Thanks as always for your thoughtful writing. I do very much appreciate your desire to "get to the heart of things". It presents each of a great opportunity, should we choose it, to clarify our understanding of things. So I'll take a shot at it.
Giulia wrote: Precaud wrote:
The idea of a laughing, playful "God" is interesting. But since I don't believe in "God" I can't go there
Hi, Precaud. Thanks for your comments. Of course this is just theoretical speculation, but, when I mentioned the possible features of God/The Source/The Universe/The All That Is
I was just trying to make a list of the most common words used to describe some kind of special Being we might feel we belong to or come from. I could have called it the “Light Being”: it would not have made any difference. I was just speculating.
Understood, thanks. I think you can see by the "smiley" attached to my one-liner that I was simply "making light" of the whole God aspect of the question and skipping by it, because other things in your post were of more interest to me. Sorry if that offended you in any way.
Giulia wrote: What I meant with that phrase was again some kind of speculation about the possibility that, as we come from the Light Being (or God/The Source/The Universe/The All That Is) and then merge back, we might have allowed “it”, with our physical lives and experiences, to acquire or strengthen the understanding of features, such as joyfulness and other emotions, and that this task (co-creating with God etc.) may not necessarily be over in whatever is in store for us when this physical body ceases to function.
I really appreciate the "co-creating" core of what you have very well described. I just don't see it as extending over past death.
Giulia wrote: ... all I can say is that, having been in touch with so many bereaved people over the years has led me to a point where the fact that a parent who has lost a child, or a child who has lost a parent, etc. may expect their loved ones’ personal identity to survive physical death is very serious: this may be why so many people are attracted to what NDErs have to say on the subject of the continuity of consciousness, rather than to what religions may say about the need to worship gods...
<snip> From the point of view of a parent who has lost a child, for instance, the idea of merging with a light and possibly being recycled into something or somebody else may well come across as terrifying as what I have heard some churchgoers call the “second death”.
Based on my personal experience, I feel a more democratic regime may be in place, as far as the ultimate truth is involved, and that is all I was trying to suggest.
Thank you for sharing your perspective, and some of the context that informs it. Counseling others who are suffering from the loss of a loved one certainly lends a different angle to it, one that I have not contemplated deeply. Discussing matters of 'attachment' and 'identity' are no doubt difficult for most folks in that state.
Starting back at an earlier point, sure, I agree, some day we may find that Source is primarily a laughing, playful being who doesn't take things too seriously (including us), and this particular drama-on-Earth is all some kind of side-show/hobby for It, and It may in fact have several of these dramas playing out simultaneously in different places. I mean, why not? The incredible acceleration of discovery in astronomy, astrophysics, cosmobiology, etc. increasingly suggest that Earth is not an isolated case.
(Note: English really does need some better gender-neutral personal pronouns; many people are offended by referring to their favorite god-like being as "It". And I don't like calling it a "He").
It's fun to speculate on this God question, even though many credible spiritual traditions counsel us not to waste too much time trying to grasp the ultimate nature of God. "Let the mystery remain a mystery, honor it, and concentrate on more useful things". By definition, in order to grasp even a fragment of it, we have to let go of (un-identify with) our own personal perspective (ego) for long enough to make the connection.
In NDE terms, I view the "detachment of awareness from ego" as the OBE part of the event. It is not "either-or", "in or out", like an "on-off" switch, but a continuum, a gradation, like the mixing of colors. Rarely is it in "fully attached" or "fully detached" state.
And I view the "touching a piece of God" as equivalent to "contacting the Light Being". And again, it is a continuum with many gradations, from "sensed" to "merged". We might describe one extreme as "still mostly self-identified but sensing Its presence", and the other is "complete loss of personal identity and merged with It."
And then, having had such an experience and returning to our "normal" personal perspective and identity, how much useful information we can glean from the contact is a "whole 'nuther question". It now gets filtered by our ego (our "point of view"), personality (with its mental, emotional/feeling, and physical aspects), and gets "personalized"; it becomes our own "unique experience". The Being we touched a piece of is One and The Same, but each one of us gives it our unique flavor, expresses it in our own way.
I see the questions you raise basically comes down to a) "the duration or persistence of the individualized identity after death". And, more to the point, b) "the fact that I experience an image of something 'beyond this life' and identify with it, does that mean it 'actually happened', either in a previous life to a personality/ego that 'I' sense as 'me', or in 'another dimension' quite separate from our normal base of operations?"
For many years I definitely wanted that to be the case. Everything I was studying had reincarnation as a fundamental feature. And the idea of extending life is pretty irresistable; I mean, who wouldn't want it? I have had several "past life readings", one of which was quite compelling and very much aided my self-understanding; the others, not so much. And I have had several "waking dreams/OBE" in which I saw "myself" in a completely different time/place and experienced it as if I were there. That is to say, I strongly identified with it. Again, deeply influential experiences, and this time presented directly to my own awareness 'from within'.
Linear thinking says "I was once there. This happened to me. The image of it has persisted all this time, and I am recovering it".
What I call cyclic or unified-field thinking says "The conditions for the creation of this image were right, and it occurred. There were corresponding conditions in your nature and in the 'greater energy field' in which you are immersed, and that is how the image appeared in your awareness. The image lasted as long as the conditions that created it lasted. It is a true reflection of an aspect of your "essential nature", as shown by how readily you could identify with it. We live and move in several such 'greater energy fields'. Identifying which one we are resonating with at a particular moment is a skill that takes practice."
Linear thinking leads to the conclusion that "something personal" persists through earth-time and re-manifests in different forms.
Cyclic thinking suggests that these images are the stuff of "inter-dimensional correspondence". Every thing is in constant ebb and flow, from emergence from Source to appearance to expression to completion to reabsorption into Source along with whatever has been created in the cycle. Each cycle is independent yet interactive with or immersed in other such entities. Things happen when the cycles interact and correspond; attraction and repulsion in all their variations. The nature of the correspondence determines how the event manifests: Now an image or vision; now an insight; now a feeling out of nowhere; now an urge or motivation. I find that linear thinking works pretty well within a particular part of a cycle but not too well outside of it, and not in relativity.
It's just a different way of seeing the same thing. "Way of seeing" = perspective = "point of view" = ego. Everyone has one and needs one; the bigger, the better. Feed it, don't kill it. Ego is the ultimate gift to Source at the end of your cycle; make it a good one. That is how we repay Source for our existence, it is the "return" in the feedback loop. It is the "self-sacrifice" that is a (poorly-understood) part of so many religions and spiritual traditions.
This basic concept also ties into why reincarnation is unnecessary and un-natural, and how the so-called "immortal soul" lives on, or at least has the possibility to, if only for a while. But that's a whole 'nuther matter...