Christians believe that Jesus died and then resurrected his body into another world.
The Tibetan Buddhists and most of the Hindu religions believe that after we die, we continue on in a particular state of consciousness, from which we are reborn on Earth through the act of reincarnation. But they do not believe that the conclusion of life is found in reincarnation - only that life must do this in order to find its way into the higher levels of consciousness.
And, finally, many of the New Age communities of the present era believe that we are all about to pass through ascension - again, into a New World.
What is the meaning and purpose behind this way of thinking? Is it real? Or do we just die, never to be seen again?
Reincarnation, Resurrection, Ascension
Let's first define the three terms we use to refer to the possibilities that we believe can occur in leaving the physical plane.
Reincarnation takes place when a person dies who is not prepared to pass permanently into the higher realms. In this case, the Soul, after spending a certain period of time in a ''world'' that has been created just for this purpose (I believe it is located in the 4th dimension), comes back to Earth and is reborn as a human baby. This begins the life cycle all over again, where the Soul has another opportunity to acquire the wisdom it needs before it can continue into the higher levels of consciousness. This cyclic process continues through many lifetimes until the Soul learns how to transcend into the higher worlds. At that point, reincarnation becomes like a toy to a child: It is forgotten and replaced with either resurrection or ascension.
Resurrection begins when a Soul has reached a certain level of awareness of the Reality, but has not fully become aware of what the ancients called the Mer-Ka-Ba and modern groups refer to as the human Light Body. In this mode, when someone dies, he or she knows enough to reconstruct the body, continue into the higher worlds, and reach immortality. But it is accomplished from a view of Reality that does not fully perceive the full nature of the Light Body.
Ascension is achieved when a Soul has mastered the human Light Body, or Mer-Ka-Ba, while still alive in a human body. This feat usually takes many hundreds if not thousands of lifetimes to master. Once it is fully understood and lived, Souls leaving this world go directly into the higher worlds, without dying in the normal manner. When the time is right, they simply disappear, body and all, seemingly ''into thin air'' - and reappear in the higher worlds. They don't reconstruct their bodies; they take them physically with them.
From this way of perceiving, it is necessary to have a body in the next world, for the adult human form in this world becomes a ''baby'' in the next. This is why it is so important to have the body with us. Consider Egyptian practices and those of Christianity, for example. Notice that they both focus on keeping the body.
We Exist to Explore All Possibilities
Is one path more important than another. Does it matter which way we die?
My teachers say that ultimately it does not matter at all. Why? Isn't it a higher conscious path to use ascension, rather than simply to die? Their answer would be this:
God gave life the mandate to try all possibilities in creation. This is obvious when anyone with an open mind looks into Nature.
Crystals, which are still changing, try every way to arrange the atoms into every possible atomic matrix to manifest all the possibilities of crystals. Diatomaceous Earth, one of the oldest life forms here, can be seen in every geometric pattern imaginable. Carbon life forms are constantly changing into new forms, trying all possibilities. Even viruses, which are purely geometric in their basic form, are constantly changing to try all possibilities.
And so, seen from this perspective, life in dying and moving into the higher worlds tries all the possible ways. Perhaps one way takes more knowledge and wisdom. But in satisfying the prime directive, all ways are the same.
Further, most of us believe in free will. And free will means that all options must be available. It means that we can choose either the good or evil paths - and if both these polarities did not exist, free will could not exist.
Can it ever be proved for certain that there are other worlds beyond this visible universe, and that ''Spirit's Greatest Adventure'' does not end with the death of the physical body? Are there really other dimensions? Are there parallel worlds? Is there a hidden side to life that we can't see from here?
Are we immortal?
In love and service,