Originally Posted by Plaxx
I was wondering whether one's soul retains any kind of "individuality" after death. I would like to get an answer from someone who actually had a near death experience.
All of those who come back to life say that they "felt one with god". Does this in any way mean that our individuality is just a temporary expression of the whole? i.e. it's not really part of the whole but rather the whole itself. And in that case, wouldn't that be a little depressing? To know that after all nothing really matters and you are just a vehicle for God to explore and express itself? Many who had a near death experience also say that they did retain individuality but as a drop of water in the ocean. I'm a little confused. If we don't retain individuality, does that mean that our soul vanishes into the whole?
If we have always existed as spiritual beings, as many near death experiencers say, have we always existed as God or have we always existed as spiritual beings who form a collective consciousness, which is God, individually?
To understand death we need some understanding of the nature of a human being. The Alice Bailey books give an esoteric perspective on the subject:
A human being is threefold:
- Being or Spirit
- Soul, which is individualised consciousness
Personality is also threefold and expresses through the physical body:
- A mental body
- An emotional body
- An etheric/energy body.
At the death of the physical body the other bodies withdraw and the etheric/energy body dissolves within days, having served its purpose.
The soul, or individualised consciousness, continues to express itself through the remaining personality vehicles. It experiences the astral planes using the astral or emotional body, just as we use the physical body to experience this dense physical plane. Then comes the "second death" when the astral body is discarded, and the soul experiences the mental planes through the mental body.
Our experiences on the astral and mental planes will depend on the development of our astral and mental bodies. For example, those with undeveloped mental bodies will spend little time on the mental plane because their mental vehicle is ill-equipped to experience it.
Finally the mental body is discarded at the "third death", and the soul rests in itself, prior to taking on new personality bodies for its next incarnation in form.
Thus the old personality is no more, but individualised consciousness remains, and knowledge of past personality experiences is stored in the soul's memory.
The idea of being "one with God" after death is misleading. We may experience direct contact with our own soul, and this can be overwhelming as we glimpse the power and beauty of our own consciousness, but this is still a long way from merging with the Divine.
And we have to consider that people will have a whole range of experiences after physical death, depending on their development while physically alive. For some people death is liberating, as they enter a greater reality with new scope for self-expression and service. For others, the death of the physical body is a time of great confusion because they have lost all that is familiar and they are unprepared for what happens next.
So it pays to read widely on the subject of death, while remembering that the after-death experience varies for each person. One day we will find out for ourselves.