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Life After Death?


Before every trip, especially solo ones, my mother goes into a complete panic. It doesn't matter if I'm traveling in the U.S. or overseas. In her mind, there's always an irrational fear that something tragic will happen and her daughter will never return. I can honestly say I don't fear many things in life, and certainly not death. In fact, I spend almost no time thinking about it, yet there are some who expend a lot of thought and money on death and what happens thereafter. One example I encountered during my trip to Israel is the maze of tombs atop Mount of Olives. Rows and rows of monochromatic slates pressed against each other on a sacred site. This is the most ancient and holy place for Jews to be buried, some paying up to $25,000 USD for a slot.

I'm not an expert in Judaism, but it's my understanding that many Jews believe when the Messiah returns the dead will rise from their graves and walk to the holy Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City. From this cemetery, that's only a few hundred meters, thus people who are buried here will be amongst the first to greet the Messiah upon his return. I even read that everyone in the cemetery is buried with their feet facing the Temple Mount so they can come straight up on the big day and not have to adjust themselves. Amazing preparation and global positioning! :)

Will there be a second coming and what happens after death? Of course, no one can know for certain, but I thought about it for a brief second when processing this photo. Growing up in a religious school, I was indoctrinated with visions of houses in the sky, pathways paved of gold, and loved ones waiting to embrace me in the shining light. I like to believe it's true, yet my pragmatic side somehow interprets this scenario as a fairy tale. To keep some glimmer of hope alive, I always watch documentaries about near death experiences. People from all over the world who have been unconscious for long periods, or even pronounced dead before resuscitation, recount the same stories. Tales of bright lights, a sense of moving through a tunnel, passageway or staircase, immense warmth and comfort ...all usually explained away by some scientist who focuses on the neurological and biological impacts of death. Or, perhaps we're reincarnated after death and made to walk an entirely different journey in another life? Whatever the case may be, Mount of Olives is the last place I wish to be buried. Just an immense sense of claustrophobia, with one body stacked over the next. It's the same feeling I experience each time I enter the Moscow metro. :) I think my final resting place should be on top of a rural, rolling hill, far away from humanity, in a place where silence and seclusion is the norm.

What do you think happens after our last breath on Earth? Heaven, hell, reincarnation...? Or, do our bones, flesh and ashes simply disintegrate into the ground upon which we spend our entire lives walking?


( 66 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jul. 1st, 2014 01:21 am (UTC)
Mount of Olives is the last place I wish to be buried (c)

Me too ))) I wish cremation and after drop my ashes to the sea , but it not so easy to do in Israel due fucking religion !!!! There is some company that organize it but you have to underwrite contract in advance .
Jul. 1st, 2014 02:03 am (UTC)
In which sea do you want your ashes dropped? A few of my deceased relatives were cremated, but I don't think it's for me. After all, I hate the heat. :)
(no subject) - fesma94 - Jul. 1st, 2014 07:32 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - fesma94 - Jul. 1st, 2014 07:37 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jul. 1st, 2014 02:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jul. 1st, 2014 02:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - fesma94 - Jul. 1st, 2014 03:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jul. 1st, 2014 04:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - fesma94 - Jul. 2nd, 2014 11:21 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jul. 2nd, 2014 03:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - qi_tronic - Jul. 1st, 2014 06:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 1st, 2014 02:22 am (UTC)
What will happen is very simple.
Look at this analogy -
For thousand years people thought that the world consists of the four elements:
earth, water, air, and fire.
Fire was the most impressive. Beautiful. Dangerous. Creative. Destructive. Changeable ...

Then appeared science. Physics and Chemistry.
And it turned out that Fire does not exist. It is merely an illusion.

The same is with the most important part of human life - soul. It is like fire.
Beautiful. Dangerous. Creative. Destructive. Changeable ...
And it is also an illusion. Wind of air blows, and there is no fire. Wind of time blows and extinguishes the fire of soul.
When there is no soul, the body turns to earth.

To think about the crowds of bodies arisen when Messiah comes is anthropocentrism. It is to think that the humans are the most essential, central object in the Universe. That the creator of the world, God, looks like a human and is merely a superhuman.

