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What is death? -- an exploration of mankind's most often asked question

Updated on August 19, 2010

“Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those around you who transform into the Force.” -YODA, Star Wars Episode III

From the beginnings of humanity, mankind has struggled to understand the nature of his own mortality, and never has one question been pondered quite as much as the title of this article, ‘What is death?’

One might consider this a simple question, almost a stupid one; death is the cessation of life within an organism, and common to all living things – almost a rhetorical question, not requiring an answer, obvious.

Or is it?

There is no doubt death is a transformation, as anyone who has witnessed a death can attest. Here we see this hauntingly evidenced by the beautiful work of German photographers Walter Schels and Beate Lakota. Look at the photograph below of one of the subjects in their study of death.

We see the living face, animated, eyes a mirror of the internal process – a person and next, we see the same face shortly after death, empty, abandoned, devoid of life and personality, a shell – a corpse. But only the dying know what transpires during this transformation; the rest of us can only postulate a hypothesis, speculate, wonder and indulge in our emotional responses – fear and dread; awe and celebration; grief and loss; relief …

Every death, like every life is different, but the end result is universal. We are dead, departed from our material form and world – this much is physically apparent. What happens to us while dying: this is the real question.

“The gods conceal from men the happiness of death, that they may endure life.” -- LUCAN

Many claim to have experience of the process, but not quite to the end – the near death experience. Even here on Hubpages, one can find the first hand testimonials of those relating their brush with the hereafter, several of them, and they all share certain elements – leaving the body and watching their bodies in extremis as disinterested observers, a sense of joy found in continuance, greetings from one or many spiritual beings, light in the distance and a desire to approach the light, complete love and for the most part, a disinclination to return to the living world.

"For death is no more than a turning of us over from time to eternity." -- WILLIAM PENN

Many of us, myself included, find a sense of comfort in these reports, but I can’t help wondering, seeing as they didn’t actually die: is this but a symptom of the passage?

Perhaps it’s part of approaching my sixties; perhaps because I’ve faced the deaths of several loved ones in the past few decades; perhaps it’s part of my spiritual growth but I’ve found myself wondering about dying and death and what awaits us once ‘we’ve shuffled off this mortal coil.’

“I am going to seek the great Perhaps” -- FRANCOIS RABELAIS

In one of those strange coincidences of life some call synchronicity, no sooner had I began this quest to learn more about death, than a friend said to me, “Lynda, there’s a woman I know you simply must meet, a lovely spiritual woman who worked in hospice for many years and I think you should write about her and her experiences.”

"The Spirits"
"The Spirits"

“For death is but a passing phase of Life;

A change of dress, a disrobing;

A birth into the unborn again;

A commencing where we ended;

A starting where we stopped to rest;

A crossroad of Eternity;

A giving up of something, to possess all things.

The end of the unreal, the beginning of the real.”

-- EDWIN LEIBFREED, "The Song of the Soul

Reverend Juliette Jones
Reverend Juliette Jones

Meet the Rev. Juliette Jones, Ph.D., an ordained minister of SpiritQuest, a new paradigm New Thought Church

Juliette was born and grew up in Michigan, a daughter to a family with a long history of spiritually aware women. She speaks of having glimpses into other dimensions of the universe as young as three or four, a gift not only accepted by her family, but somewhat expected. “In fact,” she says, “I didn’t understand why others didn’t talk about these things.”

Lucky for her, she admits, her family considered this a gift. “We live in a society that considers such reports as pathological, but in certain other cultures, which place emphasis on our cosmological identity, if you don’t have transpersonal awareness, you would be considered ‘impoverished.’”

An important turning point in Juliette’s life came with the death of her father from a brain tumor when she was in her late teens. She was present at the moment of his death, and watched his spiritual part ascend up the spine and exit the physical – not in a metaphoric sense, but physically watched it happen.

From that moment on, she knew that death was something that she wanted to study, something more than what people tend to see through eyes of grief or fear.

“For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?” -- KAHLIL GIBRAN, from "The Prophet"

Later, she studied and became an ordained minister of the New Thought Church, a spiritual congregation adopting elements of many spiritual philosophies and religions, but with a basic foundation of “the principles of one’s inseparable oneness with God, the Good,” and whose mission is “to encourage awareness in individuals as to their Divine Nature which ever seeks to manifest as health, supply, wisdom, love, life, truth, power, peace and joy.”

While busy with her South Florida center, Juliette decided to become a professional volunteer with hospice and return to her studies, completing a Doctorate in Pastoral counseling and Spiritual Psychology, and her primary focus became the study of death.

She entered into a work life dedicated to spiritual counseling for both the dying and their loved ones, their families and other survivors. “The most necessary component of effective counseling,” she says, “is what I call compassionate detachment. You may offer awareness, compassion and respect. This is not about you, the counselor, but about the dying person.” She went on to discuss how hospice employers make efforts to ensure that caregivers are well grounded emotionally, and not there to work out their own emotional issues with dying.

“My soul is full of whispered song;

My blindness is my sight;

The shadows that I feared so long

Are all alive with light.”

-- ALICE CARY, Dying Hymn

Our interview

“What do most people think about when preparing to die?” I ask.

“Almost everyone is affected by thoughts on two aspects of life: their family and their life’s work. When it comes to family, they may celebrate joys, or lament failures, perhaps both. And work – work is very important --- they either tend to have a sense of accomplishment or incompletion, again, perhaps both. In both family and life, unfinished business can make dying more challenging.”

“Does religion help the dying person?”

“Religion can be either a great help or a great hindrance. Some people have suffered religious abuse which affects the health of their psyche.” (And I missed taking notes because her statement carried me back to a death I witnessed of an elderly woman close to me who had enjoyed a bit of a ‘wild’ life, and as death approached suffered great fear of ‘God’s judgment’ – one of those rare moments when a profound understanding of someone’s words floods into your being.) “The meaningful thing appears to be spiritual realization---that is , truly inwardly awakened to gnosis---that they exist at the core---as a spiritual being who has and is having a human experience.”

“Can you explain?”

“Beyond this I will just say, this is why it is important to love, and to give of oneself throughout life---it gets us out of the ego, out of the material consideration and into a progressive inner awareness of the energy of the soul. When it comes time to pass, it seems that one is then more familiar with letting go.”

“You spoke of seeing your father’s spirit leave his body; does this happen for you often?”

“Not very often in the way it happened there---a few times, I would say. The death of a beloved relative, involves a very personal experience, a very different degree of attachment. But I will say that I have had many sorts of transpersonal experiences in the course of my work with the dying. Experiences that have convinced me that our culture has a long way to go with respect to our knowledge of death and dying. Death is a great teacher, if we can bring ourselves to open the inner eyes.”

“Because I could not stop for Death,

He kindly stopped for me.

