what happens when we die?

What happens when we die?


Let me first say that my answer is not your answer. And my answer is not the same answer I may have given to you yesterday, or likely will be the same answer that I would give to you tomorrow. The answer to this question is one that must come from your own inner knowing, from that place of Love and safety, the Spirit of God within yourself that you carry with you as you journey here. When you find that place of total acceptance, of total love and understanding for yourself, of peace and trust within, the answers will be revealed to you….for the Love of the Universe is indeed as receptive and welcoming and needful of your presence as this space inside yourself. As you seek to understand the meaning of your life, to find meaning for the experiences of your life, you will gradually begin more clearly to hear from this place, this perspective, of Love. And you will be able to listen without fear to that very ancient part of yourself that remembers why you are here, where you have come from, and where you are going.


For me, when I find myself in this space of connection to Love in prayer, I can hear the whisper of God within and then I can more quietly observe the life of God that surrounds me, and the two voices begin to resonate more clearly with one another. What I have heard when I enter that space is that the reason I am here is to grow in Love and to contribute to the growth of the whole by pouring that which I receive back into God. So, I am a somehow a part of Love’s own growth and of God’s own becoming in this place.


But, each life path is unique and so perhaps is each understanding of death.


Perhaps your life will be one of stillness like that of a leaf. If God is the tree of life, then you, as a leaf, are somehow a part of God, and God is also somehow a part of you. You and thousands others of your generation have opened in this time, as a part of this tree of life that is God, emerging from the same source, created to capture the light for a time. As you spend your life opening out, all that you receive is returned to the source that is God, for the tree’s own nurture and growth. The other leaves on the tree are fed by your staying connected to God. In that way, the love you receive in this life is nurturing the growth of the whole, even as God is feeding you of that same love here on the branches. When your soul has received and given all the love that it can in this one particular season, this one particular way of being expressed and needed by God, the beauty of the colors of your own wisdom will be revealed in the end before you let go. For others, the harsh storms of life may cause them to be torn, or to let go before their time, but still all will be well, for the compassionate, forgiving, ground of all being that is God receives and embraces all that is back unto itself. But if you hold on, then the final release is gentle, a graceful dance as you let go to finally join the others on the floor who have gone before you. After you pass, you return even more deeply back to the source, releasing the nutrients of Love, which you have received and become in this life, as you are re-absorbed completely, endlessly, into the Love that is God. The life that you led provides nourishment for next years bud as God recycles the hope that is you, and the tree of Love that is God continues to grow.


Or perhaps your life will be more one of action like the river….begun as a solitary droplet, springing up from the earth, or falling down as rain. Contained within the smallness that is you, is the same material that makes up the ocean that is God…yet you’ll begin life distinct and contained within the cell, believing you are somehow separate because you cannot see the source of Love from which you came….although it is indeed written inside of you. Each experience of life then is an opportunity to move closer to God, to return to the source from which you came. The path of your life as a river will lead you through many terrains, often rocky and turbulent near the beginning, with many twists and turns as you seek passage back to the source. Sometimes you may come upon what appears to be a sheer wall of rock, a wall built up perhaps because of the suffering that is so often the material of life, but you know that the power of Love contained within the drop can dissolve rock, grain by grain, over time that is God’s and not ours. Maybe even that rock is also God, desperately needing our understanding and Love. Sometimes you may be asked to change your way of being or thinking or believing or moving through this world, allow yourself to be transformed and carried by the wind across these desert places. But each experience brings you ever closer to the river that quietly waits, each moment of beauty or pain an invitation to grow wider, to join more peacefully with the others, to open out and become wider. As the droplets of water that you are encounter the droplets of Love that are other persons and parts of creation, gradually recognizing that what appears to be different is really one and the same (by seeing the Christ in the self and the other), you grow. Sometimes I like to imagine these encounters and experiences of life as moments that I tuck into the pocket of my heart, as it grows and expands, until it is no longer able to be contained inside the single droplet that once was me. And at the end of my life in this form, there is a place near the end where the water is wide, and the riverbank boundaries of earth can no longer contain what is of God in me, at that place where the ocean swells up to fill my tidal pools and dissolve those last boundaries of flesh between God and me, where all my accumulated tears and accumulated impurities are embraced by the ocean and they become one with the salt water of Love, then my heart will spill out its contents into the embrace of the ocean of God, contributing all its Love learnings into the whole.


But those are only my images. I invite you, as you travel here, to also observe life as you experience it, let it reveal its own secrets to you. Your heart will recognize truth and will interpret it for you. I ask you only to gaze upon it with grace, with compassion, and with Love. And where you see death, look for birth, look for beginnings where you see endings, look for recycled hope and nourishment for new growth in places of loss and decay, look for transformation from one way of being into another, look for resurrection within each moment. See all of the ways in which life is received, recycled, and Loved and you will see you have nothing to fear from death.


Thank you for the question.


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