‘vessel’, a human body. To be able to live a life in which a soul has chosen to fulfill a purpose, to learn lessons to grow. Where there are choices to make between light and dark. And where there is guidance to make the right choices.
Hopefully the purpose to this all would then be that these choices will bring a soul, you, eventually closer to your destiny. Preferably an after-life, the light, or heaven, if that’s the name you prefer. And what better place to do this than in a world where duality exists?
This journey of your soul could be through individual, subsequent soul-paths. Where each soul-path is specifically created by an individual consciousness for a specific lifespan. If you believe in the concept of time.
Basically, I think that we have created the concept of time to be able to live for a while in the concept of duality where we challenge ourselves to continuously choose between good or bad, light or dark.
Another view could be that our soul has access to and the ability to tap into and out of a source of ‘all-consciousness’. From which it can create a temporary individual consciousness if it chooses to.
More and more I’m intrigued by the concept of the Timeless Now. That everything happens in this moment, but that with your higher, infinite, consciousness you decide to step into and out of a world of duality, a world of light and dark.
You temporary take on a form of vessel. Like a body, which I would define as a 3D vessel. Possibly even multiple times, in multiple dimensions, so you’d live multiple lives at once.
I think therefore I exist
I think we should consider the possibility that death, like birth, is just a ‘trespassing’ to another state of consciousness. And that during a life on Earth, your body functions as a vessel, an interface or a resonance place. Your own temporary ‘house’, in which you can enjoy your life on planet Earth and fulfill your purpose for this lifetime.
And that basically your emotions are the driver behind all your actions. For you need to be able to move and to interact, to fulfill your purpose, to learn and to grow.
Aristotle was a wise man. His statement ‘The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts’ aptly defines the modern concept of synergy.
His phrase has led to the reductionist approach. This approach is still the leading approach for most scientific studies. Reductionism is an approach to understanding the nature of complex things by reducing them to the interactions of their parts, or to simpler or more fundamental things.
You can study elements out of the perspective of biology, chemistry and physics, which you can ‘reduce’ to mathematics, until the starting point of all reasoning: Logic.
Which brings us to the Logos of Plato. Logos is rational reasoning. That, which distinguishes us from an animal. According to Plato, Logos controls feelings, which Plato divides into male emotions, Thymos, and female emotions, Eros.
Descartes added to this: ‘I think, therefore I am’. Which makes Logos, rational thinking, the necessary condition for your existence.
But is this the case, are your emotions really subservient to your thoughts?
I feel therefore I exist
It is very easy to dissect things, to reduce a whole to its parts. But conversely, it is not so simple. Anyone who has ever disassembled a motorbike, knows that putting it back together until ‘it drives like a dream’ is a different challenge.
With life this is impossible. As far as I know, nobody has so far fashioned a creature out of body parts and brought it to life. Unless you believe in Frankenstein.
Life is a dynamic interaction between all cells and molecules. As soon as this dynamic interaction stops, we die.
Now back to Aristotle. It is evident that the whole is more than the sum of the parts. That ‘more’ is localized in the dynamic interaction of the components.
These interactions are concrete and generate force. When two people interact in a positive way, we call this Love. When they interact in the negative sense, it creates Fear.
Love and Fear
Love and fear are concrete phenomena that are dominant in the functioning of our body and are the basis of our health. For example, fear is the non-measurable result of very many complex interactions, including experiences from the past. They appear or arise from the interactions with others. Or as I would verbalize it: ‘from living in a world where duality exits’.
Love is what we are born with. Fear is what we learn. The spiritual journey is the unlearning of fear and prejudices and the acceptance of love back in our hearts. Love is the essential reality and our purpose on earth. To be consciously aware of it, to experience love in ourselves and others, is the meaning of life. Meaning does not lie in things. Meaning lies in us.-Marianne Williamson
Feelings are dominant in the functioning of our body and are the basis of our health. The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2009 (awarded to Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Carol W. Greider and Jack W. Szostak) provided data for the study that shows that feelings of stress directly influence the lifespan of people by shortening the telomeres on the DNA. If the telomeres are shortened, cells age. Conversely, if telomerase activity is high, telomere length is maintained, and cellular senescence is delayed.
Reflections on A Visionary Passage to Heaven
I guess a route to ‘heaven’ can have many possible roads. And I think your emotions might be determining which road you choose. In my view, in essence, emotions only boil down to two emotions, Love and Fear. That the idea is that you should not let yourself be side-tracked by fear.
So when you find yourself on a path filled with negative emotions and worries, where you let yourself be guided by fear, you should realize that you could take a curve to a lighter path. If you keep on choosing the lighter paths, the paths that are meant for you to be able to live a happy life and fulfill your destiny, you might find yourself a few steps ‘closer to heaven’.
