Death is yet another one of those words, like reincarnation and meditation, that has so many different meanings to so many different people that it almost takes on a life of its own. Ironic, isn’t it that the word “death” has a life of its own.
For something that is a complete illusion, death has become so ingrained in our psyche that it not only supports a $20 billion a year funeral industry, it has become a nearly complete obsession with some people. Or more correctly, the fear of death has become an obsession. We even have given death a form, though not a face, in the personage of the Grim Reaper. A guy in a black hoodie carrying an old-school farm implement. Really? That’s what we are supposed to be terrified by? Surely, someone could come up with a better embodiment of death.
As I said, the real obsession is not with death itself, it’s with the fear of death. Not knowing when or how it will happen, or if it will be painful, and most especially, insecurity about not knowing what, if anything, happens to the essence of you, your soul, after you “die” is what people are afraid of. Would it help you to know that you plan your death at the same time you’re planning your life so that it can help you achieve your learning goals? Probably not. I believe the biggest fear surrounding death is, without question, what happens after the fact. Owing to the influence and teachings of our old friend, organized religion, people are unsure. Because organized religion has always held that they, and only they, know the secrets that unlock the doors to heaven and hell, and only by believing certain church dogma, and performing certain required acts, usually involving the transfer of money from you to the church, could they allow you to access heaven. Hell, conversely, has pretty loose admissions standards. Basically anything that falls outside the requirements outlined by the various religions to get you into heaven can get you a one-way ticket to that place. Then purgatory and limbo and any number of other fantasies come into play. It’s exhausting just trying to keep track of it all.
The problem is, our feelings about death are so complex and come from concepts that extend so far back into the “mists of time”, as they say, that we have difficulty sorting out what to believe. Just like the ancient Romans, whose culture still pervades our own to this day, we simply have too many things available to believe. The Romans took pieces of religion from all the peoples that they conquered and fused them into their own existing dogma. They eventually had so much religion that they ended up with no religion, just a hodgepodge of differing beliefs. We all know in the early years of Christianity, the Romans had some problems with it. One of the big reasons they couldn’t trust Christianity was because it was new to them. They believed that unless a religion had some age to it, it must be only a superstition, and as such, Christianity was not deserving of respect. They also had issues with Judaism because of the one god thing, but the reason they destroyed the main Jewish Temple in Jerusalem was not because they had anything against the Jewish religion, it was because the Jews were in a near constant state of rebellion against the Empire. The fact that the Temple was full of gold and jewels also helped in making the decision, of course.
The point is, our beliefs about death and the afterlife are so old, and so wrapped up in the myths and stories the Romans borrowed from any number of different cultures that were conquered to create the Empire, that we have trouble getting to the kernel of what is perceived on earth as the truth that is at the center of it all. It also doesn’t help that that kernel is an illusion, because death, as defined by organized religion and modern society doesn’t exist. The purpose of this book is to help you sort out your own beliefs about death by providing perhaps a new perspective with information I and others have received form the other side.
A Matter of Death and Life deals with a subject that touches all of us: the illusion of death—what really happens to us when our physical bodies cease to function and, more importantly, how we plan all our lives to make the most of our brief time on Earth.
About the Author
D. L. Kline is a Pennsylvania-based author who lived a fairly ordinary life until an unexpected psychic awakening at the age of 60. Now he is writing a series of books about his spiritual journey to help others find their own paths.