Wednesday, 26 October 2016

The Living Dead

We have seen that how the concept of death is only a concept, an illusion. Somehow death refuses to die. We will venture into some controversial cases of death-like experiences and un-dead people. I don't intend to settle the case of death and close the file. I'll just throw opinions, as these experiences are of others, not my own and are mostly subjective.

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Aka Astral Projections are characterized by experiences that do not involve a physical body and are realistic. So a person experiencing stuff while fully knowing that his body is comfortably asleep in a bed, assumes that his existence or his consciousness and personality is not totally dependent on the body. By extrapolation, he assumes that he will continue after the body is destroyed just as he can continue while projecting. So we have two assumptions here.

In reality, the body and the brain of a person who is projecting are still alive and fully functional. So this experiment doesn’t really provide any evidence of continuity beyond body. However it injects sufficient doubt in the mind of a person holding a belief that he is merely a body. So I recommend practicing projecting if you are afflicted with such a belief. But do not expect a convincing proof of life after death. Some people do claim to get a decent proof out of such practices, but the proof must come from your own experience, not of someone else's. We are in subjective realms. Death is a subjective experience.

OOBEs do provide a proof of immense powers of the Mind and that our abilities to experience are not limited to sensory data and physical world alone.


Near death experiences involve experiences that occur when the body or the brain almost breaks down. These are fascinating and are more reliable accounts compared to OOBEs as the patient while having an NDE is often under full observation of skilled medical practitioners. There is a record of happenings and data, so these become of scientific value. The belief here is that the consciousness and personality continues after death. Death being defined as flatlining of brain.

The assumption here is that cessation of brain activity means death. This is the usual medical criteria used to declare someone as dead. So using this definition, the patient does survive a death. However, using the more natural and everyday definition of death being a total destruction of the body, we see that its only a word game, not a fact. The revived patient still comes back in the same body, same brain and has same personality and consciousness. What we prove here is that the subjective components survive a brief glitch in the body and the brain. Since the body and the brain are almost intact after revival, its just like a turning off an on of the life. It is not an evidence of life after death because the body and the brain are still intact there.

Anyhow, the most wonderful aspect of an NDE is not the experience itself, but the fact that we do not need even a working brain to experience something. NDE is a special case of ESP or OOBE where the brain flatlines. So the patient reporting the events and conversation of the people in the room, while remaining in a brain dead state can be taken as an evidence of ESP.

One would expect that it is a great personal proof for the person who experiences the NDE and his life, beliefs and actions would change dramatically after such an extraordinary experience. It does happen for a few and they turn into seekers, with a much better and meaningful “afterlife”. However my own personal interactions with such people reveal a bitter truth, most continue to live an Egoic life, as if nothing happened. Some become religious as a result and close down their minds even more. This immediately throws light on why sages disregard extraordinary experiences or miracles and advise us to disregard them too. An extraordinary “out-there” kind of experience may not necessarily help you to progress magically.


We do have cases where the brain and body are completely destroyed but the person manages to come back in another brand new body, or at least the claim is such. The real claim is that he somehow has access to the memories of someone else. The memories can be vivid, especially about the circumstances of the previous death. But logically such recall of memories of someone else does not imply the rebirth of the person originally holding the memories. The same effect can be achieved via injecting artificial memories into the mind of a person, e.g. under substances or hypnosis. One can inject detail descriptions of another person with pictures and videos of him. One can argue that it should be possible to access the memories and experiences of a living person too. Although I did not encounter any such stories so far, but that is a possibility, given the possibility of recall of memories of a dead person.  It would make the distinction between living and dead more blurry.

So if one wants to believe in the stories of reincarnation one can conclude that the Mind has this extraordinary ability to recall not only one’s own memories but also of someone else's, even if the other person is long dead. This would be a proof of universality of the Mind, not of continuity of the person. This shows that there can be a possibility of cross connections in this universal Mind.

Anyhow, a personality is nothing but memories, so gaining access to subjective memories of other person would technically mean a reappearance of the original owner of those memories, albeit in a new body. So I guess we have an interesting possibility here. The claims of rebirth make death even more nebulous.


