ARE YOU THE WALKING DEAD?
Happiness is a notoriously difficult concept to quantify; any attempts tend to result in complete and utter failure, or mild herpes at the very least. Some people are rich and famous, have a loving family and a fulfilling career and yet are still not content.
Others are filthy disease-ridden paupers and love it. These others are rarer, of course. It's all very well believing in God's eternal love or Santa Claus (you know it comes down to the same thing in the end) but it won't get an amputee up a stepladder, as the old joke goes. But there's got to be some secret, something more specific we can do, that can guarantee happiness.
Well, no. If there was, someone would have thought of it by now, unfortunately. Happiness is a momentary state of mind, a chemical reaction that can be brought about by something as simple as a ray of sunshine or a smile on a baby's face (whatever floats your log, as they say in Kampuchea).
But it all starts to make more sense if you view life as a series of levels. Each level represents a degree of ambition, which will be determined by what one has achieved in the past and what one is expected to achieve in the present.
For example, if you are a miner's daughter and fail to get into Cambridge, it may be less of a crushing blow than if you go to Eton. It is always a case of either what you are used to getting or what you see others getting. A hundred years ago, people did not get upset that they never went to Florida, but now such behaviour is far more commonplace.
Buddhist philosophy states that disappointment is the result of failure to fulfill reasonable expectations. If you're used to success, disappointment stings all the more.
You can live your whole life watching Neighbours, eating fast food, going to the same pub once a week, going to the same resort once a year, talking to the same people you've known your whole life. And you may well be happy. Stability is important for one's happiness.
But unless you meet new people, see new films, look at the way other people view the world, you'll never adapt. And if you don't adapt, you stagnate, and stagnation is death. You have to have your opinions challenged to remain an interesting human being.
You are the sum of your experiences and if all you've ever done is watch daytime TV, you'll probably be fairly dull.
So you have a duty, if you want to be interesting, to have experiences that will make you interesting.
Part of the problem is that we don't do things because we want to. We do them because we did them at the same time yesterday, last week, last year. The number of activities we engage is simply out of habit is disturbing. And habit doesn't make you happy.
Habit makes you go to bed early, stay in the same town you were born in, drink spirits when they make you feel sick.
It stifles you of your spontaneity and discourages you from trying anything new.
It is our desire to keep life familiar that is to blame.
We like uniformity in appearance, in routine, in action. People are naturally risk-averse. There is no need to trot out trite cliches, but variety is the spice of life, after all.
A man who has thought about all this and more is the US singer and poet Henry Rollins. "I don't want to pass through life like a smooth plane ride. All you do is get to breathe and copulate and finally die. I don't want to go with the smooth skin and the calm brow.
I hope I end up a blithering idiot cursing the sun - hallucinating, screaming, giving obscene and inane lectures on street corners and public parks.
People will walk by and say, 'Look at that drooling idiot. What a basket case.
I will turn and say to them 'It is you who are the basket case. For every moment you hated your job, cursed your wife and sold yourself to a dream that you didn't even conceive.
For the times your soul screamed yes and you said no. For all of that. For your self-torture, I see the glowing eyes of the sun! The air talks to me! I am at all times!' And maybe, the passers by will drop a coin into my cup."
"What is the difference between a living thing and a dead thing? How to tell one from the other?
In the medical world, a clinical definition of death is a body that does not change.
Change is life. Stagnation is death. If you don't change you die. It's that simple. It's that scary.
BECOME INTERESTING, READ, WATCH FILMS, BE AN OBSERVER, DON'T GO THROUGH LIFE WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE. WHO WILL WANT TO CONVERSE WITH YOU?
What will you say, Indeed, what can you say?
NOTHING!! "better to keep mouth shut and let people wonder if you are smart or ignorant, than to open mouth and remove all doubt"
It's cool man, Know what I mean? Chillin, know what I'm sayin?, like you know.
