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Australian man is taken on guided journey of the universe

The Impossible Dream: An Extraordinary Brush with Death by Malcolm Miller

Introduction

What happens at the point of death and thereafter?

For centuries, a great many humans have turned to religion to seek the answer to this pivotal question. However, since about 1970, great advancements in the various faculties of medicine have paved the way for thousands of people to stretch the boundaries between life and death. All sorts of people from all parts of the earth, including myself, have had a taste of death, essentially due to the emergence of intensive care medicine and high-tech cardiopulmonary resuscitation techniques. Today, there are thousands of back from the dead stories out there. However, this book is more than just another wishy-washy near-death-experience (NDE) report. Of course, I have described the details of my NDE, to the best of my understanding, but my larger purpose is to add my two cents worth to the growing body of information available on this fascinating topic.

This is not just another book about life after death that leaves you none the wiser. It is an informative and comforting guide to dying, which is long overdue in our spiritual culture. It tells you how to use your present life to pass into your next. What happens when we die is life’s biggest question. Everybody dies one day, so nobody can claim to be just a distant observer. Wrapped into the mystery are enormous implications for every human being. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to experience nothing but peace and joyful anticipation at your death? Isn’t that what you wish to ultimately achieve for yourself? Death is not an ending, but the beginning of an ecstatic and glorious interlude in a subtle world that's invisible to the physical senses.

Most importantly, I have written with love and compassion for all human beings, regardless of race, religion, social status, sexual preference or political persuasion. In view of that, despite the fact I am no writer and claim no talent or experience in that direction, I offer this book to the world without apology. Hopefully you'll stay around for a few pages, if only to see just how deranged the current worldview of death really is. So let’s move on. There’s much to cover.

Chapter 1: Am I Dreaming or Am I Dead?

Before I even begin describing my personal NDE, let me just say that many of my statements may seem preposterous, even impossible to take seriously. Simply too strange to warrant consideration. However, I have decided to stick to the facts, no matter how strange those facts may seem, and have left the trimmings alone. Stating a fact is one thing, but the interpretation of that fact is another thing altogether. Nonetheless, I'll get straight to the point and allow your imagination to do the rest.

For the most part of 2006, an acute stomach ulcer with morbid intentions was trying its best to kill me. On the 26th October 2006, it very nearly succeeded in achieving its fatal objective. There I was at home alone on a cold and rainy Sunday afternoon, next to the heater, stretched out on the couch with a beer in hand while watching TV, as one does when there is not much else to do. Suddenly, and with no warning at all, the ulcer perforated, creating a hole in the lining of my stomach. The onset of pain was immediate and intense, in a different league to any pain that I had ever experienced before. It was obvious to me that I was in serious trouble and had to act fast. Thankfully, I lived on a street through which a steady stream of taxis constantly passed. I managed to hail a passing taxi straight away, and arrived at the emergency ward of Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney within a few minutes, certainly faster than if I had called an ambulance.

Emergency surgery prevented the ulcer from achieving its fatal objective, but post-operation the doctors could not wake me up from general anesthesia and had little choice but to intubate me. There I lay motionless, my eyes were firmly shut and a machine was breathing for me. As far as the doctors were concerned, critically ill patient Malcolm Miller was unconscious and oblivious to his surroundings, while life supporting machines were keeping his body alive. The doctors were very wrong. Little did they know that I had moved out of my body into another dimension of life and felt very much alive. In fact, I felt more vibrant and wholesome than I'd ever felt before; a seriously good feeling from which I never wanted to escape!

On a daily basis for eight days, the doctors tried to wake me up without a hint of success. Eventually, on the ninth day they finally succeeded. Instead of continuing into the afterlife, my consciousness moved into reverse. As I woke up in intensive care, the physical world gradually began materializing through my fluttering eyelids, and since that fateful day, vivid remembrances of my time spent out of my body have remained with me, recollections that have slowly manifested as biological brain intelligence.

There is nothing special about me whatsoever. I have never been a religious man in any way. Subscribing to religious myths has never been my cup of tea. Just believe me when I say I am no saint! Indeed, I am just an ordinary open-minded person of average intelligence, who happened to be at the right place at the right time. Had I been living in a rural area, far away from a major hospital, I would definitely not be here today. Had this occurred fifty years ago, there is every chance I would not have made it back to earth to tell my story.

My extraordinary brush with death occurred when I was 44 years of age. It was other-dimensional, and when a person who has spent 44 years in one dimension of life is suddenly thrown into another, they are bound to experience a degree of confusion. I have tried my best to describe what I saw, but earthly words cannot truly describe it. Therefore, my description must fall short of the mark. I can only convey my experience approximately, for accurately describing the conditions in the spirit world using words alone, is literally impossible. To provide a comprehensive account of everything that I saw would be way beyond my capabilities. Of course, just like everybody else who has ever had an NDE, I do not understand everything that I saw.

And so, I have selected the parts that I understand, or at least the parts that I understand better than others, and left out what I clearly don't understand. From what I do understand, I have selected what I feel will be both interesting and beneficial to most people. Wherever possible, I have chosen to stick to the facts of the matter, while leaving my personal viewpoints alone.

Of course, I hope that I capture your interest, or at least take you momentarily away from the stress of earthly life, and give you a glimpse of a subtle world that lies beyond the one in which you are now living. At the very least, I sincerely wish that I bring a glimmer of comfort and hope to you.

While I’ve only experienced a somewhat diluted taste of what it is like to die, I can confidently say the experience was incredible; unquestionably more unusual and intriguing than anything I’ve ever experienced before. But before I describe the events that actually took place, let me take you a back a couple of steps to my last recollection of being “alive” as the paramedics frantically wheeled me away from the emergency ward to the operating theaters.

As we approached the elevators, I strongly suspected that this would be the last admission I would ever make. It was my third admission to hospital in six months for treatment of chronic stomach ulceration. Throughout my adult life, my weight had fluctuated around 85 kg, but by this advanced stage of my illness, it had plunged to 57 kilograms; mostly skin and bone considering I am a six-foot tall male of medium build. I hadn’t eaten a proper meal in months; naturally I was severely undernourished and felt weaker than ever. Never before had I felt such an abject feeling of despair.

Clearly, I could tell that I was in the process of dying, and boy did I know it! It was patently obvious to me that I was on my way out of this world. I felt the life being sucked out of me. Blind Freddy wouldn't have missed it. The last thing that I can remember before losing consciousness in the elevator was whispering to myself "OH MY GOD, THIS IS IT! NICE KNOWING YOU, WORLD....." and then I passed out.

The doctor’s diagnosis pointed to a deadly serious dual pathology. Not only had an acute stomach ulcer perforated, creating a hole in the lining of my stomach in the process, but there were definite signs of kidney failure as my blood gas count was so out of whack, it belied the fact I was still alive. Nobody has ever called me a hypochondriac, but to say that things were touch and go would be understating the gravity of the situation somewhat. Gastric acid was leaking into my lungs and the oxygen in my blood was dropping fast. Immediate emergency surgery to close the hole in the lining of my stomach was essentially the only option available to the doctors, but they had to first stabilize my body for a time before considering the possibility of surgery. Had I been the anesthetist, no amount of money in the world would have persuaded me to do the job, considering the risks that general anesthetic posed on my weak and lifeless body. Anyhow, the doctors and nurses, bless their wonderful souls, did a great job and somehow patched me up just in the nick of time. However, post operation I showed no sign of regaining consciousness. The doctors couldn't wake me up from general anesthesia and had no choice but to intubate me; they connected me to a ventilator and placed me in a coma.

Exactly when I moved out of my body, I cannot say. It may have happened immediately after they intubated me. Perhaps it occurred a day after that, or even a day or two before I woke up. I will never know the exact point in time that I left my body, but I certainly did at some point in time while I was in a coma in 2006.

One might assume that people immediately know they are in the process of dying when they suddenly find themselves consciously functioning outside their unconscious physical bodies. Of course, I can only speak for myself, but in my particular set of circumstances, this was not the case. The realization that functioning outside my body had anything to do with dying, dawned upon me gradually.

This was not the first time that I had left my body. Far from it! Since childhood, on numerous occasions throughout my life, on average I'd estimate 2-3 times per year, I have witnessed my sleeping body from the ceiling of my bedroom. When this phenomenon first occurred, one night when I was just a young boy around the age of 5 or 6, it terrified the living daylights out of me. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't wake up from the nightmare. I tried shouting out to my mother in the room next door repeatedly, but the words just wouldn't come out my mouth.  Eventually, after what seemed like an eternity of panic and fear, instant relief was provided the moment I woke up in the morning at the usual time.

As is the case with most things in life, the first time it occurred was the hardest to handle, but the more times it happened to me, the less fearful I became of it. Over the years, I questioned all my friends and family to see if they had ever experienced the same thing, and to my pleasant surprise, I soon discovered that the phenomenon of witnessing one's sleeping body from the ceiling above was not as odd as I had thought. Slowly but surely, I became accustomed to it, and since my teenage years, the experience of witnessing my sleeping body from the ceiling a couple of times per year has seemed like par for the course.

Once I became accustomed to it, I have always felt helpless but never fearful. Helpless because I have never been able to work out how to return to my sleeping body no matter how hard I have tried, but fearless because I knew that I would eventually wake up and everything would be okay. The usual routine had always been to patiently hover near the ceiling of my bedroom, waiting to regain consciousness. That's all there ever was to it.

However, not this time! Not by any stretch of the imagination! On this particular occasion, the circumstances facing me were very different from simply witnessing my body on my bed from the ceiling, while asleep in the comfort and security of my bedroom at home, to which I had naturally become very accustomed.

Firstly, I was in a coma in an intensive care ward hooked up to a ventilator, together with various  other machines, drips and tubes. Secondly, I actually experienced the sensation of floating out of my body, as if I was evaporating from it, which had never happened to me before. Thirdly, for the first time in my life, I did not find myself hovering near the ceiling, but instead found myself standing in an upright position on the ground next to my body on the bed. Indeed, this time I was faced with a very different proposition than the usual run-of-the-mill out-of-body experience, to which I had become accustomed during my sleep life at home.

So there I was, standing in an upright position, next to my sleeping body in an ICU. I could clearly see my sick physical body stretched out on the bed, but I was also standing next to it, alive and well. And I could see everything in the room around me, clearly defined, although there was a certain mistiness throughout the ICU. The nurse attending to my body did not seem to notice me at all. She made no effort to talk to me or help me in any way, nor did she try to usher me to lie back down on the bed. As I stood next to my body, gazing down upon it, I shouted out plenty of expletives, loudly and repeatedly, make no bones about it! But this is a family book. Let's just say it felt mandatory to ask myself the ultimate question. Am I Dreaming or am I Dead?

Fortunately, I worked out the answer straight away when it dawned upon me that my body was hooked up to a ventilator, along with a complicated network of machines, drips and tubes. Naturally, I concluded, I couldn't be dead. If I was dead, I reasoned with myself, surely the doctors would have disconnected the machines and placed a sheet over my lifeless body. The realization that a machine was breathing for me alarmed me somewhat but it also provided a sense of relief. There seemed nothing unnatural or unusual about witnessing my body lying on the bed. If anything, I felt a curious sense of sympathy towards it, as if I was looking down upon a completely different person.

The thought of what to do next entered my head, but help was close at hand. As I pondered over the strange set of circumstances in which I had inadvertently found myself, a casually dressed doctor with a stethoscope draped around his neck approached a computer monitor next to the bed. He sat down, examined the screen closely and wrote a few notes on my patient file located near the foot of the bed. Then he calmly turned towards me, looked me squarely in the eyes and spoke to me! I’ll never forget that defining moment for the term of my natural life, and then some more.

Tell you! That was the part of the whole experience that felt more unreal than anything else. As he introduced himself, I tried my best to remain as calm as possible, but beneath the surface I was trembling like a leaf. I tried to get a grip on my thoughts with an internal command. “Discipline Malcolm, you’ve always wanted to be in a situation like this and now you’re actually in it. Don't stuff it up. Don’t fall to pieces and waste the opportunity of a lifetime!.” Keeping my cool under such unusual circumstances was not an easy thing to achieve. Somehow, in a roundabout way, I managed to pull myself together and spoke back to him, just as I had always done, by simply using my vocal cords.

He introduced himself as Thomas but told me to call him Tom for short. He spoke with such a calm sense of authority; I never felt the need to doubt him for a minute. Nothing in his tone or attitude struck me as being even mildly out of place. Every word he said was delivered without any hesitation whatsoever, like a mathematician who really knew his stuff.

After introducing himself, he told me to place myself entirely in his hands because that, he insisted, was precisely what he was there for. He asked me to hold his hand firmly and just leave the rest to him. He warned me that we would move through a dark space in order to get to our destination and not to be afraid in the slightest. Although it has taken some time in the telling, so that I can provide you with as much information as possible, the entire process of leaving my body behind in the ICU seemed to have taken just a few minutes.

As we departed the ward, the mist in the room thickened and the ICU faded from my vision. In a matter of seconds we were moving through an infinite dark space of sorts, but I trusted Tom was in complete control of the situation, so I never doubted all was well. I felt the sensation of floating, such as I had experienced many times in my dreams, but this felt a lot more real than during my sleep life at home. Due to the darkness, and also due to the absence of gravity, it was impossible for me to tell where I was in relation to my body in the hospital, nor could I tell if I was moving in an upright or a reclined position.

I had never experienced moving through a giant dark space before and naturally felt disoriented at first, but it wasn’t long before I felt secure, comfortable and content; a feeling of peace and equanimity. Instinctively, as I moved through the darkness, the reality of death crossed my mind. I questioned the validity of my life on earth. Do I only get one shot at life? Does my life have a purpose? What have I done with my life? Have I been a good person? Have I been selfish? Have I hurt others?

Instantly, I received the answers to all of my questions. All of a sudden, my entire life flashed before my eyes, complete in every detail. Every event and scenario that had occurred during my life was there for me to examine, and I had the opportunity to scrutinize all or any part of it. It is impossible for me to say how long the life review actually lasted. The entire review appeared to last for only a split-second, because all the events of my entire life were shown to me simultaneously. Yet I was free to examine each and every part of my life, piece by piece, to the finest detail. Time was subjective and distance was non-existent, because I was in every place at the same time. When my attention was drawn to a particular situation or set of circumstances, there I was already experiencing the moment. In other words, I literally saw every last detail of my entire life, compressed into a split second.

An entire lifetime compressed into a split second? At first, the whole idea might seem preposterous, even impossible. To use an earthly analogy to help you understand, imagine you are driving along a long and windy road. At each bend in the road lies a hill, preventing you from seeing what is around the corner, until you actually round the bend. Now imagine that each hill represents a night's sleep, and that each time you arrive around that hill represents you waking up the following morning. You can only see what exists in front of you. You cannot see what is around the next bend in the road. You can remember what was behind the hill that you have just rounded, but you cannot see any of it. You can also remember much of what happened behind the previous hills, but each time you round a new bend, the memories of your past slowly fade away.

Now imagine that you are lifted high into the sky by a helicopter. Suddenly, you can see everything that you had left behind you. Your memories of the past can all be recalled, simultaneously. Now you can clearly see your past. Everything makes a lot more sense to you, because you can see so much more. And you can see into the future, not with a great degree of accuracy because the future is still not clear, but certainly clearer than if you were standing on the ground.

Not only did I review my life from my own personal viewpoint, but also from the perspective of others with whom I had connected at various times and places. Now I knew precisely what people were thinking and feeling about me. Every time I hurt someone’s feelings, I felt their pain. Now I felt the results of all my hurtful words and deeds; I could literally sense their every thought and feeling in response to me, which felt downright awful. On the other side of the fence, every time I was kind, or whenever I had helped people or brought them happiness, I felt their joy and appreciation.

For the first time, I truly understood how I had affected others and also how they had affected me. What an eye-opener that was! Not everything on earth was as it had appeared to be, that's for sure! And many things that I thought were true, were not so true after all. But there was no injustice whatsoever in my life review, for I could see that I was the architect of all my actions and the master of all my virtues and vices, as we all are.

Observing myself and everyone around me from the perspective of a third person was something like watching a video of a family vacation. However, the review of my life was no fun filled holiday, by any stretch of the imagination! The power of creation, or God if you prefer, showed me not only what I had done with my life, but also what I had failed to achieve.

Each significant moment from my life was highlighted, accompanied by an insight into the universal law of cause and effect. The law of cause and effect is an unbreakable, immutable natural law, under which we are all born and remain forever under its jurisdiction. At one level or another, I could see how all my experiences had been created by the effects of my preceding causes. And I could see how each cause was linked to a future effect. In other words, I understood that the whole idea of karma was essentially an idea of action, encompassing all the linked series of causes and effects that make up human activity. The law of cause and effect, or karma as it is widely known, plays a vital role in the shaping of all our destinies, not only in the physical world, but in the afterlife as well. Throughout the life review, the value and importance of LOVE was clearly highlighted to me, over and over and over again.

The life review was not a reflection of my conscience, nor a projection of my ego. It certainly was not a figment of my imagination. The review of my life was essentially an opportunity to learn more about myself. It provided me with a burst of clearer consciousness, leaving me with the definite impression of what I needed to do in future to grow into a more complete human being. My loving side was there for me to examine, but so was my selfish side. And that wasn't easy with which to cope. It felt awful as I watched myself saying and doing hurtful things to others. I actually felt the pain and anguish that I had inflicted upon them. Some of the things that I'd said and done, which had hurt people’s feelings, really surprised me. And certain indiscretions that I expected to be highlighted for sure, like blowing up my neighbour's letterbox with firecrackers, writing a fake sick note from my parents, shoplifting comics from the local newsagent and so on, all committed in my rebellious youth, were not highlighted. But my every casual remark, which had hurt people’s feelings or caused emotional pain, was highlighted for me, with which I had to deal. This perspective persisted until all my hurtful words and actions had been revealed to me. On the other hand, every loving and helpful thing that I had ever done was also there for me to examine and evaluate.

For the most part of my life I've been short of money, but I have never been short of excuses. Excuses have always been a very strong point of mine. You name it, and I'll instantly come up with an excuse for it. And I have blamed others often and covered up my actions many times. But as I witnessed the events from my life, making excuses or covering up was impossible. Nor did I want to run or hide because now I was the very people who I had hurt and also helped. At different stages of the life review, I saw instances of selfish people deliberately abusing me, but instead of feeling resentment towards them, I felt a sense of compassion for them. Not once did I feel anger or hostility towards anybody who had hurt or inconvenienced me. Instead, I only wanted them to understand love. Since returning to my body, I try not to judge others and never selfishly benefit at the expense of any person, or any living creature for that matter. And I now know that LOVE is far and away the most important thing in the world. It is patently obvious to me that when you hurt or deceive someone else or selfishly benefit at the expense of another, you are in reality only damaging yourself. Unfortunately, a great many people only realize this after their death, much to their regret.

The review of my life consisted of a series of events, both big and small, something like watching a documentary unfolding before my eyes. Naturally, I became intensely absorbed in my past and reflected upon it carefully. Everything that I had done, as well as everything that I hadn’t done, was there for me to see. All the good stuff as well as the bad. Every word, every look, every smile, every tear, all the pain and all the pleasure. Everything that I had ever experienced on earth was there. So too was every person with whom I had had an encounter, even if it was merely a fleeting conversation on a bus or in an elevator. And so, I saw everything, but not in pain or guilt, not in shame or fear, but purely in reference to what I had learned or had not learned.

Nothing was omitted or misrepresented. All my ambitions along with their successes and frustrations were highlighted. So too were my loves and hatreds. The predominant tendency of my life shone brightly. My ruling thought asserted itself. Solemn was the moment when I stood face to face with my life, as the events of my past whispered the forecast of my future. For a brief time, I saw myself exactly as I really was. And I recognized the purpose of life on earth, and sensed that the laws of creation were strong and just and good. From this perspective, my whole life on earth meant nothing but the sum total of every choice that I had made during every moment of my life.

I realized that I was an individual soul with free choice and an intelligence that was developed long before my life on earth. I could see that I had been responsible for all my actions, and also how my every action affected not only my life, but the lives of many others. For the very first time, I saw my life agenda. We all have life agendas and challenges with which to deal, and upon completion of them, we end our visit to planet earth.

I felt the renewed presence of all my actions. Seeing my life flash before my eyes felt like a tailor-made specific process that highlighted all my karmic moments, from the minute I entered the physical world in March 1962 until the day I left my body in October 2006. Overall, the life review wasn’t a harsh or unpleasant experience. There was no sorrow or fear or retribution. Rather, it felt like a liberating and enlightening event. All the negativity that was festering inside of me got washed away, which provided me with not only the confidence, but also the desire, to move into the great beyond that lay just up ahead. I felt reassured to know that I was responsible for not only all my actions, but all my thoughts and words as well. The universe simply presented me with a broadened understanding of myself, and all of it was aimed at easing my transition over to the other side. Throughout the life review, not only did I identify with my physical self, but also with my much larger and truer identity - my eternal soul.

When I die I know for certain that I’ll witness and feel the effects of my actions again. But I’m not dreading it in any way whatsoever. To the contrary, I’m looking forward to my death with great anticipation. One might suspect that a comprehensive life review is a difficult thing through which to endure, but witnessing my entire life unfolding before my eyes was in no way unsettling. There was no retributive God, sitting on a throne on a cloud somewhere, passing judgment over me. Nor did I encounter Satan tempting me away from God. Subscribing to religious myths has never been my cup of tea. Reflecting back upon my life from this elevated perspective, it was obvious to me that we all get to pass judgment on ourselves, but nobody outside of you will ever judge you, including God. You can be sure that God has more important things to worry about than the petty dramas of your earthly life! Or anybody else's life for that matter! It struck me that religious beliefs have little to do with what we actually experience after death. Regardless of your cultural background or religious beliefs, what does matter in the end is what comes from your heart, not in what religion you profess to believe.

The review of my life ended as suddenly as it had started, and I found myself once again moving through the infinite void, but now it wasn't quite as dark, and I was moving faster than before. The endless void surrounding me began to take on the shape of a tunnel of sorts. The further we moved into the tunnel, the lighter it became and the faster we seemed to be traveling.  Up ahead at the end of the tunnel, I could see what appeared to be a bright light, even brighter than the sun, yet I could look straight at it without squinting. And the closer I got to it, the bigger and brighter the light appeared, until it radiated everywhere, all around me and even through me. When I eventually reached the light, a feeling of absolute nothingness briefly enveloped me, leaving nothing but an empty space inside of me, after which a feeling of unconditional love and acceptance poured into that empty space. Earthly words cannot truly describe how wonderful I felt as I stood before the light. And then I moved into the light, I slowed down and came to a sudden halt. 

I felt solid ground under my feet and sensed that I was standing in an upright position. It took me a couple of seconds to regain my bearings, but when I did, I couldn't quite believe what I saw. Greeting my eyes was an immaculate two-story Edwardian house with a beautiful garden surrounding it. Everything seemed to be very bright and exceptionally colourful. Then I looked down upon myself and was surprised to see that I was wearing jeans and a T-shirt, the likes of which I usually wore.

Chapter 2: Learning the Ropes

Tom led me towards his house and as we entered the doorway, I noticed that there was no door. I was told that doors in the spirit world are unnecessary. He showed me around the various rooms of his home. The furniture resembled items that are customary to earthly homes, presenting an appearance of occupancy, so I felt very much at home. For example, Tom's study contained a desk and a chair, and was filled with books neatly arranged on bookshelves. Initially, I was somewhat surprised to see such earthly things, but I soon concluded that if houses with gardens exist here, why not furniture and books?

Tom's home was more than just a house; it was his haven, his place of peace and relaxation. As I wandered through it, it soon came apparent to me that something was missing. The usual earthly rooms, in which domestic chores and daily necessities are carried out, were nowhere to be found. No toilet, no bathroom, no kitchen and no laundry.

After briefly showing me around his elegantly furnished abode, Tom suggested we settle down in the comfort of his lounge room, roughly the size of an average lounge room on earth. The furniture was simple yet elegant; three Chesterfield style couches, covered in the most luxurious fabric imaginable, surrounded a square mahogany coffee table in the middle of the room. Beautiful landscape paintings adorned two of the walls, a large flatscreen TV was mounted on another wall, while the fourth wall contained a large rectangular hole in it, just like a window in earthly homes but without the glass, through which Tom's garden could be viewed.

Tom gestured to me to sit down on one of the couches and told me to make myself comfortable. As per instructions, I sat down and casually made myself at home, but my mind was all over the place. I had a million questions for him.

He said that the order of the day was for me to just sit there as quietly as possible and listen very carefully. Sheepishly, I nodded in agreement. I have been told many times throughout my life that I have a tendency to voice opinions on subjects that I know very little about, and this was clearly not the time to be a know-it-all.

He started by telling me that I was in a truly fortunate position, one that only a tiny percentage of people in the entire history of human civilization on earth have ever found themselves. Until the mid-20th century, it would not have been possible for any human being to be sitting there with him, yet still physically alive. Advancements in modern medicine in recent years had facilitated many opportunities for a growing number of people to stretch the boundaries between life and death, and that I was a lucky recipient of such advancements. He went on to say that my body was alive on the earth in an intensive care ward, and that I was still connected to it. He assured me that providing my heart continued to beat, then I would retain that connection, and alive my body would remain unless doctors made the decision to switch off the ventilator, after which breathing would cease and irreparable damage to the cells of my brain would start to occur after about 5-10 minutes. So long as I chose to remain with him, there in the spirit world, no matter how many times they tried to bring me out of a coma, they would be unsuccessful in their attempts. He went on to say that only if I choose to return to the earth, the realm in which I met him, would it be possible for doctors to bring me out of coma, and that ultimately the choice to return to earth was mine to make. Should I stay there in the spirit world or should I go back to earth? That was the dilemma facing me. To return or not to return, that was the question. The decision to come back to earth, driven by my desire to tell my story to others, was entirely my own decision.

So there I was, sitting on a couch in the spirit world talking to Tom, while a team of expert doctors, with the help of a ventilator and sundry other life supporting machines, were keeping my body alive. Obviously, the doctors were not planning on keeping my body in a comatose state forever. Tom assured me that they would not even consider the drastic measure of turning off the ventilator for at least a couple of weeks. He reassured me that their aim was to save my life, not to kill me! He did mention however, that the longer my body remained immobile in a coma, the harder and more complicated my rehabilitation would become when I eventually returned to my body, and of course, the greater the risk that things could go wrong, such as infection, blood clots and swelling of the brain. He suggested that we spend some time together in the spirit world, exactly for how long he did not say, after which he would return me to the earth next to my body in the ICU. Then, and only then, Tom told me reassuringly, when the doctors tried to bring me out of a coma, would it be possible for them to achieve their objective.

I must admit that at the time the whole thing sounded very weird. Simply too far-fetched to be true. Crazy stuff that has its origin in a psychiatric ward, but sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction. Why spurn an idea simply because it seems strange to you? So, as per Tom's instructions, I remained all ears.

He then spoke at length about the new body in which I was functioning. He called it the spirit body, and that many mystics and mediums on earth know all about it, applying various names to it over the years. Some like to call it the astral body, others prefer the light body, or the subtle body, or even the soul itself. It doesn't really matter what label you apply to the spirit body. It is simply the body, or the vehicle of consciousness, in which people function after death. 

I have come across many books on the subject of life after death that describe a faint silver cord connecting the physical body to the spirit body, and once the cord is severed, there can be no coming back. However, I never witnessed the connecting silver cord, not when I left my body nor when I returned to it. I have also read somewhere that there are two threads attaching the spirit body to the physical body, namely the life thread and the consciousness thread, although neither were described as silver in colour. As far as the author was concerned, the consciousness thread withdraws temporarily from time to time during the process of illness, and withdraws permanently in the process of passing away. But if the life thread remains connected, the body remains animated and alive.

The authors of these books may indeed be correct. Some claim that the cord is very faint and can be difficult to see, but Tom never spoke about the silver cord, nor the consciousness or life threads, other than to say that I was still connected to my body in the ICU. Exactly how, he did not say, just that I was connected. Not once did he elaborate on how I was actually connected to my body. Accordingly, as always, I have decided to stick to the facts and left the trimmings alone.

Although I no longer had a physical body, I did have a body that looked very much like me. My consciousness had shifted from my physical brain into the body that I now occupied.  My new body felt relatively solid yet much lighter than my physical body.

I had no idea that my spirit body even existed until I met Tom. It had the appearance of my physical body and felt solid enough to me. Of course, I knew that my physical body formed inside my mother's womb, but what I didn't know at the time was where my spirit body came from?

Tom informed me that I was born into the physical world with a spirit body, and that my physical body is merely a temporary body that encloses my spirit body while I am on earth. He went on to say that it has existed within the periphery of my physical body from the moment I was born in 1962 and has always assumed the exact form of my physical body, even as the latter grew in size and changed shape over the years. The exact correspondence he said, was purely a matter of form, and did not involve the functionality of biological organs.

I looked down upon myself and clutched my wrist. Sure enough, it appeared clearly defined and certainly felt tangible. My spirit body had retained my accustomed earthly form, so I still looked very much like me, and I definitely felt solid to the touch.  Although I no longer had a biological body, I did have a body that looked exactly like me. I glanced down at my clothes and grabbed my T-shirt. It too felt real and tangible. Just to make extra sure, I stomped a foot on the floor, and sure enough, I felt the resistance of solid ground beneath it. Indeed, my spirit body looked and felt solid, and so did the world around me.