The Carriage held but just ourselves

And Immortality”


“What happens to our minds as dying begins?”

“There is a series of processes that are characteristic to shutting down of the physical body. As far as the psyche goes---again, this is very different for different people. One thing that I have seen quite often is what I like to refer to as “approaching the shores of heaven.” This has to do with the higher mind revealing things to the human person. Many different sorts of perceptions including, but not limited to lucid dreams, visions, various phenomena---the unfolding of super-conscious and transcendental states of awareness.

"Those reporting near death experiences speak of ‘the light’ -- are these part of the visions you speak of?”

“Certainly, yes there are some aspects of NDE’s and OBE’s (out of body experiences) that appear universal – the tunnel, the light, but beyond that the vision may be of a relative, or a religious figure. I believe people see that which inwardly significant, and often relevant to their spiritual practice, family or culture. For instance, a Christian might see an angel, or even in some cases, Jesus; a Buddhist, may see a Buddha, or a spiritual teacher, and so forth. It seems to be a manifestation which is symbolic of our own inner understandings.”

(Once again, my mind jumps off and contemplates an article here on hubpages written from a Christian perspective of near death experiences. This writer wondered why, when only Christians can attain heaven, non-Christians report the same lovely visions – surely this could not be. It must be Satan, this writer concluded, deceiving them into continuing without Christian salvation – a view I found particularly abhorrent. Juliette’s words “it seems to be a manifestation which is symbolic of our own inner understandings” take on a new meaning.)

“With all of your experience of death, I must ask: in your opinion, do we continue?”

“Absolutely. I feel this inside; how could it be otherwise? We are not separate from the universe, from the Infinite Field, or from the Divine. I couldn’t conceive otherwise. It wouldn’t occur to me – such thought is contrary to all I have experienced and learned in life.”

“What are we after death?”

"What are we before birth?”

“What do you expect of death?”

She smiled. “Peace. Comfort. Do we even know where we will be tomorrow?”

“For death begins with life's first breath.

And life begins at touch of death” --JOHN OXENHAM

Thank you, Juliette, for sharing your insights on life, death and spirit.

We agreed to meet again and discuss the cultural aspects of death – why some cultures accept death as part of life, even celebrate it and why others fight so hard against the end, take it as tragedy, almost a crime. And this will have to wait for the next article. 

“Seeing death as the end of life is like seeing the horizon as the end of the ocean.” -- DAVID SEARLS


Our conversation was an enlightening one. I have many more questions, as just this morning I experienced the death of a loved one – that of a beloved companion, Didi, my mastiff, and I wonder if she, too, saw the light at the end of the tunnel, if her ancestors welcomed her home. As death comes to all living things, would it not come to them all in the same form?

Didi suffered a cascade of strokes, the first leaving her paralyzed in her hindquarters (a spinal stroke) which led to a series of cerebral strokes. I watched helplessly as all that was Didi was destroyed, and although her heart still beat, her legs still thrashed, her eyes told me she had already departed.

When the emergency veterinarian finally arrived to put an end to her body, there was no need for me to comfort her. There was nobody home in that empty but still living house that had once held a loving and devoted entity.

I phoned Juliette and asked her, "Do you believe animals have a soul, a spirit?"

She said, "We are all God's children, creations of the Divine and part of the whole. Most assuredly, your Didi is fine and content." She paused as my grief overpowered me for a moment. "Isn't it interesting that at this particular time when you are exploring the meaning of death, she brought home to you this insight -- her parting gift."

Thanks again, Juliette.

More thoughts:

"Life is a great sunrise. I do not see why death should not be an even greater one."- Vladimir Nobokov

“After your death you will be what you were before your birth.” --Arthur Schopenhauer 1788 -1860

“If you realize that all things change, there is nothing you will try to hold on to. If you are not afraid of dying, there is nothing you cannot achieve.” -- unknown

“While I thought that I was learning how to live, I have been learning how to die.” --Leonardo da Vinci

"Men fear death as children fear to go in the dark; and as that natural fear in children is increased by tales, so is the other." -- Francis Bacon

“For certain is death for the born
And certain is birth for the dead;
Therefore over the inevitable
Thou shouldst not grieve.”
 -- Bhagavad Gita  (250 BC - 250 AD)

And that most famous of all musings on death ..

"To be or not to be– that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And, by opposing, end them. To die, to sleep
No more – and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to – ‘tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep
To sleep, perchance to dream. Aye, there's the rub,
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
Th’ oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of disprized love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of th’ unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pitch and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.—Soft you now!
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remembered."

-- William Shakespeare, Hamlet


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    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Thank you lundmusik. Most thanks are due Dr. Juliette Jones for her insight. I will read your hub. Thanks. Lynda

    • lundmusik profile image

      lundmusik 6 years ago from Tucson AZ

      Incredible hub,,, death has always been one of my favorite obsessions... loved the depth of your treatment.. would love your thoughts about my hub "The Human Experience -- Time and the Hope for Immortality"

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 7 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      I look forward to hearing about your journey. Blessings to you too. Lynda

    • UlrikeGrace profile image

      UlrikeGrace 7 years ago from Canada

      lmmartin...mission I believe is on going...something that never ends just changes...and as for writing about our adventures I certainly hope that will be in future up-coming's nice to be back again as well...even if it's just for a short while before we are on the road agaain...keep that pen on paper...blessings to you

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 7 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Thank you, UlrikeGrace. Nice to see you back again. What of your mission? You must have some adventures to write of. Lynda

    • UlrikeGrace profile image

      UlrikeGrace 7 years ago from Canada

      lmmartin, what a thoughtful and thought provoking hub. I do not understand many things about death and am personally glad God holds us to Him in this time of our lives. Thank you for your forthright yet tender presentation of a subject which needs to be brought more to the limelight as we all will indeed experience it sometime in the future. Bless you Ulrike Grace

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 7 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Thanks Mr. Happy, but no apologies are necessary. Not all of us have learned the art of expressing our views and the ability to debate without treading on or abusing the views of others, or resorting to insult and ridicule. It is the mark of maturity, and there are many who never get there. Perfectly understood.

      But thanks all the same.

      Did I say any of this is what I believe? No, I did not. I am not personally injured by anyone's disagreement. I just like to run a polite and respectful hubpage. Lynda

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 7 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Like Dabeaner, I do not personally believe in people who claim to walk between the realms of life and death. Unlike Dabeaner though, I do find the conversation interesting if nothing else. Allow me at this point to appologize for his bluntness, I do think he has the best intentions (without knowing him much).

      All the best!

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 7 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Thank you lorlie6, and my condolences to you, too. The loss of our good dog friends is difficult. If they are not waiting for us on the other side, then nothing makes sense. Lynda

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 7 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Thanks Immartin, for such an intelligent and compassionate treatment of the subject of death. I, too, lost my beloved dog Birthday last week and want to offer my condolences to you regarding Didi. In Birthday's case, the light had left his lovely eyes, and I knew it was time to let him go.