Yeah I know, I can hardly wait for the next syllable. Go climb on your harley and dawn your fake poser harley bungalaboogie, and people with other lower minds like yours, will look at you with awe. Because that's the only crowd you will be able to impress.
You certainly can't do it with knowledge.
Well you might be able to impress a chimp or a backwoods country hick, in stickville USA, but not another sentient, well rounded, well read, movie goer, researcher and blog reader.
Instead: GO to church, they need people like you. Oh, and don't forget to wear a (sic) Crucifixion around your neck and put a fish sticker on your harley, so you can falsely advertise your shallow feeble rat brains musings. Except in this case the musings are as empty carts.
"empty carts make more rattle"
All Play and no knowledge, makes Johnny a DULL boy.
Ask such a person if that ever saw the films matrix, the last of the Mohican's, shaka Zulu, The Ninth configuration, Animal farm, Stigmata, Dancing with wolves, Bridges of Madison county, Powder, Lonesome Dove, Second Hand Lions, Full Metal Jacket, The Man who be King, Lethal weapon, Terminator, Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, The last Detail, Inner space, Time Rider, Men In Black, Space Odyssey 2001, Hunt for Red October, A beautiful mind, Conspiracy Theory, Jacobs Ladder, Cool Hand Luke, No Time for Sargent's, What the Bleep dp we Know, The Secret, Carl Sagans Universe series, Mutiny on the Bounty, all of em, Catch22, Swimming Cambodia, Clockwork Orange, Hellzapoppin, the 4th kind, well you get the picture.
In other words a well rounded individual, that can hold an intelligent conversation with another intelligent human being.
Not just a conversation about harley riding and road trips, or the latest sports trivia, or who won the nascar race.
Individuals that don't seek knowledge, or try and make some sense of the world and universe we live in, are ( in my mind) sleep walking through life.
And even if they don't agree with me, well that's ok, but I just as soon not know them, why should I? I couldn't learn anything from such an individual, except how much horse power their harley engine produces.
"Knowledge is a weapon, so arm yourself'"
"The world is like a book, those who don't travel only read the first page"
"The only people who are not hypocrites, are the dead"
"I believe in equality for everyone, except reporters, photographers, the pious and used car salesmen"
"Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time"
"Those that go through life without watching films, reading books, reading about all of the other religions, contemplating, understanding and broadening the borders of their minds, resemble sailors who set sail without rudder and compass, and no knowledge of navigation"
They don't know where their going or how to get there, or even how they got where they are.
They will surely be swallowed up by the sea. and wind up inside sharks.
Unstirred waters lead to stagnation, and stagnation can't support life.
Churches looking for lack of change and preservation of 'what has always been' are on course with slow, creeping death.
Injection of new life, ideas, freshly surrendered lives, spiritual fervor, hunger to penetrate culture, and better ways to connect people in community all lead to disequilibrium.
Disequilibrium is uncomfortable, unpredictable, and chaotic the dominant reasons people don't like it without fresh injections, organizations will be lulled into a false sense of complacency and end up 'the frog in the kettle slowly brought to boil.'" Ron Martoia, Morph!, 173
"Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself."
My dad used to say: 'You can tell a lot about a man by the way he handles these three things: a rain holiday, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.'"
H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
"Since most of us would rather be admired for what we do, rather than for what we are, we are normally willing to sacrifice character for conduct, and integrity for achievement."
Sidney M. Harris
"Life is a grindstone; whether it grinds you down or polishes you up depends on what you're made of." Jacob M. Braude
The average Christian is so cold and so contented with His wretched condition that there is no vacuum of desire into which the blessed Spirit can rush in satisfying fullness."
A.W. Tozer (Born After Midnight, 7.)
Compromising Christians spread their disease quicker than any other kind.