When I entered the spirit world, that is at the moment I left my body in the ICU, my new body resembled a three-dimensional copy of my physical body. The spirit body is a counterpart of the earthly body. When people enter the spirit world they remain recognizably themselves, but they leave behind all their physical disabilities. They regain their full complement of teeth, hair and limbs. All five senses become fully functional and more acute. Any abnormal conditions of the physical body, such as immobility, blindness, deafness, obesity and emaciation disappear. All biological imperfections on the surface of the body, such as birth marks, age spots, scars, moles, warts and tattoos vanish away. Every person preserves their natural characteristics after death. People appear exactly as they would have appeared on earth, had earthly reasons not caused them to appear otherwise.

I asked Tom if the age of a person's death affects their appearance after death.  His answer surprised me, in a very pleasant way! He said that there is a stage in life on earth which is known as the prime of life, and it is to this stage that all people gravitate, one way or the other. The elderly return to how they looked in the prime of their lives, while the young advance towards that period.

Actually, if I may say so, at the risk of sounding conceited or vain, I really enjoyed the sensation of looking young, fit and healthy once again. And I'd suggest most people would be very happy with that scenario. To be perfectly honest, I can't think of too many people, if any at all, who would not choose to dispense of certain irregularities of their bodies, with which they may have either been born or acquired through the course of their lives. Who wouldn't want to make an improvement or two to their physical body, which was not possible beforehand, for one reason or another?

Superficial physical characteristics are preserved after death, such as the shape and colour of the eyes, the tone and complexion of the skin and the shade and texture of the hair. People retain their external distinctions. Hair and nails exist purely for aesthetic purposes and never need brushing, cutting or clipping. It may seem a bit odd to you that a spirit person should have nails and hair? How else would you want them to look? No different from ourselves in this respect, don't you agree? We would look like something out of a horror movie, a revolting spectacle without our usual anatomical features and characteristics! Why would you want to look like an alien? No hair, no nails, no eyebrows and no eyelashes. No thanks! What may seem like an elementary statement is sometimes necessary to voice.

Anatomically however, in many ways the spirit body is very different to the physical body. When people die and move into their spirit bodies, their biological organs, which have become superfluous to their new way of life, are shed along with the rest of their physical body. Anatomically, the spirit body has muscles, bones and sinews, but they are not of the earth; they are purely of a spirit nature. And like the physical body, the spirit body has vocal cords and a tongue. Other than that, its internal organs are very different to biological organs. Unlike the physical body, the spirit body does not have a brain or nerves or cardiovascular system.  It does not have any biological organs at all, such as those associated with digestion, excretion, urination, filtration, reproduction or immunity.

No brain or central nervous system. No esophagus, stomach, liver or intestines. No reproductive organs. No glands, pancreas or spleen.  No kidney, no bladder, no urinary tract at all. No wonder I felt so light, for I was literally a shell of my former self.

Tom spoke at length about the spirit body, and I learned many things about it in a relatively short period of time. My ability to retain knowledge was far greater than it ever was on earth. I learned that the spirit body slowly wears away, as does the physical body, but instead of through the process of eating and digesting food, the particles of the spirit body that fall away are replaced by other particles from the surrounding atmosphere. Malnutrition of the body cannot exist in the spirit world, but spiritual malnutrition most definitely exists. A description of my trip to the dark spheres will soon reveal that to you! The spirit body's particles have the capacity to instantly act in the immediate best interests of the spirit body, in accordance with whatever function is required at the time. It self-regulates constantly and maintains a healthy status quo at all times.

Unlike the physical body, it cannot become fatigued so it never requires the need to sleep or rest. Nor can it ever feel hungry or thirsty, therefore it never needs food or drink. It doesn't perspire or give off unpleasant odours, and because the temperature in the spirit world is always perfect, it never needs to be covered by layers of clothes to keep it warm, although most choose to wear either earth or spirit clothes. It requires no maintenance at all, cannot suffer pain, is not subject to illness and disease and cannot lose its hair, teeth or limbs. It can never become fragile or impaired through old age or accident.

The need to take care of others with physical disabilities never arises. The spirit body is indestructible and absolutely incorruptible, functions perfectly all the time and can never become cancerous. It is beyond any form of harm. No bacteria or virus can attack it and no destructive force can hurt it in any way. It resonates constantly, under all conditions, at the normal healthy rate. And so it is, all the way through the entire spirit body.  

In other words, unlike the physical body, the spirit body does not need constant looking after to remain perfectly healthy. Nothing bad can ever happen to it. Spirit people can simply forget about maintaining their bodies, freeing them to get on with whatever they choose in their lives.

On earth, people are constantly reminded of their physical bodies in many ways, such as hunger, thirst, fatigue, aches, pains, illnesses and variations in temperature. There is nothing in the spirit world that could create pain or discomfort. The spirit body is immune to anything destructive. You can forget about taking care of your new body, and enjoy the thousands of delights that the spirit world has to offer.

Indoors and outdoors are the same to spirit people. There is never a change in the weather; there are no recurrent seasons like there are on earth. The great central source of light forever shines upon the spirit world. It is always delightfully warm. Spirit people never feel the need to exercise to get their blood circulating. They never want anything at all, and the beautiful spirit world is theirs to enjoy and wander through as they please.

Many people on earth have wondered what it feels like to be a spirit person. Spirit people don't feel shadowy or like ghostly people, but in many ways feel very much like earth people. They look like earth people, they are capable of feeling and expressing their emotions, they are capable of critical thinking and grasping concepts, and just like earth people, they like to laugh and generally enjoy themselves. The answer, however, can best be provided by asking yourself what does it feel like to be an earth person?

Firstly, let's consider the physical body. It gets tired, for which a period of rest is essential to regenerate it. It gets hungry and thirsty, and it must be provided with food and drink or it will fall ill and eventually cease functioning. It can suffer pain and discomfort, and is prone to a wide variety of illness and diseases. It can lose its limbs and its senses can become impaired. People on earth can become blind or deaf, or they can be born without either or both of those senses. The brain may become damaged resulting in a range of insane behaviours, and/or the person may need to be taken care of by others. Anyone on earth can be the victim of a disability. In fact, from a spirit person's perspective, three disabilities occur on a daily basis to every person living upon the earth, namely hunger, thirst, and fatigue. In other words, if you eliminate every disability that I have mentioned, as well as those I have not mentioned, you should begin to have some idea of what it feels like to be a spirit person.    

Secondly, let's consider the mind. Learning and retaining knowledge is so easy in the spirit world. The minds of those still on the earth are limited by the physical brain. In the spirit world, people have no brains to limit their minds, so their minds are completely retentive of all the knowledge that comes their way. Nobody ever forgets anything that they have learned, whether it be life experiences or simply plain facts, but of course, it does take the time and effort to learn new things.

The mind of a spirit person is not continually filled at random by a constant stream of miscellaneous thoughts and impressions. Their minds retain every last detail concerning themselves and the world around them, arranged in an orderly manner, and nothing is omitted. Everything is always there for them to turn to, always at their fingertips, and they simply recall whatever they wish. They are not continuously bothered by all the events and circumstances of their lives, but they can recall whatever they like, whenever they like and wherever they like.

As I spoke with Tom, I felt absolutely fantastic, without a worry or care in the world. Not the slightest hint of anxiety or discomfort. After all, I was in heaven, literally speaking! That wonderful feeling of love and acceptance that had filled me when I stood before the light at the end of the tunnel had not faded in the slightest. Never before had I felt so free and unrestricted, light as a feather, as though I had no body at all. My mind had become as clear as day. Fully alert. This wholesome feeling of perfect health, of both body and mind, is impossible to experience on earth, and therefore defies a description in purely earthly terms. You will need to actually experience it for yourself, which you surely will one day when your time arrives, to truly grasp how good I felt. Imagine feeling happier than you ever thought was possible.

To say that my mind was sharp as a tack would be a gross understatement. My mind became an abundant warehouse of facts concerning my earthly life; I became aware of everything that I had ever done. Every word that I had ever spoken, every bit of knowledge that I had ever acquired, and every event that I had ever witnessed were all permanently imprinted in my subconscious mind, and I could recall all of it. On many occasions on earth, I have not had the ability to recall something in my memory, but in the spirit world I could remember everything instantly and effortlessly without fail. The subconscious mind forever retains every detail of every event and never forgets anything. Its recordings can never be erased; they are there for eternity, for spirit people to access as they wish, but their past never haunts them. Since awakening from coma in 2006, I have read thousands of near death experience (NDE) reports, in order to help me better understand my own. Some have been described as negative events and not well received, but most have been described as positive and enlightening events. Many of these reports contain descriptions of encountering a body of light, often at the end of a tunnel, that fills them with an indescribably good feeling of unconditional love and acceptance. That's how I felt throughout my entire time spent in the spirit world.

That's about the best I can offer at the moment, but it's a start. One day, you will find out exactly how good it feels to be a spirit person. In the meantime, until your death hour comes to pass, may I suggest that you read other NDEs that describe an encounter with the light, which will give you some idea of just how good spirit people feel, all of the time.

After briefing me on the characteristics and workings of the spirit body, Tom moved onto the spirit world itself. He said that relative to the earth, providing a precise geographical position of the spirit world would be a difficult assignment for him, because the spirit world is infinite. He went on to say that the spirit world stretches out into infinity, as it eventually overlaps other planets, solar systems, galaxies, and so on. However, he did provide me with a fair idea of its relative location,

The spirit world, that is the part of it that people of the earth experience after death, exists within a giant bubble surrounding the earth, and can be understood as an extension of the earth itself. It exists all around the earth but also extends into the atmosphere with its outer limit extending well above the earth. The spirit world is made up of seven main divisions, each containing sundry subdivisions. It consists of seven different worlds, each representing a different level of human evolution. They form a set of seven concentric rings or spheres, ranging from the first sphere, which represents the lowest level of spirituality, up to the seventh, which represents the highest level of human evolution. The different levels of the spirit world reflect that state of consciousness of their inhabitants. In layman's terms, the kind and compassionate, through the natural law of attraction, find themselves together in the spirit world, and they co-create a world of beauty and harmony. The cruel and heartless are also attracted to each other, through the same natural law, and create an environment of ugliness and disharmony. And those who find themselves somewhere in between the two extremes, create suitably matched environments for themselves.

Some humans on earth refer to the spirit regions as realms, others know them as planes or spheres, but it doesn't really matter what label you wish to apply to the seven afterlife worlds. In the spirit world they use the term realm, but I have chosen to use the term sphere because I believe that it will make it easier for you to hold in your mind's eye. The higher the sphere, the higher the level of light and love, and therefore the more advanced the soul.

Even though there are definite boundaries between the spheres, the spheres are superimposed on top of each other and interpenetrate one another. Each sphere is less dense than the one below it, and therefore vibrates at a higher rate. Certain light rays are invisible to earthly eyes and certain sound waves are inaudible to earthly ears. In much the same way, the higher realms are invisible to the inhabitants of the lower realms. Each sphere has a higher vibration than the sphere below it, making it invisible and inaudible to all those who live below it.

A person living in one sphere might be occupying the same space as someone living in another. Yet they would be totally unaware of each other. While the spheres are different realms of existence, they are not separated in space, but all exist on and around the earth.

To use an earthly analogy, different signals from many TV stations are constantly beaming into every house in your city or town. Each functions on a unique wave frequency. Each signal exists everywhere in all the homes at all times, but your TV is switched off and you are therefore unaware of the signals in your home. There could be 100 TV stations in your area, all simultaneously beaming their signals into your lounge room, but because your TV is switched off, it doesn't mean those signals are non-existent in your house. They exist all around you, even through you, at all times. You turn on the TV and select a channel. You have tuned into one of the signals beaming into your lounge room. The other signals don't suddenly leave the room because you have selected one channel on your TV. You are only aware of one channel, not the others, because you are tuned into one particular signal only, and are therefore oblivious of the rest

The spirit spheres need to be understood as conditions of human nature, rather than localities. It is important to familiarize yourself with this fundamental conception. Without grasping this conception clearly, it is not possible to fully understand the geographical dynamics of the spirit world.

The spirit world consists of the unseen realities that surround the earth, but humans do not encounter them until their death. The first sphere is located on the earth and immediately above its surface. At its lowest point it even interpenetrates the earth. The second sphere extends into the atmosphere above the earth's surface. The higher the sphere, the further it extends into the atmosphere. Each sphere has its own set of rules and one must respect those rules in order to exist in them.

Any particular sphere is inaccessible to those who inhabit any of the spheres below it, but not to those who exist above it. For example, those who inhabit the fourth sphere can enter the first, second and third spheres, but not spheres five, six and seven. This creates a natural barrier to prevent those who have not progressed sufficiently to inhabit a higher sphere yet. Each sphere resonates at a higher vibration than the one below it.

The three lowest spheres are divided into many subdivisions, corresponding to all the nations on earth, and each national subdivision, which naturally bears the same traits and characteristics of its associated earthly nation, is located directly above its associated nation on earth. The national subdivisions only exist in the three lower spheres, for beyond them the idea of nationality ceases to exist, for it is considered unnecessary.

Each sphere also has a central subdivision that governs everything that happens in that sphere. Tom's home was located in the central subdivision of the fourth sphere. After death, most people choose to settle down in their respective national subdivisions in their respective spheres, although some people choose to inhabit other areas of that sphere. Unlike the nations on earth, there are no borders that separate the national subdivisions. All the inhabitants of any particular sphere, irrespective of their nationality, religion or race, are unrestricted to interact with every other inhabitant of that sphere or any sphere below it.

Language differences form no barriers. The issue of different languages never presents a problem. Spirit people are not required to talk, although many choose to speak out loud. They can choose to telepathically transmit their words, which will always be received by the intended recipient. Therefore, language differences never form a barrier.

The first sphere is dark and dingy and is essentially inhabited by distressed and angry souls of the worst kind, people of cruelty and torture, sexual predators, murderers, violent criminals and the like. After death, only people of the worst type find themselves in this dark and repugnant environment. A fiery place called hell is a figment of the theological imagination, but for those who inhabit the dark sphere, life can be a living hell, which they have brought upon themselves by their persistent cruel and hurtful actions.

The second sphere is dimly lit and somewhat more palatable. Although I was not aware of it at the time, it was through the lower spheres that we passed when Tom escorted me from the hospital ward to his home in the fourth sphere. Those who find themselves in the second sphere soon realize that they have a lot more time on their hands than they ever had on earth. Many quickly become bored and restless.

The second sphere roughly corresponds to the various purgatorial existences, described in religious texts across the earth, but without the ridiculously silly idea whereby man can buy himself out of this inconvenient stage by somehow bribing God. No amount of money can divert the laws of nature. It would be a great idea to remove this piece of sheer stupidity from their doctrines. Organized religion is dogmatic, so unfortunately I just cannot see any major religious group altering their sacred ancient scriptures anytime soon.

However, it must be said that some of their texts are partly correct. A description of purgatory as a temporary dwelling place before people graduate to heaven contains an element of truth. However, the notion of eternal damnation is entirely a falsehood. A life on earth doesn't last forever. A life on earth is a finite experience. It represents a finite cause, therefore it cannot produce an infinite effect, such as eternal damnation. Some people experience a temporary period of suffering in a dimly-lit and very boring sphere, before they move into a much nicer, more exciting and infinitely more interesting sphere, which every human achieves sooner or later. Any suffering that people experience after death, represents the natural working out of the causes that they had foolishly created for themselves by their selfish or hurtful actions while on earth, and can be viewed as merely a temporary detour, experienced in a dimly lit sphere of the spirit world.

After enlightening me on the workings of the spirit body, as well as the basic structure of the spirit world, Tom suggested that the time had come for us to actually head out into the spirit world together.

Later I will describe the doom and gloom that I saw in the darker spheres, but I will commence my description of life in the spirit world, based on what I saw in the bright and happy fourth sphere, and I'll work my way down sphere by sphere, so to speak.

Before heading out on my voyage of discovery, Tom mentioned something very interesting regarding the shirt and jeans that he was wearing. He said that he wore them especially for me, for had he been wearing what he usually wore, when we first met in the hospital room, I would have, in all probability, thought that he was a forewarning messenger, or even the Angel of Death himself. That would have scared the living daylights out of me. For some people, being greeted by an angel with wings would be the perfect welcoming. For others, it would be scary as hell, fearing that they are about to be taken to a celestial courtroom to await God's judgment. Helpers take on an appearance best suited to the needs of the dying person. The whole process of helping the dead is designed to be as normal and natural as possible. Helpers present nothing of an angelic appearance. That may terrify a newcomer. The Angel of Death is just one of the strange ideas that exists in the minds of some ignorant people on earth. Tom went on to say that he had been present at many death beds over the years, but had never encountered this strange creature.

The purpose of a helper, such as Tom, is to calm the fears and induce peace in the minds of newcomers, so that anything that could obstruct their paths is eliminated. When I met Tom, he was dressed in earthly attire and I was similarly dressed. Tom normally wears his spirit clothes when he is in his own sphere, but if he had met me dressed in such a manner, I am convinced that it would have frightened the hell out of me. But to see him standing there looking as he did, dressed in casual earthly clothes, immediately served to calm and reassure me. In the modern day, women are very well represented among the fraternity of helpers, but in days gone by, helpers were mainly men who were clergymen when they were upon the earth.

I asked Tom if he could please explain why I too was dressed in jeans and a T-shirt? The garment that I was wearing when I left my physical body was one of those ghastly hospital gowns that leaves your backside hanging out the back of it, no matter how securely you tie the damn thing!

His answer surprised me. He said that when we first met in the intensive care ward, I had just realized that I was functioning outside my body. That was when the thought of nakedness crossed my mind, and with that thought came the clothing that I was wearing. In the spirit world, as you think, so it is. I never consciously put on any garments. There was just my sense of need, and the need was supplied. 

Tom suggested that it would be a good idea to discard our earthly clothes and replace them with the appropriate attire before heading out. Naturally, I had no idea what to expect, but when in Rome, I believe in doing what the Romans do, so I accordingly agreed. Instantly, my earthly clothes faded away, and I was dressed in a long colourful robe, in shades of pink and blue, that reached all the way down to my ankles. It is difficult for me to accurately describe my robe because I am unable to compare it with any material or fabric. There is no fabric like it on earth. It felt very comfortable to wear, but initially I felt awkward and self-conscious. Not because of the sudden change in my external appearance, but I am a typical jeans and T-shirt man and had never even worn a white bathrobe before, let alone a full-length designer robe, made out of a luxurious fabric in various shades of pink and blue. Tom sensed my uneasiness and assured me that it was perfectly natural and congruous with the dress code in this, the fourth sphere of the spirit world.

He went on to explain that when the time came for us to visit the lower spheres, it would be appropriate to revert to jeans and a T-shirt, as most of the inhabitants of the first, second and third spheres preferred wearing traditional clothes, essentially because earth style clothing is what made them feel comfortable.

Chapter 3: First Impressions

As we departed the house, I asked Tom if we could take a quick stroll through his garden. Wow! Never before had I seen such an amazingly beautiful garden. Simply stunning! Tom informed me that the gardens in the spirit world are far superior to gardens on earth.

Tom's garden was beautifully kept and perfectly arranged. There were no dead leaves or weeds, just luscious manicured lawns, perfectly formed trees and beds of the most beautiful, expertly arranged flowers. Some of the flowers were familiar to me, but many were entirely different to any flower I had ever seen before. All the colours in Tom's garden appeared extraordinarily bright and luminous; earthly colours are dull and pale in comparison. And some colours were totally foreign to me; they can only be described as higher expressions of colour. All the flowers appeared more delicate than earthly flowers. They gave off wonderful fragrances and made subtle harmonious sounds, unlike any sound that I had ever heard on earth. The flowers appeared to be animated, as if they were living and breathing, with an intelligence all of their own. Tom's wonderful garden truly captivated me. I felt like a child strolling through fairyland for the first time, full of joy, wonder and amazement. Walking along the luxuriously soft grass felt like walking on air.

In the spirit world, conditions for producing magnificent gardens are perfect all the time. Free from any winds and storms that damage plants on earth, and free from any pollution or insects that cause decay. Flora in the spirit world lives forever, for it is not subject to death or decay. All the trees in Tom's garden were liberally covered in various shades of perfectly formed green leaves and the flowers were all in full bloom. The lawns were bright green, perfectly manicured and luscious to the touch.

There was no glaring sun up above, yet brilliant light radiated everywhere, penetrating into all parts of the garden. I wondered why there was no shade beneath any of the trees. I was told the light constantly illuminates the entire realm, even inside the buildings and beneath the largest trees. There were no shadows anywhere in sight. Everything seemed to reflect the light. The air felt comfortably warm, yet there was the occasional breeze that never changed the temperature.  Perhaps the most striking thing to me was the absence of a fence that marked where Tom's garden ended. Boundaries here are unnecessary, as everyone knows exactly where their garden ends. All the gardens are open at all times to anyone who wants to wander through them, without any fear of trespassing or invading another’s privacy. This, I was told, was the rule here.

Tom's magnificent garden was created by a good friend of his, an expert landscape designer and an exceptional gardener before he died, and after his friend had created it, he has never had the need to maintain it or conduct any work on its upkeep. In the spirit world the weather conditions are perfect all the time. There are never any droughts, storms or winds so a spirit garden never needs attention. It requires practically no effort in its upkeep. Providing Tom wished for his garden to remain unchanged, it would always respond to his thoughts and flourish under them. And if he wanted to create a new flower bed, there are many experts who he could ask to come to his assistance, all of whom would only be happy to oblige. Maintaining a garden is easy and requires little or no effort. The personal thoughts of the occupant of each home continuously sustains that home, along with its surrounding garden. Their thoughts do all the work for them, not their muscles or machines, so they accomplish their domestic duties in a mere fraction of the time that they could ever dream of achieving on earth. It wasn't long before Tom curbed my fascination with his garden. Time was of the essence and there was a lot to cover, so we headed out on a journey of discovery together.

Adorned in our colourful spirit attire, we left Tom's home and set forth on our way. To where Tom was taking me, I had no idea, but I was keen as mustard just to tag along. We took a short walk to higher ground not far from Tom's home; a 15-minute walk to the top of a steep hill, from which we would obtain a clear view of the panorama of the land.

As we walked along a grass path leading to the top of the hill, I mentioned the life review that I had experienced while Tom was escorting me from the ICU to his home in the spirit world. He said that some people, upon passing over, experience a comprehensive life review, where all the events from their lives are viewed from a higher perspective. Others do not experience a life review on their way through to the spirit world, but re-evaluate different aspects of their earth lives, at appropriate times, after they have arrived in the spirit world. He went on to explain that with those who experience a life review on their way through, some find it difficult and challenging to handle, but most find it easy and pleasant. Some hardly even notice it. All spirit people, from what Tom had witnessed over the years, had benefited in the long run from the life review process, in one way or another, as it had provided them with many useful insights.

I then asked Tom if he could tell me more about the light at the end of the tunnel, to which he replied that the light was not God itself, as so many people believe when first encountering it, but simply an extension of The Creator, just like everything else in existence. The light that I encountered at the end of the tunnel was the light of the spirit world, the same light in which Tom and I were walking. And the wonderful feeling of unconditional love and acceptance, as described in so many NDE reports as they stand before the light, is the vibration that they feel coming to them from the spirit world itself.

We arrived at the top of the hill. To the left and right, all I could see was beautiful, unending countryside with clusters of elegant houses scattered here and there, some surrounded by trees, others in open ground. Tom told me that inhabitants of this sphere lived in the houses, but not everyone here lived in a house. Some didn’t feel the need to live in a house, and therefore didn’t have one. The light always shines brightly in this part of the spirit world, there are no winds, it doesn't rain and never gets cold.  They don't require protection from the elements of the earth. It's always the same comfortable, warm conditions. And there are many peaceful and secluded areas to visit, providing all the privacy and solitude that anyone could need.

We walked along a grass path and passed a lake that sparkled in the brightness of the sun. But there was no sun up above. An overall brightness permeated the entire sphere. I felt compelled to walk to the lake's edge to dip my hand into it. Expecting to feel a relatively cold sensation, I was surprised to find that the water was pleasantly warm and inviting. It seemed to energize me; I felt a noticeable stimulating effect that reached all the way up to my shoulder, as if the water was recharging my battery. If merely dipping my hand in the lake provided such an exhilarating sensation, what, I wondered to myself, would it feel like if I took a swim in it. Tom noticed my fascination with the water and strolled over to join me lakeside.

He suggested that I dive in and have a swim. I told him that I would love to, but I politely declined as I didn't have a swimming costume, nor a towel. Tom chuckled to himself and asked me to remove my hand from the lake. As soon as I removed my hand, drops of water flowed off it, leaving my hand completely dry in an instant.

It did not take me long to realize that you don't need bathers and a towel to have a swim in the spirit world. All you need is the water in which to swim, irrespective of whether you can swim or not! Tom assured me that there was no need for me to remove my clothes, so I casually strolled into the lake, clothes and all!

Naturally I expected the usual effect of water on my skin and slowly walked into the lake until I was totally immersed in the most delightfully warm and invigorating water. The water, which felt alive to the touch, penetrated my clothes just as it would in a pool on earth, yet in no way did it weigh me down or hinder me. In fact, I soon forgot that I was clothed as I swam and frolicked in the lake to my heart's content. Surprisingly, the water, although it felt distinctly wet, felt indescribably different to the feeling of water washing over my body on earth. I soon discovered that I could swim in the usual earthly manner along the lake's surface, or I could swim beneath the surface for as long as I liked, comfortably at my own pace, without the need to surface in order to draw breath. Or I could simply float on top of the water for as long as I wished without ever sinking. As soon as I had emerged from the lake, the water simply ran away from my body, leaving both me and my clothes nice and dry.

The experience of swimming was not what I had expected. Afterwards, I felt more than just clean and refreshed. Indeed, I felt euphoric, elated and ecstatic, all rolled into one extraordinary feeling. A short swim had electrified me, completely renewing and revitalizing me, the effect of which I loved and could clearly feel throughout my entire spirit body. I felt high as a kite for a considerable period of time. Speaking from first-hand experience, you won't ever crave alcohol or drugs when you are in the spirit world. Whenever spirit people are in the mood for a quick uplifting buzz, they can just take a short swim in a spirit lake, and they are guaranteed to be more than satisfied with the wonderful high that they will feel. Nothing on earth compares, not even close.

We continued walking along the delightfully soft grass path. In front of us in the distance, I saw what appeared to be a large city composed of many majestic buildings. I'd never have thought in my wildest imagination that cities exist here! A city, as far as I am concerned, has all the hallmarks of a bustling, polluted, man-made creation. I asked Tom if we could skip the countryside and go directly to the city. Having lived in a large earthly city all my life, I was intrigued to see what a spirit city was all about. Tom told me that to the majority of newcomers, the existence of the countryside is fairly easy to accept, but most seem bemused at their first sighting of a city. Just like on earth, people in the spirit world don't all have the same tastes; some like the city, others like the country, some like both, while the rest like neither.

We continued walking in the direction of the city and talked in the beautiful air of the spirit world. Adorning both sides of the pathway, as far as the eye could see, existed a wide variety of vibrant and perfectly formed plant life. Many were blossoming with beautiful, colourful flowers. The flora seemed incredibly vibrant and very different to earthly flora; I had never seen such a wide variety of unusual plants before. Some of their colours, textures, shapes and fragrances were literally out of this world!

Tom explained many things along the way. He pointed out this, and provided reasons for that, and gradually brought a better understanding to a young mind that had no knowledge of the spirit world. As we continued along the path to the city, I wondered if we were going to walk all the way. There was not a road in sight, and the city was at least 10 km away, possibly 20. Tom answered my question before I could ask, as if he was reading my mind.

He told me that it stretched out for thousands and thousands of kilometers, but they don't require a transport system. Spirit people simply don't need one. In addition to walking, they all carry their own transport system around with them, by far the fastest and most efficient form of locomotion in the entire universe. Up until that point, I had relied on my two legs to move around, but little did I know that the time had come when I would be shown something of what spirit people can really do.

Spirit people don't have cars or roads that lead them here and there, for they simply don't need them. They can choose to walk, or they can use the power of their thoughts to move around. Think of 'Beam me up, Scottie' and you'd be on the right track.

The idea of disappearing in one spot and instantly re-appearing in another intrigued me, but I had no idea how to put the idea into action. I learned that it was a simple process of thinking that I wanted to be in a particular place. Most newcomers, I was told, have very little difficulty picking it up. All it takes is having the confidence, but the thought must be strong, not half-hearted. Wherever you wish to go, you simply will yourself to be there, and there you shall find yourself, instantly! At first, you may have to make a conscious effort, but it won't take long before you move around readily and easily as you wish, without consciously thinking about it.

Tom went on to explain that thought-travel can be compared with the act of walking. Whenever you walk, across a room for example, you do not engage in a conscious thought process to walk across the room. The thought fleetingly passes through your mind that you want to walk across the room, and then you simply walk across the room. You do not give instructions to the muscles and tendons in your legs. Walking becomes second nature. And so is it by moving around using the power of your thoughts. You just think that you want to be in a particular place and in an instant, you are there.  In the spirit world, to think is to act, and thought is instantaneous. If I imagined myself at a certain place, I traveled there even faster than the speed of light. I traveled at the speed of thought, which was instantaneous. I soon found out that thought-travel was the usual way of quickly traveling long distances in the spirit world, although for shorter distances most spirit people, I was told, preferred to casually walk along the ground.

