Monday, July 28, 2014

"The Path: Afterlife", sold by the Monroe Institute in Virginia, gives a comprehensive overview of the afterlife through interviews

The Path: Afterlife”  (71 minutes, directed by Michael Habernig, 2009), presents a series of twelve experts (each speaking several times) in the area of the afterlife, insofar as physics and spiritual practice, outside of established religion, views is.  The film is offered by the Monroe Institute. 
The film starts with F. Holmes “Skip” Atwater and physicist Tom Campbell, posing the question, of whether it’s “light’s out” at end of life, or whether “the thing that I knew is me” continues.  There is a metaphor that we’re on a train for a median 75 years together, learning to become one (like in the movie “Snowpiercer”, June 30). 
Most of the interviews appear to have been done on the campus of Monroe Institute, on Roberts Mountain, on the slope of the Blue Ridge, 20 miles SW of Charlottesville, VA.  Many of them are taken in winter.  Despite its southerly location, the institute is inland and high, so heavy snow is common and looks quite beautiful in the film.
One nurse reports tending to a music composer as he passed away, and hearing his music telepathically.
The wife or caregiver of a man dying of Alzheimer’s (diagnosed seven years before) notes that he nodded as he sensed the afterworld, and that life experiences came back.  He got a reprieve before he finally passed away.  (I had reviewed a film on music therapy for dementia patients, “Alive Inside”, here on July 26.) 
A woman talked about transferring “reiki”, or universal life energy, to someone nearing end of life. 

One woman reports the near death experience after a lightning strike. I think ti was this person who also reported seeing hundreds of winged angels.  I personally think there is no reason an angel needs to show lift or go airborne.  

The general consensus was that in the “afterlife” the soul remembers the high or important points of the life just lived, but gradually forgets more details as it moves on.  This was compared to the idea of waking up remembering a dream in detail but gradually forgetting it as “real life” takes over.  (There are a few dreams, including some that are intimate, where I still remember the details and “what it was like”.) 

There was also talk of the idea of the “soul family” where when a soul is reincarnated, it volunteers for a certain kind of life in order to learn a needed lesson.  A soul will volunteer to be born to a certain mother and then develop cancer, or live in abject poverty, so that it learns compassion.  Of course, most people are born into poverty. There were startling assertions here about souls volunteering to experience negative things for the common good.  You could agree to be murdered, or to be a murderer (the latter makes no sense to me morally).  You could agree to be betrayed or to betray (sort of a backdoor theme of the indie gay film "Judas Kiss"). It isn't essential that every "individual soul" learn every "lesson", but among all the members of a "soul family" all the lessons must be experienced, hence the astral "volunteering"..  Inequality is understood as unavoidable, but something remedied with love and connectedness, not just with legalism.  Of course, agreeing to any negative experience in advance seems to negate the idea of free will (which means unpredictability), a necessary part of countering entropy/
A few of the speakers described something like “The Core” in Eben Alexander’s book.  One describes it as like an endless spiral staircase (like in “Vertigo”).  Perhaps it could be like a subway tunnel.

The film takes a very strong position against suicide, and says that 15% of the adult population sometimes has suicidal thoughts.  Willingness to deal with personal adversity and accept interdependence with others is seen as essential to "civilizing" the universe; random adversity is unavoidable. .
The film distinguishes between “belief” (especially as understood in Christianity and other faiths) and "knowledge", which comes only from living through an experience.  Belief is presented as a trap. Is faith a matter of belief or knowledge?  
The official site is here,  from the “Path Series” from Path 11.

 I would expect to have certain karma problems in the afterlife.  I feel repelled by the idea of intimacy with people who are too much less than "perfect".  My own having what is arguably a slight physical "disability" (and indeed ambiguous in my case) did not make me more "compassionate"; it made me more attached to personal meritocracy.   Life is not a miracle when it engages my "emotional body" (a term in the film).   Intellectually, I think that life, culminating in free will, is nature's way of managing entropy.  Living things age because of entropy, so they must reproduce.  The idea of a cycle of physical life and then spiritual life for any agent of Will would seem to sustain the Universe, from the viewpoint of cosmology.   

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