One backslider exerts an influence over the community that is tenfold worse than the influence of a hundred sinners who have never been saved." Oswald Chambers, Devotions for A Deeper Life, 113
My computer is so fast. Before yours can boot up, mine has already crashed three times." Bill Jones
Oh what a happy soul am I although I cannot see, I am resolved that in this world contented I shall be. How many blessings I enjoy that other people don't. To weep and sigh, because I'm blind? I cannot and I won't" Fanny Crosby
"You say, 'If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied.' You make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled."
"Christian contentment is that sweet, inward, quiet gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God's wise and fatherly disposal in every condition."
Jeremiah Burroughs, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, 19.
Contentment frees you to enjoy every good thing God has given you. Contentment demonstrates your belief that God loves you and has your best interest in mind."
Henry Blackaby, Experiencing God Day by Day, 117
One of the greatet crises of our day is that we are contented with easy satisfaction in our spiritual lives." Oswald Chambers (My Utmost, Apr. 28)
A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him." David Brinkley
"It behooves every man to remember that the work of the critic, is of altogether secondary importance, and that, in the end, progress is accomplished by the man who does things." Theodore Roosevelt
"You will be criticized. So it might as well be for doing the right thing."
Dan Southerland, Transitioning, 118.
"The most blessed ministries in any arena are also the most criticized. Being criticized does not mean you will be blessed; being blessed does mean you will be criticized."
Dan Southerland, Transitioning, 153.
"Honest criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative, a friend, an acquaintance or a stranger."
Franklin P. Jones
"It is exactly because a man cannot do a thing that he is the proper judge of it."
"If you're willing to stand apart from the crowd, you're putting yourself in a vulnerable position, so count on some degree of criticism."
John Maxwell Be a People Person, 119.
"There is nothing as easy as denouncing. It doesn't take much to see something is wrong. But it does take some eyesight to see what will put it right again."
"Criticism is something you can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing."
"If you stop every time a dog barks, your road will never end." an Arabian Proverb
It costs God nothing, so far as we know, to create nice things; but to convert rebellious wills cost Him crucifixion."
C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, 179.
"I do not know when I am more perfectly happy than when I am weeping for sin at the foot of the cross." C. H. Spurgeon, Sermon, Vol. 60, p.234
"How would telling people to be nice to one another get a man crucified? What government would execute Mister Rogers or Captain Kangaroo?
ALAN WATTS USED TO SAY;
This excerpt was taken from our good friend Chris Wilshaw over at Tao Wow
We are never not Here Now. We are absolutely always from birth, through every action, to death, Here Now.
We are never in the past or the future, they are unreal, just ideas, but our minds insist in wandering off into the unreal.
We choose to avoid reality, this here now and go off to a side step, a distraction, thinking a thought that takes a past or future idea, plays with it; a false thought based on a false notion - and choose to deliberately avoid the very thing we seek.
And the seeking itself is like stepping forward to achieve standing still, an impossible method.
Crazy as it seems we are the barrier to finding our self. There is no one who can be awakened, no one to be enlightened. When "One" is found then by definition there is no other, especially no you. No seeker.
A method to finding now is to look out from your solar plexus or heart. Don't use eyes or ears as they are filtered by the mini mind that is trained and has the nature to form time and analyse. It does this as it is too weak to comprehend the "Now", the "One" so it splits, measures, analyses and gets lost in its own fallacies.
"The eyes do not look, they absorb. The mind is responsible for looking; its failure here is the splitting of one of the sensory inputs into values, good and bad. These only exist due to the mind itself – here is the illusion."
"Your empty mind,is your full life; The impenetrable solid reality, is the ungraspable mind."
Our mind is useless, our language contaminated with rules that split the mind. Drop it all and then you are left with "Aaaaaaaa!" Here Now! it was there all along, Bliss!
A master does not have to meditate, there is nothing to do. By contrast someone with much baggage has to learn to meditate first before finding any benefit. They must progress and with time get better at it, work through tough issues, battle on. It is tough for someone with a whole world seemingly against them;
commitments, habits, plus a past that they took no part in forming, even ingrained habits in the way thoughts are processed. It seems this mind must be opened then worked with. Further still there are barriers in the way people have learned to learn. There is so much to do.