If two or more people want to go to the same place together, and they all have the intention to go to the same place at the same time, when they all think of going there together, their thought processes will take charge of things, taking them to the destination of their choice. It doesn't take long for most people to become proficient at it, after which they have no difficulty moving long distances around the spirit world together.  

Tom assured me that nothing bad could happen when thought-traveling and that it would be impossible for me to get lost, no matter how far I traveled, for the mere thought of wanting to be back with him would reunite us instantly. With that in mind, I confidently suggested that I would like to try it for myself. Tom pointed to a hill about a kilometre or two to the right of us and proposed that I project myself on top of it.

With Tom's reassuring words in mind, I gazed at the hill and imagined myself standing on top of it. The next thing I knew I was there. I looked back down the hill at Tom and punched the air triumphantly. He waved at me and then, without a shadow of a doubt, I heard his voice clearly, as if he was standing next to me, even though he was at least a kilometer away. 

He said he would be with me in a second, then he simply disappeared from his position at the bottom of the hill and reappeared next to me at the top of it. Surprised and bewildered, I just looked at him in amazement. He said that it was just another example of the power of thought in the spirit world. Spirit people can move around by the use of their thoughts. They are not restricted by gravity. They can choose to walk on the ground, or they can choose to move over the land by using the power of their thoughts, at any speed and in any direction they like; vertically, horizontally or a combination of both. The spirit world appears just as solid to them as the physical world is to us, but they can choose to step outside the earthly limitations when it suits them, such as when they wish to thought-travel long distances. The first time spirit people learn how to move around by means of their thoughts instead of their legs, is a moment that they never forget. It becomes a major revolutionary event in their lives. I will never forget the experience. It made me suddenly realize just how powerful the mind can be.

Spirit people are never far away from each other. Simply wishing to be with a friend will instantly bring you to him, no matter how great the distance, or you can just send your thoughts and feelings to your friend whenever you wish. Whenever you focus a thought or a feeling upon another in the spirit world, it will instantly reach the intended recipient without fail. I asked Tom how it actually works, but he could not tell me; just one of the many things that people in the spirit world take for granted. Whenever Tom could not provide reasons or explanations to any of my questions, he stated that the best he could do was simply describe the process, leaving the intricacies of how things work to the experts in such matters. Alternatively, I had questions for him that he chose not to answer, for it would leave me none the wiser at the time. Not that my intelligence was limited in any way, but because there was so much more for me to learn before I would be able to understand his answer. Naturally, I needed to roughly understand what Tom was talking about before I had any hope of sufficiently comprehending it.

Providing their thoughts are under their control, spirit people can keep their thoughts all to themselves, or they can share them exclusively with anyone they choose. If they let their thoughts roam in an uncontrolled manner, they can be read by others. It is important therefore to realize that thought is creative. In the spirit world, thoughts are concrete things, in much the same way that objects are concrete things on earth. It is up to you to learn how to place your thoughts under your control. Most newcomers soon learn, often with the aid of specialist helpers, to change the way they think, in order to adjust to the different living conditions in which they find themselves.

We continued walking in the direction of the city. Along the way I noticed a large two-story building that for some reason aroused my curiosity. Tom told me that it was a Home of Rest for newcomers, one of many such places scattered throughout the spirit world. Those who pass away after a long battle with illness usually find themselves in a place like this. So too do those who die suddenly with no prior warning and, as a result of their sudden departure from the body, are confused or in a state of shock. I asked Tom if it was appropriate for us to have a look inside, and he assured me that it was perfectly acceptable. He went on to say he was a regular visitor to this particular establishment, and had restored many newcomers back to spiritual health, before they settled into their new way of life. 

As we approached the building, I noticed a number of people, all dressed in colourful spirit robes, sitting on the lawn just outside the entrance. Others were strolling about the grounds surrounding the establishment. I was told they were friends and relatives of those inside who were approaching their time of awakening. We entered the building and headed towards the reception area where we were warmly greeted by one of the helpers.  Tom obviously knew the man well and after he had exchanged a few cordial words with him, he explained the purpose of our visit and was informed that we were welcome to observe whatever we wanted.   

We entered a large room of substantial proportions. The floor was luxuriously carpeted. Paintings representing natural scenery hung on the walls. As soon as I entered the room I felt the influence of an uplifting energy, which stimulated and vitalized me, yet it also evoked a sense of peace and tranquility. The entire floor was filled with rows of comfortable sofas, each bearing a newcomer to the spirit world, stretched out and in a state of deep sleep. Moving amongst the sofas were a number of helpers who were keenly observing their patients.

Describing these sleeping souls as patients is perhaps unbefitting, for the feeling in the room certainly didn't represent a hospital ward. The helpers in this place of rest were in no way behaving like patronizing doctors. They were not attending to their patients like doctors on earth, with the attitude of a job that has to be done. Rather, these helpers were doing it purely for the joy of helping those in need. To them, each and every awakening of a sleeping soul is a joyful event and a cause for celebration. I learned that some people wake up partially then fall asleep again, while others shake off their slumber at the first attempt. Tom went on to explain that they all eventually awaken, in their own time, upon which helpers gently and tactfully explain what had happened to them. Until they wake up, it is essentially a matter of patiently watching and waiting. 

All the sleeping souls in this particular room knew their death was imminent, for they had suffered lengthy terminal illnesses of various types. Battling a long illness resulting in death usually requires a period of complete rest after death, of varying time spans depending on the circumstances.

Every case is managed on an individual basis. Most people who have gone through a lengthy illness before their death remember their long illness. Some come to terms with the fact they are dead, readily and easily. Such people awaken with the full realization of what has happened to them. Others, upon awakening from their slumber, desperately want to return to earth, even though they have finally escaped all the pain, discomfort and indignity associated with a terminal illness. They are told that nothing can be done to take them back and that they will be well cared for here. Such awakenings are naturally not as happy as those who wake up with the realization and acceptance of what has taken place.  

We exited the room and walked up a flight of stairs to the next level of the building where we entered a similar room to the one we had just visited. In this particular room, all the sleeping souls were in a state of shock, as they had died suddenly without any prior warning. Some had died in an accident while others had been murdered. Immediately after their death, they had all fallen into a state of deep sleep to help them cope with the shock, and all of them looked very calm and peaceful, stretched out on the sofas. The helpers were keeping a constant vigil over them, watching for the first sign of consciousness.

The most difficult task of a helper is to inform the newly awakened person that he or she had passed away, especially with those who had experienced an unexpected and sudden departure from the body. Such cases often cause confusion because it can seem that there has been no break in the continuity of their lives. Managing sudden deaths are nearly always challenging. If people had some idea of the events that take place after death, the task of the helpers would be so much easier and the awakenings would be so much merrier.  If the earth was a more enlightened world, newly awakened people would be less distressed and more accepting of their fate.

Upon awakening, many who die suddenly are completely unaware of the fact that they are dead. After it has been tactfully explained that they are dead, some have a powerful urge to return to earth, for one reason or another. Perhaps they wish to console those who are grieving over their sudden death. Maybe they wish to rush back to the earth to tell the world of the great discovery they have made, and that they are alive and well in another world. Or they may want to go back because they didn't have a chance to say goodbye. Eventually, despite the struggle, they all come to realize that life on earth is a thing of the past. Inevitably, they all have no choice but to come to understand and accept their fate. When people have come to terms with the fact that they are dead, and that there is just no way of going back to earth, they are reunited with their friends and relatives, who further assist them with their transitions.

In these Homes of Rest, there exist expert spirit doctors who are ever ready to treat those who had suffered through a long and painful earthly terminal illness, or those who experienced a sudden or violent death. There are many such places of respite scattered liberally throughout the spirit world, especially for the latter. Personally, I see these Homes of Rest as monuments that represent the ignorance of the masses on the earth. One day, when the entire population of the earth becomes enlightened, such places will cease to exist at all. It is a great shame that so many people arrive in the spirit world in total ignorance of what lies before them. Tom told me that the number of Homes of Rest had risen considerably in recent years, and as a consequence, the need for more spirit doctors had been increasing, but always supplied. There exist many specialized Halls of Learning where those who wish to take up this particular line work can become proficient at it. Spirit doctors need to learn all about the workings of the spirit body and the spirit mind.

They need to learn all about the various nuances of spirit life, for they have to deal with people who died in ignorance, with little or no knowledge of their new way of life. They need to learn about the communication between the earth and the spirit world, for many people ask about this important issue as soon as they wake up and realize what has taken place. Naturally, people feel concerned about those they have left behind. Spirit doctors understand this, but they also know that if they can encourage people to move away from the earth, then they will be helping them make a lot more progress in a lot less time.

Many new arrivals, mainly those from a Christian background, are so concerned about the idea of Judgment Day, that the first thing they want to know as soon as they wake up in a Home of Rest, is when do they have to go to God's courtroom? Their minds are put to rest when it is explained to them by a spirit doctor that the concept of Judgment Day is simply a metaphor for a natural process. As you sow before your death, so shall you reap after your death.

Newcomers have all sorts of questions for spirit doctors. What happens next? Can I go back to earth to tell everyone that I am still alive? Will I meet my friends and loved ones in the spirit world? And so on. These are just some of the questions that spirit doctors need to answer to ease the minds of new arrivals, and to help create hope and joyful anticipation around the issue of their passing from the earth.

It was not long before I felt that I had seen all that I needed to see here, and I must admit I was not sad to leave this building. Frankly, I had more important and more pleasant things to do, in the relatively short period of time at my disposal, than watching spirit doctors with their struggling patients. It saddened me to see the distress of some people upon their awakening, when they came to realize that they were now faced with eternal truth beyond question. Tom told me that upon awakening, humility so often sets in, but the helpers never reproach. The reproaching must always come from within each individual concerned.

It occurred to me that Tom was spending all of his precious time exclusively with me at the expense of his other lines of work. He seemed to know exactly what I was thinking and assured me that he was just doing his usual line of work with me, that cases like mine were merely a part of his job in life and that he was well rewarded if those who he taught benefited from it in any real or practical way.

Chapter 4: A Visit to the City

Having already had a taste of the incredible creative power of my own thoughts, I asked Tom if we could try collectively applying our thoughts to deliver us to the city without any detours along the way. He agreed and suggested a good starting point would be a visit to The Office of Records and Enquiries; an official building in the city. And so, we collectively applied our thoughts to deliver us together to the entrance of the above-mentioned building and instantly we were there.

The building was not very tall compared to earthly skyscrapers. It stood about 8-10 stories high but it was an extremely broad complex, surrounded by trees and a wonderful garden. I cannot say what materials were used to construct the building because there are no materials on earth like them. It was constructed using spirit materials. Marble and alabaster are the only earthly materials that come to mind, but compared to the splendour of the materials of which this building was constructed, they don't do it justice.

Tom informed me that in this building, knowledge pertaining to a wide range of subjects and affairs could be obtained from the many departments in the building, but as time was of the essence, he suggested we visit the department that deals with the passing of people from the earth to the spirit world.

We entered the building and walked up a flight of stairs to a reception area where we were warmly greeted by the head of the department. Tom had previously told him that we would be visiting, but as the man was very busy at the time, he couldn't stay and chat. He did however inform us that we should feel free to stay as long as we liked and to see whatever we wished. Tom led me down a corridor which led into a room of enormous proportions. A number of smaller rooms, each representing a different country on earth, branched off it. Tom led me to the room that deals exclusively with Australian deaths.

As soon as we had entered the room, I was struck by the amount of activity going on inside. It all seemed so organized; they certainly weren't doing things by halves. There were three long rows of desks that spanned the entire length of the room, with approximately 10 desks making up each row. Each desk was occupied by an official sitting on one side and a helper or two on the other. 

I learned that on average 450 Australian deaths are processed in this room every day, 365 days a year, measured in earth time. Tom has visited this room more times than I have had hot dinners. In fact, it is where he was briefed on my set of circumstances, shortly before we met in the hospital ward. Most of Tom's work involves helping all sorts of people from Australia at the time of their death, and it all starts in this building. In this particular room, they have the knowledge of every single person in Australia whose death is imminent. They know exactly who needs their services, as well as when and where, and they designate a suitable helper to escort each dying person to his or her respective destination. To where they are taken is dependent on that individual's level of spiritual evolution. Every newcomer to the spirit world, except for a tiny number of highly evolved souls, starts their new life in one of the bottom four spheres of the spirit world. And it is in this room in this building in the fourth sphere where every Australian newcomer's fate is decided. Tom was not involved in making those decisions, nor was he involved in the gathering of information by this department. All that he was called to do was to let the department know that he was available, and then undertake whatever task they presented to him.

No two transitions are the same. Every person has a unique personality and the department's task is to decide on the best course of action to take for each passing soul. Every human being on earth is assisted at their death, irrespective of their sex, nationality, age, religion, occupation, sexual preferences or political persuasions. Some people possess a relatively broad knowledge of spiritual matters, while others are spiritually ignorant. The former usually make the transition without much difficulty in a relatively short period of time, but dealing with the latter requires a great deal of skill and patience. Each death is different and is treated according to its needs. Helpers are selected depending on the degree of difficulty of the transition, with respect to their capability to handle the work at hand.

The officials at this office know exactly how experienced each helper is, as well as their strengths and weaknesses, so they send them on their earthly missions with absolute confidence. Never are helpers given tasks beyond the extent of their capabilities.

While we were there, Richard, a fellow helper and a good friend of Tom, walked into the room. He had come to be briefed on a fairly straight forward case, and he said that he wouldn't mind if we sat in on the brief. Tom led me to one of the desks in the room. After an introduction and a few cordial exchanges, Richard turned to an official to discuss the business at hand. He was told that his name was Andrew, single, middle-aged, no real earthly attachments of which to speak, good positive attitude, open-minded, mentally switched on and very receptive. The official then assured Richard that Andrew would be a relatively straightforward case in Sydney for him to handle that it shouldn't present any difficulty or anything out of the ordinary. The official also mentioned that Andrew had suffered through a lengthy terminal illness, and while the normal procedure was to take a weary soul to a place of rest for a time, in Andrew's case he suggested that Richard take him straight to his new home that the department had prepared for him in the Australian subdivision of the third sphere and to wise him up from there.

Richard then asked the official a few questions about Andrew's life in order to be prepared with as much information as possible. He was told Andrew was in good spirits, even though he knew that the end of his earthly life was fast approaching. He had never been religious and had no preconceived ideas regarding the concept of life after death. And because he held no strong affection to anyone in particular, there should be no major emotional complications with which to deal. Richard then got up from his chair, bid us farewell and headed off on his earthly mission.

I wondered how the department knew that Andrew's death was close at hand, and also how Richard knew where to go to assist him at the time of his passing. The official never supplied Richard with an address, nor did he tell him Andrew's surname. Every case must have a starting point, so someone must have informed the department that Andrew is about to die. Also, someone must have told Richard where to go. It is highly unlikely that one of Andrew's family members sent a text to the department in the spirit world to let them know that Andrew's death was imminent. It is just as unlikely that they went on Twitter and tweeted Richard, outlining all the details.

Tom told me that there was a middleman of sorts, who had closely been watching Andrew. And at the appropriate time, he provided information to both Richard and the department. The knowledge that a death on earth is about to occur, together with its exact location, is the result of a process of gathering and passing of information. It all starts with the middleman - a person's spirit guide. Everybody on earth has a spirit guide, or guardian angel if you prefer to use that earthly label, who passes information to the department that a person's death is imminent. The department then appoints an available helper to undertake the task of escorting that person from the earth to his or her destination in the spirit world. A three-way integration of minds between the department, the helper and the spirit guide is established, which makes it possible for accurate information to be promptly exchanged between the three parties by means of thought transmission.

Unbeknown to me, while Richard was receiving his brief from the official, the official sent a telepathic message to Andrew's spirit guide, who was standing at Andrew's death bed, that Richard was ready and waiting. Andrew's spirit guide instantly responded to the official, who then seamlessly integrated Richard into their communication. A three-way semi-permanent connection between the official, Richard and Andrew's spirit guide had been created, a connection that would remain in place until Andrew had crossed over and was ready to commence his new life independently. All that Richard had to do was project himself along that connection to find himself in the exact place on earth where his services were required, in this particular case, beside Andrew's death bed.

Richard had agreed to Tom's request for us to sit in on Andrew's awakening. Andrew's spirit guide had done his job for the time being and had handed the case over to Richard, who was now standing next to Andrew, patiently waiting for him to draw his last breath. When viewed through earthly eyes, there may seem to be a similarity between one transition and another, but from the viewpoint of a helper, they vary as widely as the differences in human personalities. To those on earth, death means the end of a life, but to a helper, as well as to the dying person concerned, it marks the beginning of a new one. It is with the requirements of each personality that helpers have to deal. Richard was selected according to his capabilities, experience, temperament etc., with respect to Andrew's personality and his level of knowledge of spiritual matters. It can take a lot of work to free the newly arrived from their spiritual inhibitions.

As we departed the Office of Records and Enquiries building, Tom asked me to hold his hand, then with the power of his thoughts took us to the top of a hill on the outskirts of the city to provide us with a view of the city's panorama. For the first time, it was possible for me to obtain a realistic idea of the proportions of the city. It was a metropolis of gigantic proportions. It consisted of many, many buildings of various types of architecture, some surrounded by beautiful grounds and gardens. It looked nothing like any city that I had seen on earth. Unlike the cities on earth, there were no roads or crowded pavements. There were no vehicles anywhere to be seen, yet there were many people interspersed throughout the city. Some appeared close to us and others a distance away, some were seated in groups and others were walking alone, all going about their business or not going about any business at all. Wide pathways covered by green manicured lawns radiated in all directions from the centre of the city.

And from our elevated position, I could now see pathways leading in all directions to other cities and towns in the distance. There was no pollution in the air. There were no cars or buses traveling up and down the pathways. There were no dark and dingy areas like there are in earthly cities. The light shone uniformly and evenly throughout it. This city was as far removed from the cities on earth as high-flying birds are from deep swimming fish.

Tom pointed towards a building complex up ahead and to the left of us. We ascended and maneuvered our way slightly to the left until we were situated above the building, then together we descended our way down and landed on a patch of lush, manicured grass nestled between two relatively large buildings. He led me towards one of the nearby surrounding buildings, which he said was a wing of one of the city's many Halls of Learning. We on earth know such institutions of learning as universities or colleges, but here they call them Halls of Learning. As we approached the building, I noticed a steady stream of people, all dressed in spirit robes, wandering in and out of its entrance.

Tom told me that the activities going on in this city were wide and varied, and suggested we take a look inside the Hall of Learning to see what people were doing in there. 

We walked into a reception area where we were formally greeted by a friendly and informative staff member. Tom then led me down a corridor with four rooms branching off it. We entered one of the rooms. It resembled a typical average-sized auditorium on earth. In its centre was a man on a stage who appeared to be a lecturer of sorts, busily preparing for his upcoming lesson. The auditorium was only half full at this stage, but people were slowly but steadily streaming in.

Tom told me that the various Halls of Learning in this city were devoted to teaching a wide range of subjects to anyone who was willing to learn. All the lectures were scheduled, and some were so popular that one needed to reserve a seat well in advance, while others were treated on a first come first served basis. This particular Hall of Learning was devoted to teaching the methods of constructing spirit buildings. The upcoming lecture that we were about to witness was called "An Introduction to Civil Engineering in the Spirit World."

Even though I had never worked in the construction industry or held any interest in civil engineering whatsoever, Tom specifically chose this particular lecture, in order to give me an insight into how people create not only their homes, but also the many other buildings that exist in the spirit world. I was told that many newcomers to the spirit world had attended lectures just like this one, and then went on to become masters in their respective fields of architecture, construction and demolition.

Nowhere had I seen a construction site or any sign of building going on anywhere. I was under the distinct impression that every building in the spirit world had already been built. It really surprised me to learn that building is a continuous process here. The auditorium had filled up considerably by now and was almost full except for the odd empty seat here and there. The room went quiet and the lecturer began addressing his students.

"Today I am going to talk about the creative power of thought and how people in the spirit world use their thoughts, and nothing but their thoughts, to create all sorts of structures, the likes of which you are all familiar, such as houses, schools, shopping malls, office buildings, stadiums and churches," said the lecturer. "Here in the spirit world, the construction industry functions in a completely different way to how it does on earth. On earth, if you want to create a house in which to live, you first need to own the land on which to build. You need to consult an architect to draw up a plan. You need to go through a slow, protracted process to get permission from your local council. You need to take out a loan if you don't have the cash, and hope that your property appreciates in value, or at the very least doesn't depreciate! You need to prepare and secure the site. You need to source the bricks and mortar and any other required materials. You need to transport those materials to the site. You need to employ engineers and a myriad of labourers and tradesmen to construct the house. And finally, after a long and dusty process, you need to furnish the house and apply the finishing touches according to your tastes and needs. What an ordeal! It scares me to death to even think about building a house on earth!" the lecturer concluded, as he simulated the act of wiping sweat from his forehead with the back of his hand.

The entire auditorium burst out laughing. A jovial mood had been set by the lecturer and I just knew that this lecture was not going to be one of those endlessly boring earthly lectures that reduces you to tears. When the raucous laughter had died down, the lecturer continued.

"Unlike the slow and tedious earthly methods of construction, namely through the use of muscle power and machines, an average house in the spirit world can be constructed out of thin air in under an hour, using nothing more than the thoughts of its creator(s). To a bystander on earth, a house emerging out of thin air would seem preposterous. Here it's just meat and potatoes.”

When the creation of a new building is required, or even an addition to an established one, a brief proposal of the work to be done is submitted to the department that oversees the construction of all buildings. The department knows the needs and desires of all the people here, not only in this town, but in every other city or town in this sphere. Permission to build, which is seldom denied, is usually granted within minutes, an hour at the most, not an involved protracted process of passing the request from one official to another, like it is on earth. Here in the spirit world, one still needs "council approval" to construct a building, in order to preserve the integrity and character of the city. The process of applying to the council for approval may appear very similar to the way things are done on earth, but the time taken to receive a grant of approval is an entirely different matter. 

Sometimes, the removal of an old building is required to make space for the new. In such cases, a master of demolition, of whom exists an unlimited number, is first called to flatten the site, and he does his work for the joy of it. The average site can be demolished by one man, using nothing but his thoughts, in a matter of minutes; flattened to the ground and ready for construction in ten to fifteen minutes is the norm.

Next the architect is recalled to the site and a master builder is brought into play. Of course, many who were not architects or builders on earth have since gone on to learn the ways of building in the spirit world, and have proudly become masters in their own right. One master builder and one architect is all it takes in the actual construction of an average size house or building. Constructing even our largest, grandest stately buildings requires the work of just a few men. We don't need toilets or wash rooms; the need for plumbing never arises. We don't have to worry about lighting; the light penetrates the entire sphere, even inside the largest buildings. We don't need electricians to install the wiring; the entire sphere receives microwave electricity continuously, and we use it as needed. Construction does not require much effort or time because the act of building in the spirit world is essentially an operation of thought.

With some of the larger stately buildings, several architects and builders work as a coherent team; each happy to work with all the others. Never do problems arise, such as pettiness, jealousy or arguments. Just a group of talented and responsible men working together. They collectively apply their thoughts to create all sorts of grand, stately buildings in the spirit world.

Many of our town planners, master builders and architects have simply continued working in their respective professions after death, but now they work together for the love of it. Not for the money, although they do receive recognition for their services rendered, in the form of spiritual brownie points. Others, having arrived in the spirit world with no knowledge of earthly construction, have gone on to learn the methods of spirit construction, and are now competent builders in the spirit world. All build purely for the opportunity to be involved in what they love doing, which they do with a sense of creative freedom, something they could only dream about while alive on earth."

The lecturer then started getting a bit too technical for me, and even though I vaguely understood what he was talking about for a while, it wasn't long before he had lost me. He waffled on for a while, but most of what he said went above my head, essentially due to my limited knowledge of construction. Then he requested the entire auditorium to follow him down a short corridor that led out onto an expansive lawn that surrounded the Hall of Learning.

Smack bang in the middle of the perfectly manicured and luscious lawn, a large rectangle of grass had obviously been removed, leaving a perfectly flattened 100 metre x 50 metre rectangular patch of brown soil. It stood out like a sore thumb, out of place and incomplete. 

Tom told me that the population of this city had grown significantly over the last 50 years and was growing faster than ever before, and that this recent surge of newcomers had naturally placed all sorts of demands on all the services and resources of all the cities and towns in this sphere. In other words, this Hall of Learning was not big enough any longer; they needed more auditoriums urgently. Their requirement was to create two more auditoriums, not what they would call a major construction. It was simple in design, consisting of two medium-sized auditoriums, a reception area and a corridor to provide access to the auditoriums. Approval to build had already been granted, the land had been cleared as I could clearly see. All that was left to do was simply sit back and watch the architect and the master builder do their stuff.

Nowhere in sight were any of the usual materials and tools you would expect to see at a construction site, such as bricks, cement, wheel-barrows, trucks, cranes and scaffolding. I remember looking bemusedly at Tom.

"When I return to earth, who is going to believe me when I tell them that I witnessed the creation of a medium-sized building, containing two auditoriums, constructed by only two men, out of nothing but thin air, without any materials or equipment whatsoever, complete and ready for use in about an hour?!" I exclaimed. "I tell you, Tom! This is the stuff of psychiatric wards!"

Bang on time, the architect and master builder arrived together and briefly inspected the sight. All eyes looked upon them as they stood beside the vacant rectangle of soil. They collaborated for a few minutes and when they were ready, together they applied their creative thoughts upon the site. Gradually a wispy, yet distinguishable, outline of the building emerged from the ground upwards and grew in size until it had reached the required height. It was made entirely out of a beautiful off-white material similar to marble. Compared to the surrounding established buildings, it looked almost ghostly in appearance and not as clearly defined.

While the construction was in this early stage, the architect examined it closely. He moved around it and then inside it, until he disappeared from our sight. The lecturer pointed out that at this stage, the unfinished edifice before our eyes was just a shell of the finished structure, and that any fault would be detected and rectified when the building was in this stage of construction. A moment later the architect walked out of the building and returned to the master builder with the news that all was okay. Without delay, they continued the process of collectively applying their thoughts onto the site. The lecturer informed us that in this particular case, since nothing needed rectifying, the next step was for the architect and master builder to intensify their thoughts in order to produce a completed solid structure.

They walked in and out of the building, all the while looking here and there, and pointing up and down. Collectively they weaved their magic, as they applied layer upon layer of density to the construction with their thoughts, until the wispy outline had been transformed into a fully solid, precisely constructed and perfectly finished building, to the finest detail. It is impossible for me to say exactly how long the entire process took. Time was subjective, for I was in the land where the clocks don't tick, but I would estimate an hour at the most.

The lecturer suggested that we take a closer look at the building for ourselves. In wonderment, I ran my hands over its surface just to make sure that it felt tangible.  It felt perfectly smooth and just as solid as any building that I had ever felt on earth. We walked inside the entrance, past a furnished reception area and discovered two perfectly fitted, immaculately finished and fully functional auditoriums, ready to utilize immediately. The lecturer thanked the architect and master builder for their efforts, and with that the pair headed off to their next job.

The lecturer then told us that a building as such requires two types of experts. One to plan it, and the other to build it. The task of constructing a spirit home is highly technical. The methods of construction in the spirit world are entirely different from those of the earth, and these methods have to be mastered. Spirit people can form, in their mind's eye, the house and garden that they wish to have, and it will then be converted from their mind into spirit substance with the help of experts. The mind of a spirit person can literally seize upon the matter of the spirit world, and shape it into the formation in his mind's eye. The substance of the spirit world is pliable and malleable, and responsive to every human thought and feelings

He went on to explain that the process of building a personal home is much the same as any public building, like the one we had just witnessed, and that the only prerequisite to owning a home was simply the right to own a home, which had already been earned by the large majority of people living here, simply by their arrival in the fourth sphere.

Automatically, most are given a home in which to live, simply by their arrival here. There is nothing to prevent anyone from owning a home in the fourth sphere, that is if they want a home.  Homes are not necessities here, but additions to an already enjoyable life. Many spirit people do not own a home, purely because they do not want one. The construction of Tom's home was performed about 100 years ago by a master builder and good friend, and together with an architect of his choice, they had lovingly created a fine Edwardian style home in which Tom could reside, a house which he still happily occupies today. He went on to explain that one day he will leave his house when he moves to a higher sphere, and that it will be purely up to him whether to leave his old residence for others in which to live or simply demolish it.  In most cases, I was told, it is customary not to demolish a home, but to simply relinquish ownership to the appropriate authorities of the sphere, who at their discretion, either demolish the home or allocate it to another. If Tom's home, or any spirit building for that matter, was left vacant or unattended for a lengthy period of time, there would come a point where it would begin to fade away, slowly appearing less and less defined until it faded completely into the surrounding atmosphere. Whenever this occurs, a decision is made to restore the building, demolish and replace it, or simply let it fade away over the course of time.

