By Admir Serrano
Before we incarnated into this physical body, we lived in the Spirit World, a non-physical dimension permeating this universe. There we lived among other spirits—who are part of our spiritual family and friends on the other side of life. Many are still there, and many others followed us to earthly life and became our brothers, sisters, spouses, children, grandchildren or other relatives and friends on this side.
When it came time to leave the Spirit World to embark on this earthly journey, we departed that life; we passed away from that world, so to speak. We left our spiritual family and friends behind, as well as the mode of life we were then living. In a sense, we died to that world so that we could be born in this one. But we did not cease to exist! Our spiritual family and friends did not cry our loss because they knew we had only changed one mode of living for another—from the spirit life to the physical life; they also knew that we would one day reunite.
The spirit body we used to function in the Spirit World was—still is—immortal and imperishable. But the physical body we now have is perishable and mortal. However, we still have an immortal and imperishable spirit body, the same we had before we came to Earth. And this spirit body will survive our physical death and will continue living in the Spirit World afterwards. And when physical death occurs we will take the journey back home, from whence we all came.
Our physical remains will be buried or cremated and our image will disappear from the sight of our loved ones, but we in our spirit body will reappear, once again, to our loved ones who remained, or returned before us to the Spirit World. People who love us here will be sad to see us go, but those on the other side who love us will be happy to see us back. What we must keep in mind is that death never do us part, it only separates us temporarily, and we will reunite.
We, as immortal spirit that we are, never stop living; we only change modes of living. A time incarnates other discarnate, according to the lessons we need to learn or to teach during physical life. What we call death is really a birth in reverse. Our body dies and we, in our spirit body, rise out of it, unscathed and with all our mental faculties and identity intact. Our dead body is then laid to rest and our image disappears from the sight of our incarnate fellows; and we, in our spirit body, reappear to the sight of the discarnate ones waiting for us on the other side of life.
The late American author and clergyman Henry Van Dyke summarized this rebirth process beautifully in a poem entitled “Gone from my Sight”:
I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side,
spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts
for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck
of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says: “There, she is gone!”
Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast
hull and spar as she was when she left my side.
And she is just as able to bear the load of living freight to her destined port.
Her diminished size is in me — not in her.
And, just at the moment when someone says: “There, she is gone!”
There are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices
ready to take up the glad shout, “Here she comes!”
And that is dying…
Physical death is a natural phenomenon, we all know it; we also know that one day it will catch up with us. Nonetheless, fear, despair, and anger tend to wreak havoc in our lives when our own death, or that of a loved one becomes imminent. Such tumultuous reaction may be because we cannot yet feel in the core of our being our true spiritual essence, an essence that is immortal, and an essence that contains our individuality and which is capable of surviving physical death. Thus we believe that the last heartbeat, the last breath that shuts down our material body also shuts down our consciousness, erasing the awareness of what we are, plunging us into an eternal abyss of non-existence. And this is indeed a bleak contemplation.
When we understand that we are immortal beings and that physical life is a temporary journey in an eternal continuum of existence, that when we close our physical eyes we will awake in a greater reality, surrounded by the loved ones we thought had vanished forever, life gains a new meaning. We begin to understand that there is such greatness within each one of us we never imagined possible, a force so mysteriously powerful that reduces to insignificance all the troubles that may be saddening this marvelous experience we all came here to enjoy. Even death, once feared as the extermination of our life, will lose its sting as we come—not to believe— but to know that it will not annihilate our existence. On the contrary, we will understand that all bodily death does is free us, the spiritual being we truly are, from the bonds of matter. And once free, we return to the Spirit World we all hailed from to continue our evolutionary journey, and there we will stay until our own consciousness beacons us to return to physical life once again for another round of learning and growth.