Yet the master does nothing, and the best advice is to do nothing.
What happens is that when someone has that first realisation that something is wrong and needs to be made right that they find a master. This does not mean to find a guru. A master or teacher comes in many forms and you will have many on your path. (The trap of taking one guru, one path, is a hindrance.)
Masters can be lakes, books, children, pets, forests, exercises, breathing techniques. Wisdom is everywhere. Something said one day that seems meaningless, something overheard in a passing conversation, a line in a book, can pop back to mind with great relevance in the future. Past actions can come back to haunt - this is all good. Nothing bad is happening, has or will. It all makes sense.
Don't hold onto bad memories, don't hold on to ideas. The more you learn the less you need.
Life can be plotted like a graph. You life may seem like a distorted sound wave when seen as a graph, with no pattern only random ups and downs. The aim is a slow, smooth, sine wave. Waking through sleeping follows a sine wave, you will know how smooth or haphazard. Eating and work habits follow waves too, but all these waves interfere, the waves collide and the resulting interference pattern is your life, your wave.
Meditation smooths the wave, it brings waves into sync.
From entering the path from seeing something in life is not right you go about soothing your wave. Ultimately you can smooth your life wave on the grand scale of rebirth; you can be born very infrequently, very smoothly, very controlled.
For now you may aim at smoothing your Samsara Nirvana wave - how often you are in illusion, how often truth. Until then you have many more waves to pull into line.
So the master would just sit still and the wave would settle. The unlearned will try to locate things that ripple the wave, that cause distortion and unbearable ups and downs.
To get from a false living to a true being there is a journey. A wonderful one. You will learn many truths that become false. Say you learn about Chakras and they give you great benefit in finding imbalance in your life. Then in the future you learn that Chakras are not even real and only apparent when they reveal themselves due to imbalance - This is not a bad thing, it is part of the journey. In finding stillness you will have to learn many nearly truths to help you over the false.
Then it becomes easier as your knowledge of truth becomes more penetrating. Many nearly truths reveal themselves at just the right times, they help soften the fall from a false, but they must all be dropped in the end, there can be no crutch when all is one. No guru, god, method, style.
The hardest part of the journey is the begining as it is a journey - the end is a shock as you realize it was not.
The State of the Dead
By Pastor J. Mark Martin
Here are some clear New Testament statements concerning the state of the dead:
They are NOT literal, it's never talking about the Literal dead, but those that are Spiritually dead.
I don't agree with all of Mr. martins Philosophy, but there's some good points in his assertion.
1. A PERSON IS MADE UP OF THREE PARTS – SPIRIT, SOUL & BODY:
1 Thessalonians 5:23
"Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."
There is a difference between a person's breath and spirit:
"Thus says God the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and its offspring, who gives breath to the people on it, and spirit to those who walk in it."
"Therefore I will not restrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul."
2. A PERSON'S SOUL AND SPIRIT ARE MORE THAN BREATH, THEY HAVE EMOTIONS:
1 Samuel 18:1
"Now it came about when he had finished speaking to Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as himself."
2 Samuel 5:8
"And David said on that day, 'Whoever would strike the Jebusites, let him reach the lame and the blind, who are hated by David's soul, through the water tunnel.' Therefore they say, the blind or the lame shall not come into the house."
"You forever overpower him and he departs; You change his appearance and send him away. His sons achieve honor, but he does not know it; Or they become insignificant, but he does not perceive it. But his body pains him, And he mourns only for himself."
"And He said to them, 'My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch.'"
"They rose up to the heavens, they went down to the depths; Their soul melted away in their misery."
"...and a sword will pierce even your own soul- to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed."
3. A PERSON'S SPIRIT IS WHAT IS REGENERATED
"That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'"
4. GOD WORKS THROUGH A PERSON'S SPIRIT
"The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all the innermost parts of his being."