      Perhaps his soul had already departed and I was responsible to give him peace.

      I truly thank you for a wonderful piece of writing.

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 7 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Thanks for your comment, Pollyannna and certainly for those who share your beliefs, are "truly Christian" as you say, then this hub is superfluous. However, one of the wonderful things about this world is we are all different, follow different paths under God, and understand Him in our own ways.

    • Pollyannalana profile image

      Pollyannalana 7 years ago from US

      Anyone who is truly Christian knows what life and death is and fears neither and only goes by bible scripture for answers and proof.

    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 7 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin


      You nailed it once again. You are a truly blessed writer. I agree with your opinion on tolerance.

      I heard once and am uncertain where it was derived from - a specific religion - the belief that the highest honor a person can receive here on earth is to be present when a human dies.

      When my Grandfather passed away I was heartbroken not to have been with him - that was decades ago - just a couple of weeks ago I heard this belief and of course, it brought back memories of not being there at that very moment.

      Your Hub details some of this.

      Any thoughts/opinion about the moment of death and the honor bestowed upon that person?

      Thank you for another amazing Hub. You are a superb writer.

      Blessings to you and your family.

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 7 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Thank you, Fred Allen for your generous and accepting views. If only all Christians were as flexible in their views. My own personal beliefs are there is no hell, no heaven and we are all bound for the same destination, to be one with the Creator, as the Creator by virtue of being the Creator knows who and what we are, and why. No one is exempt -- no one! I am far more wide-viewed -- the Creator reveals in different ways to different peoples. There can be no explanation.

      In fact, if all the religions of the world got off their high-horse and their ego-driven beliefs that they and only they are right, and blessed and 'the chosen ones' what a wonderful world it would be -- even before death.

      Thanks again, and bless you. Lynda

    • fred allen profile image

      fred allen 7 years ago from Myrtle Beach SC

      This article and the corresponding comments were absolutely fascinating! Speaking as a believer in Christ, I have the comfort of the promises contained in scripture as well as the innate sense that I am never alone. The views expressed here give me an understanding of different viewpoints. This forum has served to open up the sharing of views different than my own. In my time here at hubpages, I have visited hubs that express the athiest view that were presented in a very convincing way by a brilliant man. Actually 2 brilliant men as another chimed in in the commentary to help present the case. The end result was a better understanding of both views by all 3 of us. I consider it a valuable experience. In the same way, this has also been enlightening. One caution, as I read several comments directed at the aspect of the Christian belief of Hell, I am concerned that people trivialize this doctrine. That they would judge our Creator unjust that it could be the destination for those who reject God. I don't doubt that both yourself and most of your readers are familiar with the concept that states we live in a world that is "fallen" because of sin. Out of love, an escape is offerred. That is the gospel message. If a person never hears the name of Jesus, they are still invited. Each one who has ever lived knows that they are flawed and have made mistakes. Even if a person has never heard the name of the One who came to save them, they can know of their need for such salvation. This is all that is required. The idea that there could be an afterlife but no communication from the Higher power that created life seems abstract and proof of that is in the responses to this hub and the varying views. It is only logical that being that it is impossible for matter to exist without creation, the Creator would communicate with the creation in a form that is not as abstract as those described by these readers and yourself. I am grateful to have read this hub and the comments. Fascinating!

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 7 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Thank you Steve Miller, and may you find great comfort in your clearly strongly held beliefs. I will check out your hubs as soon as time permits, and look forward to doing so.

      In time, we will all find our answers. Lynda

    • steve8miller profile image

      Steven Miller 7 years ago from Ohio Great City of Dayton

      Good hub here. People are always thinking about their own mortality. I always say that upon death we simply return to the normal state of being. Life and death are more complex than one could ever imagine.

      GOD is not cruel because people suffer, as suffering is an illusion. Think about this, people may ask how is there a God when babies die from things like cancer. The answer is simple, that child was an angel and had a purpose. GOD is not cruel because in this organic world death is merely an illusion. I do not know if I explained this good enough. Maybe check out "The Great Simulation" hub I wrote a while back. I explain how the soul / spirit is contained within the body through complex magnetic fields due to certain element flowing in our blood. Iron does the same thing in the Geodynamo creating a field around the earth containing the atmosphere. We have flowing iron in our blood as well. I mean the earth literally has the capability of unlocking various regions of the human mind. Like the bible said "in the end people will run to and fro and knowledge will increase." Everything is connected. Good hub here, hope you find out the truth. I have many hubs about such things.

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 7 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Hi Don and thanks for the comment. My husband would say its sitting through Twilight with our teenage granddaughter. To hear him tell it, a true ordeal surpassing even his experiences in Vietnam.

      Hi Marian, thanks for the comment. I'm with you -- not afraid of death, but terribly afraid of pain and prolonged suffering. Thanks again. Lynda

    • profile image

      MarianG 7 years ago

      I love reading about spirituality and death is fascinating in my opinion. This is an age old question that most of us can't really answer. I think that it is a transition to either another life after reviewing this one or to merging into God.

      I've watched some of my own loved ones die. My dad who was a devout Catholic had a horridly painful time with death due to guilt issues which breaks my heart. My mother who was agnostic had an easy death. She told me that my grandmother was there to help her.

      I had a surgery a few years ago and during it my blood pressure dropped. I don't know if I was really close to death or not, but the doctor seemed a bit nervous... My only fear during the whole thing was not death but living in pain.

      Great Hub! I loved it!

    • Don Simkovich profile image

      Don Simkovich 7 years ago from Pasadena, CA

      Though provoking. I always like reading John 14 and I Thessalonians. But do you know what death really is? It's being a season ticket holder for Pittsburgh Pirates baseball.

    • Scribenet profile image

      Scribenet 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Hi Immartin

      Well, I do think accountability as far as judgement from an "other" source is a problem. By whose standard? We don't know. Depends on your code of ethics,religion etc. and that is certainly different the world over. I would say that is a "worldly" physical attribute of man-made rules.

      Accountability to oneself. Are you increased or diminished by your own actions? Are you a "small" person or a "large" one in the positive aspects of your own inner thoughts. "Everything begins with a thought" (a quote from somewhere).

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 7 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Hi OpinionDuck I agree with you, most religions (I'd say all but want to leave an out for those who feel strongly about theirs) are formulated to control. Or to give the illusion of control: primitive man sat in his rudimentary shelter watching a horrific storm, terrified and the idea must have come, if someone is control of the universe we can appease that someone, erego have control. Then someone jumped up and said, "I have an in with the great someone, so if you go through me, the someone will listen," and the priest class was born and has been scrambling for control ever since.

