As far as we know, all cultures from the remotest past to the present believed in a life hereafter. In the last century and a half, however, whether individual identity survives the body has come under debate in the West. Before World War II, proving survival occupied some of the most prominent people of its day, including the English Prime Minister, Arthur Balfour, and several Nobel-Prize winning physicists. Since then, the respectability of this research, the respectability of exploring an issue that weighs on us all, has plummeted dramatically.
Nonetheless, the evidence for survival is mounting daily. Here I can only give you a short summary of what I cover in my book, The Last Frontier. Although the evidence may not yet constitute solid proof according to the standards set by science, the sheer amount of it, the variety of sources, the inner consistency would overwhelmingly stand up in any courtroom, as Victor Zammit, author of A Lawyer Presents the Case for the Afterlife, has pointed out.
As you probably already know, everything that seems to us to be matter is, in fact, almost entirely energy in the form of forces and oscillations. That means there’s not much difference from us and the energy bodies of our discarnate loved ones. We can and do communicate without the use of the physical brain, from one consciousness to another directly by telepathy. For that matter, a few neurobiologists are beginning to admit that the mind, the seat of consciousness, is independent from the brain. This has been demonstrated over and over in clinical experiments on telepathy, precognition and remote viewing, all of which occur outside the brain’s immediate domain. Quantum biology is now looking at highly efficient intelligence in organisms that lack both brains and nervous systems.
Near Death Experience studies have shown definitively that the mind, all that we hold as our identity, can and does operate when separated from the body. There are many documented cases in which people who are clinically dead, whose EEGs and EKGs have flat lined, continue to perceive and think while outside their own bodies. What they see and hear going on in operating rooms, on hospital rooftops and in waiting rooms has been confirmed by attending medical personnel. Yet most physicians involved in this research will still hedge the medically impossible by proposing that the brain is not really dead but continues to function at a level too low to track. What they fail to take into account is that during these experiences the congenitally blind can suddenly see for the first time in their lives and they see, like the normally sighted, with a supernormal accuracy. (For more, see Mindsight: Near-Death and Out-of-Body Experiences in the Blind, by Kenneth Ring and Sharon Cooper.) So far, no one has argued that their visual function was in dormancy only to come awake for those moments or hours out of the body. That a person can see without eyes, perceive without a brain and move around without a body is of enormous significance to the survival issue.
Another avenue for settling the question is reincarnation. The past-life accounts meticulously investigated by Dr. Ian Stevenson, founder of the Division of Perceptual Studies in the Department of Psychiatric Medicine at the University of Virginia, combined with past-life memories furnished by regression therapists represent many thousands of instances in which recall of an earlier life is lucid and demonstrably accurate. Most startling are the many incidences of xenoglossy, in which people spontaneously speak in a foreign language not known to them in their present lives.
The best source for survival research is obviously the dead themselves. Since the beginning of recorded history, individuals with developed mediumistic abilities have served as their spokespeople. Experiments with mediums performed under brutally controlled conditions before and during World War II yielded mind-bending results. Today, Gary Schwartz is successfully continuing that work at the University of Arizona.
As author Dianne Arcangel tells us, surveys estimate that up to 72% of today’s American population has had spontaneous encounters, primarily with deceased relatives. More testimony is collected daily from people who have no previous inclination toward the mystical. Nor are they misfits or dreamers, or prone to hallucinating. Instead they are people who effectively and responsibly operate in the “real world.” Spontaneous encounters are neither expected nor longed for. Nor do they bear the characteristics associated with hallucinations or wish-fulfillment fantasies. What happens during an encounter often takes a person by surprise. And in many cases, the living were not even aware that the appearing deceased had passed. Because of these encounters, lives have been saved, crimes forestalled, lost objects found and futures foretold.
All in all, there is an enormous body of evidence for survival after death. You can read about the problems and possibilities of scientific proof in this website by clicking here on: “Can Science Prove Life After Death?”
If you have already had communication or any other experience with the departed not mediated by a professional, I want to hear about it. I look forward to reading your stories or comments and answering any questions you might have.