5. A PERSON'S SPIRIT HAS:
INTELLIGENCE - 1 Corinthians 2:11
"For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God."
EMOTIONS - John 11:33
"When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her, also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled."
6. THE SOUL AND THE SPIRIT ARE SEPARATED FROM THE BODY AT DEATH:
"He, however, took her by the hand and called, saying, 'Child, arise!' And her spirit returned, and she rose immediately; and He gave orders for something to be given her to eat."
"And do not fear those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both the soul and body in hell."
"For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead."
1 Kings 17:21,22
"Then he stretched himself upon the child three times, and called to the Lord, and said, 'O Lord my God, I pray Thee, let this child's life return to him.' And the Lord heard the voice of Elijah, and the life of the child returned to him and he revived."
The term "death" which is "thanatas" in Greek, does not mean to be non-existent or unconscious, it rather means to be separated.
"And when you were dead (separated from God -- NOT "unconscious") in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions..."
"Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God… and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me;…
Therefore did that which is good become a cause of death for me? May it never be! Rather it was sin, in order that it might be shown to be sin by effecting my death through that which is good, so that through the commandment sin would become utterly sinful."
1 Timothy 5:6
"But she who gives herself to wanton pleasure is dead even while she lives."
"And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars, says this: I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead."
"And you were dead in your trespasses and sins... even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)… "
7. THERE IS A DESTINATION AFTER DEATH:
"For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I don't know which to choose. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake."
2 Corinthians 5:6-8
"Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord-- for we walk by faith, not by sight-- we are of good courage, I say... and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord."
8. THE SOUL IS CONSCIOUS AFTER DEATH:
"And when He broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, 'How long, O Lord, holy and true, wilt Thou refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?'
And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, should be completed also."
Obviously, a person's soul is more than his breath. These souls under the altar are not "breaths" that are robed and crying out to God!
Note that these souls are conscious after death. They were martyred and after death are very much alive in heaven. They have the ability to cry out to God and to wear white robes. God Himself tells them that more of their brethren will join them after they are killed.
These souls are seen again in Revelation 20:4
"And I saw thrones; and they sat upon them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of the testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshipped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand; they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years."
More Scriptures Indicating the Consciousness of the Soul After Death:
"The departed spirits tremble under the waters and their inhabitants. Naked is Sheol before Him and Abaddon has no covering."
"But regarding the resurrection of the dead, have you not read that which was spoken to you by God, saying, 'I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?' God is not the God of the dead but of the living." Jesus' point is that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are still alive right now.
See Luke 16:19-31 - The Rich Man and Lazarus – this is not a parable, but a story that really happened. Every time Jesus uses a parable it is introduced to us as a parable. One must ask the question: "If Jesus believed and taught soul-sleep, why would he use a story like this which has both main characters alive and conscious AFTER death?"
1 Thessalonians 5:10
"...who died for us, that whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with Him." (NT always refers to physical death as being asleep).
2 Corinthians 5:8
"...we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord."
"But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better..."
This is Consistent with the Old Testament Witness:
Read Israel's taunt to the King of Babylon. It indicates an Old Testament understanding of consciousness after death:
Isaiah 14:9-11; 15-17
"Sheol from beneath is excited over you to meet you when you come; It arouses for you the spirits of the dead, all the leaders of the earth; It raises all the kings of the nations from their thrones. They will all respond and say to you, 'Even you have been made weak as we, you have become like us.
Your pomp and the music of your harps have been brought down to Sheol; maggots are spread out as your bed beneath you, and worms are your covering.' Vss.15-17: "Nevertheless you will be thrust down to Sheol, to the recesses of the pit.
Those who see you will gaze at you, they will ponder over you, saying, 'Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, who made the world like a wilderness and overthrew its cities who did not allow his prisoners to go home?'"
