“…Death has been with you every moment of your life…You have survived thousands of deaths every day as your old thoughts, your old cells, your old emotions, and even your old identity passed away. Everyone is living in the afterlife right now. What is there to fear? When people wonder if the personality survives death, the answer is that personality doesn’t even survive while we are alive. We are not the same person we were five, ten, or fifteen years ago…Our personalities are constantly evolving, transforming, growing.” ~ Deepak Chopra, Life After Death: The Burden of Proof
In his book, Chopra mentioned that we can experience both happiness and sadness with the same welcome, because neither are real. This really hit home. Especially, when later that evening as I was cooking dinner, a wave of fruitlessness passed over me. As I became aware of this emotion, I remembered that it wasn’t really me and let it pass through me, and away it went. It was the first time I practiced non-attachment of my emotions and realized how freeing this could be.
So, if I am not my personality, my body, or even my thoughts, who am I? While I believe that I am an eternal, perfect being—a lifetime of a changing body, events, and thoughts have made it nearly impossible to totally comprehend this belief.
I have tried to “find” my true self. I meditate daily, losing myself to the love that flows through me, and I know that this perception is much closer to the real me than my normal reality. But it is still a limited experience, because it uses my senses to experience it. Chopra wrote, “Vedanta holds that consciousness is convinced by its own creations. Therefore, nothing we can see, hear, and touch, whether in waking, dreaming, or beyond both, is ultimately real. They represent shifting perspectives.” It is the illusion convincing itself of its own reality!
If this life is an illusion, then where do we really reside? We often think of our true selves going “somewhere” after we die, such as heaven or hell.
I had an experienced in October, a few days after my mother passed, which helped me to see that we don’t go anywhere—it is only our perception that changes. The event took place at my mother’s workplace. I was sitting with my sister and the HR director who was going over our mother’s life insurance benefits, which had been split evenly between us. Then the director mentioned that my mother’s pension had been given solely to my sister. I immediately felt resentment, but, I didn’t want to feel this way toward my sister, especially while I was grieving for my mother. I asked the Spirit to take this painful emotion from me and it was then that I experienced my greatest miracle.
Here are the details taken from my book, Shaman Stone Soup: “After the meeting, we were taken to my mother’s cubicle to clean it out. I was emotionally distant from my sister as we emptied the drawers. I kept battling against the resentment that picked at me, and I asked the Spirit to take this thought from me.
Suddenly, my mother’s spirit descended over me. Her presence completely surrounded me and her vision became mine. Through my mother’s eyes, the whole world glowed with love and beams of light radiated from my sister. My mother’s memories filled my consciousness, and I could see my sister as the little girl, teenager, and young woman she had raised. My mother saw her as an innocent daughter, who would be taken care of with the pension she had inherited. I felt the comfort that it gave my mother and the love she had for my sister.
Immediately, all resentment left me. I knew my mother had given the pension out of love, and as I experienced that love, it became impossible for me to feel anything else.
Then my mother was gone.”
Although I had never left the room, the dreary office space had transformed into golden light. My sister, the room, and even the world, became faint outlines and love became the predominant vision. It made me realize that we don’t go someplace else to find ourselves. Love is all around us.
Death was not the end of my mother. She was able to communicate with me and send her love. The miracle had helped to show that we are all connected, whether we have a body or not.
So, perhaps recognizing our true selves is taken in baby steps. Starting with a willingness to find it and asking for help from a higher source who sees beyond our illusion. We then begin receiving visions and experiences of pure love, which help us to develop a more “real” perception within this illusion, a step that allows us to ready ourselves for the final step into all-encompassing love.