We departed the grounds of the Hall of Learning and walked along a nearby grass path. Tom pointed out the home of the lecturer, who preferred to live close to his place of work. Most of the houses here were modest and unpretentious but well maintained, surrounded by neatly kept gardens.

While we were walking along, Tom suddenly stopped talking, as if something very important had attracted his immediate attention. He then informed me that he had just been informed by Richard that the time had arrived for me to witness a real-time awakening. Andrew had passed away, and unbeknown to him, he had been escorted by Richard to his new home in the third sphere, the one directly below us. All that Andrew had to do was simply wake up, which I was told, in the nature of his particular case, would not take long at all. We needed to make the transition from the fourth sphere to the third, so in accordance with the customary dress code of the third sphere, and also to make Andrew feel as comfortable as possible when he awakened, we discarded our spirit robes and reverted to our earthly clothing. All it took was a thought; instantly my robe disappeared, and I was dressed in jeans and a T-shirt once again.

Chapter 5: Andrew’s Awakening

Once more I placed myself in Tom's capable hands, and together we thought-traveled at a moderate pace, at a height of roughly 50 metres above the ground, towards the boundary between the third and fourth spheres. After a while I noticed the environment starting to change and suspected that we had arrived at the boundary or maybe we were approaching it, but I just couldn't quite figure out its exact position. It wasn't quite as bright as before and the vibrant green grass had become a shade lighter, the leaves on the trees and the colours of the flowers had toned down a shade; not quite as vibrant and beautiful. Up ahead, scattered here and there I could see clusters of modest but well-maintained houses with gardens. However, compared to Tom's neighbourhood, these relatively modest houses along with the plant life around them, appeared relatively bland, but certainly not ugly or unappealing. In fact, had I not just come from a higher sphere, in all probability the third sphere would have seemed extraordinarily beautiful to me, certainly more beautiful and inviting than any environment I have ever witnessed on earth.

When making the transition from one sphere to another, the change in environment is gradual; the spheres appear to merge seamlessly into one another. We arrived at Andrew's new home and descended to the ground below. The first thing that I noticed was the grass didn't feel quite as soft beneath my feet as was the case in Tom's garden. The air felt somewhat thicker, certainly not unbearable, but it was noticeable to me. The temperature seemed to have fallen a tad, but not considerably. I still felt reasonably comfortable. I could feel a soothing warmth. To use an earthly analogy, moving from the fourth sphere into the third felt like moving from an affluent neighbourhood to a middle-class neighbourhood. Not an unbearable change of environment that takes some getting used to, just a gentle step down in general conditions.

As we entered the house, Tom informed me that suitable arrangements had already been made for the awakening. Andrew appeared peacefully asleep, lying down on a couch in a room that resembled a typical comfortable lounge room on earth. Richard was sitting on another couch directly opposite Andrew, keenly observing his sleeping client. This was the scenario awaiting Andrew when he woke up from his short sleep.

"This is the moment when our real work begins," said Tom. 

Andrew awoke from his slumber and Richard, also dressed in earthly attire for the occasion, was the first to speak as soon as he opened his eyes. 

"Hi Andrew," said Richard. "How are you feeling today?"

"I am feeling terrific, thank you for asking," Andrew replied. "But who are you guys, and where are we? This is not my bedroom and I don't feel sick anymore! Excuse my ignorance, but what the hell is going on?"

"We are just the friendly type and we are here to help you. You can call me Richard, this is Tom and this is Malcolm."

Andrew stood up, smiled as he shook our hands, then he sat back down on the couch. Richard calmly continued with the awakening process.

"Have you any idea, Andrew, what has happened to you?"

Andrew thought about it for a few seconds, then nodded sheepishly and raised a wry smile, as if he had suddenly realized that he was dead. Obviously, he was not nervous or anxious.

"There is no need to withhold the facts from you for another minute," Richard continued.

"I have brought you through into another world. Are you with me?"

"Ummm, let me see now...I am dead. Correct?” Andrew retorted.

"You got it in one! You look very much at home for a newcomer. You don't seem nervous or afraid in the slightest?'  said Richard reassuringly.

"Richard, I am not scared at all. Rather I feel very comfortable and secure in your presence. But I never expected anything so earth-like as this," said Andrew. 

"What did you expect would happen at your death?" Richard enquired.

"Honestly, I have never given it a single thought in my entire life. Let me see, ummm... Judgement Day, the grim reaper, angels with wings, the odd cherub playing a harp. Heck, I don't know, but certainly not this!"

"Whatever the case, throw the whole idea of a Judgement Day scenario completely out of your mind," Richard replied. "There is no such thing as Judgement Day. God will not judge you, but you will surely judge yourself. You may become self-critical. You may even be harsh on yourself."

"I can cope with that. Too easy! Where to from here? What happens next?" Andrew enquired confidently.

"Nowhere! Nothing! At least for the time being. Not until you have rested for a while and feel refreshed," Richard replied.

"Whose house is this?" asked Andrew as he looked around the room.

"Andrew my friend," Richard replied with a smile. "I have some very good news for you. This is your house! It is all yours and it comes without a mortgage. Consider this house as a gift, no strings attached." 

Richard gestured Andrew to walk over to the lounge room window.

"In all these homes that we can see from here...." said Richard.

He briefly paused as Andrew gazed out the window.

"....live all sorts of people from all sorts of backgrounds," he continued. "Ordinary everyday people who had all sorts of outlooks and beliefs when they were on earth, and here they are all going about their daily business just like they did before they died."

Andrew remained silent for a time as he gazed out the window. Richard then gently ushered Andrew back onto the couch, and assured him that he would explain everything that he needed to know a little later, but for now it was best if he did absolutely nothing, except recline on the couch and have a thorough rest.

Andrew lay back as he was told, closed his eyes and fell asleep. How long he remained in this restful state I have no idea, but eventually, I was told, he would awaken from his gentle slumber in a state of perfect spiritual health. His awakening into the spirit world was nice and simple, without any complications of which to speak.

Andrew was an ordinary person who came into the spirit world in the precise above-mentioned circumstances. There are many people on earth who will reject my description of a quick and simple transition into a world that contains earthly things, such as furnished houses. There are those who will surely see the whole thing as too ordinary, too flippant to merit consideration as a legitimate entry into heaven. Entry into heaven, as far as some people are concerned, requires religious pomp and ceremony. It simply cannot be as easy as Andrew's transition. It must be holier than that.

However, let it be understood, not all awakenings are as simple and transient as Andrew's. Much depends on the skills of the helper, the circumstances of each death and, of course, the attitude and beliefs of each newcomer. Each case stands on its own. Every single person who has ever passed way has been concerned about one thing and one thing only. What happens next? And they have always been guided by normal people, who speak and act in a rational manner, not by pious religious figures who speak about matters of holy consideration. The spirit world is a diverse, fun-filled and interesting world of activity, not a sanctimonious misrepresentation of human existence. And spirit people are very happy with their more exotic version of heaven, much preferring it to the strange ideas held by some people on the earth.

Tom informed me that Andrew's home was a typical modest home, constructed for him by the appropriate authority shortly before his death. He then led me to a beautiful little park not far from Andrew's new home. We sat down on some lovely soft grass and spoke about the various ways that humans take their very first steps after the death of their biological bodies, which I learned is dependent on many factors. We spoke at length about the process of passing away from the earth, more than any other subject.

Tom reiterated the importance of understanding what is going on at the point of death, for so many people in the modern world die with absolutely no idea of what is happening to them, and it is the fear of the unknown that causes them to panic. At this point of my journey with Tom, I began to understand his motive, as well as the benefits to both humanity and to myself personally. In years gone by, people were more in touch with the issue of death than they are today. In the materialistic modern world this is not the case. And it’s getting worse. There are tens of millions of people dying every year in complete ignorance.

When people die, it is more befitting and less confronting to say that John Citizen passed away instead of saying John Citizen died. In the spirit world, they use the term pass away as well. Passing away involves the process of leaving the earth behind and crossing over to the other side. Passing away is merely the first stage of death's journey. It is simply a transition phase that facilitates a higher state of consciousness, for the full reality of death has hardly revealed itself yet. Living a settled life in the spirit world is a completely different thing from the process of crossing over from the earth into it. Once people have crossed over, it generally takes an average of about two years, according to earth calendars, to grow and mature before they are ready to live fully independent, useful and happy spirit lives.

Andrew's was a textbook case. Quick, transient and efficient. Just the way the helpers like it; makes their job easy. However, not all people cross over to the other side as smoothly and peacefully as Andrew, for one reason or another. In the western world, the rules of everyday life imply that death is the end of the road; an event marking the conclusion of our existence. Most people live by this rule. It’s easier to believe in this basic construction, rather than contemplate any confusing connections that elude the physical senses.

At present, most humans understand death as the ultimate tragedy, essentially due to a lack of knowledge. However, more attention would certainly be given to the subject of death were it better understood by those professing to be the helpers of mankind. It’s been like that for a very long time. To people still alive with the body, the subject of death is a delicate one. People dread thinking about death in general, let alone contemplating the thought of dying themselves. The worldview of death is one of closure, finality and sadness, therefore most humans are scared of dying. We spend our entire lives fending death off in whichever way possible. Dying is the last thing that people want to happen to them. And so, on the whole, humans feel frightened as they approach their time of passing into the next world. The terminally ill do whatever it takes, no matter how bad the prognosis, no matter how invasive the course of treatment, just to live for a little while longer. For this reason, I would like to now talk about the various ways that humans take their first steps after death, which is dependent on many factors.

The severance of the spirit body from the physical body is a perfectly natural thing, just like the leaves fall from the trees. Obviously, disease and illness can be a painful experience. However, death itself is always perfectly painless. People do not suffer any pain in their actual passing. Their friends and relatives are the only ones who may feel any pain. The dead person may already be in the spirit world, happy as Larry, and completely free of pain, or he may be dreaming away in a Home of Rest, in a blissful state of insensibility.

Death is never violent, but it can be labored. Often, shortly before passing away, people feel a premonition that their days on earth are coming to an end. Many experience an all-encompassing feeling of drowsiness, heaviness of mind, and the sensation of gently floating away and then returning. The dying often start to dissociate from their bodies as soon as they sense their new lives ahead of them. They have had enough and just want to get on with it. As their death hour approaches, many people find themselves partly in this world and partly in the next. It can take people quite some time to fully realize that they are dead. The realization usually comes to people gradually, unless they are prepared for it.

There are many variables that can affect the transition process. How your death occurs, your beliefs at the point of death, the age when you die, whether you die naturally or accidentally, whether your death is expected or unexpected, whether your death occurs when you are awake or asleep, or even whether you die alone or in a group, all have a bearing on the process. Dying is essentially a separation of the mind from the body, therefore the beliefs and thoughts of each individual largely influences what he or she experiences when passing away. The events that occur in the minutes, hours, even weeks after death vary widely depending on the state of mind and beliefs of the individual, and of course the way he or she dies.

Whatever happens to people when they pass away, it is intended to help them make the transition into the spirit world and to grow in spiritual maturity. It doesn't matter who you are or how you die, the process of passing away and crossing over to the other side is just the beginning of death's journey, as life in the spirit world hasn’t yet begun. But when it does begin, the dead find themselves in a brand-new world, the likes of which they had never conceived before.

In my particular set of circumstances, I can recall floating out of my body as if I was evaporating from it and instantly found myself standing next to my body that was stretched out on a bed in a hospital. Tom walked into the ward with a stethoscope around his neck, pretending to be a doctor. After writing a few notes on my patient file, he looked me in the eyes and introduced himself. We had a brief chat, then he escorted me through a void to his house in the spirit world. Along the way, I experienced a comprehensive life review, which in no way did I find unpleasant, and the rest, as they say in the classics, is history. I had never held any preconceived beliefs about life after death, so I just went with the flow. And I had the comfort of knowing that a team of highly competent doctors and nurses, together with an array of high-tech machines and drips, were keeping my body alive in an ICU.

Not everyone passes away smoothly and efficiently. The process of passing away from the earth and crossing over to the spirit world is largely determined by the nature and the beliefs of the person. It is an individually appropriate form of transition; the experience is unique for everyone. There is much variation even though it’s the same journey, but essentially leaving the body and crossing over to the other side is merely a personal awakening process that prepares people for the subtle conditions of the spirit world. In other words, first of all we need to recognize and accept the fact that we are dead, and then we need to let go of our attachments to life on earth before we can settle down into our new way of life.

Passing away doesn't necessarily result in an instant entry into the spirit world. Many people, upon the realization that they no longer have a physical body, which is the only way of life that they know and understand, struggle to accept the fact that they are dead. And when they do realize that nothing can be done about it, they often become overwhelmed by the whole ordeal. If people understood that another world awaits them after death, other than the three-dimensional one that they know and understand, they would have relatively few problems adjusting to their new condition. People ultimately go to an environment in the spirit world where they will find other people who are matched to their level of consciousness. However, this does not normally happen immediately after the death of their physical body. Most people need some time to adjust.

Many people struggle to release the influences of their emotional and mental programming. The battleground continues after death. When people leave their bodies, when they come to realize that they no longer have a physical body but instead are consciously functioning outside of it, the thought of death crosses the mind. Most people have no idea what to expect at the point of death, and it is the fear of the unknown that causes most, if not all, of the problems. Even those who can accept the fact that they haven't got long to live usually hold on tight with all their might, just to squeeze in a few more hours on earth. They fight all the way until the end of their lives, just to stay alive for a tiny bit longer. The fear of suddenly being taken out of sight is, for many, far too much to handle.

That is perfectly understandable to me. For centuries, we have been indoctrinated by descriptions of heaven and hell; the dark side and the light side, God versus The Devil. And it has scared the living daylights out of millions of people at their death. We have not been given an accurate picture of the afterlife at all!

It is fear that causes the struggle. Fear of leaving your loved ones behind. Fear of the great unknown that lies just up ahead. Fear of going to hell for things you did or did not do. Fear of disappearing out of sight. Fear of extinction. Fear of not being good enough. Fear of rejection. Fear, more than anything else, prevents a person from making a smooth transition. Those who, before their death, had been immersed in control dramas to repress the insecurities of life, always encounter trouble waking up after death. It is fear that prevents people from reconnecting with their loved ones on the other side, who are patiently waiting for them to come home. The best approach is to take control of the situation by releasing your negative thoughts and staying as calm as possible.

Most people don't die willingly. Some become rebellious at the point of death. For example, a man who is afraid of death and terrified at the prospect of going to hell, is not going to pass away peacefully without putting up some sort of a fight. Those who had their minds fixed on the material world tend to fight to live when they walk through death’s door. It is inconceivable to them that any other reality could possibly exist besides the world of physical matter, bound by time and space. On the other side of the coin, if you held a clear set of beliefs that included the certainty of life going on at your death, you should immediately know that you are dead and understand what is happening to you, or at least have a fairly good idea of what is going on.

You are used to life on earth. You are accustomed to living in the physical world. You have been conditioned since birth to live and thrive in it. It is all you understand. You have received external stimuli from the physical world since the day you popped out of your mother's womb. The physical world has told you who you are and you have accepted its telling. And then one day, you are suddenly thrown into another world, an other-dimensional world, which is totally foreign to you. You wouldn't be human if you didn't experience some degree of fear.

The fear of the unknown is one of the most powerful energies in the universe. Fear is the biggest human restraint of all, especially at the point of death. People react differently to the realization that they are functioning away from their body. Some people understand what is going on and pass away consciously. Others become so shocked and distressed at the sight of their dead body, that they withdraw into themselves and pass away from the earth unconsciously. If a man can stay open to what is actually happening to him when it dawns upon him that he is in the process of passing away, the chances are he should feel relatively comfortable and know that everything will be okay in the end.

When I say passing away consciously, I don't necessarily mean passing away while you are awake. You can die in your sleep and pass away consciously. And when I say passing away unconsciously, I don't necessarily mean passing away while you are asleep. You can die while you are awake and pass away unconsciously.

Whether a person passes away consciously or unconsciously makes a big difference. The former know that they are in the process of passing away and are instantly aware of what is going on around them. The latter have no idea of what is taking place and many slip into a state of unconsciousness with no awareness whatsoever of what is going on around them. I will use an earthly analogy to help you understand what it means to pass away unconsciously.

Suddenly, and for no reason whatsoever, a fleeting thought enters the mind of a child lying in bed in the dark. The bogie man has entered the room! It scares the living daylights out of him, and in response to the impending danger at hand, he pulls the bed sheet over his head. Now everything is okay; the bogie man cannot see him and he feels safe and secure. He has created a protective psychological barrier to help him cope with his feelings of fear and anxiety. After a while, he convinces himself that the bogie man has gone and that everything is cool, so he lifts the sheet that's covering his head. However, this time when he lifts the sheet, he finds himself in a Home of Rest in the spirit world, not in the comfort of his bedroom.

Many people, upon the realization that they must be dead, simply can't accept it, and decide that they must be having a strange dream from which they will awaken. And that is precisely what happens to them. Like the child in the darkness, people as such create psychological protective barriers around themselves by convincing themselves that they must be dreaming. And so, they fall into a dream state and eventually wake up in the spirit world, where they discover that everything comes good in the end.

Cosmic intelligence, by design, understands the fear of the unknown that many humans face at the point of death. Many people, as soon as they leave their bodies, become so deeply hypnotized by the whole thing, that they create mental shells around themselves, so even those who want to help cannot get through to them for a time. Many people, especially in the modern day, instantly fall unconscious at the point of death, oblivious of their surroundings, and create all sorts of illusions, in the form of vivid and lucid dreams.

They are taken to a Home of Rest, where they dream away, until they are ready to wake up. Their personal thoughts and feelings create and shape feedback loops that fit their beliefs, and in this way they overcome their fears and start to feel more comfortable in a strange new environment. Their dreams appear very real to them, with their own themes and characteristics. What they actually dream about is entirely dependent on their thoughts and beliefs, and how they focus their mind. If people only understood that they were in the process of passing away, they would experience a much quicker and easier transition, just by making themselves accessible to their helpers.

We all see what we believe we will see. We see different things when we pass away because our personal thoughts create the experience for us. That’s how it works. The first stage of death encompasses the process of crossing over from one world to the next. The experience varies widely from individual to individual because dying is like stepping into your own personal thoughts. When a man passes away, his personal thoughts, which are based on his beliefs at the time of his death, creates the experience for him.

Throughout my life, I had never put the slightest thought into the subject of life after death, therefore I had no preconceived ideas whatsoever. To me, it was merely a case of keep an open mind and let's wait and see. If there was such a thing as life after death, I would surely find out when I die. And if I found out that there was more life, I would simply deal with whatever circumstances the universe presented to me. Yet I had always felt that life would be a sad and futile existence unless it had a purpose, which at my death I had hoped, but did not really expect, would be revealed to me. In my particular set of circumstances, I consciously left my body and unexpectedly met Tom in an intensive care ward. He then escorted me through the darkness to his home. Overall, I experienced a peaceful and liberating release from my body.

How did it feel to pass away? It is difficult for me to explain, mainly because there was nothing to it. Sure, I experienced a bit of a shock as I left my body, but essentially I felt free as a bird and light as a feather. It was like just stepping out of my body. Easy as that. Of course, this was only my experience; I can only speak for myself. But I can tell you this much: death is not unseemly. Personally, I found the process of passing away so natural, so seamless, so simple, that it defies belief. Others, I am sure, have experiences to tell of a far more complex nature, but that's how it felt to me.

Tom told me that at first, only a small percentage of people are totally aware of what is going on. Some are partly aware, but most people have no idea what is happening to them. Some wander around the earth aimlessly for a time until they work out what is going on. Others quickly slip into a dream state immediately after leaving their body, most create illusions, in the form of vivid and lucid dreams, for a period of time that varies widely, created by their own personal beliefs and thoughts, to help them feel safe and secure until they are ready to wake up in the spirit world.

The diversity of the events that people experience upon passing away is wide and varied. They often need the time to convince themselves that they have passed away, simply because they feel so normal and real. The majority of people, upon passing over, are concerned about little else other than feeling as comfortable and familiar as possible. What people experience when they pass away is a reflection of their beliefs at the time of their death, which reflects their social conditioning. This rule applies to everybody.

If you strongly believe that life after death exists, you should immediately know that you are dying or have died. You should pass away consciously. You should have a fairly good idea of what is happening to you, and the chances are you will not fall into a dream state, but instead will be greeted at the site of your death, and escorted directly to your destination in the spirit world. If you believe that you will be greeted by deceased relatives at your deathbed, they will surely be there waiting for you, ready to take you to your new home.

If you die with the firm belief that absolutely nothing happens after death, you more than likely will have the experience of nothing happening at all, for a period of time that varies widely from individual to individual. You will experience no life, something like being asleep while the world carries on around you, but everybody wakes up after death sooner or later, just as they did when they fell asleep on earth. If you die and find yourself in this space of nothingness, eventually when it’s time to wake up, you will put two and two together and realize that death is not the end of your existence, but the beginning of a new and exciting reality.

This explains why the late Australian media magnate Kerry Packer, when asked if he experienced anything after being resuscitated from cardiac arrest that lasted for around 9 minutes, reportedly told people close to him not to deceive themselves, because he had absolute proof from firsthand experience that nothing happens after death. The only reason nothing happened to Kerry Packer during cardiac arrest is because he strongly believed at the time that nothing happens after death. Without a doubt, things panned out very differently for the late Mr. Packer the second time around, a few years down the track. In his own time, he eventually woke up and commenced his new life in the spirit world. There are millions of people who cross over with a deeply entrenched belief that nothing happens after death, or that they will stay asleep until a religious figure comes around in the future with a trumpet to wake them up. It simply doesn't work like that. Everybody wakes up in their own time after death.

A world of eternal nothingness! What a great shock so many people experience when they enter the spirit world, but they also experience a great deal of joy and relief when they discover that life after death turns out to be a rather pleasant and inviting journey, and not a scary religious thing after all. Nor is the spirit world a boring place. It is not one big holy temple of worship, full of stern looking religious people praying and chanting hymns. And when this realization comes to people, how pleased they are to discover that it is not so. If you expect eternal nothingness when you die, when you awaken in the spirit world, the chances are you will be pleasantly surprised. Only your way of life will change.

Many people believe that death means the time has come to meet God. Some eagerly await the big day to arrive with great anticipation. Others see death as the end of their bad actions, dreading it like the plague. A great many people on earth believe in Judgement Day, followed by either ecstasy in heaven or damnation in hell, depending on the outcome of their hearing in the celestial courtroom. And so, their thoughts dream up the Judgement Day of their understanding, exactly as they had imagined Judgement Day before their death. And if they had no preconceived ideas about what Judgement Day would be like, they make up the specifics on the spot and, according to those specifics, the Judgement Day of their understanding is created for them instantly. If you firmly believe that you will be sentenced to a life in hell, then you will certainly go to hell, but if you believe a loving deity will embrace you and send you directly to heaven, you will experience heaven, according to the specifics of your understanding of heaven.

These places would be created for you instantly. Of course, there are no places in the universe called heaven or hell. But you can create either for yourself, if you choose to, or if you believe it is what you deserve. If you go to hell, you will not stay in hell forever. Unfortunately, many people have been conditioned by religious doctrines that include descriptions of eternal damnation in a fiery place called hell as punishment for their sins. And so, such people actually remain in their illusions of hell for a time, but never eternally.

To them, hell is precisely what they deserve and they dare not question it. It clearly says so in their holy scriptures. Hell is what they have coming to them. It is what they have to do. Of the religious groups, there are some that have a harder time coping with death than others and, in my humble opinion, are better off dying without knowing that they have died. Personally, I find that very sad indeed!

If you believe that you will probably end up in a hot, fiery, unbearable place called hell, not because you are intrinsically an evil person who has led a life of bad actions, but due essentially to what it says in your religion's doctrines, here is something important for you to understand. In fact, it is more than important; it is critical. Your mind can choose to put you in hell, but your mind can also choose to take you out of hell instantly, simply by deciding to see things in a new way, which changes everything.

The climactic moment of death is way beyond the religious idea of Judgement Day. If ever you find yourself standing before God in a celestial courtroom, and are sentenced to the hell of your personal conception, which your own thoughts have created, this is my advice to you. Simply decide that you are not an intrinsically evil person and don't deserve to go to hell but deserve to be sent to heaven instead. Instantly, you will find yourself in the heaven of your conception, exactly as you had imagined what heaven would be like.

Some people die with the expectation that they will roam aimlessly through the afterlife for forty days, after which they will be born again. Unfortunately for them, or perhaps I should say fortunately depending on which way you look at it, it does not work like that. They are only setting themselves up to experience forty days of nomadic drifting, according to their expectations, and all that they achieve in the process is a temporary block on their progress into the spirit world. And how are they going to determine when the forty days are up? There will be no sun rising every morning to mark the beginning of a new day. They won't have clocks or calendars to tell them the date and time. Nor will they have smartphones or an information service to call, like they did on earth. They may wander aimlessly for a very long time. It is merely a matter of changing your perspective. Simple as that! But for God's sake, as well your own, don’t ever tell your minister that I told you this helpful little secret.

Even people who are convinced that they deserve to be tormented eternally in hell are given a hellish experience for the purpose of learning, which clearly demonstrates that the initial stage of death is merely a transitory phase. And during this early stage they dream up all sorts of illusions, based on their beliefs, in order to soften the blow and to make them feel as comfortable as possible.

If you believe that Jesus will come to your assistance, he will be there for you. Not the real Jesus, but the Jesus created by your imagination according to how you expected him to look and behave. You can be sure that the real Jesus is not going to drop whatever he is doing, just so that he can pop down to earth to do you a special favour, simply because you claimed to be his mate and practiced a few of his teachings when it suited you.

Rigid religious beliefs, if strongly held, can hold people back when they cross over, as their thoughts create their realities. This creates a shell around themselves, preventing helpers and loved ones from penetrating in order to assist them. Respecting every person’s free will must be practiced at all times, especially when they are passing away from the earth, but if the person is open-minded, even their completely false beliefs will not delay their process of passing away, not to any great extent anyhow. However, if they felt certain about the validity of their religious ideas, those very same ideas would create their reality for them. As soon as we leave our bodies, our thoughts become powerfully creative. Certainty should be based on knowledge and experience, not on any religious ideas.

If you expect to flutter about the place with harp-playing cherubs, that is what you will experience, until you realize that this transitory phase is temporary and certainly not the real thing. If you expect to spend your time in prayer and glorification, then you will experience that until it becomes clear to you that the first stage of death is just a fantasy that’s soon to be abandoned.

And what about those who have no preconceived ideas about life after death? People who live their lives without forming any beliefs whatsoever about life after death, tend to die in a state of uncertainty and react in a number of different ways.

With those who die consciously, if they keep an open mind and just go with the flow, they are always received at their death site by a helper and sometimes by their loved ones as well, who escort them to their home in the spirit world without delay. Many find it so strange to be standing there looking at themselves lying on the bed that they remain under the distinct impression that they must be dreaming.

As soon as they pass away, many people see the physical world around them, for that is where their attention is focused, rather than on moving on to the next world. If a man is naive of spiritual matters, he may try to carry on with his earthly life for a time, and it is only when he notices a reaction from a loved one that it dawns upon him that something unusual is happening.

Think about it for a minute. Imagine the following scenario. One minute you are alive, in the earthly sense, doing whatever it is you may be doing. You feel calm and relaxed; everything is perfectly normal. A couple of seconds later, you are standing outside your body. Now imagine trying to make sense of what has happened to you. In trying to make sense of it all, you may wonder if you were either dreaming or delusional? And by intently focusing on what has happened to you, you may unintentionally shut yourself out from the helper who is there to help you. It may take you a while to realize that you are dead, but you will still be very much alive. If you don't know what is happening to you, you may wander around alone for quite a long time. Your confused state of mind could make it impossible for your helper to reach you for a time. Eventually, your helper will reach you and take you to a place where you can rest and recover and begin to enjoy your new way of life.

Many people only notice the change in their state of being gradually, and when they do eventually realize what is going on, they start to feel a bit better, and look around and wonder what happens next? Although help is always available, helpers usually wait for us to ask for assistance. It is up to the helper, who has remained invisible, but is closely watching, when to intervene and take people to meet their friends and loved ones in the spirit world, who had already crossed over. Sooner or later, it begins to dawn upon everyone that they have passed away.

I am sure that if people knew that they were in the process of passing away, the fear of death that haunted them would disappear. It is more the fear of the unknown, than the unknown itself, that causes all the problems. If people knew more about the afterlife, their fear of death would be greatly reduced.

People don't automatically realize that help is at hand and many become uncertain as to what happens next. The fear of the unknown tends to make people worry and panic, and naturally confusion sets in for time as they try to work out where they are and what’s going on. Why do things seem so different? What the hell is happening? Why isn't my wife talking to me? Maybe something I said has upset her? Am I dreaming? Sooner or later, helpers present themselves, in one way or another, to welcome and introduce the newcomer to his new life.

Many people get a strong feeling that the time is approaching for them to leave the earth. They may not be able to bring that feeling into their daily lives, but the impression that a major change is about to take place stays with them. They just know that they are about to die. However, so many people in the modern world pass away unconsciously, even if they knew beforehand that they were very close to death. When it actually happens, for many, the sight of their dead body becomes too much for them to handle! And so, they retreat into their shells and experience all sorts of illusions for a time, created by their own thoughts, which may or may not make any sense to them. Although it may sound scary to you, it didn’t take me long to realize that there was nothing to fear as nothing bad or harmful was happening to me. In a relatively short period of time, I left the earth plane behind me and, with the assistance of Tom, a brand-new world opened up to me, the likes of which I had never imagined.        

