All you need to do is get an infrared camera that detects heat, and even if three sisters are standing in the dark of night on a hill overlooking a valley, that camera can get an image of them, although we won’t see their faces, just their forms, figures in a robes of red light.
You are energy. You are heat.
Obviously, energy cannot be destroyed or created, that is, energy behaves according the law of conservation. Energy is eternal.
You are eternal.
When your body dies, your energy is not destroyed, it is rather transferred from one closed system to another.
According to many mystical beliefs, when you die, you will stay (at least for a time) in the location where your body gave up the spirit.
Where you die, your energy will linger for a while.
If you die in a car on the side of the road, that area for a while will contain your ghost. That’s why it feels creepy to be on a rural highway at night where we know someone died in a car accident, and we create urban legends about them, like a young woman in a prom dress hitchhiking at night.
There are those holy people like Elijah, and there are those who have read the Tibetan Book of the Dead or other texts in the ars moriendi, who know what to expect after death.
Those few may immediately send their energy into the great light, into the ein sof, into the pure energy that runs through the universe. To use the Elijah metaphor, they are immediately brought up to heaven. That vato didn’t even have to die! God just said, “Come on, my son” and called him up to the throne.
But most of us when we die, our energy will convert into the particles that make up the fabric of the time-space wherein we die.
If we die on the floor of a Walmart, our spirit for a time will linger in the aisles. Mine would probably go immediately to the cheap wine section.
My dad would have gone immediately to the hardware section to look at tools.
But here’s the thing:
When we die, we may not know we are dead, and to keep that truth from ourselves, we will project a landscape from our imagination. We will create visual forms that are consistent with our feelings at the moment we died.
If you die with extreme fear, if that’s all you can think about at the moment of your death, fear, fear, fear, then when you die, your fear will use your imagination to create a landscape of fear. You will think you are walking in a dark forest with black spiders crawling on the trunks of tress; or you’ll be walking through urban decay, dark figures in alleys watching you, following you.
Maybe you’ll see yourself trapped in the corner of a dark room with evil IT-like clowns closing in on you.
We witness this tendency of our consciousness to project imagery on the landscape when we are walking at night and we’re nervous and we suddenly see a demon reaching for us. We turn around, but we see it’s just the branch of a tree reaching across the path.
We SAW that demon, but because we are still in our bodies, we come back to “reality” and see it was just a tree.
You don’t have a body after death, so your imagination takes over.
Consciousness is not located anywhere in your physiology, so when your body dies it must detach itself from the corpse and float around for a while.
If you die in extreme peace (which I highly recommend), say your family is surrounding your deathbed, your daughter is playing a beautiful song for you on her violin, and out the window you see a body of water, maybe an ocean with fisherman in boats, or a lake with sail boats, and you know that you are dying and have accepted it, then when you give up the ghost, you will most likely imagine a landscape that is peaceful.
If, however, you die unprepared to die, you may create a visual landscape based on the intense emotion you feel at the time of death. You will believe with all your consciousness that you are really there.
You may not know you’re dead.
So when I die I want to make that landscape beautiful!
I want to create a death landscape that is exactly where I want to be!
I will write my own death.
Perhaps, when Rilke prays that God should grant us our own deaths, he means we should have the image of our death long before we die.
And that image should be peaceful, and if you go into death, you’ll bring the peace and create a benign landscape.
Whatever you want at the end of your narrative, imagine it down to the detail.
That image should point to how you value life or what life means to you. If you love Jesus, picture Jesus holding your hand and leading you into the light.
Of course, even if you were to imagine the ideal death, say you’re 120 years old, and you die in your sleep touched by the hands of the people that love you, you may not die that way.
You might WANT to die that way, but you may in fact (God forbid) die in a traffic accident, or somebody could murder you.
Sorry to bring this up, but time and chance happeneth to us all.
If you die under these circumstances, no matter how much you pictured a good death, you may feel fear, anger, intense negative emotion.
However, if you know that your consciousness will create a landscape at death, even should you die at a moment of fear and your fear projects a horrible place, because of your preparedness, you will very soon see through the façade of that reality. You will know you are dead.
Walls will begin to dissolve, forms will lose their shape.
and when all appearances are gone, your understanding may kick in. You will see that you have no matter.
You are ready to join an energy much larger than you.
All religions are metaphorical systems that help us connect to the ultimate source of creation, whatever we picture that deity to be, an old man with a beard on a throne, a great light so intense we dissolve within it. Whatever.
When I die, I want to become one with God.
Here’s a writing prompt:
Write the very last image of your death, down to the minute detail.
Put it in the reply section.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DIE*
I mean, I don’t really know what happens when you die and if you can make it beautiful.
Maybe death just sucks. Maybe waiting for us all after death is a red devil with horns and a pitchfork.
I don’t know if you can really choose your own death.
But to quote one of the already dead, Isn’t it pretty to think so?