There are many beliefs about what happens after we die. Some people base their beliefs about the afterlife on what their religion says will happen, whether that be an ascension to heaven, time spent between heaven and hell, reincarnation, or any number of other theories. Others form their own theory based on what they believe about the world, science, nature, or the human body. Some believe that when we die the lights just go out and that is the end. There is nothing more. Like a computer, we just shut down.
I form my beliefs from what I know about nature and the world. I know that nothing is lost in this universe; there is an energy that survives. You can call that energy whatever you want.
When we die, I believe that energy goes on. We come to this life; we go back into the earth. We become fertilizer for growth of other life forms. As far as the spirit is concerned, perhaps it is an electrical phenomenon. Perhaps it is a form of light that goes forth and does its thing.
I don’t know about reincarnation. I don’t try to explain the phenomenon, if it exists. I also don’t know about an afterlife. Is there a place where we go and become reunited with others who have passed on? I’m not so sure about that. Does our energy, which leaves us upon death, work its way through this world and become parts of other life forms? Maybe. In that sense, then, we live on.
Rather than think about the afterlife in terms of a place we go or our spirits living on in other beings, we could look at what we pass on genetically and spiritually. When we have children, we pass along to them pieces of ourselves genetically; in raising them, we pass along to them pieces of our spiritual being. Once we are gone, those pieces live on through them and are passed on to their children and so on. In that sense, then, pieces of us continue well after we are gone.
Regardless of where you think you will go after you are gone, we can all agree that we need to live the best life we can while we are here. This life is the only one we can be absolutely certain of so let’s make sure we do everything we can in the here and now to have the best life possible.
Dr. Erica Miller