This is actually the sin of pride.
Jul. 1st, 2014 02:21 pm (UTC)
You created this analogy yourself, or it's drawn from one of the books you read? If the former, it's quite impressive and I agree. Sometimes your comments are too deep for me, especially when I read them first thing in the morning and I'm barely awake. :) Moreover, there are times I need to turn to a dictionary to understand the full meaning of your statements. Like today- "anthropocentrism" - I've never heard of this word. So, thanks for teaching me something new! :)
(no subject) - onkel_hans - Jul. 1st, 2014 03:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jul. 1st, 2014 04:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 1st, 2014 02:49 am (UTC)
To be honest I don’t like to think about death. I don’t believe in heaven and hell
Jul. 1st, 2014 02:25 pm (UTC)
Olga, I like this quote from Mark Twain, which I believe describes both of us :

"The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time."

For me, it's important to live your life and pursue your dreams to the fullest extent possible, while you're healthy and capable. Too many people believe they will live out their passions, take their dream vacations, etc., in retirement or old age, yet this day may never come. Or, your health may change such that you become immobile. As one of my friends recently said to me - "Shannon, you live in the NOW." It's true to a great extent. Yet I still live responsibly and save money for retirement and the future, hoping this day will come!
(no subject) - rider3099 - Jul. 2nd, 2014 02:43 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - onkel_hans - Jul. 1st, 2014 11:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 1st, 2014 03:17 am (UTC)
As I am not religious, I do not believe in life after death. Moreover, I do not understand all that fuss about cemeteries (I really cannot understand excursions to cemeteries in historic cities like Paris, for example). If I wished to honor a great man, I'd rather read his book or see his painting, than visit his tomb. When I die, the least thing I care about is how I should be buried and my tomb tended. I'd prefer cremation and no tomb.
As for religious believings, I think the closest to what I can accept is reincarnation of soul. However, there is one drawback in this theory, which my man pointed to me: if the population of Earth increases dramatically, where do those additional souls come from? I suggested that if every live being has a soul, then new humans might appear instead of animals (whose number steadily decreases).
Jul. 1st, 2014 02:36 pm (UTC)
What about deceased relatives? Will you visit their gravestones in cemeteries? I remember when I visited my friend in Ukraine we went to his mother's grave and I was shocked at how poorly the cemetery was maintained. People's gravestones were completely covered in overgrown grass, dirt, etc., such that you could not even see their names on the stone. He explained that it's up to the family to maintain the site, and him and his father kept her gravestone clean and clear. This is very different from America, where the grounds are maintained by the cemetery owners. I've never visited a cemetery in Russia, so I don't know how it works there. About reincarnation, I'm not sure....it's an interesting concept and hard to envision in what form I would return. Animal, a man, a flower...I don't even know what I would pick if I had the choice. Too complicated! :)
(no subject) - sineglazzka2301 - Jul. 1st, 2014 03:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jul. 1st, 2014 03:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 1st, 2014 03:21 am (UTC)
Нескромный вопрос
"Will there be a second coming and what happens after death?"
Very interesting question ... A few intimate...;) When I was younger, second and sometimes third coming was commonplace for me. Over the years, i have been practicing the second coming less and less ... I think it is not far when i reject the second coming completely:(
Jul. 1st, 2014 02:17 pm (UTC)
Re: Нескромный вопрос
Your humor has been quite good recently, carry on my favorite sex troll! :)
Re: Нескромный вопрос - onkel_hans - Jul. 2nd, 2014 03:58 am (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 1st, 2014 07:31 am (UTC)
Well, I also don't understand and sare the Judaism idea of life after death. And this cemetery looks also very strange for me.
As for me, I prefer the idea of reincarnation. But the most interesting burying place I ever seen is the tomb of Leo Tolstoy (russian writer) not far from Tula. It is just a hillok without any headstones, coverd by grass, surrounded by flowers, amongst a big park with nice old trees arown it. Very cosy place, if the word "cosy" is apropriate for such places :).
You can see a 360° panorama of this place here: http://www.360cities.net/image/tomb-of-leo-tolstoy-in-yasnaya
Jul. 1st, 2014 02:44 pm (UTC)
Yes, it's lovely! I wish to be buried in a place like this.
Jul. 1st, 2014 08:33 am (UTC)
Me belief is that souls reincarnate.

