I found this amazing poem by Jalal al Din Muhammad Rumi (1207-1273 from Persia) which describes his thoughts on life after death and it is truly inspiring:
I died as a mineral and I became a plant,
I died as a plant and rose to animal,
I died as animal and I was man.
Why should I fear?
When was I less for dying?
Yet, once more, I shall die as man
to soar with the angels blest.
But even from angelhood I must pass on: all except God doth perish.
When I have sacrificed my angel soul, I shall become what no mind e’er conceived.
Oh, let me not exist,
for non-existence proclaims in organ tones,
To Him We Shall Return
Both my grandmothers have been diagnosed with cancer in the last few months and while they are both doing fine and will likely live for quite some time yet; I have been thinking more and more about what happens after we die. There are so many questions and as many answers. I have come to the conclusion that I don’t believe that we will be divided into “good” people and “bad” people, and go to to heaven or hell and that’s it. I also don’t believe in purgatory, although I kind of like the idea that really bad people have to suffer and pay a price for what they did. But, as satisfying as that sounds, there are so many instances in the Bible where God clearly says that he is all-forgiving and all-loving that I just can’t picture him doing that. But what does happen, when we die? I think, the likeliest thing is that our bodies and all material that makes us is returned into the cycle of matter (we are just stardust after all) and that everything spiritual that makes us (i.e. our souls) will go to what we call heaven, which is outside of our material experience. I don’t think we can fathom what that is going to be like and here is the thing that is probably going to make lots of you shake your heads: I don’t think we’ll come back. I do not believe that at the end of time Jesus is going to come back from the dead and everyone righteous will get back their bodies and live in peace ever after. First of all, it sounds terribly boring to live in peace ever after, much like the Stepford wives and secondly, what would be the point? I think the “end of time” for us is when we die, and Jesus comes and takes us to heaven and that is all the resurrection we are going to get. For my part: It’s all I need.