      As you note, I'm not big on religion, but I am on faith, spirituality and belief in the higher power (however you choose to see such.)

      And our programmed beliefs do affect our view of death and what comes next. I'm not saying, to quote you, we should spend our lives worrying about it, but a certain modicum of curiosity is natural. We are a curious species.

      But how do you know there is no purpose for life after death -- because all we knew is now gone. We would most certainly be a different being and our needs (if any) would also be different. Why are we fixated on seeing life after death as a continuation of this one? If it exists, it must be a new form of existence. Thanks for coming by.

      Hi Scribenet, you echo here what I've been saying all along -- we don't know and all possibilities are valid. And we will all find out; this I guarantee.

      Are we accountable for our actions? That takes us back to judgment, and I have a problem with that thought -- unless judgment is given in the context of our state-of-mind, our environment, our emotional health. For example, Dahlmer committed terrible crimes in his earthly world -- is he struck down to hell, or does the loving and compassionate all powerful see him in relation to his inner being?

      Accountability and the idea of it doesn't seem to have done much good so far. Thanks for your comment. Lynda

      Hi Scribenet

    • Scribenet profile image

      Scribenet 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada


      I enjoyed this well written article on a subject that provokes interesting comments. All valid and of an individual viewpoint. Of course we will never know for certain in this lifetime!

      Try as we might to say death is just the end..."mass cannot be created or destroyed" "energy can't be destroyed;only transformed" and finally " mass=energy" Hogwash? No science...having an open mind is the first prerequisite to all discoveries! Just ask Einstein, oh, sorry, he is dead.

      Perhaps the body goes to worms or ashes, but we are also "beings of energy" My thoughts and yours are being transmitted across it a miracle? No science. Go back a thousand years and you would have been burned at the stake for even presuming something like that occurs!

      So religions aside, doesn't it just make you want to think? What is possible to discover? Maybe our immortality? Wouldn't that be wonderful and also scary. Perhaps we are accountable for our actions after all...and what indeed is the harm in that? Accountability would transform this world. Hmm...just a though.

    • OpinionDuck profile image

      OpinionDuck 7 years ago

      There is no reason to believe that there is life after death.

      The reason there is mystery about death is that there is no indication that it exists.

      If a lifetime is spent worrying about the mystery of death, than the lifetime is wasted.

      There is no purpose for a life after death. You won't have your friends and family there. I think that most people want to continue their lives after death, but how would that be possible?

      I have written several hubs about Heaven and Hell, God and the Bible and no one knows about these things, they just quote the bible, as if it were self authenticating.

      Isn't it more likely that the bible was created by humans to control humans. Heaven is the carrot and Hell is the whip.

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 7 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Hi jess, Your comment here almost reaches into metaphysics -- what is a spirit? can it be destroyed? These are questions man has long pondered. Ghandi said, "You may kill me and then you will have my dead body, not my obedience" meaning his oppressors could not touch his spirit. Tolstoy wrote in War and Peace "They can march me till I die, order me about, starve me, kill me, but they cannot touch ME." (Pierre taken prisoner on Napoleons deadly retreat from Moscow in winter.) Which I took to mean again, the spirit can not be cowed. I wonder what the term "a spiritual death" might mean. Is it even possible to kill the spirit?

    • jess91556 profile image

      jess91556 7 years ago from PAMPANGA, PHILIPPINES

      I really got interested on so many beautiful insights on death . Yes, death is inevitable for GOD said" dust thou shall return". But what bothers me is the other kind of death, the spiritual death for GOD said " not be afraid of the ones that destroy the body but rather be wary of those that destroy the soul".Life after death? Yes, I believe because Scripture says"..if anyone sinned against the SON or the FATHER, he can still be forgiven. But those who sinned against the SPIRIT can never be forgiven neither in this world nor in the world to come"

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 7 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Thanks someonewhoknows for sharing your thoughts and beliefs here. I've read of these experiments you allude to, and found the thought interesting, though I wonder about the measurability (if there is such a word) of something as nebulous as a spirit. Still, all theories are worthy of thought. As I've repeated here, none of this is based on my own beliefs, and we will all experience death -- this much is guaranteed and provable. Lynda

    • someonewhoknows profile image

      someonewhoknows 7 years ago from south and west of canada,north of ohio

      This is my take on meaning of the word GOD!










      There is evidence that the body loses about 1/4 ounce at the moment of death.Of course an accurate scale was used that could detect weight differences that small.

      Subjective as it may be,seeing is believing!

      I feel privilaged to have been made aware of the exsistance of the knowledge concerning life before birth as well as life after death.

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 7 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Thank you Jess. It is true that many find great comfort in their beliefs, knowing they are to be one with their God (no matter what they call Him, or how they envision Him.)

      It has been my experience watching the deaths of loved ones, dying is the easy part, surviving is difficult. Yes, the pain rests with the survivors. No matter what lies beyond, the dead are there and no longer part of our flesh-and-blood world.

      Thanks again for leaving your thoughts for us. Lynda

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      jess91556 7 years ago from PAMPANGA, PHILIPPINES

      I agree with the fact that death is scary and full of mysteries for many fear the unknown. I myself sometimes ponder what will be after death.But for some death is joyful because they know that they will be going to heaven to meet our LORD. Most of the saints know when they will die, for these pious souls attain a certain level of prayer that they hear GOD speaking to them. The LORD announce to them the day they will die and where they are going.For me death is sad and joyful. Sad because of separation from our loved ones but more of joy because our destiny is to return to our Creator for as GOD chooses a man to be born on the day and hour of the greatest chance of going to heaven, so too, to die on the day and hour of the greatest chance of going to heaven.

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      lmmartin 7 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Thank you, Juliette. I'm happy you found the time to respond to comments and expand further on your experiences and beliefs. Lynda

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      Juliette 7 years ago


      I am so excited to be alive at this time. We are living in the most challenging and exciting period of world history. Frought with crisis and opportunity.

      LASTLY, I feel that I have to be careful when I use words like "proven" or "not proven." Are we referring to the sort of proof that is required in a court room, or in the culture of scientific materialism, or what? The proof of juvenile hubris? Best to read up on some of the new physics, superstring theory, Stan Grof or somebody with highly developed in-sight etc...Considering the amount of energy in the universe, and our present knowledge of physics,mathematices and the role of consciousness, well, one simply has to treat that word carefully.

      LAST BUT NOT LEAST...I personally take no offense to DaBeaners comments or anyone elses. Believe me, I've heard worse. He has his own journey and thoughts like everyone else, and he's entitled to them. Absolutely! Once I saw Dr. Ramond Moody respond very eloquently to a comment that someone made to him about his "specious" research. He said, "Well, that's the beauty of the human mind. Everyone gets to think what they want."

