People who meditate tend to believe in an afterlife for the simple reason that they discover a part of themselves, which is more than their ideas, personality, and more than their personal story. Meditation brings them to a place in their heart where there is no self, just a vastness of being. It is not a great leap from experiencing this vastness in meditation to believing that someday we will be free of our bodies, personality, free of our personal story. It is not a big stretch to imagine an afterlife, being in a vastness of space and indescribable peace.
Everyone who meditates sooner or later finds a spaciousness inside, a lightness of being, a feeling of coming home, joy. This joy, this feeling of coming home is common to many people who have near-death experiences. They, too, report an expansive experience, a great lightness of being and a overwhelming self acceptance. The great love is so wonderful that it is like coming home. For meditators and people who have had an near death experience, it is a home they never expected to find inside their hearts or in an afterlife.
So why is the experience of people who have near death experiences so much more vivid, real and unforgettable than those who meditate? The answer to this is really quite simple. Those who have a near death experience actually are free of their minds and bodies for at least as long as their experience lasts. Most meditators get only a glimpse of awareness free from physical distraction, free of thought, worry and the details of this life. Only few meditators really get to this place inside free of the worldly self to enjoy the great other.
If you talk to people who regularly meditate they will share a common experience of finding an inner wholeness that is more free than free. Meditation can routinely be a time of no thought, just being. Awareness let loose in meditation opens to something that is all embracing. Meditators report finding this exquisite love, a love beyond human love as many people who have briefly died share in their stories. Many people meditating are too busy watching their thoughts. But others who deeply explore their hearts, who allow their awareness to be, rest and soak in the inner heart discover a love beyond any love as we normally know.
The key to truly unclutter and uncloud our awareness seems to be that meditation must be receiving deeply our own heart essence. When we find the heart inside our heart we find a silence, a great space, a light which carries our awareness in a realm very different than our normal everyday reality. Meditators who concentrate and receive the purest part of their experience, the love, and innocence feel as if they are touching the part of themselves which the only words they have to describe are heaven or God.
Meditators do not need much convincing about an afterlife because of their personal experiences. Intellectuals, skeptics of all kinds want evidence. For many until they taste their own vastness and inner light the evidence is not convincing. There are some experiences which cannot be understood without firsthand knowledge. We don't need to have a near death experience to know about the possibilities of an afterlife. We don't need to believe someone's incredible story. We just have to take the time to meditate, to unplug from this world and investigate our own inner life. We need to make a retreat and enjoy the silence which touches the silence within our own heart. Peace and quiet have a presence. It feeds our nerves, opens our heart. Here is a realm of acceptance, lightness -- a nothingness thick with love.
Most meditators would be the first to admit that they are just beginning the journey. There are so many mental realms loading us down with fear, doubt, concern and desires. Mental worlds weigh on our awareness. But there is a place in our heart that is greater, stronger and so clear that it outshines the clouds blinding our view. This is the home of our meditation. This is probably the same home we find in an afterlife. It is the heart within the heart of us all. At the end of the day, regardless of our beliefs and personal story, this home waits for our return.
People who have near death experiences almost unanimously report having less fear of death, more joy and freedom in this life. Meditators celebrate these same results. We don't have to wait to die to fall into something heavenly but can give ourselves the opportunity to let go and receive a great love found in peace and quiet here and now. To be set free from self judgment and have more joy is not limited to people who have near death experiences. Everyone who meditates is opening the same door to appreciating life more and living beyond the boundaries, the hesitation and fears which use to hold us back.
You are invited to join us in the many gifts of retreats at Silent Stay Retreat Home & Hermitage near Napa, California and Assisi, Italy.
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