Extra sensory perception is the ability to perceive without using the usual senses of the body. This hints at the non-local and universal nature of the Mind. But it still does not conclusively say anything about its existence after destruction of the body.

Obviously, ESP has nothing to do with death, but I’m including it just because many of the so called evidences of afterlife can be reduced to “mere” ESP. For example a mediumistic communication can be simply a case of telepathy (an ESP), effectively a reading of the mind of the client in order to find some information about his dead relative. Similarly a spirit can be reduced to a remote vision of astral world. The words such as "reduce", "mere" or "simply" do not mean that the ESP is an ordinary phenomena or an everyday occurrence for us all. ESP in itself is as mysterious and uncertain as any other paranormal phenomena.


After death communications are somewhat controversial and scary communications where the dead person tries to send messages to the living. It can be signs, synchronicities, voices, apparitions or writing. It can also be a simple thought which has a distinct sense of not being one’s own. Such communications if substantiated can become a definite proof of life beyond death. Not only that, it can prove that the dead or non-physical entities can influence physical matter or living people.

However, such cases are very rare and are shrouded in ambiguity. The Mind is very powerful and picks up patterns where there are none. Most of ADC seems to be just an illusion, hallucination, or random coincidences. For the Mind, its a piece of cake to arrange something like a symbol on your bathroom mirror, or a voice from the blue. Anyhow, if you have a direct and unambiguous experience of ADC, which was substantiated, then the case is settled for you. The rest of the world still has only two choices - either to believe your story or to disbelieve it.


These are the people who have an extraordinary ability to mediate ADCs. This is the claim and is a subject of much controversy, probably because of involvement of charlatans. If proven genuine then these people can be of a great help in settling the question of death for once and for all. Strangely, mother nature dislikes certainty in such matters. I never had any encounter with a medium and never got any chance to experiment with them, but I find that the stories of mediumship encourage blind beliefs of all kinds. It all creates more confusion rather than clarity. Interested readers will find a lot of books and even scientific exploration on this matter.

The first question ADCs raise is, how's that the dead person able to communicate if he is already reborn somewhere long ago. This contradicts the belief of reincarnation directly. Only one of them can be true. Well, one can say that the communicating person is not yet reborn and is still hanging out there somewhere without the constraint of a body. This raises even more questions like how's that some dead come back immediately and some do not and how's that we never see a medium telling us that the phone is ringing but your grandpa is not home.

One can say that the dead have a choice when to reincarnate. But that raises even more questions. How's that time still works out there or what makes them come back at all. How's that one has a choice regarding time but not regarding place, parents or gender. As many of you may have heard, there are a garden variety of theories that attempt to answer all such questions. I haven't seen even one of them that can satisfy an enquiring mind.

In my opinion, a good and convincing test would be to arrange a communication with a living person. When done under controlled conditions, this will at least clear some doubts about mediumship. If extrasensory communication with a living person can be accomplished, it would raise the chances of same being true for such communication with a dead person. We are assuming that the minds of living and dead are similar, it would be a valid assumption since we are hypothesizing continuation of the mind of a person after death. The advantage with a living person is that we can confirm it unambiguously if the communication indeed took place. I do not know of any such attempts. I guess it can be easily dismissed as telepathy or mind reading, and again will point to the universality or oneness of the Mind. Universality of the Mind does mean that the Mind is not personal, experiences in bodies impress upon it and due to its universal and non-physical nature the experiences, including the experience of a personality remains intact even when the bodies are destroyed.

Anyhow, it will not settle all questions and the can of worms will remain open.


Aka spirits are manifestations of dead people and for some reason we, the living, find them scary. This makes all those horror movie producers employing them en-masse. The sight of a dead person makes our spirit jump out of our skin. It is difficult to find anyone who has not even one ghost story to tell. Spirits seem to be widespread but strangely evade all attempts of establishing their existence with certainty. Once again we see the skilful hands of mother nature wiping out all evidence [1].