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      Juliette 7 years ago

      Lynda, thank you for the fine article, and I thank everyone for their comments on the things I mentioned. They are my own truths. I think this is the time to speak our truths. People are entitled to their own views---this is planet earth, the playground of choice!

      Anyhow, you mentioned that I might want to respond to some of the comments. Sure. Here are my views---by the way I do not profess any religion. I simply have always known that I was, as the cliché goes, "A spiritual being having a human experience." OK, here are my comments:

      "No one knows when the death bell will toll" Well, I have seen that "proved" wrong on many occassions. I have known souls who can predict their death weeks in advance sometimes down to the hour. The soul can and does know what the ego is not equipped to know.

      RE: negative religious programming: Yes, I have been with many people who have very fearful and hold extraordinarily fearful images as they approach the end ot the physical life. There are sometimes other reasons for this too. This is, in my view, part of karma, and sometimes intervention will assist and sometimes it will not. Best to learn to "Know Thyself" as the Greeks put it, early on as possible. Self Realization is, of course, optional. Some people are not interested in this, even as they approach some cases, especially as they approach death. Denial is a most powerful defense. It's incredible what the power of denial can do.

      Once again, someone states, "no one knows the true answer." How does one know exactly what another knows? Progressive realization and learning is common in species and nature---slow as it seems. Once in touch with some of the facets of supernature---I can tell you it is possible to know a lot more than your ego thinks you can know. I call it "gnowing" from the Greek, gnosis. I think it is best to be extremely humble concerning what we think we know. I mean by standards of time in the universe we are a very young species.

      General comment which just occurred to me: When I worked as a hospice chaplain (for 11 years0 I came to observe things this way: Human beings seem to have two creatures within them. The one that will die, and the one that does not die. That is, the mortal self, and the immortal self. Since folks in our culture of scientific materialism are so deeply programmed to look at life through the mortal eyes, they often cannot see beyond this. They see death as the end, as someone here put it. Sure seems like it's the end for the ego all right. Inner vision, or gnosis can come in many ways, but once you have it FOR REAL WITHIN YOURSELF, it inevitably brings about superconscious or transcendent states of awareness. People who have not become aware of these faculties don't understand them, anymore than they would understand a language that they have not learned. It just sounds like gibberish to them. It's like if a message was being broadcast on a certain channel, and they weren't equipped to receive the channel, then they couldn't hear or see the program. These are just sort of rudimentary metaphors for what I am trying to express. No one can know the answer for others, but it has been my observation that in general, the expression of form tends to follow focus.

      MISSUS SMITH: You really touched my heart. May I hold space for you in my meditation for your highest and most perfect good. You gave a voice to what I have heard from many people. Friends, family and caregivers are so occupied with their own healing agendas for the dying, that they fail to see what those experiencing the great initiation of physical death really want or need. I am sure you will be a teacher to those around you. Final gifts are often powerful. P.S. I love Montana I almost moved to Helena twice. Its a beautiful place for departure.

      GOD IS SHE WRITING ANOTHER ARTICLE???? Sorry, its just that I am moved to respond to all the great stuff.

      RAGE: I personally feel that rage is one of the most powerful emotions, and certainly has its place for many people in response to death (and life.) Often we can't help what we feel--feelings are what they are. It's important, I feel, what we do with them. Its good to be able to express them with people you trust and in legitimate ways. It's also good to have the courage just to sit with them and look within at them as they can be great teachers. I think Lynda is right though, if we let dark emotions take hold and take over, it is very damaging to our health and to the way we live our lives.

      Parmahansa Yogananda: One of my first teachers from the east. Did you know he was buried in Los Angeles at Forest Lawn. They have written attestment that his body did not corrupt for 40 days. Very unusual.

      Are new souls created? In the four dimensional world we are used to thinking of beginnings and endings. That's the way mortal life unfolds. What if there are no beginnings and endings for a soul? Or there are other theories like someone mentioned of course, that they can split into several parts or come back together. I do tend to feel that more souls are here at this time for a special occasion. Last December went to a conference on 2012. The Hopi Elders were represented, Mayan cosmologists, Archeologist, Graham Hancock...just fabulous. We are approaching the end of a 26K year astronomical cycle about which much has been written through cosmologically awakened cultures. Cultures with gnosis.

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      lmmartin 7 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Glad to include your opinions here. All are welcome. As repeated many times, all will be revealed soon enough. Thanks, stoneyy.

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      stoneyy 7 years ago from USA Pacific Northwest

      What is death? Its the cessation of life, its "Game Over." The control centre brain ceases to have electron flow through the meat circuitry, oxygen vanishes and the whole mess begins to disintegrate into its component parts. The individual returns to the nonexistence prior to their birth.

      People can yearn for death, accept it as part of life, or rail and flail against it via all sorts of emotional coping mechanisms. Regardless of the stance, or emotional railing, death still comes one to a customer. Death is an individual thing. Each person dies alone.

      Things change dramatically with the death of a loved one. Pain, anguish, loneliness and, loss. Hard adjustments and life reorganization take time, and the process is agonizing. Some people, eventually, come to terms with things and move on. Others never do. The former don't forget and they can savor the past, the events, the joys, victories and other things.

      There are those who cling to things saying: "You can't prove x, y, and z." Emotional reactions are just that-individual coping mechanisms.

      Objective reality and reason doesn't apply in an emotional universe. Is that bad? Maybe, maybe not, it all depends on the individual and the results down the road.

      Such reactions provided a needed buffer to allow the hurting person time to come to terms with the life changes. Personally, I think its a mechanism for the person to retain their sanity.

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      lmmartin 7 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Thanks kingkhan.

      Thanks izetti.

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      Laura Izett 7 years ago from The Great Northwest

      Great read- something I've tried to write about myself but you did a much better job of it.

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      kingkhan78 7 years ago

      Great article death exploration and interesting information thanks for sharing hub page community

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      lmmartin 7 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Thanks for an enlightening comment, Amanda. I too have my aversion to a religion of threats, fears and rules that seem more intent on keeping the status quo and feeding the power of their leaders than anything spiritual. Particularly those who claim that they, and only they are right and have the key to God and heaven -- as though God could not reveal Godness to different people in different ways. We grow more intolerant with each day, or so it seems to me.

      I can't say I believe in the 2012 stuff, but again, who knows. Quite a show indeed. I'll wait and see, and maybe write a hub about it afterward.

      Didi's death was difficult, but it's over now. No matter what comes next, she's there.

      Thanks again. Lynda

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      Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK

      I recently had a conversation with some very religious acquaintances who assure me that I'm on my way to 'the other place' because I don't tick all the boxes that their particular brand of Christianity proscribes. Seems it's not good enough to be a nice person, nor even a kind person these days. Heigh ho. I always thought the path to God/enlightenment was the path of love and consideration, not the path of threats and intimidation but of course I could be wrong. I often am!