9. WHEN THE SOUL LEAVES THE BODY, THE BODY SLEEPS
The term "sleep" is never applied to the soul or the spirit, but only to a believer's body. The soul and the spirit continue to exist after death. The body "sleeps" and goes back to dust. The following verses refer to the state of the body at death as sleep:
"He began to say, 'Depart; for the girl has not died, but is asleep.' And they were laughing at Him."
"This He said, and after that He said to them, 'Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, that I may awaken him out of sleep.'"
"And they went on stoning Stephen as he called upon the Lord and said, 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!' And falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, 'Lord do not hold this sin against them!' And having said this, he fell asleep."
"For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep, and was laid among his fathers, and underwent decay."
1 Thessalonians 4:14
"For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus."
10. A BELIEVER'S BODY WILL BE RESURRECTED WHEN OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST RETURNS:
1 Corinthians 15:50-53
"Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.
Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality."
Believers who are with the Lord will come back with Him to receive new bodies at the resurrection.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18
"For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.
Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words."
Compare Revelation 6:9-11 with 2 Corinthians 5:1-4,8:
"When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, 'How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?'
And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also."
2 Corinthians 5:1-4,8
"For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked.
For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life… we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord."
"But what about Ecclesiastes 9:5?"
"For the living know they will die; but the dead do not know anything, nor have they any longer a reward, for their memory is forgotten."
The context of this verse is "under the sun." It is saying that the dead do not know anything that is going on "under the sun" vss.3,6 -- that is, on earth after they die and are in heaven (Eccl.12:7).
The Scriptures we've read clearly teach that the soul and the spirit are more than breath. A person's soul and spirit are separated from their body when they die. The soul is conscious in heaven after death awaiting the resurrection of the body.
Jesus' promise to Martha in John 11:25-26 is also very clear:
"Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?'"
A literal translation of the Greek text clarifies even more: "I am the resurrection and the life; the one believing in me even if he should die will live [or 'continue to go on living' future active indicative tense, which speaks of continuous action], even if dies [the tense here, (2nd aorist subjunctive, 3rd class conditional), denotes the possibility of dying in a point of time, but it concedes something: it concedes that even if he dies, he will continue to go on living]."
Clearly, Jesus is saying, "The one who believes in Me will continue to go on living even if he dies at a particular point of time." In other words, there is never a break in the life of a believer. A believer's life continues without any interruption by death.
The text continues in verse 26: "And everyone living and believing in me shall never, by no means (extremely emphatic in the Greek) dies unto the age…" (The Zondervan Parallel New Testament in Greek and English, Zondervan, 1975, p. 307). Eternal life does not stop and start. It is a life of such a quality that it never dies!
What you must know before you die
What we have in common in all religions and empiricism to-day is that the afterlife exists. But not one religion tells us what actually happens when we physically die - empirical studies do. This means that empirical evidence is what we should study so that we get to know specifically what is going to happen to us when we cross over.
What has been empirically confirmed by way of mediumship is that we have a duplicate of our physical body. On crossing over, the physical body dies, and like an old coat can be burnt.
But at the time of physical death, our real self, i.e. our duplicate body will emerge from the physically dead body with full consciousness. The duplicate body, the 'spirit' body, the real you, will continue to have a human form and will be able to see those around your dead physical body.
We will take three things with us on crossing over: our mind with all its memories, our new spiritual body and our character which will not change one iota on crossing over. Those who have been in pain for a time before their death may not experience 'conscious transition' to the afterlife. They will be given very special care - but after a time of rest, they will regain full consciousness.
Moments after you will cross over you will be met by someone who had already passed on and with whom you have a heart to heart connection. Someone you can trust, someone who is most certain to be a loved one, someone you can feel most comfortable with. This meeting is meant to make your transition as smooth as you will allow it to be.
We are informed that many times average decent folk, especially those who have been 'spiritual' (not necessarily 'religious' - see below) when on earth, will experience a smooth, conscious transition.
Only our own limitations, our own prejudices, our own encumbrances will restrict the otherwise smooth transition. For these reasons at the time of crossing over we should always have an open mind and NOT have the mind rigidly set on some expectations taught by uninformed dogmatists on earth.
