The Words of the Saver Family
Soon after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, I had the good fortune to work for about two years, with the blessing of the Russian Ministry of Education, in promoting a character education curriculum called "My Journey in Life". At the time I was based in the port city of Vladivostok and I traveled and lectured thousands of school principals, teachers, administrators and curriculum writers across 10 cities in the Russian Far East including Siberia. The audience included people of all religious persuasions including atheists and agnostics.
Bear in mind that for seventy years, atheism based on "scientific socialism" was the state ideology.
In all my travels and communication with seminar attendees it became very apparent that out of a curriculum that covered 96 topics related to building character in youth, by far the topic that captured the greatest attention and interest of high school students, was the question of life after death.
One Russian teacher friend of mine who was a secondary school teacher of English literature was amazed to witness a group of unmotivated students with borderline ability, become totally "switched on" and became avid readers when she introduced the topic of life after death.
One can only guess why this was and is the case. Could it be because this topic was taboo for seventy years and it's kind of human nature to be curious about something you can't have? Or is it because human beings intuitively sense that life does continue after the grave? Or is it a notion that human beings simply would like to believe? However one thing is for sure and that is, very many people are having paranormal experiences described as "out of body experiences", "spiritual experiences" and the like, which they are trying to understand.
The same fascination in wanting to know about life after death and the existence of the spirit world that I witnessed in Russia back in the 90's I have noticed in every one of the 50 plus nations I have visited and worked in since. In some developing countries, such as small Pacific Island nations such as the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea I came across numerous people who claimed to be in daily communication with ancestors and the spirit world which to them was as normal as breathing air.
Though talking about death, dying and indeed life after death does carry negative connotations for some, I personally find contemplation of such topics as very positive when it comes to considering my life purpose. It's been said that in order to understand and appreciate life you must understand death and dying. So what is the link between the question of life after death and your life purpose? In other words, how does a discussion of life after death help you and I as we consider our life purpose?
1. If you think that life/consciousness ends when your body stops functioning and you end up in a box six feet under or as a small handful of ashes, you may be apt to think "hey guys, eat, drink and be merry because tomorrow we die".
2. If you think that there is no life after death you probably do not adhere to the view of most religious adherents that a human being is made up of a physical body that houses a distinct spirit self and that like the body that has certain needs, in order to grow, so too the spirit has certain needs for its growth. Such a person will gravitate more toward leading a body centered lifestyle. In contrast the believer in life after death is more inclined toward a spirit centered lifestyle.
3. If you think that there is life after death or life after life (take your pick) you will be more inclined and interested in nurturing and growing your spirit in preparation for entry into the next life. Developing your character and living a life of goodness become hot topics.
4. Belief in the immortality of the human soul can support our search for life's deeper meaning (Although this does not mean that the meaning of life can only be found under this belief).
5. Some people that believe in life after death are less likely to harbor a fear of death. On the contrary such people may be empowered to great acts of bravery and heroism or simply to go places and do things that the 'average' mortal would not even contemplate. Consider the rag tag army called the Mujaheddin of Afghanistan who held off the mighty Soviet military machine for ten years (1979-89) with the belief that should they die they would go straight to heaven.
6. Some people that believe in life after death take great comfort in and purport to being assisted by spirit guides and angels.
Have you had "out of body experiences", "spiritual experiences" and the like? If so, do they cause you to believe in the existence of the human spirit as a distinct entity and the continuation of life after death? Why? or why not?
Read this excerpt from Dr. Raymond Moody's book titled "Life after Life". It is a testimony of a person who experienced clinical death but revived.
Since then, it has been on my mind constantly what I have done with my life, and what I will do with my life. My past life-I am satisfied with it…I really did everything that I wanted…and I'm still alive and I can do some more. But since I died, all of a sudden, right after my experience, I started wondering whether I had been doing the things I had done because they were good, or because they were good for me. Before I just reacted off the impulse, and now I run things through my mind first, nice and slow. Everything seems to have to go through my mind and be digested, first.
I try to do things that have more meaning, and that makes my mind and soul feel better. And I try not to be biased, and not to judge people. I want to do things because they are good, not because they are good to me. And it seems that the understanding I have of things now is so much better. I feel like this is because of what happened to me, because of the places I went and the things I saw in this experience.
There is a remarkable agreement in the "lessons" as it were, which have been brought back from these close encounters with death. Almost everyone stresses the importance of trying to cultivate love for others in this life, a love of a unique and profound kind. One man who met a being of light felt totally loved and accepted, even while his whole life was displayed in a panorama for the being to see. He felt that the "question" the being was asking him was whether he was able to love others in the same way he was being loved. He now feels that it is his commission while on earth to learn how to do so.
Take a few moments to reflect on the possible relevance of the above testimony to your life and how it might impact your choices.
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To Your Prosperity,
M.Div., B.Ed. Cert. IV Life Coaching