Each crossover stands on its own. It all has to do with perspective. Seeing death as an illusion changes everything. Whether you will die consciously or unconsciously, I cannot say. If you die unconsciously, whether you experience the heaven or the hell of your own creation, the nothingness of your own creation, or even if you create another reality altogether, your dream will stand alone. Some people don't create any illusions. They just pop out of their physical bodies, consciously with the full awareness of what is taking place, and just move on to their respective destinations in the spirit world, with the assistance of deceased loved ones and/or a helper, who have come to earth to greet them at their death beds.

It is important to understand that my descriptions of the different types of crossovers are generalizations and should be viewed as such. Some people are conscious when they leave their bodies and are escorted to their new homes with no or little delay. Others are unconscious and are taken to a Home of Rest. The manner in which people react at the point of death is unpredictable. The experience is subject to the personal thoughts and emotions of the dying person. Other factors can further complicate things, such as whether you die old or young, alone or as part of a group, in your sleep or in the wakeful state, whether you die naturally or by accident, suicide or murder. And of course, just like before death, one's perspective can change after death, simply by seeing things in a new way, which changes everything. The general idea is to let go of the physical world as readily, quickly and easily as possible. Let nature take its course. Nature always takes its course in the end anyway, so why the hell fight it? You just can't win!

If you die and stubbornly cling to physical life because it is the only existence you crave and know, you may find yourself suspended indefinitely between two worlds, until you eventually decide to let go of earth life. Many people find themselves suspended in this position, simply because they refuse to accept the fact that they are dead. They simply will not pass away; they refuse to leave the earth

Humans call them ghosts and they provide a nuisance to society, not only to those on earth, but to those in the spirit world as well. Frustration is the reason behind the strange rattling, creaking and moaning noises in buildings. Ghosts are bored out of their minds. Never be scared of a ghost if you ever come across one. They can't hurt you in any way. They have nothing better to do than to engage in their particular brand of naughty childish fun. Ghosts get their kicks by annoying humans on earth. Some try to provoke people into committing crimes and then revel in their evil commission.

Ghosts have lost or forgotten their connection to their higher selves, and remain earthbound, separated from light and love, often for much longer than necessary. Earthbound souls have made the decision to hang around the earth for one reason or another. Some stay until unfinished business is settled, in which they have a special interest. Others long for physical indulgences, which the loss of their physical bodies incapacitates them from enjoying, and they roam through all the seedy places on earth. Many unnecessarily delay their departure by continuously seeking to communicate with people on earth.

From these primitive beings comes all the twaddle with which everyone is familiar, such as spiritual séances and ghost stories. If they don’t succeed in showing themselves through a medium, they seek to cause aggravation by making creaking and rattling noises intended to draw attention to their restless efforts. Never be scared of a ghost. Ghosts are just restless and cannot hurt you unless you let them. Earthbound souls are generally of small intelligence and their communication is of little interest to those who are already convinced of the existence of life after death. Ghosts reflect their afterlife experiences in accordance with their earthly limitations. Eventually, all ghosts are taken from the earth to a Home of Rest in the spirit world, just like the one we visited earlier on, where they all emerge from their slumber, sooner or later, and settle down in their respective spheres.

The significance of going back to my body to tell people all about what happened to me, had truly sunk in by this stage of my journey. I can recall thinking to myself that ignorance, more than anything else, causes the problems that people encounter after death. And because I had just been presented with an opportunity to share some helpful knowledge with others, I could not help but think that it would be a tragedy if I failed to deliver, or at least tried my best. Transitions vary greatly in their circumstances. Helpers meet frequently with each other to discuss, exchange and compare notes. It increases their knowledge, and provides them with information that they can use if a similar set of circumstances ever presents itself in the future.

From an earthly perspective, life with the physical body seems like the only thing of importance. Yet, life on earth is only temporary, and continues on after death, although most people seem to have forgotten this fact. Many people cling to their limited viewpoints created by their earthly experiences, which holds them back for longer than necessary, although that's perfectly understandable to me.

As I previously stated, the manner in which people react when they pass away is unpredictable. We are all different people with different ideas about life in general. However, I have provided you with some useful tools. I have spoken about a number of different scenarios that may or may not play out upon your death hour. Hopefully I have provided you with a better understanding of the process of passing away, especially when it's time for you to leave the earth. Of course, I cannot tell you what will happen at your death. Nobody can. Anything can happen. You may experience something different altogether. The only thing that you can be sure about is that you will surely find out when your number is up.

Tom suggested that since we were already here, it would be a good idea if he showed me some more interesting stuff in the third sphere, which in my opinion seemed the most earth-like of all the spheres. The third sphere is the most densely populated of all the spirit spheres, essentially because it is where most humans settle down after awakening. Some progress to the fourth after a while, a tiny amount even progress to a higher sphere, but most humans happily spend their entire spirit lives in the third.

To obtain a wider view we ascended to a point above the ground, from where a clear panorama of the land could be seen. Something like moving across the land in a hot air balloon a few hundred metres above the ground; unending countryside with towns and cities scattered throughout the landscape. 

On earth, I had become accustomed to seeing only as far as the horizon in the distance, but while travelling along with Tom and looking down at the landscape from our elevated position, there was no horizon. Distance no longer limited my vision. My sight was unrestricted by perspective; the land seemed to stretch out endlessly. From this viewpoint, the concept of distance became totally irrelevant to me, as did the concept of time, due essentially to my ability to travel great distances at incredibly fast speeds.

The atmosphere of the third sphere appeared crystal clear. Its landscape included all the usual things with which people are familiar; cities, towns, parklands, grasslands, forests, rolling hills, mountain ranges, valleys, oceans, rivers and streams.

Chapter 6: Let’s Go Shopping

Tom suggested that a spot of shopping was the order of the day and took me to a shopping centre in one of the cities in the third sphere. Shopping malls in the spirit world? No, it is not a mistake or a misprint. Many spirit people like to go shopping, in shops, in shopping malls and attended by shopkeepers. Seriously folks, I'm not kidding you! Think you can now die in peace because you have heard it all? Wait, there's more! Spirit people don't need any cash or credit cards to go shopping; everything is free. As far as the shopkeepers are concerned, they just love giving their stuff away. In fact, the more stuff that they can give away, all for free, the better they feel and the more popular their shop becomes. Word of mouth travels fast in the spirit world. And none of the shops have poor quality merchandise or stuff that they need to get rid of fast. It is all good stuff in the spirit world and all of it is free! As we strolled through the shopping centre, I just looked at Tom and shook my head from side to side in utter disbelief.

"Are you kidding me? Unbelievable! Who in their right mind is going to believe me when I get back to earth and tell them that while I was in the spirit world, I went to a shopping mall in a city in the sky, shopped to my heart's content and it didn't cost me a single cent? The more I think about it, the crazier this all seems!" I exclaimed sarcastically. 

Tom smiled wryly and led me into the city's shopping mall. I was immediately surprised at its enormous size. It housed a wide range of specialty shops all under the one roof, except there was no roof! Perhaps referring to the complex as a shopping mall is not entirely accurate; rows of large, extremely well-appointed market stalls in a huge market place would be more appropriate. There were four long rows of about 50 stalls per row, with grassed pathways between each row to provide the public with access.

All the shops were unsecured without a glass pane or doorway in sight. We randomly inspected merchandise, the likes of which we are all familiar.  We visited many different types of shops, including a fruit shop, a clothes shop, a gift shop, a furniture shop, a book shop, a musical instrument shop, a gardening shop, and try not to laugh at the next one. A nail salon. That's right folks! And once again, I'm not kidding! There are no misprints in this book. As God is my witness, I witnessed a busy nail salon in the spirit world, offering both nail painting and extensions, amongst the huge variety of shops on offer. One of the women in the salon proudly showed me her fingers, upon which a nail had been extended, upon which a different mini portrait, each representing a different person that she had left behind on earth, was expertly painted purely by the thoughts of the nail artist, not the earthly way of applying polish onto her customer's nail with a brush. The same rule of thumb applied to the extensions. The host of the salon had created the extensions with her thoughts, then she applied them with her thoughts, not with glue or cement, or whatever other methods that a nail technician may use on earth.

The people running these shops had earned the right to host their outlets in the shopping mall. All the hosts, I was told, considered it an honour and a privilege to offer their services and showcase their produce to the city's inhabitants, who were all at liberty to wander through and take whatever they desired, without ever paying for anything. They conducted their shopping respectfully and responsibly. Tom said that never is anything stolen. Everybody in the spirit world has more than enough of whatever they could need. The hosts get opportunities to proudly provide their services and goods of their creation to their customers, and it is through this selfless act of serving others that they obtain their spiritual rewards. Everybody wins in the end.

The first shop that we visited was a fruit shop. The quality of the fruit was beyond the finest on earth; vibrant, rich in colour, fresh, unblemished, luscious and fragrant. Tom told me that this particular fruit shop was famous throughout the sphere; people came from far and wide to get their fruit from this particular shop.

He went on to say that all the fruits are always in season, and that the trees are always loaded with perfectly ripened fruits that never over ripen. All the familiar fruits were there for me to try; apples, oranges, bananas, grapes, peaches, plums, apricots, mangos, melons and berries to name but a few. All were unblemished, perfectly shaped and rich in color. Some of the fruits here were simply out of this world. Literally! I had never seen or tasted anything that remotely resembled some of the fruit, and therefore I cannot describe the sensation of eating them. There are no fruits on earth that compare to them. If you, the reader, have never seen a fruit, let alone tasted anything like it, then how on earth can I describe that particular taste sensation to you?

Tom explained that the people here never feel the need for food or drink to sustain themselves. However, they still enjoyed the sensation of eating delicious fruit. The host of the shop chose a yellow peach and proudly handed it to me. I was surprised at how dense and heavy it felt; about twice the weight of an earthly peach of similar size. Its flesh felt soft and plump, yet firm to the touch, and it looked absolutely delicious.

Tom and the host, a charming and rather beautiful lady, who before her death had lived in Brisbane, gazed at me intently as I bit into the peach. Talk about delicious food! Utterly yummy in every way! And so incredibly juicy! As I took a bite, drops of juice spurted out of the peach in all directions, some spilling onto my clothes, but instead of staining them as I had expected, the juice simply disappeared. I looked around at the floor; not a drop of juice could I see anywhere. I shrugged my shoulders and looked at Tom in bewilderment.

He told me that in the spirit world, anything that is unwanted instantly returns to its source. Nothing is ever wasted or destroyed. You couldn’t destroy anything in the spirit world with a thousand atomic bombs. The juice that I thought had stained my clothes instantly returned to the tree from which the peach was sourced. And as soon as it was picked from the tree, another peach replaced it. Transporting the fruit from the farm to the shopping mall didn't require trucks. Tom told me that the host had used her thoughts to transport her fruit from farm to market, in much the same way that she used her thoughts to transport herself from here to there. She just wished for her fruit to be transported to her shop in the mall, and there it instantly arrived, undamaged and good as new.

I asked Tom from where do the trees that bear the fruit come? Who or what created them?

The best that he could come up with was that they owe their creation to a never-ending and unfailing source. He added that even if he was given the answer today, he would not understand. The host then asked if we would like to visit her various fruit farms on the outskirts of the city, and wander through her orchards that produced a huge variety of fruit, many of which are unknown by those still alive on the earth. Tom thanked the lady for her kind offer, but he declined as we still had a lot to cover, and time was of the essence.

We entered a furniture shop next and were warmly greeted by the host and his partner. The host of the shop was an accomplished cabinet maker on earth, and together with his partner, an interior designer before her death, had created all sorts of splendid household furniture, some of which were on display in the shop. Most of the usual items were there; couches, chairs, tables, cabinets, etc. The wood, from which the furniture was constructed, did not come from trees, but had been created by the host's thoughts, according to the size and type of wood of his choice. His partner had used her thoughts to create the various fabrics, and together they had created a wide range of wonderfully luxurious chairs and couches.

While we were browsing, a man walked into the shop and examined a few of the many styles of couches on offer. After making his decision, he praised the host for his superb workmanship and thanked him sincerely. Then the customer used his thoughts to instantly transport his new lounge suite, together with a coffee table that he had also selected, to his home in the city. The host then used his thoughts to instantly transport another lounge suite and a coffee table, from his workshop at the back of his house to his shop in the mall, in order to fill the vacated space.

The host then informed us that his furniture outlet had recently become a family concern. His son, an accountant while on earth, had passed away a few years back, and after reuniting with his parents, had decided a career change was in order. Now, the host added, his son was hosting the shop on a part time basis, in between attending the town's Hall of Learning that's devoted exclusively to the teachings of all things carpentry, where he is currently completing a cabinet-maker course. The addition of his son to the family business had been a godsend, for it had created plenty of free time for him to create plenty of new furniture, happily together with his interior designer partner, in their workshop behind their house. Like the host of the fruit shop, he also invited us back to his Den of Creation, as he called it, to watch him weave his magic, but once again Tom politely declined the kind offer.

There were far too many shops here for me to describe them all to you, but there was one shop that we visited that left a lasting impression on my mind. As we entered it, I was stunned by what appeared before my eyes. Perhaps using the word gobsmacked would be more appropriate; what I saw took my breath away! We had entered a mobile communications shop, complete with a wide array of smartphones, smartwatches and tablets, all of which appeared light, sleek and beautifully designed.

I suggested to Tom that it seemed very clear to me that the tech guys up here had been pinching the ideas from our tech guys on earth, to which he burst out laughing uncontrollably at the sheer absurdity of what I had just implied. He explained that the tech guys in the spirit world invented mobile communications and subsequently passed on their knowledge to the technically inclined on earth. Many earthlings who have passed away have simply continued working in the various areas associated with Information Technology in the spirit world. There is a Hall of Learning devoted to Information Technology in most cities in the spirit world.

One lives and learns all the time! All these years, I had always thought that the Internet originated on earth in the 1950s, when the United States Department of Defense started using packet switching to allow multiple computers to communicate on a single network, and it evolved over the years into the vast and complex superhighway of information that the Internet has become today. Invisible quantum super-highways have existed in the sky above the earth, long before the Wright brothers even conceived their flying machines. Every great idea on earth has its origins in the spirit world.

They cough up there and we sneeze down here. That's the way it works. All sorts of ideas on earth are worked on for months, even years in the spirit world, and when conclusions are reached, ideas are impressed on the minds of people doing similar work on earth, who are in a position to act. Concepts are created in the spirit world and telepathically transferred to the appropriate people on earth. All thoughts originate from the one creator, and they filter through the various levels of the spirit world until they reach the earth. If you believe that your thoughts originate from above, then you are accepting the fact that there is a greater power than you. And in this way, you become a co-creator with The Creator. Put another way, you become one with God.

We browsed through the various mobile devices on offer amongst the many interested customers in the store. Smartwatches that projected high-definition three-dimensional laser images into the air in front of the user's eyes were the latest devices on offer, but some people prefer using tablets or smartphones in the traditional manner. Tom told me that most of the inhabitants here used their thoughts to command their devices, but some preferred the customary earthly touch-screen methods, simply because they were accustomed to it. He went on to say that just like people on earth, people here use their mobile devices to perform all sorts of functions, such as communicating with each other, watching videos, playing games, searching for information, participating in social media, etc. The hosts of the shops all seemed to love their work. They were all so polite and helpful, and eager to please their customers, from the goodness of their hearts, not from the perspective of monetary gain. What a far cry from the shops on earth!!

After browsing through a selection of the huge variety of merchandise on offer, we departed the city and continued to explore other areas of the sphere. All the while, as we traversed our way through the third sphere, I never felt the slightest sign of hunger, thirst or fatigue, which allowed me to continue unremittingly on my heavenly adventure. It is impossible to feel hungry, thirsty or tired in the spirit world, thus our ability to apply ourselves to any task is immense.

Chapter 7: A Perfectly Organized World

The spirit world is a perfectly run world. Nothing is left to chance. It is a highly organized place, supported by an enormous body of administration, carried out by normal spirit people. It is difficult for me to provide you with even the slightest idea of the vast range of useful activities and occupations in which one can become involved in the spirit world. Each line of work is supported separately by its own body of administration, which organizes without a fuss. There is no such thing as an arbitrary method and every field of endeavour has expert people in charge of it. There are no mismanagement issues with which to deal; everything runs smoothly under the operation of efficient people and methods.

The occupations of the earth are many and varied, but the necessity of earning a living is never ending. People on earth need to provide the physical body with food and drink to sustain themselves, clothes to keep them warm, and a home of sorts to protect them from the elements. These earthly considerations have no existence with spirit people, who never need to keep warm, satisfy an appetite or quench a thirst. A place to call home is provided to newcomers, in accordance with the way they lived their lives upon the earth, that is if they want a home. Spirit people have it easy. Real easy!

It is not an easy task for me to describe what life is like in the spirit world. I am not exactly sure how to explain this, and it's certainly not from lack of trying, but imagine you have a body that never feels hungry or thirsty, and never gets sick or tired. And you are always full of life and joy, even more than you ever were in your happiest moments on earth. Now try to imagine a peaceful, compassionate and tolerant world, where the weather is always perfect, where everything is always perfectly organized, where nobody is ever greedy or selfish, and where everyone is always understanding, caring and affectionate. Now imagine a world where paying bills of any kind is a thing of the past. Now imagine a world in which no one works for a living, but in which everyone works for nothing, but for the sheer pleasure of doing something useful for others. Now imagine a world where chores do not exist, where people don't need to wash their bodies, brush their teeth, comb their hair, clip their nails, wash their clothes, prepare and eat food, wash the dishes, clean the stove, wipe the ledges, scrub the floor, do the vacuuming, take the garbage out, wash the car, mow the lawn, water the plants or feed the pets. Then try to imagine, if you can, thousands of new, exciting and delightful opportunities to work, study or play. Now try to feel down in the dumps. Bet you can't? How could anybody feel sad in a world like that? Indeed, I certainly couldn't! They don't call it heaven for nothing!

Spirit people have no necessity to work physically, but they do have the need to work mentally, which is why work is a pleasure to them. A large number of people continue with their respective earthly occupations after death, but many find that their earthly occupations have no application in the spirit world, belonging exclusively to the earthly way of life. But they are not saddened by the absence of their earthly occupations. They simply replace their old lines of work with new ones. Everyone in the spirit world can soon find something useful to do. It doesn't take long to learn a new occupation, applicable to your new way of life, and most soon become proficient at it. Some see their new vocation as their calling, and thoroughly enjoy their new form of endeavour.

Many spirit people choose not to work at all, but simply cruise through their spirit lives at their own relaxed pace, enjoying the huge variety of delights on offer. Those who choose to work, work freely and unhampered, with no deadlines to meet whatsoever, unrestrained by physical demands, and with all the resources of the spirit world at their fingertips. They stop work whenever they want and they resume work whenever they want; no one ever leans on them or bosses them around. They continue to work for as long as they are getting pleasure from it. The moment they feel the need for a change, they simply stop working, for the time being, and turn their attention to whatever else they wish to do. A change feels like a holiday and recreation is fun. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. When they take a break from work, others are always at hand to gladly take their places. They all work happily with their colleagues at all times, and remain content with their chosen vocations, until they want a change, or until they progress spiritually to a higher sphere.

I'd suggest there would be many people on earth who feel that spending a lifetime in one particular line of work is enough for the average person, and that the last thing they would want to do is to take up the routine of their old earthly jobs again, with all its bureaucracy and drudgery! No one is compelled, either by force or driven by the need to survive, to work at all in the spirit world. Those who choose to work, work willingly, free of charge and for the sheer love of it. They work for the satisfaction of creating something and, of course, for the pleasure gained out of serving others.

To list all the spirit occupations would take many books to do so. In the various scientific fields alone, millions of spirit people are happily engaged, whether they are probing the workings of the earth world, or investigating the ways of the spirit world.

Most people on earth live a two-fold existence, a double-life of sorts, namely their social lives and their work lives. The former involves associating with one group of people, while the latter involves another. And so it is in the spirit world. It fits perfectly with the natural order of things that the same two-fold state of existence also exists with spirit people. Most newcomers to the spirit world first meet with their friends and family, who gradually teach them the spiritual ropes and help them find their spiritual feet. When the issue of work inevitably arises, many become so overjoyed at the nature of the work that lies before them, that they move away from family life and become solely engaged in their occupation. Some don't want to do anything else for months, even years, according to earth calendars. The builder becomes engrossed in the spirit ways of construction. It is the same with the scientist, the engineer, the architect, the musician, the author, the actor, the painter or the shopkeeper, to name but a mere fraction of the endless number of occupations in the spirit world.

The spirit world is a vast and complex place. Perhaps one of the most striking features of life here is that it is so perfectly organized. A great system of life exists in the spirit world, and it functions so perfectly that nothing is ever rushed, but they work quickly and efficiently. Working rapidly becomes second nature to them, and they hardly notice it. The earth has reached the age of technology, which has improved efficiency in so many ways. But only when people enter the spirit world, do they fully understand what efficiency is really like. There is nothing on earth that even comes close. Life is upon a humongous scale in the spirit world, the likes of which people on earth have little idea until they actually come to live there. But to say that because it is so vast, or because it is such a gigantic world, is not to say that it is a complex place in which to live. In fact, compared to life on earth, life in the spirit world seems so much simpler and easier.

With respect to its demands, the spirit world requires much administration, even more than the earth, but spirit needs are not like earthly needs. For a start, the earth is continually battling the elements. Decay and degeneration are the constant enemy. The spirit world is at war with neither.

The united thoughts of the inhabitants continually sustain the various public buildings and structures throughout each sphere. There is no travel-time to worry about and their thoughts do all the work for them, not their muscles or machines, so they accomplish their tasks in a mere fraction of the time that they ever could on earth. However, a very considerable administrative organisation exists that oversees the general maintenance of the public buildings in each sphere. The same applies with the flora that naturally grows upon the land. Likewise with the mountains, oceans, rivers and streams. Delegating the maintenance process is a massive task in itself. Deciding who, when, where and how to apply those sustaining thoughts is a never-ending process, which requires teams of people to carry out. However, it was only when we visited a large spirit city, with its sundry administrative buildings and massive Halls of Learning, did the extraordinarily high level of organization in the spirit world become outwardly apparent to me.

We wandered through The Hall of Science, Engineering and Information Technology, a massive complex of buildings that would dwarf even the largest university campus on earth. It was a very busy place; tens of thousands of students were occupied with their studies, attending lectures, conducting research, performing experiments, taking part in group discussions etc. Of course, there were also many teachers and masters in their respective fields, assisting their students with their questions and queries. Overall, there was a wide range of activity taking place.

There are many people on the earth who are mechanically minded. Some are engineers, others are simply interested in engineering as a pleasant and interesting hobby. When they enter the spirit world, they find that the opportunities in their respective fields of engineering are great, and they carry out their work without restriction, under faultless administration and with the countless spirit resources behind them. Naturally, many of the great engineers of the earth carry on in their respective fields after death. The same applies to those who were involved in the field of Information Technology, and after death they investigate and research on a much higher level than they ever could on earth, assisted by enthusiastic master teachers as well as those who were simply involved in a similar line of work when they were on the earth.

Tom explained that all this activity requires a high level of administration, just like it does with the universities on earth. Activity in this, and indeed all the other Halls of Learning, goes on unremittingly, because it is always daytime here. Nominally, each Hall of Learning has a principal and all major decisions are referred to him. Unlike the ways of the earth, the principals of the Halls of Learning in the spirit world are not unapproachable and only seen about the place on rare occasions. They are the exact opposite here. They are always to be seen about the place, happily conversing with students and teachers alike, and personally welcoming anyone who comes there, whether it's a student, a teacher, an administrator or merely just a casual observer.

In turn, each principal has been appointed by a high office, and each principal has his direct head, who in turn has his own direct head, and so it goes all the way up to the head of the faculty, and ultimately, to the ruler of the sphere, whose functions are wide and varied, as you can well imagine. You may wish to call him the king or the chief or the leader of the sphere, to suit your particular poetry, but none convey the true meaning of the position that he holds. The ruler of each sphere acts like a father to all his children in his sphere, rather than from the standpoint of authority over them.

No one ever quarrels with another in this civilized world. No one ever pulls rank over their underlings for personal gain or to pass the buck, or purely because they are in a bad mood or feel lazy at the time. They never experience disputes or rivalries. Spirit world public servants are a contented and happy bunch. They are far too busy to be squabbling. They know that they are performing something very important and significant that will bring with it its own reward. In the spirit world, to work is to be happy and joyful.     

Many of the staff of the Halls of Learning are so devoted to their work that they prefer to remain where they are for considerable periods of time. Many work there for decades, and it is not uncommon for a person to hold the same position for a century or two, until it is time to move on. One day they all relinquish their positions and either return to earth or take up permanent residency in a higher sphere, while other equally capable people replace them. They take breaks from work as they please, then return to work feeling fresh and renewed. And so the work goes on, as it has for centuries, and will go on for many more centuries to come. The need to serve others will always exist. Nobody can complain about job shortages in the spirit world. Work here functions consistently and unendingly; the work never stops. The above-mentioned administration applies to the spirit world and concerns the spirit world alone.

There are other administrative services that deal with the two worlds - the spirit world and the earth - together. For example, the arrival, or the impending arrival, of a newcomer into the spirit world needs administration. All people passing into the spirit world are afforded attention, to one extent or another. It all depends on how much attention each person requires. All this organizing, which involves a controlled systematic approach, is happily carried out by teams of spirit people, many of whom held administrative occupations on earth and simply continued applying their organizational skills after they died. They carry out their work in rooms in buildings, and they use high-tech integrated systems, just like they did on earth.

In the many Homes of Rest, there are always teams of dedicated spirit doctors in attendance, no matter what is happening in other parts of the sphere. Of course, doctors in the earthly sense of the word, don't exist in the spirit world. A spirit body never needs medical attention, but many doctors on earth continue studying earthly medicine after their death, as do many nurses. In the spirit world, any reasonably intelligent person can study earthly medicine. Now learning is so much easier than it was on earth. The minds of those still on the earth are limited by the physical brain, but spirit people have no brains to limit their minds, so their minds are completely retentive of all the knowledge that comes their way. Nobody ever forgets anything that they have learned, but it does take the time and effort to learn new things. A student in the spirit world is in a position to understand so much more than ever he could on earth. Many an earthly doctor, who has gone on to further his medical studies in the spirit world, has guided a doctor on the earth, such as while he was making a diagnosis or performing an operation.

There exists another type of spirit doctor, that of the healer of the people of the earth. They use forces that belong to the spirit world which are unavailable to doctors on earth, but they need to know all about human anatomy and the workings of the biological body, together with the many diseases and infections from which earth people suffer. In that respect, healers are no different from earthly doctors, but their healing methods are entirely different. Some healers work on creating medicinal preparations, such as compounds, pills, balms, creams, elixirs etc, in laboratories in the spirit world and then impress their ideas on the minds of pharmacologists on earth. Others work directly with individuals on the earth by projecting various spectrums of light beams and heat waves on to whatever part of the body that requires healing. Over the centuries, healers in the spirit world have been directly responsible for most, if not all, of the impossible and miraculous recoveries that we have heard about on earth, many of which still puzzle the medical fraternity today.

While we were browsing through the administrative capital city of the third sphere, we entered a building of enormous proportions, which housed the Office of Records and Enquiries. And just like its big brother, the Office of Records and Enquiries in the fourth sphere, which we had visited previously, thousands of spirit people were conducting a great number of administrative tasks. They were there to solve all sorts of problems, to delegate all sorts of tasks and to answer all sorts of questions, from not only newcomers to the spirit world, but from those of long residence as well.

In each sphere, a register of all newcomers to the spirit world is maintained by their respective offices, and used by many spirit people. The office knows beforehand of all people on earth who are about to enter the spirit world, and possesses a wealth of accurate information about them. This important information is gathered through a process of thought transmission, and presented by the office to the enquirer as required. In peaceful times upon the earth, when the number of newcomers to the spirit world remains at a relatively steady level, this information is useful enough. However, in times of world war, pandemics or wide-spread famine, or even when a major natural disaster throws hundreds of thousands of people into the spirit world at the same time, the advantages of such an office are immeasurable.

Knowledge of events that are about to occur on earth, whether that knowledge is of an international, national or of a personal concern, is possessed by the Office of Records and Enquiries, and quickly communicated to those of concern. Among the first to receive the knowledge of impending deaths on earth are the many Homes of Rest that are liberally scattered throughout the spirit world.

Of course, the friends and loved ones of those who are about to enter the spirit world are duly informed. Many spirit people want to know when a friend or relative will leave the earth and come to join them in the spirit world. All they have to do is simply go to the Office of Records and Enquiries to obtain that knowledge, and all that is required of them is to provide the name of their friend or relative on earth, and to think about that person by focusing their attention upon that individual to establish the necessary link. The required forces are then executed by the office, and the information of the estimated time of arrival of their earthly friend or relative is provided on the spot. And when the time of arrival is fast approaching, they are informed of it by the office without fail.