      I grew up in a family with a strong belief in a spiritual after-life, and the possibility of re-incarnation. All this, mingled with regular trips to Sunday school, has left me with a very open mind. I think that death is a great mystery, but I'm sure it will unravel for me by and by.

      Oh, and about all those souls. I once read a hub about 2012 which suggested that souls from all over the Universe are gathered here on Earth ahead of the celestial events prophesised for 2012. If that's true it should be quite a show!

      So sorry to hear about Didi, Lynda. It's always hard to lose a friend. I hope she passed without too much distress.

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      lmmartin 7 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      I take your point, but life isn't nearly so mysterious -- we experience it everyday -- until it stops. Then what? That's all we're asking here. And everyone has a speculation on the subject. Thanks for your comment. Lynda

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      OpinionDuck 7 years ago

      I think the better question is what is life?

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      lmmartin 7 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Thank you Jewels. I'm sure those of us wanting to explore further will appreciate your information. Much appreciated. Lynda

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      Jewels 7 years ago from Australia

      Sorry this post is a bit long but the information may compliment your hub and certainly if people are serious about the subject it's worth it.

      Here is the link immartin:

      It is a Knowledge Track, includes CD's as well as written material, so it's a little different to your average book. Included in it's pages are

      * The case against materialist dogma, including a lecture on Near Death Experiences

      * The mechanisms of reincarnation in the western esoteric tradition

      o Samskaras

      o Karma

      * Myths of death and reincarnation

      * Reincarnation and enlightenment

      * The Great Journey

      o Pre-death opening

      o The crossing and the clear light

      o Immediate afterlife wandering

      o Journey to the archetype and incarnation

      * Preparing your death

      * Giving help to a dying friend or relative

      * What to do after the death of a close friend or relative

      The Knowledge Track includes a significant amount of written material, yet it can also be followed with minimum reading, simply by listening to the audio recordings.

      In addition to written material (PDF file), Version 1.5 of the package is comprised of 15 audio CDs.

      This material is comprised of:

      * Talks about death and dying (offered both as audio recordings and as text)

      * Meditative practices to prepare for one's death

      * A Book of the Dead for Modern Times designed to be read to recently dead people

      * Information about a variety of practical topics relating to death, such as the pros and cons of burial versus cremation and how to make a living will

      On a personal note, I used this book when my father died. He is someone I did not get on with while he was alive however, what transpired after his death was truly amazing.

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      lmmartin 7 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Thank you soumyasrajan for returning to explain further. I am not well informed on these philosophies -- true -- but would like to learn more. I'm not seeking truth so much as possibilities. I'm not in need of belief, only knowledge. All is speculation, nothing is known and that's fine with me. I do think that open discussion is based on treating others and their contributions with respect. One does not need to be aggressive to disagree. Thanks again for your further explanations. I'll content myself with wait and see.

      He Jewels, please do leave a link to this information, not just for me but for everyone who wants to know more. Thank you. Lynda

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      Jewels 7 years ago from Australia

      Well done for tackling this subject and a well written hub. I've had some experience dealing with death - not my own thankfully. There is a comprehensive piece of work done by Dr Samuel Sagan called Death The Great Journey. It's a brilliant read. Let me know if you want a link to it.

      Thumbs up.

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      soumyasrajan 7 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA

      Hi! Immartin

      Thanks a lot for your response. About your question on number souls, while ritualistic aspects vary depending on community. In the basic philosophy - the number does not change. In fact each soul is a manifestation. In some ways the number remains one! I wrote just last week a hub on ancient Indian Philosophies which describes some of these ideas.

      In many ways different religion etc. does not matter so much. They may have evolved because of historoical/geographical reasons. Over all style and feelings are quite a bit same among all human beings and in all times, it looks like- it does not matter so much whether rationalists like it or not.

      I have often seen that people who are famous scientists they understand and are polite (I am my self a professional Scientist). Statements of Socrates, or Einstein show what politeness means.

      Professional Science today has set its own limits (it studies only those aspects which can be analyzed with logical arguments and experiments which can be repeated). They do not study a lot of aspects in which basic axioms are difficult to obtain from experiments which can be verified later on by repeating again. For example death of each individual is single event which can not be repeated. This does not fall into time being sphere of Science, as they have no method to know reality after that.

      Another example is Einstein's theory - one assumes initially that nothing moves faster than light and whole model is based for objects which satisfy such conditions.

      I do not see any big contradiction in spiritual aspects and Science (or rationalism) as long as you are clear about what you are doing. Both try to find truth in their own sphere with their methods. No rationalist (and in the same way no spiritualist) if he/she is confident will want to stop another person to stop studying or expressing his/her ideas.

      Only those who do not understand these limitations, professional science has imposed on itself get carried away. Do not get hurt by their rude behavior. Is that not just effect of ignorance or lack of confidence -as usually all rudeness starts with?

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      lmmartin 7 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Thank you Siver Genes. To lose a sibling like that must have been difficult, but apparently her parting gift to you was to let you know you need not fear.

      I've received a few comments (one I deleted) basically calling us fools or idiots for even contemplating the question, and as I state, quite categorically, I have no answers of beliefs, simply an open-minded attitude to all possibilities. After all, we all die. The one thing we all share -- death. Why shouldn't we speculate? Lynda

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      SilverGenes 7 years ago

      Thank you for a very thoughtful and encouraging hub. As you said, this is a question that can't be answered by us just yet. My sister and I were very close and when we were children, we made a pact that whoever went first would come back to let the other know if there was anything beyond. My sister died of cancer, and at the end we talked about our pact. She said she would send a particular fragrance if she could - it was unusual enough that it could not be mistaken. That fragrance filled the air soon after and not just as a faint whisper either. It filled the entire town. No, I don't know anything for sure but this was all I needed to know for my own peace of mind that my beloved sister was better than okay :)

      I'm sorry your dear pet fell ill in that way but perhaps, as you say, it really was her parting gift to you.

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      lmmartin 7 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Thank you for everything Peg, and yes the sudden nature of the onslaught -- one second healthy and happy, then the next paralyzed and her brain under attack -- was disturbing. But I will put it in perspective. At least she didn't know what was happening to her.

      Perhaps the Reverend was right, her parting gift was to add a touch of my own person into what would have been en entirely intellectual-based article. Lynda

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      Peg Cole 7 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Oh Lynda, I'm so sorry about your Didi. What a beautiful face she had and a wonderful friend she was; a terrible, terrible loss. My heart reaches out to you. The end is so difficult but the memories make it nearly bearable.

      This hub is so beautifully deep and thought provoking. I found the Rev's words comforting and healing. My thoughts are with you Lynda in your time of loss and may you receive comfort and peace from above.

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      lmmartin 7 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Nice to hear from you E. Nicolson, and thank you. Did Hamlet tie it up? I thought he merely decided the fear of death outweighed the pain of life. And thank you regarding Didi.

