From @jefffosterofficial: WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE DIE
Jeff Foster is an author and spiritual teacher from England. He has written several books in which he helps people discover who they really are, beyond all thoughts and judgments about themselves, even in the midst of the stress and struggle of modern day living and intimate relationships. On his instagram almost daily Jeff shares beautiful heartwarming insights and encouragement's, like this piece on the question of death.
What happens when we die
"I often get asked about death.
What happens when we die? And more importantly, who is it that dies?
Do we live on after death?
Oh, I have heard all the theories and rumours. Reincarnation. Multiple dimensions. Heavenly realms. Transformations. Multiple rebirths. It all sounds so… exciting!
I used to believe in all of this, yes. My visions of “what happens when we die” provided comfort, reduced anxiety, gave me something to look forward to when life was tough, and my heart was broken, and this world seemed too much, or too little, and I wanted certainty - and hope - so badly.
Then the awakening came, and I could no longer believe, or hold to any kind of certainty. Ever.
And death became what it always was. A great Nothing. The absolute Mystery of all mysteries. Absolute Rest beyond rest. And all my concepts of death collapsed, and along with them, all my stories about the afterlife, and beyond, and beyond…
I plunged into terrible, wonderful, utterly shattering Not Knowing. The ground fell away. There was nothing to hold onto anymore. Not even my own beliefs. I was helpless and homeless in the face of the vastness. It was a death during life, for sure.
People assume that because I’m a “spiritual person” I believe in reincarnation and past lives and multiple dimensions. Utterly not.
What is death? Yes, we have our beliefs, concepts, ideas, mythologies, dogmas about it, for sure. Our religions paint wonderful or horrifying pictures of the afterlife. Some people claim to have had “near-death” experiences (and I would add that living itself is the ultimate “near-death” experience!). Some claim to have died and come back to tell the tale. Some say they are 100% certain about the details of their past lives, or have received messages and visions of their future lives.
Well, we believe what we believe, don’t we? Or what we need to believe. We know what we know. We are certain about what we are certain about. Our world is as real as we are. The mind is infinitely creative. We seek our home in thought and its futures. We try to rest in our own ideas.
And yet, and yet, everything ultimately hinges on What happens when we die, then?
The wave falls back into the ocean, and does not “become one” with it, for it was never separate from it, and so nothing happens at all from the perspective of life.
The word “happen” is the misunderstanding.
The body ceases to function. The heart stops. The last long breath.
Thoughts fall away, sensations. Dreams, fantasies, hopes and fears, death eats them all.
The notion of time itself. Gone.
Suffering, and the quest to end suffering. Gone.
You as you know yourself and as you experience yourself. Gone, all gone.
All your ideas about “what happens upon death”. Gone, all gone.
Or “after death”. Gone, all gone.
There is no “after death”, when you truly deconstruct the self.
Oh, my love, can’t you see, death is not something that could ever happen to you, not something you could ever “experience”, and therefore “after death” is even more impossible for you?
So celebrate life, my love!
Live. This may be your only chance!
Fall to your knees now. Kiss the grass. Weep at every fucking sunrise.
Lie on the beach under the pink sky and give yourself to the evening.
When your heart breaks, bow to it as if it were God because it is.
Cherish the ordinary moments. There may be no other realms but this one.
If this depresses and angers you, maybe you need to grieve, grieve, grieve your way into the Mystery.
It will break you but free you from yourself.
If no next life is coming, and death/after-death is not experience-able through a non-existent self, then this, here, now, this moment – this is the gift, this is the heavenly realm you were always seeking, this is the afterlife, this is the longed-for utopia, and at the deepest core of your very being, you are utterly safe, and you have always known it, and death cannot happen to you when you are the very nature of death itself.
Just look into the eyes of a newborn baby, without assumptions, without time, without hope, and you will receive all the answers, right there in the burning core of the "I Don't Know".
Jeff Foster studied Astrophysics at Cambridge University. In his mid-twenties, after a long period of depression and illness, he became addicted to the idea of ‘spiritual enlightenment’ and embarked on an intensive spiritual quest for the ultimate truth of existence.