The administration behind this one service alone should provide you with a rough idea of the enormity of the Office of Records and Enquiries. It's a huge institution, its extent covers the entire scope of all spirit activities in all spirit spheres. In the same building, there exist hundreds of helpful services that provide answers to the thousands of questions that arise in the minds of spirit people, especially newcomers. The spirit world doesn't do things by halves. What may seem like precociousness to those still on the earth, is simply seen as wisdom to spirit people, who diligently carry out the work to be done. Nothing is too much trouble for them. They will always find the time to help. The services of multitudes of helpers are always available. There are no mistakes and nothing is ever left to chance.

The Office of Records and Enquiries is the hub of all spirit world activity. It is the engine room behind the entire public service that runs the spirit world. It employs millions of public servants, but has a wage bill of zero. And no taxation, superannuation, workers compensation or occupational safety issues with which to deal. All of its staff are only too happy to work as hard as they can, free of charge, usefully and joyfully. Many spirit people consider it the ultimate honour to be employed by the Office of Records and Enquiries.

Many newcomers from far and wide seek out opportunities to work there and subsequently come to live close by. Some even beg to work at the Office of Records and Enquiries, but not every person is suitable. For those who are, it is usually necessary to undergo some training of sorts. Most need to first complete a course at a Hall of Learning, no matter how suitable he or she may be for the job. It requires absolute knowledge and competency, no matter in which department one wishes to work. After all, they are there to provide useful services and accurate information to those in need of it.

The pressure of work exists in the spirit world, as it does on earth. If ever they feel the pressure is too much, there are always experts in all areas of work who are only too willing to help, or they can simply decide to take a break from their work. Yet most people here are not content with one line of work, and simply take up other types of work. They all have the urge to do something useful, especially if that something will benefit others. No matter how tiny that service may be, it will be seen as a valuable service. Many spirit people hold down ten jobs, some even more, all at the same time, through which they can serve others.

And what of mistakes? People are not perfect. They make their fair share of mistakes in the spirit world, but whenever mistakes are made, there are always competent people available within the office who are only too pleased to help them correct things, in a respectful manner and without ever frowning at them. If a man finds the task at hand is above his level of competency and continues to make mistakes, he will not be sacked, but simply called aside to calmly discuss other options available to him. Perhaps more training is required, maybe taking up another position within the same office is the answer, or even another line of work altogether.

All sorts of situations arise when spirit people need a solution to a particular problem, and they take their difficulties to the appropriate department in this grand stately building in the city for a solution.

Chapter 8: Fun, Games and Pastimes

Just like life on earth, the choice of recreational activities and pastimes open to the inhabitants of the spirit world is wide and varied, perhaps even more so.

Absolutely, but there is a notable difference. Spirit world recreational activity is inclined to be of a mental nature, whereas on the earth, it is inclined to be of a physical nature. The difference is determined essentially by the respective conditions of the inhabitants. Indoor games that are dependent entirely on the skill of the person, such as chess, are very popular, but any game that depends on an element of luck, such as one requiring the throwing of dice to decide an outcome, are non-existent in the spirit world. If a spirit person wishes to throw a double six, a double six he or she will throw, every time without fail. The things that once appeared very important on the earth become of little value in the spirit world. Most earthly sports and games become trivial.

On the earth, proficiency in any sport is acquired by mastering the mind over the muscles of the body, which must be maintained in a healthy condition. However, here people are always in peak condition, their muscles are always in tip-top shape and under the complete control of their minds. And so, efficiency is rapidly acquired in any activity that requires the use of arms and legs. Most outdoor sports on earth are of a competitive nature, involving the use of a ball, but the spirit world operates under very different conditions. Striking or throwing or catching a ball would lead to a predictable result, every single time.

For example, in tennis, every stroke would land in court, but every shot would also be returned. No player would ever win a point. In soccer, every pass would find its man, every shot would be on goal, but every shot would also be saved by the goalkeeper. Every game would end 0-0. In golf, every shot would land exactly where the golfer intends it to land. He would score a hole in one with every drive, but so would everyone else. The ball will do exactly as the golfer wants it to do, no matter how bad his lie or how far away he is from the flag, every single time! In darts, every competitor would throw a nine-darter every time he stepped up to the oche. In baseball, every pitch would be thrown exactly as the pitcher intended, but the batter would smack every ball thrown his way out of the stadium, simply because that's what the batter wishes to happen. What would be the point of partaking in any of the above-mentioned sports?

Naturally, most of the usual sports and games, of which people on earth are familiar, lose their purpose after death, and therefore lose their appeal. Spirit people don't need to exercise at all; their spirit bodies are always functioning perfectly. They cannot get sick, and never suffer any pain or any type of disorder. They never need to go outside to get some fresh air. The air in the buildings is as fresh as the air outside of them, and penetrates into every corner.

Viewpoints change substantially after people die. The mere fact that spirit people can move through space instantaneously makes even the most challenging earthly athletic feat pale into insignificance. Spirit recreations are more of the mind, and people never feel the need to expend physical energy; their energy levels are constantly at the level according to each individual's requirements. Every person finds that they have so much stuff to learn, and learning in the spirit world is such a pleasure in itself.

People here have memories that are retentive at all times. For example, when learning how to play a musical instrument or the game of chess, the requisite knowledge is gained rapidly and easily, so far as one's intelligence will allow at the time. A spirit person's mind has unlimited resources for intellectual expansion, no matter how naive or stupid that person was when he or she died. Intellectual progression steadily advances, according to one's wish for it to advance. And there exist expert teachers in all the various branches of art, craft and recreation, who are only too happy to assist their students. There is no forgetting of anything. If they choose to study, they learn far more easily and quickly than students on earth, essentially because they are free from the limitations that the physical brain imposes upon the mind. Knowledge is acquired unfailingly, retained gracefully and shared willingly. In other words, the possession of knowledge never takes on the obnoxiousness and precociousness of the earth. And if they are engaged in some activity where the use of their hands or legs is needed, their spirit body instantly responds perfectly, according to their mind's instructions. Tasks can be performed in a fraction of the time that they can on earth.

There are so many wonderful things to see and do in the spirit world, so many pleasing and interesting activities from which to choose, surely there is no need to be saddened by the absence of most earthly recreations, sports and pastimes? There exists an abundant reservoir of entertaining things to be seen and done in the spirit world. Earthly recreations and sports seem rubbishy to spirit people. As they mature, spirit people are able to choose for themselves the form of recreation that appeals to them. The spirit world is a land of equal opportunity, and the range of opportunities to play and have fun is enormous, the likes of which people on earth cannot conceive. There is so much fun to be had, and so many new and interesting things to see and do. Countless opportunities to enjoy oneself exist for all. Indeed, life after death is definitely not the good life for the indolent, the idle or the lazy. No one in the spirit world ever feels like doing nothing. There are no lazy people there; all are always busy. Everyone is continually occupied in one way or another. Life after death certainly does not conform to the religious idea of eternal rest. Life in the spirit world can be great fun and nothing but great fun, for twenty four hours a day, if that's what one chooses, and no one will ever come around to send you back to work. However, most spirit people choose to work hard and play hard. All play and no work makes play not as rewarding.

Spirit people have many forms of recreational activities from which to choose, and they come and go as they see fit. There are hundreds of millions of people in the spirit world, with no overcrowding anywhere, so there is plenty of space in which to do many different things, and plenty of people with which to do it. Many spirit people choose to find their recreation in the form of a useful line of work, and when they decide to cease their work for the time being, they are very much in the same situation as those who are still upon the earth. What can I do next? How can I amuse myself? You may feel that you would like to rest a bit, or you may choose to go for a walk through a beautiful park, or maybe you would like to listen to some music or indulge in a form of intellectual recreation.

Music is a hugely popular pastime among spirit world communities. In fact, listening to music is an integral part of everyday spirit life. The Hall of Music, a huge building complex in the city, is entirely dedicated to this important subject. All sorts of people come here to learn how to play all sorts of musical instruments, and to learn about music in general. Spirit people can learn music in every genre, from theory to practice, under the guidance of great musicians whose names are well known throughout the earth.

The Hall of Music building complex contained a number of circular concert halls, one of which I saw was capable of seating thousands of people. In the spirit world, there is no need for a concert hall to be under cover. Spirit people don't need roofs on any of their buildings, but they like coverings on their buildings. They had grown accustomed to roofing while upon the earth, so they have roofs here as well.

I have never been musically inclined, but like most people, I enjoy listening to a catchy tune. To some extent, I can appreciate music without really understanding it. The sounds that the various instruments made were recognizable to me, but the quality of the tone appeared crystal clear to my ears, noticeably purer than the tones produced by playing music on earth. Most of what I observed here was completely new to me, and much of it went above my head. However, to a man who had received extensive musical training on earth, he would feel very much at home in this great Hall of Learning. No musician on earth could possibly imagine how good he will feel when he visits the Hall of Music for the very first time. However, before he can express himself musically in the spirit world, his musical knowledge needs to undergo a few changes. There are certain laws of sound which belong exclusively to the spirit world, and therefore the expression of spirit music produces a very different result from music played on earth.

The tangible effects of music in the spirit world are on a much grander scale than on earth. Many highly skilled earthly musicians soon discover, shortly after arriving in the spirit world, that music only begins after death. Not only are spirit ears far more attuned to sound than earthly ears, but music played in the spirit world creates what they call music-forms.

A music-form is a colourful visible formation, with it's colours interweaving amongst themselves. The size, shape and colours of a music-form is determined entirely by the music that produces it. Music played well will produce a pure music-form, but if played poorly or with impure harmonies, it will produce an incomplete and disjointed music-form. Spirit people not only appreciate the sound of music, but are also inspired by the colourful forms that music creates. And when the music stops, the resultant music-form fades away within a few minutes.

A composer can compose his music, in accordance with the music-forms that he wishes to produce, knowing exactly what the result will be when his music is played. The production of music-forms, which they call music architecture, is an intricate part of music in the spirit world. In the spirit world, not only can you hear music, but you can see music. The musicians play their music with real solid musical instruments and create very real audible music, but the music-forms that their music creates are not as solid as their surroundings. The only thing on earth that I can think of that may help you imagine what a music-form is like, is a rainbow. A colorful shape emerges in the sky, but then the moisture in the air evaporates, and the rainbow quickly fades away. The sight of a rainbow, however, falls well short of the mark of witnessing a glorious music-form.

All the musical instruments of the earth, both from days gone by as well as those of the modern day, were well represented in the Hall of Music, where all sorts of spirit people had come to learn how to play them. Spirit musicians possess a far greater dexterity of hand than earthly people, so the process is never tedious, and the knowledge that they require to play an instrument is easily attained by their superior spirit minds. Spirit musicians become proficient at playing their chosen musical instrument much faster than they ever could on earth. Many spirit musicians choose to join an orchestra or a band, of which thousands exist in the spirit world, to produce music with their fellow musicians. or they can simply enjoy demonstrating their musical talents to their friends and loved ones.

Some of the musical instruments that I saw do not exist on earth, not to my knowledge anyhow, and were totally foreign to me. Spirit musicians can learn how to play these unusual instruments, if that's what they choose, but for the most part, that which is common on the earth is the instrument of choice in the spirit world.

Many people change their approach to music when they come to the spirit world. What they once considered as a pleasant pastime but by no means a necessity, becomes an important part of their everyday spirit lives.

Do spirit people have sex as part of their recreational activities? I feel sure that there are many people on earth who have asked themselves this question. Intimacy is an integral part of the lives of spirit people. Just like earth people, they like to cuddle and hug each other, they like to dance to music, and generally enjoy showing affection with each other. But sex in the spirit world is a far cry from the earthly methods of foreplay and penetration, with the hope that both parties achieve an ecstatic climax, ideally at the same time.

It is difficult for me to describe the manner in which spirit people exchange sexual energy, because I don't have an earthly frame of reference with which to work. The entire spirit body is like one big erroneous zone. Whenever a spirit person simply comes into direct contact with another, for example when shaking hands, sexual energy is naturally exchanged. And if they continued to hold each other's hand for a period of a few minutes, the level of energy between the two people would build up, and they would start to feel a pleasurable sensation in the hand, until it reached a climax, which they would experience at exactly the same time. Once the build up of energy was released, and if they continued to hold each other's hand, the process would simply repeat itself. Energy would build up and they would start to feel a pleasurable sensation in their hands again, which would intensify into a climactic moment of pleasure, felt in the hand and wrist area of their spirit bodies.

But why settle for just a mini orgasm when you can achieve a maximum orgasm, felt throughout your entire spirit body, just as easily and in the same period of time? Don't you agree? Spirit couples certainly agree. The entire spirit body has the ability to sense pleasure, and when a spirit couple wishes to express themselves sexually, they simply lie down together, body to body. In this way, they exchange sexual energy as well as emotions with each other. Every particle of one spirit body reacts with a particle from the other, which produces a feeling of intense pleasure that is all consuming, far more pleasurable than any earthly orgasm.

Naturally, spirit people love to cuddle. Some like to cuddle for hours on end, and I don't blame them! Of course, when they have had enough sexual pleasure for the moment, they simply stop cuddling. Easy as that! Earlier I mentioned that on the whole, spirit people have it easy. Real easy! And the sheer ease of spirit life is further demonstrated by the effortless way that spirit people sexually please their partners.

Chapter 9: What About the Rich and Famous?

A question that intrigues many people on earth is "What happens to the rich and famous after they die?" There exists, in the minds of many humans on earth, an inquisitiveness regarding their fate after death. Fame and fortune in the spirit world are very different things, when compared to fame and fortune on earth. Money means nothing in the spirit world and fame has to be earned by serving others. In fact, you can quietly build up your spiritual "bank account" by serving others on earth before you die, and arrive in the spirit world both spiritually rich and famous. You could be well and truly in the spiritual "black" before you even enter the spirit world! Serving others, both before and after death, is the one and only way to become a rich or famous spirit person.

The laws of the universe apply to all people equally, irrespective of one's earthly position, no matter how rich or famous, and no matter how regal or ordained. The same law applies to all people in exactly the same way, without exception, Whether the rich and famous on earth end up in a light sphere after their death remains entirely within themselves and nobody else.

I think by now you can see that to be a spirit person can be a very pleasant and rewarding experience. And in my travels with Tom, I did not come across one solitary individual who would gladly exchange their life in the spirit world for their old relatively dull life on earth, or in fact any life on earth, such as the life of royalty, the rich or the famous.

And what of all the historically famous people of the earth? Where are they now? They must be somewhere?

Some are in the light spheres where their unselfish lives on earth have found their just rewards. However, many of them have been living in the dark spheres for centuries, and are likely to continue living there for centuries to come. It is your spiritual worth that counts in the end, irrespective of who or what you were on the earth. Perspectives change when people enter the spirit world. It matters not how rich or powerful you were on the earth. In the end, it will be your spiritual worth at the time of your death that will decide your place in the spirit world. Regardless of your position in society, you will be assigned to your appropriate sphere, according to your actions, your character and your motives.

The universal law of cause and effect applies to all people the same way, regardless of one's earthly position. You cannot divert the laws of nature because you are rich and famous. God cannot be bought. The law of cause and effect is incorruptible and has always been in existence. No one has ever escaped from this law. Not since the beginning of our existence. Every human being who has ever lived on the earth has lived under this law.

Every pope and every priest, every prince and every pauper, every saint and every sinner, every general and every soldier. Nobody has ever been excluded. Everybody who has ever walked the earth has done so strictly within the jurisdiction of this unbreakable and immutable law. An average Joe, known only to a handful of people, is subject to this law in exactly the same way as those who are global household names. The light spheres are within reach of every person who is born on the earth, and no one can deprive them of that right. Equal opportunity is simply a fact of spirit life. There are no mysteries attached to it. Everything is straightforward in the spirit world.

Eventually, all people sever their attachments to the earth, both the famous and infamous alike. People inevitably leave their earthly legacies behind them and consider their present spirit situation only, leaving all the details of their lives on earth behind them. Every spirit person leaves all the petty drama of their life on earth firmly sealed in their memory banks. Frankly, they have much, much better things to do with their time!

Fame and fortune on earth now seems rubbishy to me; like garbage compared with spiritual fame and fortune. Spiritual riches and honors are within the reach of every person the moment he or she moves into the spirit world. We enter the spirit world with a spiritual birthright of sorts, of which no one can take away from us. Earthly greatness may appear very real while we are experiencing it, but just how great one really is, is only seen after death in the spirit world, where greatness is real and permanent. Earthly fame and fortune disappear the minute we move into the spirit world, and there we stand, fully exposed for what we really are, not for what others thought we were.

Over the centuries, a great many famous people have not retained the same level of fame and respect that they experienced on earth. We all leave our earthly legacies behind us, but we carry our spiritual legacies forward with us. Many a king or queen has become bitterly dismayed at all the riches and adoration they received on earth. The moment they entered the spirit world, they saw themselves, for the very first time, exactly as they really were. Sadly, in so many cases over the centuries, much to their shock, embarrassment and chagrin. Indeed, greatness on the earth does not necessarily go hand in hand with greatness in the spirit world, but sometimes all the respect and admiration gained on the earth simply continues after death.

Chapter 10: What of the Church and Their Audacious Claims?

First and foremost, you can be sure that you don't need to practice a particular form of organized religion, or any form of religion for that matter, to acquire a favourable position in the afterlife. No religious organization that has ever existed on earth has ever saved a single soul. That little rescue mission, if ever the need arises, is purely up to each man to carry out, all by himself. Spirit people do not live their lives according to the way that any religion thinks they should, and they do not take orders from any one, especially from an inferior earthly mind. No spirit person is ever forced to do anything, especially a thing of which he disapproves.

It astonishes me that the spirit world is completely unknown to the vast majority of people of the earth. It's beyond me that all of this spirit activity is going on, and has been going on since the beginning of time, yet so few people on earth know anything about it! A tiny percentage of people are acutely aware of the spirit world. A higher percentage kind of believe it exists, but do not know anything about it. Most earthlings, however, are completely oblivious of its existence.

And it puzzles me greatly, how the whole business of life after death squares up with religion? A bit odd, don't you agree, that the religions of the earth have assumed absolute authority over the issue of life after death? The truth of the matter is I have not been taught anything at all by my religion, and never knew what to expect, not in the slightest. A great many people on the earth dimly understand the spirit world as the next world, but they treat the whole idea from a religious standpoint. The religions of the earth seem to have assumed a monopoly over the afterlife.

To which they have no right. They have never been entitled to make their audacious claims. The passing of a human being from the earth into the spirit world is not a religious issue whatsoever. It’s a natural part of life. Living a good life in the spirit world has zero to do with religious activity.

There are thousands of religions on earth, and they all believe in something different. I remember reading somewhere that no religion knows the whole truth, but that each knows part thereof, and if you put all their texts together, you'd eventually find the truth. Just think about what it would entail? How are you going to tell what is the literal truth among all the false claims and mumbo jumbo in their sacred scriptures? Can you just imagine what it would be like if all the religions spread across the earth combined all their texts together, and then their respective leaders tried to sort out the wheat from the chaff? At best, there would be much arguing, bickering and complaining. It would be a hell of a job trying to find the truth through all that commotion. And at worst, it could very well result in the onset of World War III.

So, it seems that religion is not the answer. All this going to church every Sunday, with all it's holiness, pomp and ceremony, all the singing of hymns, all the sermons and all the preaching. All for nothing! And the donations, let's not forget about that little item on the church's agenda. Especially the donations! Religions have collected truckloads of hard-earned cash from their loyal congregations over the centuries. To borrow a phrase from my favourite comedian of all time, the late George Carlin - "Religion takes in billions of dollars every year, pays no taxes, and it always needs a little more. Talk about a good bullshit story? Holy shit!!"

Religion doesn’t have any bearing on what people experience after death. How could religion possibly have ever preached the truth? How could a clergyman teach ignorant others all about life in the spirit world, or any subject for that matter, when the clergyman knows absolutely zilch about the subject himself? Ignorance is at the root of the problem.

When I think about it, I can clearly recall walking and talking with Tom in the light of the spirit world. Yet this truly majestic place has been shrouded in all sorts of strange conditions, inhibiting limitations, gross misrepresentations and foolish misconceptions. And I can also clearly recall being seated in a beautiful park on some wonderfully soft grass, engaged in a very real and intelligent conversation with Tom. Undoubtedly, I could see the countryside for miles into the distance. It was all very tangible and solid, without question. There was no noticeable change in my condition other than I now felt perfectly healthy and wholesome. And I felt very content sitting there with Tom, thoroughly enjoying myself in this truly wonderful world, but I certainly didn't feel pious or holy. From what I saw, there were no evident signs of piety or holiness anywhere in the spirit world, nor did I see people going about the place preaching their religious beliefs or quoting texts from ancient scriptures. Thank God for that!

Life after death in the spirit world is not a religious experience, but a normal everyday experience of a very ordinary nature. People arrive in the spirit world by virtue of their spiritual heritage, not through their adherence to any form of religious practice. It is a basic human right to arrive in the spirit world after death, not because of which religion one believes in while upon the earth.

The church just cannot accept the idea of the spirit world as a solid, tangible reality, inhabited by solid, rationally minded people, all either working or playing or whatever else they feel like doing. The idea that spirit people live in houses, are surrounded by familiar earthlike landscapes, have bodies, enjoy community life, go to work, play games, take up lines of study, etc., is just not religious enough for the church to even consider. It's simply too earthy and surely not the sort of thing that God would allow. The church does not know precisely what to expect in the way of an afterlife, but they can suggest nothing other than an essentially religious afterlife existence.

The church's ideas on the afterlife are thousands of years old and bear no relation to modern day circumstances. Their teachings are distorted by superstition, and have been modified over the centuries to enhance the position of its leaders. The church assumes that the spirit world is static, but they have made a very wrong assumption.

Hundreds of millions of people on earth know absolutely nothing about the spirit world. I find it outrageous that the church warns people from knowing anything about it. And for the silliest reasons? What harm could there possibly be in knowing about the spirit world and the type of life a spirit person lives? Indeed, the knowledge can only be helpful!

The religions of the earth know nothing about the spirit world, nor about the kind of lives that spirit people live. They admit that they are unsure of what the spirit world is really like, but they are absolutely sure of what it isn't like, upon what authority is anybody's guess. The church sees the earth as the material world, and understands life after death as an existence based purely on holy principles and practices, and in no way similar to the lives lived by people still on the earth.

Wholesale ignorance of the spirit world isn’t a new thing brought about by the emergence of a modern-day secular society; it's been around for centuries. And that’s the real problem. The lie has been going on for way too long and the mortar has set firmly between the minds of the masses. A great many people, when they arrive in the spirit world, desperately want to go back to earth to tell the truth to the world that they’ve left behind. Some actually do go back to see what they can do about it, but the result is inevitably the same. Frustration! They cannot be heard in the places where they want to be heard, such as the church!

The problem is caused by the church going about things in the wrong way. The church tries to make the spirit world suit their teachings, instead of making their teachings suit the reality of the spirit world. Unfortunately, their theology doesn’t fit the facts. The church rejects anything that does not align with it's creeds and doctrines and dogmas, preferring the shadow to the substance. Something is radically wrong with their theology.

Heaven is not a religious institution reserved for selected humans only. The spirit world is indeed heavenly, but it's not a religious world at all. It is a beautiful and sensible world, open to all people, where they can work or play, as they see fit. And they can be themselves and not as the church tells them how they ought to behave. Spirit people have loads of fun and love to laugh to their heart’s content, especially at the sheer stupidity of the teachings of their particular religion on earth, to which they previously had duly adhered. The church regards heaven as a place of perfection. In this respect, they are correct. But perfection of what, they do not know, and they know that they do not know. yet they carry on regardless. They simply refuse to imagine the perfection of the spirit world as it really is.

And there is yet another dead end. Many people believe that to know anything about the afterlife is impossible. Others feel that people are not meant to know, and if they were, they would surely have been told by now. Yet we have been told many times, ironically by the very same people who the church says are working for the devil, and who therefore must be making false claims. Very strange indeed, don't you think?

Anyhow, I think I have given the church a long overdue wake up call, but I am sure they won't respond in any practical way. Perhaps I have been a bit harsh on the church, but I offer them no apology. They won't even listen to a word that I have said. "No, no, no!" they will say, while wagging a finger at me. Organized religion will carry on exactly as it has for centuries, regardless of what I have to say, or what anybody else has to add for that matter.

It is difficult for many people to replace the teachings of their traditional religious institutions, with which they grew up, with a more exotic and adaptable type of heaven. They struggle to get past their personal expectations based on their outdated teachings. Perhaps, out of fear they dare not question their church's authority, if they ever come across something different that makes more sense to them.

All religious teachings on earth should be seen as merely hypotheses, works in progress that can only be proved through the experience of passing away and moving into the spirit world. The same rule of thumb applies to the more modern teachings, such as Theosophy, which was established late in the 19th century. Theosophy describes seven levels of human consciousness as the physical, etheric, astral, mental, causal, buddhic and atmic planes.

And the same applies to even more recent teachings, such as the teachings in this book and others like it. The proof of the bread is always in the tasting of it, not while it is still baking in the oven. Having too big an investment in any particular way of thinking is not smart, especially regarding the subject of the afterlife. It is wise to be open-minded and let the spirit world come to you. Religion, in my humble opinion, is long past its sell by date. If we cling tenaciously to its primitive teachings, at best we will not be helping our cause in general, and at worst it could result in our self-destruction.

Chapter 11: The Invisible Helping Hand

A great deal of disorder and corruption exists throughout the entire earth. And so, to many on the earth, the very idea that the spirit world could possibly have any beneficial influence upon the earth has got to be a false idea. Many earth people understand the spirit world and the earth as two distinctly different worlds, and therefore apart from each other. Some believe that the two worlds are literally banned, by the masters of cosmic intelligence, from ever practicing anything like communicating with one another.

Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, if it wasn't for all the help coming from the spirit world over the centuries, even with lady luck on our side, humanity would be submerged somewhere back in the early Middle Ages. The earth and the spirit world have always been in constant and direct communication. Spirit people, who are engaged in communication with people of the earth, know everything about their personal lives, as well as the general affairs of the earth. In other words, the spirit world is at all times fully aware of everything that is happening on the earth. However, that does not mean all spirit people know all about everybody and everything that is taking place on earth. Most spirit people couldn't care less about the earth. Since they have left the earth behind them, they choose to have no further interest in the affairs of the earth whatsoever, both on a personal and general level.

Every person who has ever been born upon the earth has been allocated a spirit guide. They function efficiently and seamlessly, regardless of nationality or religious beliefs. Spirit guides influence earth people in a very personal way. Early men of the church offered the idea of an invisible protector, whom they called a guardian angel, as an incentive to any person who adhered to their faith. The idea of a guardian angel naturally found its way into the minds of earthly artists, who portrayed it as a stern-looking celestial creature of sorts, with a pair of enormous wings and dressed in a shiny white robe. This gross misconception still exists in the minds of many people in the modern world, and demonstrates, by its very implication, the gulf that exists between the two worlds.

Spirit guides are not only involved in the lives of those on earth, but also in the organization and administration of the spirit world. They live in a spirit region all of their own, most having lived there for centuries. Many spirit guides already possessed psychic abilities before they died, and were therefore aware of the relationship between the two worlds well before they arrived there. A suitable guide is chosen for each person who is born on the earth, in accordance with a predetermined plan. Most spirit guides are similar in nature and character to their earthly clients, because it is very important that a spirit guide understands his client's strengths and weaknesses, especially the latter. Many spirit guides dealt with the same or similar failings as their earthly clients, when they themselves were on the earth, and naturally try to help their clients, wherever possible, to overcome those same failings.

There are people on earth who communicate with the spirit world. Some have already met with their spirit guides and remain in touch with them on a regular basis, but most spirit guides carry out their work completely unbeknown to the people they are helping, which can make their jobs harder than necessary. And there are others, by the gross way they choose to live their lives on the earth, who make it impossible for their spirit guides to get within earshot of them, let alone help them.

Most people, as soon as they arrive in the spirit world realize, for the very first time, what they had missed out on during their lives on earth. Many people on earth ridicule and pour scorn at the idea of a spirit guide. They all regret their foolishness on the day they meet with their spirit guides in the spirit world, who, in all probability, know a lot more about their earthly lives than they ever did themselves!

The spirit world is the sort of thing that sceptics on earth like to poke fun at. They mock the whole idea of a spirit guide. They love to tell jokes about it, but what seemed like such a funny joke at the time, causing an entire audience to roar with laughter, becomes far from funny when the sceptic enters the spirit world and meets his spirit guide. Many a great sceptic, with all his alleged wisdom, realizes, as soon he arrives in the spirit world, that he has made an absolute ass of himself. Many a closed-minded sceptic has arrived in the spirit world as the undisputed spiritual dunce of his era, and sooner or later, has reunited with the very same people who he had ridiculed on earth, much to his embarrassment, regret, chagrin and self-pity. A spirit guide never violates the expression of his client's free will. A spirit guide will attempt to advise his client on earth whenever possible, trying to lead him in the right direction for his own good. To take that advice on board or to reject it always remains with his client. If you see somebody about to step off the platform into the path of an oncoming train, and you yell out loudly to warn him, you are not influencing his free will. If he ignores your warning signal, he only has himself to blame for the disaster that awaits him. Spirit guides are there to guide people, but not to live their lives for them. Everybody must live their own lives for themselves.