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      E. Nicolson 7 years ago

      This is a wonderful treatment on an often confusing subject. As you have mentioned we'll only know the truth when we get there. Hamlet sort of tied it up nicely didn't he? I am sorry to hear about your Didi.

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      lmmartin 7 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Dabeaner -- it is not your ideas I object to, but the rudeness of your comment. It is not necessary to belittle another in order to present an argument. All I ask of people who comment on my articles is respect for others. I did not ask the Reverend Juliette Jones to give me an interview to have her subjected to rudeness. If you can't understand that, then there isn't much hope for you as a human being. Only the intellectually deficient resort to name calling and labeling. As for proof -- there is none, neither for nor against -- though millions of people take it on faith that one person did come back to tell us of life after death. But then, I suppose you don't believe in Jesus either. The truth is, no one KNOWS for sure, either way. In the meantime, please accept I require respect on my pages -- either be respectful or don't leave comments on my hubs. That's the end of it. And for me, if you talk to the goblin, he is real for you. I'll respect your need for a goblin.

      Hello salvacion, I agree with you. If we believe in error but it enables us to live in greater comfort, then the belief serves a purpose. If belief allows us die in greater peace, then it serves a purpose. This article isn't about my own beliefs, but about death and man's thoughts on the issue. Thanks you so much for your lovely comment. I'm glad your belief brings you peace and happiness. Lynda

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      salvacion 7 years ago from naga city

      hi! very interesting hub! But i heard they say it's better to believe and find there is, than not to believe and find that there really is after all! So i guess, for me it's better to believe in Heaven and do what's best while on earth so that at the time of dying, when we have to see the light at the end of the tunnel,we won't have to fear! Whether we go to heaven or reincarnate or just become a part again of a "force", i think it's better if we believe on something beautiful since anyway we won't know until it's our turn to die hehehe..i love your hubs and im glad to be following you!And i was just thinking of writing about death too yesterday, since everytime i have to pass by two cemeteries on the way to the city center from my house, then i get to read your hub. But i really think, death shouldn't be feared, it just have to be prepared whether we are well or sick.:( oh what thoughts haha..And for those who are left, it's just a matter of acceptance, it could be difficult but it'll pass..I know coz i lost both my parents last 2008..and for me, i was amazed how my mom, who was a colon cancer, didn't fear death but embraced it and looked forward to it in hopes of being with God! It was different with my papa coz he had stroke and we couldn't talk to him anymore from the time he got hospitalized...mmmm..thought thoughts..your hub made me think about them again, and for me, i know they are somewhere beautiful, i have to believe it so i can smile everytime i pass by their grave..:)

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      dabeaner 7 years ago from Nibiru

      You said: "When it comes to PROOF, you cannot offer proof an existence after death does not exist -- so your opinion is no better or worse than anyone else, though your behavior is."

      That is precisely the logical point that believers and agnostics fail -- it is not up to us non-believers to offer ANY proof. It is up to YOU to offer proof. If you think you have any proof -- not speculation -- let's see it. As proof, you need someone that has been dead to come back and tell us what's up. (And I mean REALLY dead, not some "near death" experience.) And some wacko "channeling" is proof only of delusion.

      If pure speculation is not "woo-hoo", what is it?

      Here is the simple test: I state that I have a green goblin sitting on my shoulder. I "talk" to it, so I say. Is that proof? I could be lying or delusional. You don't see any goblin. You state there is no goblin. Prove your statement.

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      lmmartin 7 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Well dabeaner, thank you for your COURTEOUS comment. We all have doubts, and we all have curiosity and we all have our beliefs. The difference between us, is here, everyone else has offered their thoughts in an atmosphere of respect. To sink to name calling and belittling the ideas of others only shows your own mental vacuum. You are entitled to say, I don't believe in any of this, but not to speak disrespectfully to those leaving their thoughts here. None of us knows for sure, no matter how fervently we cling to our religious beliefs -- including you!

      When it comes to PROOF, you cannot offer proof an existence after death does not exist -- so your opinion is no better or worse than anyone else, though your behavior is.

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      dabeaner 7 years ago from Nibiru

      It's all speculation -- souls, afterlife, whatever. It is all based on fear and hope. No one has come back to verify that there is an afterlife, reincarnation, ghosts, whatever. So-called testimony of schizophrenics, mescaline trippers, whatever, is just the results of whacked-out minds. FUGGEDABOUDIT. Stop wasting your time thinking about it and debating it.

      The major point is that all the believers are sorely lacking in logic. Since they posit there is something after, other than bye-bye and decay, they have to offer PROOF. It is not up to disbelievers to offer proof of something that does not exist. (And religious and/or new age woo-hoo rantings and speculations do not count.)

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      lmmartin 7 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Hi ocbill. No, I don't think you're a kook. Nothing about life after death can be proven or disproved, so all options are open, as far as I'm concerned. I don't know that I think of a rebirth, but more of a continuance. And I won't know how or why till I'm there. Thanks for your comment. Lynda

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      ocbill 7 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

      there will always be a debate with no proof for those scientists, skeptics, & certain religious followers. I am in agreement with Juliette. You think there is a rebirth here or elsewhere in the undiscovered universe? BTW, possibly we are transitioned to a newer more advanced life-form elsewhere? No, I am not a kook, just throwing some thoughts, possibilities out there. If it can't be 100% disproved then why not?

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      lmmartin 7 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Thank you Maryjay. You've asked the question no one knows with certainty, but many, many believe this is so -- the spirit continues. Like everyone else, you'll find out when the time is right.

      Hello soumyasrajan, thanks for commenting and sharing your insights. I'm sure yours is one of the cultures Reverend Juliette spoke of in her statement 'in some cultures if you don't have transpersonal experiences you are considered impoverished.' The idea of rebirth and return can be very comforting to those afraid to let go of this world, but I wonder -- how do we account for the increase of so many souls? Surely recycling would maintain the same numbers -- are new souls created? For every answer there are more questions -- so once again, I guess I'll have to be patient. Thanks. Lynda

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      soumyasrajan 7 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA

      Hi! Immartin

      very interesting article. I mostly live in Mumbai, some times in USA. Over here what you mention is considered very natural process. Your soul remains any way same even after death -its more like changing clothes -- (though still it does not decrease fear of death!)

      I like what you point out that even with near death we have only experience of a person who has not died. Not much data from died ones.

      In a book "Autobirography of a Yogi" (available, I think for free on internet ) - Yoganand Paramhans writes some interesting experiences he had about death (a bit mystical though)

      In my childhood I had once read that one Russian scientist had conducted some experiments with death. He had found some aura around a person which changes with death or near death. I do not know reference for it or whether it has been perused further.