At this time you will remember all experiences you had when you visited the afterlife. We are credibly informed that during sleep we experience out-of-body experiences. For the average decent open minded person, the transition ought to be a most wonderful spiritual experience.
There is NOTHING to fear, NOTHING to be terrified about and certainly EVERYTHING for you to look forward to. Why?
Because information transmitted from the other side consistently tells us that for the average decent folk there will be much beauty, much peace, much light and love. In fact, we are told by some of the highest credible sources including Silver Birch, that we do not have the vocabulary to describe the enormous beauty, peace and love we will be experiencing once we cross over.
When we cross over we will still have free will which is critical to our continuous refinement. We will still be in a position to continue to refine in mind, 'body' and spirit. We will still have the potential to raise our 'vibrations' of the soul to graduate to a higher realm where there will be higher levels of ecstatic experiences far more intense than the one we initially entered.
The afterlife is divided into different realms (afterlife worlds)- from the lowest darkest vibrating realm to the highest. We are credibly informed that the average decent person will go to the 'third level.'
There will be venues of all kinds of learning. Artists will be able to continue to refine their skills to create enormous inspired beauty. Musicians will be able to perfect their skills and refine their creativity with added inspiration to produce the most heavenly music. Whoever you are, whatever you desire, you will have specialists who will assist in your endeavor to perfect your skills.
We will have opportunities to continue to follow the dreams we had on earth and have other opportunities do creative and other things that perhaps we were not able to do on earth. Also we will be enjoying perfect health - the cripple will walk again, the blind will see again, those with any physical or mental problems on earth will be perfectly normal again.
The greater and the lesser will be judged ONLY by the level of spirituality (level of vibrations at the time of crossing over) which will be indicated by the brightness of one's own aura which surrounds the body. But one thing is certain, we will find ourselves in a most friendly environment where we will be able to continue to refine with much grace and inspiration - even if it takes eons of earth's time to reach our goal - the highest spirituality. We have an eternity to continue to improve, to progress, to refine in mind and spirit.
There is some concern by a number of people about the 'lower' realms. Let's clarify this. As stated at the time of the crossing people will have the accumulated "vibrations" from their lifetime on earth.
The level of vibrations of average decent people will usually qualify them to go to the 'third realm' described above. But there will be some others who will NOT automatically end up in the third realm.
First, there will be some who get stuck for an indefinite period of time between the earth plane and the third realm - this will be a most serious problem. These may be hard core skeptics and others who had rigid, inflexible negative beliefs and who obstinately refused to believe that the afterlife exists.
When these closed minded skeptics and debunkers of the afterlife find themselves in the afterlife they will refuse to believe they are 'dead' because they will still have a body (the duplicate of the body they had on earth- they will be able to see, hear and feel things- everything will be just as solid as on earth.).
But they will know that something is very seriously different - when they try to talk to people on earth, no one responds to them because people on earth generally cannot see them, cannot hear them, cannot detect their presence.
This refusal to believe that they have crossed over will cause confusion in their mind and this confusion could last for more than a thousand years by earth's time - even thousands of years. It is only when they admit they were wrong that they will be able to progress. That is why the state of mind at the time of crossing over ought NOT be rigid.
The afterlife consequences are ENORMOUS and we must find the time to learn more about the afterlife. It will be critical to keep an open mind and to allow for the unexpected - especially for those whose environment was dogmatic about what to expect and what NOT to expect in the afterlife.
Secondly, the minority of people who were deliberately cruel, willfully evil, and knowingly selfish would have lower vibrations compared to the average decent person.
Those with the lowest vibrations will find themselves in the lowest vibrational afterlife realm where conditions are horrendous. Information transmitted from the otherside tells us in crystal clear terms that this lowest vibrational realm is so horrible we do not have the vocabulary to describe the heinous conditions.