Spirit guides are not the only source of influence coming from the spirit world. Many earthly doctors have been guided by the thoughts of a doctor in the spirit world, such as when he was conducting a diagnosis or deciding a prognosis. Help has been provided to the earth in much the same way in many other aspects of life since the beginning of time. People of the earth have done very little all by themselves, and most newcomers to the spirit world quickly come to realize this. All the major inventions and discoveries that have been of service to the people of the earth have come, and will continue to come, from the spirit world. But what people on the earth choose to do with that knowledge is purely up to them. If they use the knowledge to selfish and destructive ends, then they can only thank themselves when Pandora's box explodes in their faces.

Man on earth can do certain things all by himself. He can weave a basket, play a musical instrument or use a fishing rod to catch his dinner. He can construct a home for himself, or even go as far as manipulating machinery, but all the major discoveries and inventions that have ever been of service to the earth have originated in the spirit world. Despite all the problems on the earth, if the spirit teachers withdraw their influence on the earth today, the earth would be reduced to rubble within a decade; a state of absolute chaos would occur in a very short period of time.

Of course, if the inspiration from the spirit world is not for the benefit of mankind, it should be ignored. Man on earth will always have the free choice to decide on which source of inspiration he wishes to lend himself, for better or for worse. The spirit world has a vast and diverse population, and each spirit person has a unique outlook on life in general. Just as earthly people have different understandings of life in the spirit world, so too do spirit people have different views of life on earth. This can, and often does, create a contradiction of information coming from the spirit world. Each spirit person speaks from his own personal life experiences, and what he believes is true for him, may not be true for others. There is a huge variation of intelligence among spirit people. Some can only conceive life in the spirit world in the same vein as they did when they left the earth. Many spirit people are like children, and in no way could they accurately describe spirit life to those still on earth. Others make up stories that simply are not true, sometimes in sheer ignorance, but more often because they feel like getting up to some naughty, childish mischief. Often, a newcomer remains so absorbed by his own earth conceptions, that he sends those misconceptions back to earth.

Spirit people make assumptions based on their own limited experiences, in much the same way as people on earth do. We do not automatically become all-knowing as soon as we drop our physical bodies. Our knowledge and understandings stay the same, until we educate ourselves, which partly explains the reason for the disparities in information coming from the spirit world. Let's just say that some spirit people, although they mean well, are not the sharpest tools in the shed. People are still people, even after they have passed away. Newcomers usually don't understand much about their new world anyhow. We need to allow for this, when receiving information from the spirit world.

Common sense should prevail, until we figure out exactly with whom we are dealing? We may be dealing with a person who can only speak from their personal limited experiences. Or is it with someone with a much broader understanding of life, and who therefore presents a wider perspective. Spirit people are still people, and they present themselves as such.

The type of spirit life experienced by an early human would have been a very different thing to the type of life a spirit person lives in the modern day. The higher level of mentality that spirit people have today, makes them much better equipped to understand the ways and means of the spirit world than their primitive ancestors. The spirit world is not static. Like the earth, it is constantly evolving. As life on earth changes, so too does life in the spirit world. When our understandings and social conventions change, in response to that, the spirit world changes accordingly. Human development is not static. People continue to evolve in the spirit world. Even the few religions that preach the idea that everything is constantly changing, don’t seem to consider that the spirit world is subject to change as well. The spirit world is constantly changing, just like the earth. There has always been a correlation between the changes made on earth and the changes made in the spirit world. In many ways, the spirit world and the earth reflect each other, especially the lower spheres that are closest to the earth. One day, when the higher spirit spheres and the earth reflect each other, we will all be living in the Garden of Eden, the promised land of milk and honey.

A great many people believe that ancient texts have authority over any contemporary offering, but this is a gross misconception. Ancient scriptures don't consider the changing nature of the spirit world and are, more often than not, less accurate than the newer material out there. How can a clergyman offering teachings about the spirit world, based on ancient and outdated material, know what he is talking about? He is only offering outdated superstitions. Even if a clergyman goes beyond the principles of his religion and tries to describe the specifics of the spirit world, he is bound to speak inaccurately. Religious beliefs get distorted by superstitions, no matter how correct the original teaching. For many people, a major part of adapting to the spirit world is letting go of their superstitions.

Many people think that if a spirit person returns to the earth to make his presence felt, he must be working for the devil, or even the devil himself! This primitive belief has its origins in the minds of early churchmen, who, in their blindness, have effectively stifled much of the knowledge coming from the spirit world, while paving the way for the real forces of evil to operate. To even suggest that the spirit world has any type of influence upon the earth, other than the influence of the devil, goes totally against the grain of the principles of the church. The largest organized religious group on earth, namely the Christian Church, decreed a long time ago that all revelation from the spirit world stopped coming to the earth when the last of the apostles passed from the earth, and nothing but silence has come from it ever since.

Spirit teachers try their very best with the limited opportunities available to them. They constantly try to influence people on the earth, but all too often, the door through which they wish to enter is firmly shut, has a "do not disturb" sign hanging on it, and is bolted top and bottom with padlocks, just to be sure.

All the problems on the earth could be swept away within a decade under the guidance of spirit teachers, if we'd only let them through the door. There is not a single problem on the earth that could not be solved with their help and advice. Unfortunately, man on earth is arrogant and conceited; he thinks that he is above any sort of help coming from another source. He thinks he can do everything, all by himself. He thinks he knows everything and can manage his own life just fine, thank you very much, without any help coming from a spooky source.

Many a religious leader, when he arrived in the spirit world, in the very same world that he once scorned upon, sighed deeply when he realized just how wrong he was, and felt awful when he saw the dreadful state to which humanity had degraded. Many national leaders have been filled with sadness and remorse when they looked back at all the wasted opportunities that they had to better the lives of their fellow countrymen, if only they had listened to the wise teachers of the spirit world, while they were alive on the earth.

The earth is a beautiful planet, and life on earth could be just as beautiful, if only mankind stops preventing it from being that way. needs. One thing that the earth needs, right now more than ever before, is accurate and updated information, that better suits our ability to obtain a clearer picture of what life after death is really like.

The spirit world is more beautiful than any man on earth could possibly imagine, and life on earth looks very bleak to spirit people, who try their best to shed some light into the darkness. They try to make their presence felt at every opportunity. Their influence upon the earth is immense, but it has only just begun. Both the spirit world and the earth are forever progressing and advancing. One day, their influence will be increased way beyond its present range, but only when the earth fully accepts their existence. Then people will know what it means to truly live upon the earth, but we all have a long way to go.  

Many spirit scientists, together with their colleagues, work on investigating the causes of problems on the earth and help alleviate them. Many a spirit scientist has guided an earthly scientist when he was performing an experiment. The scientist on earth is more than likely unaware of the help coming to him from an unseen world, and therefore claims all the glory for himself. The scientist in the spirit world is only too happy to serve the scientist on earth, without any acknowledgment from him whatsoever. The recognition of him being a successful spirit teacher is measured essentially by the success of his earthly students. In whatever branch of science the spirit scientist may be concerned, he will always find more than enough stuff to keep him busy for as long as he chooses. The need to serve the earth is always there. So too is the supply of those services.

Discoveries and conclusions are constantly being made, and inventions are always being perfected. Most of these inventions and discoveries are not for those in the spirit world, but for those still alive on the earth, but only when the time is right. Only when the earth is ready to receive the knowledge. When the student on earth is ready, the knowledge from the teacher in the spirit world will surely arrive, but not a second before.

One day, a deluge of new inventions and discoveries will flow from the spirit world to the earth. Much knowledge is at present being held back from the earth until humanity is ready to receive it. The mind of mankind is still in its infancy, and an infant becomes a dangerous entity when playing with a box of matches; the infant has use of that which can destroy. Meanwhile, the work goes on in the spirit world, which provides many spirit people with useful occupations. Nothing ever disturbs their routines.

Chapter 12: The Dark Spheres

Technically speaking, the two lowest spheres are part of the spirit world. However, they are dark and ugly, appearing worlds apart from the bright and beautiful spheres above them. They serve primarily as probationary worlds, where people spend time sorting out their various issues, learning what they need to know, doing what they need to do and generally trying to raise their level of consciousness to the level required for a promotion into the light of the third sphere.

The Summerland is a term often applied by mystics and mediums on earth to depict the eternal summerlike lifestyles of the people in the third and fourth spheres. The dark spheres are governed by different natural laws from those that govern the Summerland, and the people in the dark spheres also live under the jurisdiction of different social conventions than their brethren in the Summerland.

Tom suggested that the time had come for us to pay a visit to the dark spheres. Once more we approached a border, this time between the third and second spheres. And once again I felt a drop in temperature, which I had earlier experienced when descending from the fourth to the third. As I looked around, I discovered that the environment was undergoing a similar change; it was getting darker and the colours were toning down. We descended to the ground and the surface didn't feel as soft beneath my feet as it did in the sphere above. The air felt noticeably thicker, the temperature seemed to have fallen considerably; I could no longer feel the soothing warmth to which I had become accustomed. And to use an earthly analogy again, moving from the third sphere into the second felt like moving from a neat and tidy middle-class neighbourhood into a sadly neglected lower-class one. This time the transition from higher to lower was a lot more dramatic; it was certainly more than a gentle step down in general conditions, the likes of which I had experienced when we moved from the fourth to the third.

We walked along an ugly stretch of dimly-lit barren countryside. The misty atmosphere felt thick and heavy, as if something in the air was constricting my movements. The sky looked gloomy and dark. As we walked along in the twilight atmosphere, the mist became thicker and thicker, but then it began to clear until it disappeared altogether. Now, for the first time, I had a better picture of the panorama of the barren and bleak second sphere.

At first there was no sign of life anywhere to be seen. The foliage on the trees was almost non-existent, except for a few yellow leaves dangling here and there. There were no flowers anywhere to be seen and the grass had virtually disappeared, except for a few sparse patches of straw-like turf, scattered here and there.  Then up ahead in the distance I saw a cluster of small buildings, and as we approached one of them, I saw a small group of people standing just outside of it. They gave the distinct appearance of conspiring together, upon what evil commission I could not tell. All the houses here were small, basic, squat and square; unappealing and uninviting. More like dens than houses. None of them had gardens. We had not by any means, at this point of the journey, reached the bottom regions of the dark spheres. Indeed, we had barely scratched the surface, but already I had been given a distinct taste of the overall ugliness and nastiness of the dark spheres

The visible beauty of each sphere reflects the outward expression of the spiritual level of its inhabitants. In this sense we have created all these worlds entirely by ourselves. Beauty of mind and soul produces nothing but beautiful things, and therefore the light spheres have magnificent stately buildings with gardens, beautiful flowers and trees, well maintained parks and grasslands, majestic mountain ranges, sparkling clean oceans, rivers and streams, and, of course, the people have their very own comfortable homes where they can enjoy happy times with friends and loved ones.

But ugliness of mind can produce nothing but ugliness. Seeds of darkness, selfishly sowed upon the earth, inevitably shape the ugliness of the dark spheres. In the same way, the light spheres have been shaped by kind and beautiful thoughts. Unlike the buildings in the light spheres, all the houses and public structures that I saw in the dark spheres were basic and unappealing. Some appeared run down and in desperate need of a makeover. The upkeep of the natural flora on the land appeared to be sadly neglected. The developments that shape the environment in any spirit sphere, whether a light or a dark one, are the effects of the deliberate and conscious use of its inhabitants' thoughts.

All of the inhabitants of the dark spheres had, by the ways and means of their lives on earth, condemned themselves to the unenviable position in which they now found themselves. The law of cause and effect is irrefutable and inevitable; as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow on the earth. But all is not lost. Those who end up in the dark spheres have the power within to climb into the light. They must make the individual effort themselves; they must work out their own redemption.

Nobody can do it for them. Thankfully, mercy is close at hand. An opportunity of spiritual reclamation is ready and waiting. If a man shows a heartfelt desire to move towards the light spheres above him, he will find a host of helpers who will guide him towards his goal. Every bad action on earth must be accounted for in the spirit world by those who commit them. Only they can do it for themselves, but they do have ready and able assistance at their fingertips. For a start, they can listen to what their respective helpers, such as Tom, have to say, instead of arguing with them. They can attend special Spirituality Schools that teach matters of eternal truth. They can consult specialist counsellors to work through their various issues.

Tom explained that he was a frequent visitor to the dark spheres. Over the years, he had escorted many humans from the earth to these worlds, and a major part of his job was to follow the progress of the unfortunate newcomers who had ended up in this depressing environment, and to help them grow spiritually until they were ready for a promotion to the third sphere. Tom explained that there was not much activity in the dimly lit second sphere and that some of its inhabitants never leave their homes. He pointed to one of the houses, occupied at the time by Brian, one of Tom's more stubborn clients.

Tom told me that he had never left his house since the day he brought him there about two years ago. While on earth, Brian had suddenly abandoned his wife and son, in favour of a younger lady. Here one day, gone the next. Without any warning he fled the country with his new partner and was never seen again, leaving his ex-wife and son with no money to pick up the pieces. He went on to become a hugely successful businessman in his new land, where he fathered two children with his new partner. For years he saw himself as a model father and a respected member of society, and blamed the constant moaning and groaning of his devoted first wife for leaving her in his wake. After his death, the blame game simply continued; Brian has never expressed any remorse for any of his selfish actions and is showing no sign of doing so any time soon. All alone in that dingy house for two years without ever going anywhere? That would drive me crazy!

I asked Tom why he was doing that to himself? What was his problem? Rather than telling me, he demonstrated it instead. We walked a short distance and entered the doorway of Brian's dingy house. We walked into a dimly lit room and met Brian, middle-age in appearance, who was dressed in shabby earth-like clothes and sitting all alone on a wooden stool, looking down at the floor with his head in his hands. A small wooden table in front of him was the only other piece of furniture in the room.

"Hello Brian, this is Malcolm," said Tom. "Just passing through your neighbourhood so I thought I'd pay you a visit to see how you are." Brian just sat there in silence and stared vacantly into space; he made no attempt to greet us in any way. "How are things, Brian? Everything okay with you?" Tom enquired with a smile. It took a moment before Brian spoke, but when he did it wasn't pretty. Let's just say that Brian was none too pleased to see us. "Not you again!" Brian scowled at Tom. "I'm not in the mood for a lecture today!" "I am not a lecturer. I am not here to lecture you. I simply want to help you move into a nicer, brighter world where everyone is happy and content all the time, but only if you are prepared to help yourself," Tom replied.

Brian then ranted at length about the raw deal that he had copped after his death; nothing was his fault, this wasn't fair and that wasn't justified. Tom just let him waffle on and remained cool, calm and collected. Eventually, Brian calmed down and became more approachable but far from affable. He engaged in a brief conversation with Tom about the consequences of his selfish life on earth. Tom tried to reason with him, but he was having none of it; it wasn't long before he escorted us to the front door and ushered us out. Brian just stood at the door eyeballing us, just to make sure we walked away, until we were completely out of his sight. Tom then told me more about the grumpy and uncooperative Brian. 

Brian was a wealthy materialist before his death a couple of years ago. He was a vain and arrogant man, selfish to the extreme, and a ruthless businessman. He had routinely abused his staff and avoided tax for many years; making lots of money for himself was the only thing that mattered to him. In his home, his wife and children were subservient to him at all times, as were his guests. He did not give to charity, not even once in his entire life, but to his credit, he had performed a few generous actions every now and then. Even on those rare occasions when he had expressed kindness, he had always expected something in return. Brian had attended church with his family every Sunday and regularly supported his religion with substantial financial donations. Now he blamed his church. He felt that his religion had let him down, adamant that he had been unfairly condemned to hell. He had believed that his generous donations to his religion would all but guarantee him a favourable outcome in the afterlife, but now he felt deceived by his church. Just goes to show, money can't buy you happiness, not only before death, but after death as well! Although he was not an evil man by nature, he was self-centered in the extreme. He only pursued his own interests and was generally irritated by anyone, or anything, that interrupted his selfish agenda. He was absorbed by his self-image; he did not care about anybody else but himself.

Now Brian refuses to see that he himself, and nobody else, had condemned him to this unfortunate position in the afterlife. He was not relenting from his stubborn attitude. I witnessed it for myself. Since his arrival in the second sphere, whenever Tom had tried to help him, the result had always been the same; his unfavourable position in the afterlife was a major travesty of justice. He wouldn't admit that he was completely at fault, but Tom's perseverance would eventually pay off. Sooner or later, Brian will first forgive his church for leading him astray, then he will forgive himself for his selfish ways and progress to the delightful third sphere. He had a friend/business associate on earth who, after recently passing away, paid him a visit, but Brian repelled him and he has never returned. Other than that, and of course on the few occasions when Tom had paid him a visit, Brian had not interacted with anyone yet and had spent all of his time all alone in his home, stewing in his false sense of bitter injustice. His motives were always based around the grandeur of himself, which he had achieved, not only at the expense of people on earth, but at the cost of a happy life for himself in the spirit world.

Tom suggested that for me to better understand the story of the second sphere was to spend some time with a few of his clients to see how they were coping with their new way of life. We visited an equally squalid den as Brian's, where we met Tom's most stubborn patient, a man in his early fifties in appearance, who had led a brutal life on earth. He was a hitman for many years, killing was his job in life, and he had made a lot of money in the process. Eventually, he met his match when he was killed by a penitentiary official while sitting on an electric chair 80 years before our meeting. After his death in 1927, he had found himself in the repugnant first sphere.

Although his inflamed appetite for revenge had settled down somewhat over the years, he was still a restless and angry man. To his credit, the hitman had progressed to the second sphere about 3 years prior to our meeting, and since his arrival here, he had spent most of his time sulking and stewing in his misery. Tom had tried long and hard, with little success, to raise his consciousness to the level of the third sphere, but eventually, according to Tom, the man would have no choice but to raise his level of spirituality or his suffering would simply continue.

Next up we visited Susan, a middle-aged woman who had been dead for about a month. She was a tall and very beautiful woman, in her late thirties in appearance, who had lived purely for the physical aspects of life. Tom told me that she was a popular woman on earth, a photographic model, mother of two, and generally liked by all. He went on to explain that together with her husband, she had quietly distributed vast commercial quantities of A-class drugs on the black market to finance her life of pleasure. Her life depended very much on physical things, which are only obtainable in the physical world. Before her death, she only wore the finest clothes, sent her children to the most prestigious schools, drove top of the range luxury cars and generally lived extraordinarily well. She loved her fancy holidays, expensive jewelry, and dining at Michelin star restaurants was her favourite pastime.

However, at her death the things for which Susan craved on earth were no longer available. Although she could now still enjoy companionship with others, society was for her a very different matter. All the pretenses, upon which her life was based in the physical world, no longer existed for her. Money becomes absolutely meaningless when you are in the spirit world. What I learned from our encounter with this lady was if during your physical life, you had no ideas beyond appearances, money or pleasure, or if you lived a predominantly materialistic life, you will naturally experience a somewhat useless and wearisome existence, for a period of time that varies widely, in one of the dark spheres of the spirit world.

Most people of this type end up in the second sphere and become like spoiled children without their possessions. However, sooner or later everybody here must realize that they need to broaden their perspective or their suffering will inevitably continue. Susan, just like everyone else who finds themselves in the second sphere, needs to spend time with specialist helpers and teachers, sorting out her various issues, learning what she needs to know and doing what she needs to do, in order to raise her level of consciousness to the level required for a promotion into the light of the third sphere.

We visited an ex-professional golfer who died at age 68. He had been dead for about six months. A large part of his life had revolved around hitting golf balls into holes in the ground. In his younger days, he had achieved his goal by breaking into the top 20 golfers on earth and had amassed fame and money in the process. When his career came to an end, he started missing the thrill of competing in golf tournaments. He craved the limelight, to which he had become accustomed; the fame and recognition that he had received for more than a decade had faded away, resulting in him turning to a life of alcohol and gambling to provide him with his thrills. Like Brian, the golfer had also become bored and disgruntled after his death.

His final years on earth were spent in absolute squalor, in a filthy derelict lodge with other broken men, mainly helpless alcoholics and drug addicts. His dependence on alcohol had progressed beyond the physical; a litre and a half of whisky a day for over a decade had taken its toll. His craving for the bottle had even progressed past the mental dependence stage; he had become spiritually addicted to alcohol. He had wrecked his life, abused his wife and children and when the money that he had made on the golf course ran out, he had committed innumerable petty crimes to finance his gambling addiction and also his craving for the sensation that alcohol produced.

Tom told me that if he had used alcohol purely to quench his thirst, he would have no desire to drink alcohol after his death. Thirst and hunger didn’t exist for him any longer. But the origin of his desire was not thirst. Instead it was the craving for a pleasurable sensation. The golfer had been dead for six months, yet his craving for the euphoria produced by consuming alcohol still remained with him, even more than before his death. But because he didn’t have a physical body, there was no way of satisfying his desire. Having set up a desire that could not be satisfied in the spirit world, he had experienced much suffering, which he claimed had made the six months since he arrived here, feel like an eternity to him. The once very successful professional golfer, turned helpless gambler and drunkard, wasn’t thrown into a hot and fiery place called hell, but he sure as hell was feeling the results of his actions on earth.

His craving for alcohol had remained with him after his death, but he no longer possessed a physical body, the only way through which his craving could be satisfied. He had created both the power and duration of his suffering, determined by the degree of his foolish actions on earth. After death, people with conditions of addictions gradually wear their vices out, which is the only way that people rid themselves of their vices in the spirit world. Tom told me that sooner or later, the golfer would have no choice but to forget about the bottle or his nightmare would surely continue.

Hunger and thirst no longer exist after we pass away. The desire of a glutton to gorge vast quantities of food continues after death, which causes much suffering due to the absence of his discarded physical body, through which alone his hunger can be satisfied. People retain their physical desires after they die, but now they have no way of satisfying them. Gluttons can't satisfy their cravings for food and alcoholics can't get drunk. Drug addicts cannot get high, for precisely the same reason. Life after death can feel like hell for those who had lived purely to satisfy their physical desires.

Tom told me that the golfer, an intrinsically decent man on earth, was beginning to accept the fact that his poor choices had led him here. He had been making good spiritual progress lately and provided he kept it up, I was told by Tom, he would find himself living very happily in the third sphere before too long.

By now, you should be starting to understand the story of the second sphere. If during your life you had no thoughts beyond money, power, fame, pleasure, sport, gossip or gambling, when you die you will find time hanging heavily on your hands. And unless you take the steps to expand your horizon, life after death for you will always be unhappy, frustrating and boring. If your life on earth was essentially materialistic, or if your amusements and interests were dependent essentially on the physical body, or if your primary attractions were things like sport, business, good living and idle chatter, you will more than likely find yourself in this unfortunate situation. On the other hand, if you were intellectually or spiritually inclined, or if you were essentially artistic or interested in a branch of science or philosophy, or even if you had a special interest in travel, the chances are you should enjoy your afterlife in the third sphere.

Take the case of another of Tom's patients, a middle-aged man, who before he died had thought that he was in love with a woman, but all he really wanted to do was own and control her; mind, body and soul. After he died, he had experienced torture thinking about other men approaching the object of his desire, his supposed love. Now he had no way of fending them off. Sooner or later, Tom explained to the man, he must come to realize that he had no choice but to get rid of his jealousy or his suffering would simply continue. Like all the others who end up here, the jealous man hadn’t been sent to a place called hell, but he was experiencing the results of his foolishness during his physical life.

The inhabitants of the second sphere tend to look back on their physical lives. Slowly but surely, as they come to terms with their respective fates, they start to react positively. Some become determined not to make the same mistakes again, others decide not to waste their opportunities the next time around. Many become remorseful, such as a man we visited, who before his death, was an egotistical, selfish, high rolling womanizer. He had gambled away everything that he had owned, including the family house, and had not made any form of provision for his wife and children before he died. At the time of our meeting, he had been dead for about nine months and was still frantically worrying about how they'd manage, now that he was gone.

There are people on earth who always make trouble for themselves by constantly worrying and complaining about things over which they have no control. Guess what?  Most end up in the second sphere, where they continue to worry and complain, radiating depression wherever they go. Sooner or later they all need to come to realize the foolishness of being miserable all the time and eventually view life more positively.

Let’s now consider a small group of people that I met in the second sphere. All of them had been well and truly indoctrinated to believe in hell and eternal damnation as the imposed punishments for not meeting the standards of a demanding God. They were convinced that they must be in hell, not because they were bad people, but because they had not pleased God in the specific way that God wanted to be pleased, according to their religious scriptures. They felt that they had let God down and as I watched them all sitting there, wallowing in abject misery, and torturing themselves by means of their own dogmatic thoughts, I truly felt sorry for them. Tom told me that until they managed to discard their false and non-serving religious ideas, they would never make it up to the third sphere. 

By now you should have a fairly good idea of life in the second sphere. One more example and you should begin to understand the conditions that people encounter here. Somewhere along the way we met a man, who according to Tom, had bashed a stranger senseless outside a nightclub in his younger days, resulting in severe brain damage, requiring life-long around the clock care. His heinous crime was never solved. He had simply walked away from his helpless victim on the ground, and swept his violent action under the carpet for more than twenty years. For all those years, he had justified his action by convincing himself that he was merely teaching the stranger a lesson not to approach another man's wife ever again.

How different everything appeared when the man died! Now the whole story was shown to him in its full perspective. Now he saw the full and complete results of his ruthless action. Everything seemed like a major tragedy, and the man, after seeing the results of his violence, was experiencing awful feelings of remorse and guilt, but far more intense than he had ever experienced on earth.

When we die, we feel the full and complete effects of our actions on earth. In the western world, heaven, hell and purgatory are viewed as something similar to the material world, lying some distance in the sky or under the earth. However, the many types of heavens, hells and purgatorial existences that are described in religious texts the world over, are nothing more than states of consciousness. Everything falls naturally into place and becomes intelligible as soon as one understands the nature of the spirit world.

Heaven and hell are merely human concepts relating to our positions in the afterlife, affected by our preceding physical world experiences. What you will face after your death is a totally different thing to most people’s conception of heaven and hell. Yet the idea of finding yourself in either a pleasant or unpleasant situation certainly applies. The law of cause and effect applies wherever your consciousness is developed, therefore your actions in the afterlife may bear karmic fruit in your next earth-life. Universal law includes the law of cause and effect. If you plant corn seeds, it is against the laws of the universe that you will grow wheat.

After you have passed away, there will be no loopholes for securing a better deal regarding your position in the spirit world. However, there are ways of getting a better deal for yourself while you are still on the earth. There are a number of tools within your reach. Unselfishly helping others will certainly boost your chances of a favourable position in the afterlife. Selfless service is guaranteed to expand your level of consciousness. And you can think positively, stay far away from cruelty, refrain from abusing others, always speak the truth, don't be greedy, be as honest as the day you were born, respect all others and be as humble as possible. It is never too late. It all adds up in the end.

Those who find themselves in the dark spheres have not been punished for their sins by a retributive God. They are there because they are not yet ready to move into the Summerland. Hurtful human behaviour, such as cruelty, extortion, blackmail, aggression, standing over or abusing others, cannot and therefore does not exist in the light spheres. Nor can corruption, greed, selfishness, dishonesty, jealousy, hatred, intolerance and ignorance. Your state of consciousness at the time of your death will determine where you end up, as well as the conditions and the people you will find there. No one will ever judge you, except for yourself. It is you who will decide your place in the spirit world, by your level of spiritual development, not in a courtroom by some external authority, such as God.

Old habits die hard, and the older they are, the harder they are to quit. You may as well start your redemption process now, no matter how difficult it seems to you! And I have just provided you with all the tools that you will need. If you end up in a dark sphere, you will only have yourself to blame. It is never too late to change your ways.

The Roman Catholics use the term purgatory to describe the time that people spend in the dark spheres. The Hindus call it Preta Loka and the Theosophists call it Kama Loka. Purgatory is not another place that exists somewhere else in the universe. Life in purgatory is a state of mind, a temporary condition caused by poor choices that people make in the physical world. Anyone who wishes to exchange their present position to a better one, needs to change their attitude. That's what it boils down to in the end, and it may include making amends to others. There is much toing and froing going on between the various spheres, and often people from higher spheres visit the dark spheres to offer help and advice.

As our afterlives unfold, most of us adjust to our new living conditions and settle down happily in a light sphere. Eventually most people thrive, content in the third sphere in which they settle down, until their afterlives inevitably come to an end. Passing away makes no difference to your moral and mental nature. Indeed, I passed from one world into another, but emotionally and intellectually, I was left unchanged.

Chapter 13: Don’t Jump!

Tom went on to say that nearly all people who commit suicide end up in the second sphere. A few even end up in the first sphere, far and away the most disgusting and repulsive sphere. A vile, rotten smell permeates the entire place, repugnant beyond the imagination of most people.

In the case of suicides, the issue of dying is complicated, as the rash act of self-murder exposes them to severe mental anguish and feelings of deep regret. Nevertheless, it must be remembered that suicide differs considerably according to a diverse range of circumstances, from the morally blameless act of euthanasia, to those who commit suicide in order to escape the physical results of their own crimes or poor choices. Of course, their respective positions in the afterlife vary accordingly.

