What happens when you die? The question looks right at you when a loved one passes away. What do they feel, if anything? Are they lonely? Is there an answer — or answers? Or nothing at all? Experience tells us we know more than we think we do.
We’re better off setting aside beliefs in favor of what we really know. There are huge gaps of knowledge we can’t fill, but immediate questions about life and death can be answered.
It’s not that beliefs don’t matter. Sometimes, they’re all we have, and they’re crucial for living well and responsibly. But they’re substitutes, useful only when facts can’t explain what we need to know.
Related: Getting to know your three brains
What happens when you die? It’s Physical
Everything we know about the universe we know because it’s physical. That is, we can detect it through our senses and manipulate it mentally to come up with a world view that actively makes sense to us. It keeps us from walking into walls and falling off cliffs.
That’s obvious, but when we ask, “What happens when we die?” the obvious begins to deteriorate in a hurry.
Consider first that the most complex computer devised can’t compete with the human brain. Our brains calculate, evaluate, judge and act on the fly as information from billions of microscopic particles race in and around every second.
Information comes from eyes, ears, skin, nose and mouth, in the simplest configuration. Our brains whisk away 95% and compile a picture of reality out of what’s left.
And we haven’t even considered the enteric nervous system, or second brain, an operation that largely takes care of what happens in our guts and tells the big brain up on top about it.
But even at that, our magnificent brains are no more than half the story.
That’s What Dies: What’s left?
What happens when we die? The physics defying contraption that sees, feels and touches, the brain that puts it all together… That, the he or she you see in the mirror, fails catastrophically.
And then, the questions begin. What happens next? Where did the person we know disappear to? Material never vanishes. Everything that made up a body remains.
But whatever animated it, putting it together as a thriving organism, is gone.
We can save the endlessly interesting question of why for another time. What we’re concerned with is, what happens?
It Was Physical, Wasn’t It?
The mystery of “What happens when we die?” clarifies when we stop thinking of ourselves in the old-fashioned way as physical and nothing more. We don’t need religion or philosophy to prove that’s false.
See also: Is Human Hibernation Even A Thing?
Have you ever seen an emotion? Sure, you’ve felt the results of an emotion, and you’ve expressed them. But you’ve never seen one.
What about a thought? A belief? Imagination? A memory? These are all intangible. We know they’re there. We may even have a pretty good idea about what they are. But theirs is not a well described or understood universe of nonphysical reality.
Physical and nonphysical interact, but we don’t know how.
There’s more, but you haven’t seen, smelled, touched or tasted any of them because they are not physical. They’re unquestionably present in our lives. They affect us constantly.
They’re equal partners with physical reality, but there’s no reason to believe they perish. Ever.
There’s no evidence of it as there is with physical death. Look all you want. You’re more likely to find Bigfoot.
We get too hung up on physical awareness. We think it’s us. Logic and reason can explain everything… but that’s as based on faith as any religion.
Logic and reason can’t deliver ultimate truth, not by a long shot.
What happens when you die? Conclusion
Interaction with the physical environment ceases. Intangibles, emotions, imagination, thoughts, etc. are freed.
People who have near death experiences report a sense of lightness, freedom, wellness and joy when outside their bodies. That’s what you have to look forward to, and there’s more.
Although you’ve never been completely out of touch, you can now connect cleanly with those who’ve left their physical bodies, at will. (Yeah, there might be some souls you’d rather do without.)
It’s a nonphysical universe without end, and you’ve never left it.
Thoughtful recognition of what should be apparent to you already, i.e., that you are not limited to your perishable human body, should light the way to insight and, I hope, a personal comfort zone.
Reported by David Stone