Some from the other side - such as Hugh Benson in the Anthony Borgia afterlife books, have tried but the description was limited because our vocabulary is restricted. He said words to the effect this lowest realm is dark, very cold, putrid in the extreme and inhabited by horrible entities who deliberately give each other horrible experiences.
But NOBODY sends people to this realm. It's all governed by the law of physics- the law of attraction -like level of vibrations attracts like level of vibrations.
And if someone from the earth plane crosses over with extremely low vibrations (lowest spirituality), he/she will automatically be attracted to the lowest vibrating realm which can accommodate his/her level of vibrations. No one with lowest vibrations is able to inhabit the higher vibrational realms.
The Law of Cause and Effect also becomes operational. 'You reap what you sow' is a most powerful inevitable law. No one escapes this law; no one can erase the law of retribution.
But there is also the Law of Progress which means that even if it takes eons of time - thousands of years in earth's time, all those who crossed over to the afterlife and who send themselves in the lowest realms will at one time or another come back to the light of the higher realms.
How can we raise the level of our vibrations to maximize the afterlife on crossing over and have a smooth transition? Highly credible transmitted information tells us that 'service' - unselfishly helping others who are in genuine need is the most powerful, guaranteed way of raising your vibrations - raising your spirituality.
Note very carefully: you do NOT have to be religious at all to raise your vibrations, i.e. to become more spiritual. As a matter of fact there are those who are atheists, agnostics and certainly non-religious who by conduct and example are very 'spiritual.'
So that although religious people may be spiritual some 'religious' people may NOT be so spiritual. Being religious does not automatically mean being spiritual. Religious beliefs are irrelevant to having higher vibrations. It is not what we believe but what we DO on this planet earth that will definitively determine what is going to happen to us when we inevitably cross over.
Death-bed repentance. Whether we are aware of it or not, the universal Law of Cause and Effect operates all the time and no one on earth has the power to suspend its operation. If we willfully said or did something that hurt and injured others, only those injured will have the power to forgive us.
And the burden will be carried into the afterlife until there is forgiveness. There cannot be further refinement or progress until we are forgiven either on this earth or in the afterlife. It is fundamentally wrong to believe that confessing your 'sins' to a priest will completely free you from all guilt, from all negative consequences when you cross over.
It is far better to seek out the person and make amends while you are still alive. There have been innumerable experiences of people who crossed over seeking forgiveness from people who still reside on the physical earth-plane. This is because there cannot be individual progress in the afterlife until all is forgiven.
Mind is king in the afterlife dimension. We on earth do not really know how powerful the mind will be when we cross over. Transmitted information from the highly credible sources reminds us that the afterlife is governed by the 'mind'.
In afterlife travel for example, we only have to think of a place anywhere to go - any place on earth or in the afterlife and we get there instantly by the power of the mind.
Suicide: those who intentionally cut short their lives by committing suicide will have the extra burden of assisting those who were negatively affected by their suicide. Of course, motivation is always the key.
If one commits suicide to avoid responsibilities - inevitably those responsibilities will sometime in the future come back again to be dealt with. If one commits suicide to avoid intense pain where death is absolute - that would be a different matter. Each suicide will be dealt with according to motivation.
Love we are informed is 'the most powerful force in the universe.' Just because we cross over does not mean love is lost or is terminated. Love survives physical death and true love will mean you will never be separated from your loved ones.
True unconditional love will usually mean unconditional forgiveness. This will lead to a higher level of vibrations, of spirituality and will be instrumental in graduating to higher afterlife realms where conditions are too beautiful for us on earth to imagine - something to look forward to being there.
CRITICAL: if when crossing over you see powerful light - GO TOWARDS THE LIGHT- but usually the LIGHT comes towards you if you are destined to proceed to the next stage of your spiritual development - to a higher realm. One member of my own family moments before dying stated she was seeing powerful LIGHT. She said, "Where is this light coming from?" Then she passed on calmly and peacefully.