"I'm going on a journey soon, by myself." -- John R. Fenn, Jr.
With my older brother's passing recently, my thoughts have turned to death itself; what it is, and what happens to us afterward -- the migration from life through death. People's concepts of death, the rituals with which we deal with it and the hereafter are both varied and individual. As my brother seemed to realize shortly before he passed, the one sure aspect of it is that the deceasing person experiences it alone, though sometimes they seem to "see" departed loved ones welcoming them to their next "life."
Our belief system may result from religious doctrine, philosophic or metaphysical ideas, or from just the belief that "when it's over, it's over." My beliefs regarding death stem from my eclectic makeup of Irish/Druidic genes, and experience with belief systems of Catholics, Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists; they are particularly acute now, as John Richard Fenn, Jr. has gone on his journey alone, and has learned the answer to the last great secret -- what really happens after death. Whatever we may believe in life, the reality may or may not coincide with that.
I believe that we exist in dimensional states of consciousness based on metaphysics. For me, death is simply moving from the third dimension to the fourth, as expressed in Salvador Dali's painting Corpus Hypercubus, popularly known as The Crucifixion, in which Christ has already left the net of the four-dimensional "cross" (a hypercube made up of a combination of eight separate cubes) and is beginning to move toward the fourth dimension.
Dr. Thomas Banchoff, an internationally known geometry expert who specializes in the fourth dimension, was friends with the late artist. Together, they discussed the concepts included in Dali's masterpiece; they are religious, metaphysical, mathematical and scientific.
The concept of the hypercube is both complex and profound; however, a simplistic explanation could be that the hypercube, also known as a tesseract, is a cube within a cube.
A geometric symbol outside our sphere of understanding, its use in the painting represents the transcendental nature of God (the Ultimate Source), which is also incomprehensible to us. The Corpus (figure of Christ) is shown with four additional small cubes and no nails, which some scientists interpret as substituting for nails. The body is detached from the cross.
Whether the fourth dimension is time, as a number of scientists believe, or not (according to another school of thought), the dimension does seem to be related to space, and it is in that context, I believe, that the Corpus Hypercubus represents the metaphysical transcendence from life to another form, another dimension of existence.
Because space is a concept, rather than a physical element, it seems that the energy related to a person (thoughts, emotions, experiences stored, beliefs, etc.) can transcend dimensions. It seems reasonable to believe that the Ultimate Source can disperse and condense our energy; thus we can be reincarnated while, at the same time, unite with the Ultimate Source and also "appear" to grieving loved ones or a dying person.
While, after my passing, I have elected for cremation because it is ecologically and economically efficient, I have also learned that that custom is an element of such ancient cultures as Celtic Druids and Vedic Hindus, which suggest that burning allows the soul to detach from its physical form, and to free it from material attachment.
According to Dr. Karen Ralls:
...the two cultures...share the broader concept of a special magico-religious power of music, and an awareness of the breath and of poetic verse. Druids memorised extremely long poetic sagas that often ended with a three-part cadence at the end; the bards of the Vedic literature are portrayed as memorizing lengthy poetic sagas that convey spiritual knowledge and dharmic duty, and the poetic metre often ends with a three-part cadence at the end. Thus, one can see why many scholars believe that the Hindu Brahmin in the east and the Celtic Druid in the west were lateral survivals of an ancient Indo-European priesthood.
Both ancient Celtic and Hindu deities included Gods with multiple functions, "who actualized nature forces, promulgated ethics, justice, knowledge, arts, crafts, medicine, speech, harvests, gave courage for war and battled forces of darkness, and there are Goddesses of land, rivers and springs," said Dr. Ralls.
Thus, in the Celtic Druidic-Hindu Vedic connection, we see that the metaphysical concept of existence after death is wide-reaching; however, until the time comes for each of us, we won't know the validity of that belief. As we and our loved ones all learn the answer to the last great secret, I pray we can experience peace with wherever our ultimate journey takes us, and in whatever form.