And this belief has some support in practices of our qigong school because we have a method to reach the state which is usually called "near death experience".

One's skull cracks on the top of the head, in a place which is called "Anterior fontanelle"
en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Fontanelle
And the soul goes out :)

Such practice also exists in buddhist shools where it is called "phowa".

en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Phowa

A spot called "Posterior fontanelle" which is closer to the back of the head is also very important because here the most powerful energy of the Universe, energy of creation, goes from some unknown place to the spine.
Jul. 1st, 2014 02:37 pm (UTC)
And you can know ahead of time in what form you will be reincarnated, or this is left to chance?
(no subject) - qi_tronic - Jul. 1st, 2014 03:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 1st, 2014 10:20 am (UTC)
Nothing will happen. It's already happened in the moment of death.
Jul. 1st, 2014 02:39 pm (UTC)
We just rot in our graves? It's a depressing thought, but the most plausible.
(no subject) - onkel_hans - Jul. 2nd, 2014 04:20 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jul. 2nd, 2014 03:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 1st, 2014 11:54 am (UTC)
Only some field of information is possible for my, where goes some information about me. Just couple waves or something like that. To think about anything other is too selfish towards future generations. We had our chance - life, so it was up to us how to use it. Just once.
And I want to pass my body after death for scientific research. Or cremation and scatter my ashes over the sea
Jul. 1st, 2014 02:41 pm (UTC)
How does it work in the UK? In America, you indicate on your driver's license if you wish to be an organ donor. I'm registered as one. To think that my organs could possibly save another person's life - there's great comfort and peace in that. And why do I need them when I'm dead? :)
(no subject) - notabler - Jul. 1st, 2014 02:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 1st, 2014 01:07 pm (UTC)
>What do you think happens after our last breath on Earth?
Life will continue without us, obviously :)
Jul. 1st, 2014 02:42 pm (UTC)
Sometimes simple answers are the best! Life will continue without us - this is a given. :)
Jul. 1st, 2014 05:14 pm (UTC)
>>What do you think happens after our last breath on Earth?

Do you read "Great Divorce" - Clive Staples Lewis?
Jul. 1st, 2014 05:20 pm (UTC)
No, I have not yet read but I just looked it up online. Seems like an intriguing story line.
(no subject) - yarowind - Jul. 1st, 2014 05:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 1st, 2014 08:04 pm (UTC)
Thank you for breathtaking article! I think, thire is life after death, but more complex, then cherished notions.
Jul. 2nd, 2014 03:04 pm (UTC)
You're welcome! Thanks, as always, for reading and sharing your viewpoint. :)
Jul. 1st, 2014 08:14 pm (UTC)
First you have to ask yourself the question "Who am I?" You cannot be something that you can observe: you can observe a tree, so you are not the tree. You can observe your body, so you are not the body. You can observe your thoughts, fear and emotions, so you are not your mind. Who are you? You are the observer, pure Consciousness - infinite space that was never born and will never die. You are before time and space. You are observing the manifest world that is your own creation. But at some point you started identifying with the body and the mind. So when your body dies, you loose that identification with the body-mind and return home, to your original state of pure being permeating all matter.
Jul. 2nd, 2014 03:05 pm (UTC)
Some humans can't observe or even begin to understand their thoughts, fear and emotions. What about them?
(no subject) - pasha1980 - Jul. 2nd, 2014 04:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jul. 2nd, 2014 04:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - moebiuscat - Jul. 2nd, 2014 08:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jul. 3rd, 2014 01:50 am (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 2nd, 2014 08:33 pm (UTC)
I believe in God but I'm not religious. Even religious people (virtually all of them, including priests) have very strong doubts sometimes or a crisis of faith and it's a big problem for everyone.

I came to believing in God through logic and intuition. There are too many coincidences in how the life is built and has evolved, and a strong (albeit unproven) sense that there is some faith and guidance in my life. As a logical person I came to several ideas or thoughts about God and religion:

- If God exists and has created us and our world (in any sense of the word) it is by pure logic a being so complex it cannot be truly understood by a human. Any and all attempts to explain God or describe afterlife or any relevant matters in human terms can be at best a very crude and twisted approximations and at worst a pure garbage.