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      Martyjay 7 years ago

      A very mind provoking article and great responses. As you know, I believe that death is the end. The big sleep. However, who can tell what awaits in the beyond. Does the spirit that was once attached to our physical presence still exist after death?

      Your article may prepare us for that end. It is comforting to know that Juliette and others like her are there.

      I am looking forward to your follow up interview.

      Didi will be very much missed as I always called her my girl.

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      lmmartin 7 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Hi cheaptrick -- is rage truly the best response? I'm sure some do, but is not better to step forth in wonderment into that great unknown? Too many of us live a life of rage -- you've seen them: those with red faces and compressed lips, always ready to fly off at the least provocation. Bad enough to live that way; worse yet to die so.

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      cheaptrick 7 years ago from the bridge of sighs

      "Do not go gently into that good night

      But the dieing of the light"

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      lmmartin 7 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Thank you very much, tom. This is wonderful praise from a person such as yourself who endeavors with every article to explain the spiritual to the rest of us. Thanks. Lynda

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      Tom Ware 7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Lynda - thank you for one of the most significant articles on death and dying I have ever read. A Hub written for a specific purpose: to remove our fear of death...and it is working, as your friend, MissusSmith above reveals in her response.

      In our Westernized society so many refuse to even contemplate for a moment the ending of their lives in the physical dimension until it is forced upon them by sickness or time. Such deliberate suppression causes people tremendous angst. Escapism into frenetic activity, filling every moment, denial, looking away - FACE THE SITUATION. Most of those who have experienced (but have survived a death they believed to have been imminent, have found that they do "let go" and in doing so, that great "peace that passeth all understanding" is there.

      Thank you again for a wonderful article.

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      lmmartin 7 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Hello Sue, I read your comment shortly after you posted it, but couldn't pull together a response until now. Did I write this for you? No -- for myself, in answer to my own questions, but you were on my mind while I did so. Thank you for your candid, open and brave remarks, and your sharing with all of us as you prepare to take our leave. I think I'll keep the rest of my thoughts for a private communication. I am with you in thought, if not in physical presence, and yes -- go home to Montana; don't stay there in the hospital. Go home. Thank you.

      To the rest of you, my long-time friend Sue Smith is dying of stage four breast cancer. In her name, I'm asking you to go to and do what you can. The Susan B Komen organization for the fight against breast cancer.

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      MissusSmith 7 years ago from Montana

      Hello my dear friend. Did you write this for me? Although the doctors keep a constant mask of optimism, I don't need them to tell me I am dying. I know it; I feel it and my only desire now is to return to Montana and die where my heart lives.

      At first, I was afraid, very afraid and I bought into the accepted party line of fighting the good fight -- not so much for me, but for my dear husband of so many years. Now, I am at peace with what is to come, and I believe he is working toward that.

      I am not afraid at this point. I am tired, tired of keeping up a brave face, and ready to move on. I want to begin this last voyage, and find the matters of the flesh no longer matter to me.

      Reverend Juliette's message of learning to let go strikes me as the most important sentence in this entire work. Tell her thank you from me.

      And thank you to you. I will read this over many times; it is of great comfort. When the time comes, I will be ready and know I will depart with no regrets. Life has been good; death will also be good.

      By the way, so sorry to hear about Didi. I know how you loved her and she you. Again Reverend Juliette is dead on, for if all God's creatures do not share the same fate, nothing at all makes sense. When I get to the hereafter, I will look for her, and we will both wait for you.

      Love to you, Lynda. Sue

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 7 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Hello Nan, and thank you for this comment. Certainly, while we live, we must devote ourselves to that task. There are many who believe we are reborn; others believe in the Christian ideal of God and heaven; others in their own versions of heaven; and those who believe we pass on to another dimension of being -- and there are also those we believe we die -- that's it, game over and we return to the earth. Perhaps they are all correct, and perhaps none. We shall see. Thanks again, Lynda

    • profile image

      Nan 7 years ago

      Very deep thinking and no one knows the true answer. I miss my family who have passed on and treasure the times we spent together, it was truly a gift from God. We know that we will never been a person of flesh again, because our body died and wasted away. The thought is cruel and not bearable for most of us. I personally think that people turn to God and the hereafter. It's hard to think that you will never be again, Be happy everyday and cast your worries to the wind, love and forgive!

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 7 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Thanks for your comment, Pamela. Working with the dying would most assuredly give you insight into the spiritual component found there. I am with you, not fearful of death -- of pain and suffering, yes -- but not death. I've lived a life devoted to the embrace of the adventure of life; death will be the greatest of all. Thanks again, Lynda

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

      This is a very interesting hub. As a critical care nurse I have been with many dying people. As to the religious part, I observed some people to be very frightened as they came from the fire and brimstone teaching. Others welcomed death as just taking one step into the job of being with God and loved ones that passed before them.

      I am not afraid of dying and I have lived with a chronic illness for many years. No one knows how long they will live in this world but I have certainly met people who knew there time had come when they were near the end of their days. Much to think about in your hub.

    • saddlerider1 profile image

      saddlerider1 7 years ago

      Thank you Lynda for allowing me to link my hub about a spirit encounter. It lead to me creating 3 more fictional pieces that I tied together to this first hub. A fellow hubber felt it was to much of a coincidence of my chance meeting in Kentucky so it lead me to write those other hubs. Thanks again Lynda, I can't wait to connect to and read more of the stories of the people you mentioned in this posting.

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 7 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Thank you saddlerider, your thoughts are very welcomed and appreciated. Please feel free to come back and link your article here in the comments for those wishing to explore your experiences. I could not link everyone here in the article, unfortunately. My apologies. Lynda

    • saddlerider1 profile image

      saddlerider1 7 years ago

      This has always being an interesting subject from the beginning of time and always will be till we all find death at our own doorstep. I do not fear death and in some instances have welcomed it. However I am still here and will await my time. For no one knows when the death bell will toll.

      I have witnessed the viewing of a spirit and I discuss it in one of my hubs Graveyards of lost souls.I have never forgotten that meeting on a Kentucky back road and never will. I truly believe our spirits go on to another plane or dimension and possibility reincarnated into another life form.

      Or maybe we have to keep coming back to earth till we get it all right, what ever that may mean. I have brushed death on various occasions, but never have seen the light. Maybe because I wasn't that far gone.

      This is a hub I will bookmark and read further, you have some interesting hubbers links to read more on the subject and it does fascinate me. Thanks Lynda for this very exciting study. peace and hugs

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 7 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Hi Hello, Yes, that seems to be an almost universal vision -- interesting, isn't it. I don't worry about death either, but I am curious. I shall try to be patient; all will be made clear sooner or later. Lynda

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you for your wonderful article. I am not worried about death but I know many people are and this would help them a lot. I read and heard many time about the tunnel and the bright light with some loved one waiting.


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