In my experience, those lighter paths you can find in the concept of (unconditional) Love. That is the short version of how you could see a road map to heaven.
Fill Your Heart with Peace and Love
I’m a highly sensitive person. Current research shows that about 1 in 5 people are highly sensitive. You have to accept that you are different from the remaining 80 percent, because high sensitivity cannot be changed, it is embedded in your central nervous system.
Someone who has done a lot of research on high sensitivity is Elain Aron. She sees as positives of high sensitivity that you better understand subtlety. You see nuance, you are intuitive, you have an aesthetic eye.
In my life too many things have happened, such as sensing something in advance, feeling it when something happens to someone close to me. I haven’t put any rational to this, but it has lead me to believe that there is ‘more between Heaven and Earth’. Another event that has lead me to belief this, is my Near Death Experience in 2014.
Death is not so bad
I’ve had a life full of toxic stress. When I was young, some traumatic things happened. For over 25 years I’ve suffered from hyperventilation attacks, due to an anxiety disorder. I suffer from PTSS. So I’ve had a life full of fear, and that sucks.
In 2014, I had an abdominal operation. During this operation, my heart stopped, and I had to be resuscitated. Although I was under anesthesia, I was aware of this.
Professor Janice Holden, the current chairman of the IANDS, the International Association of Near-Death Studies, defines Near Death Experiences as ‘the (reported) memory of all impressions during a special state of consciousness, with commonly occurring ‘paranormal’, transcendence and mystical characteristics, which occurs during a special state of consciousness that arises during a period of actual or threatening bodily, psychological, emotional or spiritual death.’
According to her, this experience almost always causes profound and lasting changes in the attitude to life, where the fear of death usually disappears.
Which happened to me.
During my operation I suddenly became aware that I was looking from above at a woman lying on an operating table with side supports on which her arms were resting. There were tubes in her belly. Her upper body and lower body were covered under blue-grayish blankets. But her belly was bared.
I could see everything, but in a dissociated way: the panic among the medics (two male, one female), I heard the desperate talking of the gynecologist. She was afraid. She started pushing very hard with her hands on the woman’s chest. A young man brought the crash car closer. Injections were given and a bag of fluid was added to the infusion.
I thought, with some curiosity: ‘that poor soul lying there, she might just die.’ But it didn’t matter to me, I was dead calm. In the meantime I found myself in an all-embracing intense pure love, warmth and security. Everything was light and clear. Like being in an intense harmony of light. There seemed to be an absence of time and space and I felt connected with everything and everyone. At the same time, I was the center of a silent hurricane of revolving truths and contradictions.
I felt like I experienced the essence of life, I understood myself and the people around me. Afterwards two words always came forward: love (in the form of compassionate love) and gratitude. And I knew: whatever happens, it’s okay and it’s good.
At some point I felt like a was gliding through a stellar star system on a sort of a bed or plate made out of crystals. You could see through it, partially. It felt like a lot of hands or energies were carrying me, making the crystal bed fly through a wonderful stellar system that looked like it had some crystalline grid. It seemed like there were stars, planets made out of golden rocks passing by and clouds full of love, in warm, soft and wonderful colors.
I have no words to describe the place where I was. There was no pain, no fear. It was so peaceful, so safe, beautiful and soothing. I was thoroughly happy and wanted to stay there. But I felt I was pushed back with a soft hand. Literally.
From that moment, the first thing I remember is suddenly seeing – in an associated way – the face on the left of my bed in the recovery room from the blonde gynecologist with worried eyes. She tells me — very emotionally — that I had a bradycardia. ‘I had to resuscitate you and we gave you an injection with atropine and morphine against the pain.’
I felt that I was surprised, something felt differently. I felt a form of being irritated, that I was here now again, and not ‘there’ anymore. It all felt so concrete again. But from that moment on I had an unshakable belief in the concept of Love.
What I’ve experienced, I see as a changing point in my life. The world seems different to me now and I experience my life differently. This experience has turned my world upside down. Although I only realized the full extend of it later, after a year or so.
I’m way more sensitive to things. As if all my senses have opened wider. I’m more light sensitive and I have a hard time dealing with conflicts. I just want the world to be a harmonious place.
Belongings, my career, that doesn’t mean that much to me anymore. I am surrounded by people who love me and whom I love. My husband, family and good friends, that is all that counts. I feel somehow more connected to people. As if I know and understand them better.
And my legacy matters to me. I somehow want to express this knowledge. Write poems about Love and Peace. About fulfilling your destiny.
I looked through a window to another, better place. Understand me well, I enjoy life and I love to be alive. Besides, I think I still have a purpose to fulfill. But when the time comes, I’m sure death is not so bad.
Death is not so bad. A life in fear is. was originally published in The Ascent on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.