I just finished “The Life Beyond Death” by Arthur Ford and Jerome Ellison (his life-long friend and confidante). Although this won’t be a thorough entry on the book–there is much to say, and too little time to say it at the moment–I do want to emphasize three points I found terribly relevant to me and my friends and family:
1. Concentrate on this life, and the next life will take care of itself. This requires belief or a willingness to accept the abundant evidence on survival of consciousness. If we know, truly know, that our consciousness is indestructible and continues to life after physical death, then we are truly free to concentrate on this life, and how we are living it. Personally, I know that I spend too much time on the afterlife. In fact, I should stop the reading for a while, considering I have now amassed a library on this topic. I don’t know what to do with all the books. I really don’t need any more evidence. I have enough! I will not get specific answers on the afterlife; even such luminaries as Frederic Myers, who communicated extensively to Ford on the nature of the afterlife, doesn’t really convince me. I’m not sure that someone else’s experience of the afterlife will be exactly like mine, so better to take the general messages and not even think about the details. Those will be forthcoming. All that matters is that Kirsten will forever be Kirsten. It’s up to me to make that a blessing, not a curse.
2. The afterlife will be much like this life. This always seemed to be true to me. I can’t imagine that the next level, or the level next door, will be terribly unique. This might be because I am afraid of radical change, but I also think it’s because there is no reason to expect that a continuation of consciousness will play itself out in a foreign arena, or that spiritual enlightenment (when attained) will necessary look different. It will FEEL different. Science (physics) is making some inroads into the nature and theory of reality that seem to be quite compatible with what famous mediums like Ford have always maintained: reality is next door, not “up there”. There are more dimensions to reality than the one we experience, and that does not mean they look like “heaven” or somehow radically different from the day-to-day. In another reality, I get tea with cream and a cookie instead of tea with 2% milk and a muffin. Am I more spiritually enlightened in the side dimension or the reincarnation? That depends on what happens here, now, in the life I am living.
3. Fear of death is irrational. Fear of illness is not. Ford was admittedly afraid of his heart condition and becoming too weak to engage in his favorite activities (one of which, it must be said, was drinking too much. He was turned around by the founder of AA, Bill W.). Death, for Ford, was really no big deal. He had such overwhelming and continuous evidence of survival that he didn’t spend much time contemplating actual death. Jerome Ellison, the co-author, had his own near death experience that completely changed his view of death. A nice analogy that Ellison uses for death is running in an overcoat, becoming overheated, and throwing the overcoat to the ground. The coat is the physical body. You, as you, keep on running without the weight and inconvenience of the clothing. Illness, however, is one of those character-building experiences that you must endure in order to grow spiritually. Our real challenge is not to overcome fear of death, but to learn how to handle the pain and sadness of our lives and transform that into joy.
I highly recommend Ford and Ellison’s book. It has more words of wisdom that the majority of what has been written in the last 10-15 years. Please take the time to read it, and let me know what you think.