- All religions are based by multiple sources of information created by men, even when original source is supposedly supernatural. If some of those men (Jesus?) were closer to God than others and were conduits of some higher power, all rituals and teachings were created by men in uneducated times and are very close to meaningless.

- Rituals, non-improvised prayers, churches etc. are basically instruments for reaching a state of mind suitable for communicating with God. Some people need those instruments, others don't or require other things, or just feel silly visiting a church and trying to pray with others. Therefore whatever works for you is good, there's no sense of forcing any form of connection with God. It's personal.

- Disproving God by science or any attempt to opposing science and faith is plain silly, and fanatical atheists that try to do so make me laugh. Science in it's current state and concepts of God and soul don't intersect or contradict each other, unless you start treating religious texts literally, which is just silly. Proving existence of God (in some sense) or afterlife may actually be plausible as science advances, but not right now. Our model of the universe is too crude right now. We don't even have a unified field theory or truly know what gravitation is and how it works. I know several accomplished scientists (biologists, physicists etc.) that believe in God, and many has been or are religious, including many of the best minds of our civilization. If they don't find any conflict between faith and science - don't try to convince me there is by quoting magazine articles of dumbed-down pseudo-scientific works.

- As I can't just believe wholeheartedly, I constantly seek proof of afterlife, which in some way (though not necessarily) is tied with a concept of God. Sadly, being a rational person I don't see anything I can quantify as solid scientific proof. There are piles of junk information from all kinds of weird people and organizations, but not much verifiable scientific data.

- NDEs are a strong candidate for being able to proof of life after death, though more research is desperately needed. The phenomena of NDE is proven beyond doubt IMHO, however it's not proven whether it is some weird condition of dying brain or a true existence of conscience out of body.

- In a way, soul seems to be a "software" that runs on a "hardware" of the body. Hardware has a definite impact of how software works (chemistry, trauma or illness can drastically affect personality), but software can run on a different hardware, or "in the cloud" :-) - old hardware to be discarded. If this is true, soul can live on after death of a body. I like Richard Bach's idea about soul choosing a mortal life as a challenge for self-improvement, and after death we suddenly remember all of our lives and become whole, but for the challenge to be pure we choose this life to be self-contained.

If anyone knows any solid and reliable information about NDE research, I'd love to see it. Please share your sources with me, I'd like to take a critical look at them.

Edited at 2014-07-02 08:47 pm (UTC)
Jul. 3rd, 2014 01:57 am (UTC)
Thanks for the detailed thesis. :) It was very interesting to read and know your thoughts, which are well balanced and logical as usual. I don't know any solid and reliable information about NDE's. Each documentary I've watched has different doctors and scientists trying to explain away the visions as those of a "dying brain" as you wrote. But I've had family members who claim to have seen or spoken to deceased relatives, and they are not crazy. I believe what they saw to be true, though I can't explain the nature or cause of the occurrence.
(no subject) - moebiuscat - Jul. 3rd, 2014 02:32 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - moebiuscat - Jul. 3rd, 2014 02:44 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Jul. 3rd, 2014 11:41 am (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 4th, 2014 09:11 pm (UTC)
it's my understanding that many Jews believe when the Messiah returns the dead will rise from their graves and walk to the holy Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City. From this cemetery, that's only a few hundred meters, thus people who are buried here will be amongst the first to greet the Messiah upon his return. I even read that everyone in the cemetery is buried with their feet facing the Temple Mount so they can come straight up on the big day and not have to adjust themselves. Amazing preparation and global positioning! :)

It's just a folklore. Judaism as religion is not really interested in afterlife.

Or, do our bones, flesh and ashes simply disintegrate into the ground upon which we spend our entire lives walking?

By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return. Genesis 3:19

I actually want to make a tattoo with words from this verse - "for dust you are and to dust you will return". Only in Hebrew. But I haven't decide yet on which part of my body I want to place it and I don't really trust Russian masters with this task as they don't know any Hebrew.
Jul. 6th, 2014 06:28 pm (UTC)
I don't trust any tattoo artist to put a foreign script on my body. There are so many people in America with Chinese symbols tattooed on them. Who knows if the interpretation/translation shown in the tattoo parlor's photo book is correct? In general, you can find decent tattoo artists in most places here. Even in the small town where I went to university. I got both of my tattoos during my college days. :)
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