I don't really see any reason to be scared of them, as we are all nothing but ghosts, with an important difference - we have a monkey suit on and they are naked. So I guess ghosts need to be scared of us. And I’m sure they are because they flee in an instant. Joking apart, the fear arises out of shock, strangeness and because of the Egoic fear of unknown. A ghost is not a desirable sight for these reasons. What is remarkable about them is that they are supposed to be not here in the physical world, but are seen localized, if you believe some stories. Of course there are all these elaborate theories about subtler bodies and all, but if you are looking for an objective, repeatable and verifiable evidence for such theories, then most probably you will be disappointed. These things lie on the very uncertain border of objective and subjective. The usual physical instruments will fail and the solid theories of physics will crumble away. And I guess you will need your own helpful ghostly volunteer subject to experiment on, which generally adds to the problems, because the dead take no interest in scientific studies for some reason.

Now, its a piece of cake for Mind to make a ghost appear out of nowhere. It can even make your dead relatives appear when you are least expecting them. The people in a dream, or imagination or an OOBE are nothing but ghosts. So they are real in that sense - a creation of the Mind. This also explains the mostly subjective quality of ghostly apparitions. It is very much possible to see a ghost when the mental conditions are just right, but that would be dismissed as a hallucination very easily. The Mind can tune into unexpected sources of perception and can superimpose them on the usual worldly view, even with eyes wide open.

The real question is - do ghosts, whatever they are, prove life after death? Of course a ghost will say yes. But we need much more than a word of mouth, especially when its a dead mouth. But that’s not the real question actually , a better question is - what is real? Its all Mind everywhere. Its all mental anyway. It is wise to disconnect death from all such strange occurrences. Death is just a change, shift from one mental state to an unknown state, which is not any more constrained by a body, and that state is more universal rather than personal.

All these extraordinary experiences, if they are your own experiences, do show that the body is a small aspect of human existence. The person is small too. A person may or may not continue for long, but most probably our earthly lives leave a long lasting impression on the universal structure of the Mind. I personally see all these extraordinary phenomena as just ordinary business of the Mind [2]. It all happens on the screen of the Self, and sometimes unusual stuff happens. The most amusing thing that is happening now is this life - the human experience. It is really extraordinary that there is such a thing as life, so solid and so realistic. It is indeed amazing that there is a Self here, that is experiencing all these minds, personalities, bodies, worlds and what not. The fleeting and flimsy paranormal phenomena are nothing when compared to the miracle of life.

Some people regard extraordinary experiences as a sign of "spiritual" progress. This is just another belief. The spiritual stuff, whatever it is, is about the Self, the essential being of us all, and it is right here and right now. No amount of magical experiences are going to make it any different, or more "evolved". All phenomena, physical or non-physical, are a creation of the Mind, the Experiencing, the "energy of change" which is a part of the Self. This needs to be seen clearly. A seeker will not entangle himself in the web of the hidden, that is only a distraction, just as the obvious is. If one has talents and can leverage the non-physical for progressing on his path, then it is not an issue. The problem is making phenomenal stuff as your end goal and longing for their experience. The occult can be your hobby but it cannot be your path. The path needs to be about the Self, the silent watcher of the hidden.


[1] This is clearly pointed out by Tom Campbell in his theory of everything (MBT), where he calls it psi uncertainty principle. PUP means that the universe always ensures that there will be a large enough uncertainty regarding psi phenomena when these are observed in physical domain. Psi phenomena are any phenomena that are not explained by usual physical laws. They are not normal and should not be there, so they are paranormal. This stuff is mostly studied under the controversial field of parapsychology, which isn't much respected field to say the least.

[2] This reminds me of yet another teaching of Tom Campbell, and I’m very thankful for that. It recommends that we evaluate all experiences based on the criteria of usefulness rather than truth. Take whatever is useful for you and leave the rest, i.e. when you cannot confirm anything about those experiences. What is useful? Obviously, the stuff that pushes you forward on your path. If you do not have a path, then it doesn’t matter anyway.

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