Not all suicides find themselves trapped in this depressing environment. Suicide is committed from many motives. Those who are led to suicide by a life of addiction or crime, and then decide to take their lives in order to avoid the consequences, invariably experience this fate. But those who choose to end a life that's a short time from ending anyway, with every medical evidence pointing to impending death, are making an entirely different decision to those who are contemplating suicide in the middle of an otherwise active and reasonably healthy life. Euthanasia cannot be equated with suicide. The difference is absolutely clear to me and I’d like to think that most reasonably minded people on earth would clearly understand the difference as well.

There is a profound difference between what suicides experience at their death and what those who decide to euthanize themselves experience. If a man asks a doctor to help end his life for altruistic reasons, after realizing that his life is over in every practical way with nothing more to experience other than constant physical pain and indignity, it is a completely different thing to a man deliberately taking his life due to selfish motives, such as avoiding going to jail. If ever I find myself terminally ill, on my last days and hooked up to life supporting machines, I will demand the doctors to remove the machines and let me go. I will know that it is time to say goodbye. Time to move on, not hooked up to machines and bound to the earth. Nobody will stop me. For I'll do whatever it takes, no matter what my religion says or what the law of my country dictates. Let them charge me for smuggling in some Nembutal. The chances are they won't catch me. I'll be dead and buried before their investigation begins. And even if they do catch me, what are they going to do to me? Storm into the ICU, disconnect all the drips and life supporting machines, then handcuff me and whisk me off to jail in a paddy wagon? For some strange reason, I just don't think so!

Indeed, I will not let anybody hinder the quality of my life, especially as my death hour approaches. All too often, the terminally ill move in and out of their bodies for weeks on end, before family and doctors decide to switch off the machines, which finally allows them to pass away peacefully. Personally, I find this so sad that it makes me cry. The process of passing away and crossing over is not something that has a definite time limit on it. Unfortunately, nor is there a time limit on how long a person is forced to remain “alive” in an ICU on life support! When consciousness withdraws from the body during illness, that person would have no awareness of any pain in his physical body. Even if you see a dying man writhing around on the bed, don't worry about a thing. He is not suffering in any way. Do not feel upset when you see him thrashing around in agony. His agony is only apparent to you, the observer. Rejoice instead, because he is not suffering at all. He is already shifting in and out of two realities.

A lengthy terminal illness may look like a terrible thing, but it can act as preparation for the next life. It gives dying people time to think things through, and allows them to let go of their earthly attachments gradually. People who have battled through a lengthy terminal illness are generally more prepared for the afterlife than they and others realize. The process of a lengthy illness helps them let go of their earthly attachments, with all its trials and tribulations. Terminal illness leads people to change their direction in life. It provides them with the time to reflect on their purpose, and to reassess what is important and what is not. But there comes a time, when it's time to say "Hey guys, it's time for me to go." As much as they may be concerned about the people they are leaving behind, they also know it is time to go and that there is nothing that anybody can do about it, except for IC doctors, who so often prevent people from dying on time.

It is very, very cruel to prevent a dead person from dying. Sometimes people are forced to spend weeks or months, even years, stuck in an ICU. They are unable to die on time. The last thing in the world that I'd ever want to happen to me would be running late for my homecoming party, because I was trapped in an ICU. "Hey guys, sorry I'm running a little late. I'm stuck in an ICU, and it looks like I'm going to be stuck here for a while. Why don't you start my party without me, for I just can't do anything about it?"

Couldn't think of anything worse! Don't want to keep my guests in the spirit world waiting, do I now? Better not be late or I'll spoil the party. It's my party, for goodness sake! How embarrassing would it be, if I was the only one who turned up late for my long-awaited homecoming party? When we die, we reunite with friends and loved ones. If we die consciously, they usually come to greet us at our death bed. In other cases, the reunions take place in the spirit world after the awakening process. Usually, there is a major celebration of sorts, marking our arrival. Those with whom you had been close on earth will surely be there to celebrate your arrival with you. Tom connected me with a number of my friends and family, who had passed away at various times during my life on earth, and I briefly reunited with some of them. Time was of the essence, so the reunions were short but gloriously sweet! Absence had made our hearts grow fonder.

They all looked so much younger than I had remembered, except for a school friend of mine, who, while walking home from school, was tragically killed by an out-of-control vehicle that had strayed onto the footpath. He had naturally gravitated, in terms of appearance, to how he would have looked in the prime of his life, in his early twenties, yet he was still as distinguishable to me as he was at his death, when we were 12 years of age.

When I pass away, I will surely spend a lot more time with all of my deceased friends and family, but I was here to learn as much as I possibly could in a relatively short period of time. When most people leave the earth behind and become permanent residents of the spirit world, it is not as difficult or confusing as one might imagine. Although treasured earthly ties are severed, we meet our relatives and friends, who had passed away before us, on the other side. In this respect, a brand-new life begins for everybody after death. The grandest reunions occur where there was a deep mutual sympathy and affection on earth, which, according to Tom, needs to be experienced in order to understand the sheer joy that they feel. These joyful reunions continue for a time after the arrival of the new resident until the novelty naturally wears off. Eventually the time arrives when newcomers to the spirit world begin to consider what they wish to do all by themselves.

There comes a time when it's time to say, let a dying person go. And the way that we can achieve this is by embracing death instead of running away from it. Even if a man in the prime of his life receives seemingly terrible news that his death is imminent, he would cross over relatively peacefully without much fuss, if only he knew that it was time to go home.

Euthanasia and suicide are completely different beasts. Like comparing chalk and cheese. Euthanasia and suicide are poles apart and cannot be compared or equated in any way. Those who choose to euthanize themselves to escape unbearable pain and indignity should be allowed to die. The terminally ill MUST be allowed to exercise their God given free choice to euthanize themselves, with the aid of a doctor or loved one if necessary, without any obstruction or hindrance from anybody.

Let me make one thing perfectly clear. It would be extremely foolish of you to presume that because of the many superior aspects of the spirit world compared to earth, you are somehow justified in making the decision to commit suicide or intentionally seek death. If you are a vibrant healthy human being, but are contemplating suicide as a way out of experiencing an unpleasant set of circumstances, take a tip from me and have a good long rethink! If you go ahead and take your life, you will be adding fuel to the fire.

A man who commits suicide is making a conscious choice to die for the purpose of escaping from his life, rather than completing his life. People who commit suicide simply don’t achieve what they set out to achieve before they were born. The really sad thing about suicide is that people imagine they are going to change things, but unfortunately, they are not. That is critical for anyone who is contemplating suicide to understand. You may as well face the music now. In other words, if you are thinking about ending your life to escape a set of unpleasant conditions, you will lose big time if you do it! It’s simply not worth the effort.

Dying is not about anything closing down, but it's all about everything opening up. Death ends nothing, but instead opens up limitless opportunities. Death is a powerful moment of creation, designed for the purpose of creating something wonderful, but not for the purpose of escaping from anything. Used as a tool, as it was intended, death can create an experience that's truly extraordinary. Ending your life in order to dodge an unpleasant set of circumstances does not create a situation in which you escape anything. If you commit suicide, you will push yourself away from the very reason you came to the body. If you are thinking of ending your life in order to end something, you should know that you are contemplating something that you simply cannot achieve. If you consciously end your life to escape certain issues, you will not escape them, but you will regret your decision.

When a person contemplates suicide, they are seeking to step into a void, where there is nothing to face and nothing to fear. But that is not possible as there is no void in which to step. A void does not exist anywhere in the universe. Not anywhere at all. There is no place where nothing exists. Everywhere you go, the space is filled with something. You will face life wherever you go and you cannot escape it. Nor do you wish to escape life because that will not serve your purpose. Dancing your way around the void cannot be done. You will continue to live with what you die with. You will encounter yourself on the other side and all the stuff that you carried with you will still be there. You will be in the moment after you die, exactly as you were the moment before you died. No instantaneous miraculous change takes place that turns a foolish life of hurtful actions or poor choices into a pleasant outcome.

You cannot speed up your spiritual evolution by taking your life prematurely through an act of suicide. That would be plain stupidity! It is not how many lives you live in a specific period of time that counts, but rather what you accomplish during each life. Quality of each life lived, rather than the number of lives lived, wins the race in the end. And in the case of suicides, they are given another physical life in which to deal with what they did not deal with in their most recent life. And so, by leaving the earth through the act of self-murder, you will escape nothing, but you will place yourself back into the situation from which you were seeking to escape. Except now you will find yourself all the way back at the very beginning again. And you will accept your fate willingly, and then you will do it all over again! So, you might as well deal with whatever you are dealing with right here and now. Hey, you? Yes you, on the edge of that cliff over there! Step away from the edge right now! NOW!! You just can't win if you jump!

Yet there is nothing wrong or bad about creating the same life challenges and experiences over and over again. If you wish to face the same challenges over and over, go ahead and do just that. In this, as in all things, you may do as you choose. No one will ever stop you. But of course, facing the same challenges over and over again becomes repetitious. The taking of your own life merely to avoid an unpleasant set of circumstances would be an extremely stupid act, as you won’t solve your difficulties by running away from them, but you will postpone their solutions for a future life, where a similar set of circumstances will inevitably arise again, forming exactly the same obstacles and difficulties from which you are now running away.

Suicide is never a release, but only a postponement. No circumstances in the world could ever be so awful that anyone should resort to such a method to avoid them. When death is used as an escape, the consequence is more of the same life, only worse.

The karmic consequences of suicide are momentous and are certain to adversely affect the next life and probably the life after that. It is a crime against nature to interfere with the prescribed period allotted to living a physical life. Every person has a life-term, determined by an intricate web of prior causes, and that term must run out its allotted period before the dissolution of the body. If you decide to shorten your life term by means of self-murder, you will regret your decision after you have taken your life.

If you take your life to escape a situation, you will give yourself another physical life in which to deal with what you did not deal with in your most recent life. And so, by leaving physical life you will escape nothing, but you will place yourself back into the situation from which you were seeking to escape. Except now you will find yourself all the way back at the very beginning again. And you will do this all out of your own free will, understanding it to be part of the process of self-creation. For which you exist! So, you may as well deal with whatever you are dealing with right here and now. Indeed, dealing with whatever it is you are dealing with is precisely what life is for. When life is lived in this way, you will die when you are ready to use death as a tool with which to create a new and different life.

Suicide is the use of death to escape life, but it creates the same life experiences over again, with the same challenges. Death cannot be used as a method with which to escape life’s challenges, but it can be used as a tool with which to recreate yourself. You die and then you come back as somebody else. Death fulfils the purpose of the incarnation. The purpose of your life on earth lies behind the gates of death. Where else could it possibly lie? When you’ve eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. Sherlock Holmes was a damn good empiricist! I am no Sherlock Holmes, but by nature I am empirically inclined. Naturally, I prefer the substance to the shadow. It is in my makeup to speak from observation and practical application, rather than from a theoretical standpoint.

Chapter 14: Coming Back to Earth

Eventually Tom suggested that we return to the tranquility of his comfortable lounge room in the fourth sphere, and as per our usual way of travelling, by means of us simply wanting to be there, we were there in an instant. We sat down and made ourselves comfortable.

I was only too happy to be back at Tom's house. I couldn't get out of the dark spheres fast enough! Especially the really dark and repugnant first sphere. Holy moly! Terrible, horrible and nasty all rolled into one. I will never forget my first whiff of the rancid smell that permeates the entire sphere; putrid and repulsive beyond the imagination of most people! Anyhow, I was mostly ears as usual and allowed Tom to do most of the talking.

"Malcolm, my dear friend, it is almost time to call it a day," Tom began. "The time to go back to earth is fast approaching. Your body has been in a coma for eight days, according to earthly calendars, and I need to shortly return you to the hospital on the earth so that the doctors can wake you up from your lengthy snooze."

"Back to the salt mines! Oh well! All good things must come to an end, I suppose," I replied with a heavy sigh.

"Indeed!" Tom agreed. "Including life in the spirit world. Life in the spirit world doesn't last forever."

All that there was left for us to do, was discuss the exit from the spirit world and the dissolution of the spirit body. There comes a time when a second death takes place; the death of the spirit body and its final dissolution. Physical death occurs when it’s time to drop the physical body. The same holds true when it’s time to depart the spirit world. In the normal course of events, within a time frame that varies greatly, the spirit body gradually ceases functioning.

At the end of their lives in the spirit world, people move into the final stage of life after death, which can be understood as a second death. They exit the spirit world by dropping their spirit bodies, which involves a gradual loss of consciousness; the environment gradually fades from their view. The final separation does not involve any pain or suffering. The ordinary person hardly realizes what is happening and simply sinks into a period of unconsciousness to facilitate development and growth. This stage can be understood as both the beginning and the end of the road. Here the soul is occupied in the absorption of all the stuff that wasn’t dealt with by the identity in the life just ended, to be dealt with in the next incarnation by a new identity. Same soul, just a different person, with a different name, at a different time and place on the earth, continuing on its journey.

The cycle starts all over again, on a slightly higher level than the last time around. After exiting the spirit world, a person enters what Tom called the World of Souls. Mystics on earth know all about the World of Souls and have afforded many different labels to it, such as God's Kingdom, Ultimate Reality, Pure Consciousness, Shangri La or Nirvana. Admittedly, I have not looked too deeply into their teachings, but I think the Theosophists call it the Causal Plane, or maybe it's the even higher Buddhic Plane, or even higher than that, the Atmic Plane. It all seems so very complicated, if you allow yourself to get bogged down in philosophical verbal hair-splitting. Keep it simple, is what I say. Once again, they are merely different labels describing exactly the same thing. Philosophical verbal hair splitting is childish and achieves nothing!

The World of Souls is where the person and the soul become one and the same. Moving into the World of Souls is like merging with your higher self, although it is only a temporary mergence. It is where you will one day drop your present identity altogether, but it’s also where you will prepare to reincarnate in the form of your next identity. Same soul, but brand-new person. When you reach this stage of the cycle, you will discard your identity altogether, but it's also when you will create your next identity anew. Ultimately, the journey of your soul remains the same, but the next time around you will assume a different identity for the next leg of the cycle. For example, my present identity is Malcolm Miller, and I will carry that identity with me when I move into the spirit world. I will, however, drop my surname after my death. Nobody has a surname in the spirit world.  I will look like a young and healthy Malcolm Miller, exactly as he appeared in the prime of his life, but I will be known simply as Malcolm. When my life in the spirit world is over, I will move into the World of Souls, where I will discard the person called Malcolm altogether, and prepare to incarnate as a new identity on earth - the birth of a brand-new person in a future time and place. I might decide to come back to earth as a member of the McDonald family in Glasgow in the year 2054. Perhaps the Papasoulous family in Athens in 2082 better suits my purpose, or maybe by coming back as the youngest child of Pedro and Maria Gonzalez in Mexico City in the year 2104 best suits the evolution of my soul, as I continue on my endless journey. It is essentially up to each soul to decide on which parents they choose to come back to earth through, as well as where and when. 

At this point, I have brought you full circle. Round and round it goes, and it never ends! Life is cyclical and eternal, not a one-off linear thing that begins at birth and ends at death. Admittedly, before I met Tom, I had always held strong reservations about reincarnation. There has been so much written on the subject by people who have regressed to previous lives under hypnosis. Many have described their past lives in fine detail, but not much more. Such fabrications are interesting to read but they fail to explain the fundamental facts of reincarnation, such as the simple process by which the soul eternally transmigrates from one body to another. I can recall reading one book on the subject where the basic principles of reincarnation were roughly outlined, but then the author went on to shoot himself in the foot by presenting his own twisted theories and personal viewpoints, such as which particular special cases warrant reincarnation to occur. As if anybody was born with the God given right to decide who is special or gifted! As if anyone has the qualifications to judge who can afford the privilege of living again and who is not worthy of such a basic right!

Those types of fabrications don’t deal with the science of reincarnation. Instead of providing practical instruction, they tend to introduce a confusing array of contradictions, leaving the poor reader in a perplexed state with a plethora of unanswered questions. Reincarnation of the human soul is a precise science, but outlining its basic principles is relatively simple, and certainly not rocket science.

The journey of the soul exists for one simple purpose, which is to have another experience. That may come as a major disappointment to some, but that’s what life's all about folks! Having another experience. And one of the most challenging things for a soul is to have another experience on planet earth. The growth and development of a human soul would not be possible without the universal law of reincarnation. Reincarnation is not a belief system, nor is it a psychological device to escape the harsh reality of death. Reincarnation is a precise science that explains your larger existence and encompasses all your past and future lives, compressing them into one evolutionary process.

The church declares the idea of reincarnation as the ultimate false doctrine. 'No, no, no!' they say, while wagging a finger at you. 'You only get one shot at life, so you better get it right or else!' How did the church, you may be asking yourself, get it so horribly wrong?

The church was formed around an angry and retributive God who liked to be worshiped and feared. It was through fear that early holy men got people to believe in them. It was through fear that the church gained and controlled its membership. Amazingly, it worked for centuries. Even more amazingly, it still works today!

In days gone by, the masses could not imagine a God who wasn’t self-serving. They couldn't see God as loving and forgiving, so the teachings of the church portrayed an angry and vengeful God who ought to be feared. They created doctrines that described a demanding, intolerant and retributive God in order to keep the masses in line. The church proclaimed that you better be good, or an eternal life of woe awaits you after your death. They created customs and rituals for the purpose of diminishing the wrath of a vengeful and angry God, thus lessening the anticipated punishment. Then one day along came the reincarnationists saying - "Chill out guys, relax it’s cool, just do the best you can, for you will have another chance, then another chance and another after that."

Reincarnation promised an endless number of chances. The church couldn’t hear of such a thing. Of course not! The church utterly rejected the idea of endless chances. Reincarnation threw a giant spanner into their works. Reincarnation offends western religion, which doesn't permit another chance after this life has ended. Reincarnation is much more forgiving. Misdemeanours can be amended, an entire life can be redeemed, not in the afterlife, but in a brand-new physical body. Naturally the church denounced the idea of reincarnation as heresy. Business is business.

Reincarnation is in no way cruel or fatalistic. To the contrary, reincarnation should be understood as the soul taking an interest in expanding its reality by changing its present moment. Every successive incarnation is another opportunity to evolve. Reincarnation occurs at a higher level than the previous incarnation. In the end, you can only succeed, and by helping others succeed, you play an intrinsic role in your own success. Reincarnation is the process by which the soul evolves. A soul develops by descending into the physical world and then back it ascends to from where it came, carrying back with it the results that it obtained along the way.

A life on earth is a single day in the context of your greater existence. In fact, half a day would be more accurate. Your life on earth is only the first half of a day. Your death signifies its half time. Together with the second half, namely your life in the spirit world, it makes up a single day in your larger existence. Everyone has a long line of lives behind them. Most have a long line in front of them as well. It takes many lives before people get the idea that there’s more to life than eating, fornicating and power in the flock.

To your soul, each new life is seen as nothing more than just another day at the office. Every morning your soul puts on its coat of flesh and goes into the office (physical birth). Then when the day is done, it lays aside its coat of flesh (physical death) and returns home to the World of Souls, stopping over for some refreshments in the spirit world, on its way home. In the morning your soul again takes up a different coat of flesh in the form of a new identity (reincarnation), and resumes his work in the office at the point where he left it the day before. Some things may be experienced in one lifetime, while others may take many lives to accomplish. Evolution consists of a never-ending number of lives.

Every incarnation is an opportunity for your soul to accelerate its spiritual growth process.  Between lives your soul sees what it achieved or did not achieve in your past life just ended. It sees how you lost your way or found your way. And so, you keep returning to earth to experience what you didn't the last time around. At a certain point in your evolution you may choose to seek reincarnation purely for the purpose of serving humanity. Unfortunately, in the modern world, such enlightened souls are the exception to the rule.

When a soul is in the process of creating a new identity on earth, it has some say in the matter, such as choosing the person's sex and the family in which it wishes to be born. Your soul is not entirely subject to the whims and graces of The Creator. My soul didn't simply look down upon the earth approximately nine months before my birth, and then randomly pick a family, in which the identity Malcolm Miller would be born and raised. It certainly was not a case of eeny, meeny, miney, moe.

Reincarnation is an adaptation of the universal law of a continuously evolving life. The Creator (God) impresses itself upon your soul, and in obedience to this, your soul pours forth a new identity into the physical world, with the desire for manifestation; to find some territory where the identity can express him or herself, and to receive impressions and impacts from without. Evolution is the process of fulfilling a soul's desires. It is not pressure from the outside that drives a soul back into a world of troubles. A soul incarnates because it wants to incarnate. A soul evolves by repeated incarnations, into which it is drawn by emotion and from which it is set free by knowledge and sacrifice. As a soul evolves, it becomes divine in potency, as it has always been in latency.

But so long as there remains the desire for anything the earth can offer, your soul will want to come back to earth. You were not driven back by your soul into a world of troubles against your will. Rather your soul's intense hunger for experience is what brought you back. So long as your soul has not assimilated everything that life on earth can offer, so long will it want to return to rebirth.

When spiritual intelligence comes into contact with the desire for sensation, its first action is to intensify it through the expression of it. Life on earth provides your soul with many more opportunities to accelerate its evolutionary process than life in the spirit world, because life on earth presents harder, more painful learning experiences. When a soul creates a new person on earth, it mainly has to do with working through its spiritual deficiencies. Before you incarnated, your soul already knew about the challenges that would be thrown at you. When your soul chose to return to earth, it was to experience what it did not the last time around.

The more advanced the soul, the less the likelihood of a quick return to earth. A young soul has not reached a high level of consciousness yet and therefore requires more frequent incarnations than an old soul. Your soul lives unchanged, except for its growth, and is in no way affected by what humans call birth and death. However, it is affected by every choice that you make in every lifetime.

To be perfectly honest, the finer points of reincarnation are way beyond my comprehension, although I do understand the basics, so I have a rough idea how it works. Creating a new person is a very complex process, depending on many factors. The mysterious and generally misunderstood law of reincarnation encompasses the law of cause and effect, or karma as it is widely known. The law of karma which governs all rebirths is extremely complex and plays a vital role in the shaping of everyone's destiny.

The Creator decides the parameters of every birth, but always within the restraint of a soul's karma. When a soul descends into the physical world, it needs a physical body through which it can function. The soul then creates the new person within the restraints of those parameters, which depends largely on what was carried through from its previous lives. I created Malcolm Miller long before I was born, not my mother and father. It was me who decided that I wanted to come to earth before my parents met, let alone when they conceived me. In other words, between our lives we are perfectly capable of making choices regarding our future. Absolutely! You don’t voluntarily choose every last detail of your next incarnation, but there are certain elements of choice open to you in the process. Much depends on your karma which decides many matters. Finding a suitable family is an intricate matter demanding much attention to detail and is never left to chance. In past lives, people make links and contract liabilities with other souls, which partly determines their place of birth and their friends and family. A link, once established, is never broken until all outstanding karma, both good and bad, is worked out through situations such as love, marriage, friendship, abuse, betrayal etc. In this way, your present life and your past lives are joined by karmic links, yet every new lifetime feels like something unique. Life without karma would be totally chaotic, yet karma is unpredictable. Makes perfect sense to me. If karma was predictable, evolution of the soul would not be practicable, because at the end of each life, everybody's resultant karma would be balanced. What would be the point of that? There would be no point.

In just about every case, when a soul decides to return to earth, it moves into the environment that would best help it evolve into what it wants to become. For example, a soul that wishes to improve its intellectual capabilities will guide the identity into an academic family or environment. In other words, we are given the opportunity to move back into areas where our desires and experiences were centered in our previous lives, and we can come back to earth to continue in those areas, if that is what we choose.

I chose many things regarding my personal character and makeup before I was born. When selecting a particular family in a particular place, it is never an accident of nature. A family is chosen for the soul to help that family and for that family to help the soul in return. A soul has a preview of sorts regarding its future family life on earth, in the sense of what the soul will be able to achieve with that particular family. Before deciding to return to earth, a soul chooses its birth parents, and in the case of adoption, a soul chooses both its birth and adoptive parents. A new physical body is not necessarily better than that of the previous life. The question of heredity is an important decision that has to be made. Consideration is given to the suitability of parents before making an entry into the physical world. The heredity of a family has evolved certain peculiarities in the past and only affords certain types of bodies. A family needs to be chosen with a genetic type suitable for the expression of the person.

We choose our future parents on earth, which means we also choose our nationality and religion as well. I chose my nationality and religion long before I was born. I could have chosen differently. The next time around, I may choose to reincarnate into another nationality or religion, but most people choose to reincarnate back into the same situation in which they had spent most of their past life. Generally speaking, a person reincarnates back into a similar state of affairs as his or her previous life, but not as a rule. As you evolve, there comes a point when you begin to understand your origin and naturally seek something of a higher nature.

We do not choose our exact physical appearance, such as the colour of our skin, our facial features and our body shape, but we receive those from the family into which we choose to incarnate. Sometimes there is a particular name that a soul would like to have when it returns to earth, but in most cases the name of the identity is of little importance to the soul. Usually the name of a person on earth has no connection whatsoever to their soul. A soul may try to influence its new parents into choosing a name that it would like, but that issue generally belongs in the domain of the earth, because to a soul, a name is of no importance or significance.

Even before a baby is born, while it is being carried in its mother's womb, the soul knows that it is moving into a developing physical body and maintains a direct connection with that physical body. Birth is the beginning of a transition period, so it doesn't happen instantly. Birth entails a gradual movement of the soul into a developing physical body, corresponding with prenatal. Before I was born, I was experiencing life as a soul in the World of Souls. Then I decided to change form and move into a physical body. Gradually, as I developed inside my mother’s womb, my soul moved into the fullness of my new body. The transformation involved the creation of a new identity, in my particular case, Malcolm Miller. As I developed during my mother's pregnancy, my soul created my humanness. And after my birth, I slowly began to feel more connected to life in a solid physical body. When new born babies cry a lot, it is because they feel confused by the lack of love around them. Babies still have a strong connection to the World of Souls, where they have just experienced unconditional love in its purest and absolute form. A baby retains a strong connection to his or her soul for about two years, and although people never lose their connection totally, they do drop their full connection to their soul at around two years of age.

Ever heard of the terrible twos? Now you understand the mystery behind children starting to behave terribly at about two years of age. They have just lost full connection to their souls and have suddenly become homesick! After two years of age, my soul retained a diminished connection to me but never actually left me, and by three years of age, like most people, I had established my earth connections and had lost direct contact with my soul. Yet children can be very wise if you are willing to listen to them and take them seriously, especially those with vivid imaginations. Generally speaking, after the age of three, when children pass away and cross over, it is likely that they will continue on their journeys in the same way as adults, not as infants.

Some children on earth appear to be created from good seeds, while others from bad seeds. Are there really such things as good and bad seeds? That is a difficult question for me to answer. Indeed, there are children on earth who appear to be bad, but in reality, they are just lost souls who made a choice to come to earth before they reincarnated. Children born into dysfunctional environments should not be judged and condemned. Before they were born, they had hoped that they would be strong enough to overcome such difficult situations. But once they were born, they quickly realized it just wasn't going to happen for them. So, when you see what you think is a bad seed, don't judge and condemn. It is not because they were bad when they incarnated. They are not intrinsically bad souls. It's just that they have not been afforded opportunities in this lifetime, brought about by their resultant karma from their previous lifetimes. Unfortunately, some children are continuously surrounded by dysfunctional negative energy.

In most cases, children who are abused are here to learn the most important lesson of forgiveness, no matter how severe the experience. Forgiveness is the biggest lesson in life. When you have demonstrated that you can forgive unconditionally, no matter how severe the circumstances, you can be sure that you will find yourself hob-nobbing amongst the spiritual elite, right up there in the highest spirit spheres. Some children come to earth with disabilities of various kinds, and although they may appear to be struggling with their disabilities, you can be sure that they are making steady progress at a very high level of human evolution. Some children come to earth and appear to be very slow starters, then one day they become extremely talented in a particular field. We call them savants.

At any given point in time, there are only a certain number of people on earth. Naturally, as the population grows, so does the birth rate, which increases the number of opportunities for souls to come to earth. However, the situation never arises where two souls both wish to incarnate into the same physical life on earth. When souls decide to reincarnate, there are never any cases of different souls wishing to reincarnate into the same physical life. Unlike the narrow decisions that humans are faced with on earth, pettiness does not take place in the World of Souls. Issues as such simply don't arise. To even think in terms of different souls arguing, and eventually going to a judicial court to decide who has won the right to incarnate into a particular family, is just looking at life from the limited three-dimensional earthly perspective.

Creating a new life is the ultimate achievement of a soul. Humans on earth have called this sacred process reincarnation. Once a suitable moment is chosen and certain karmic arrangements have been made, a soul creates its next life on earth, into a suitable family for the expression of its unique qualities. Some things in life are predestined while other things are not. The gift of free choice never ends; it only expands as you evolve. You get to choose certain aspects of your life before you are born, including your birth parents, your purpose in life and even how you wish to die.

You may be wondering the following. If free will plays a significant role in the process of reincarnation, can a soul choose to return to earth quickly to further its evolution, or can it put its evolutionary process on hold for a time and not come back for an indefinite period? The answer is a soul can choose not to come back to earth, but the challenges facing a person on earth promotes spiritual growth at a much faster rate than staying in the World of Souls.

So, not only do we get to choose if we wish to reincarnate, but we also get to decide when we wish to reincarnate. We choose our parents, our purpose, some of our relationships with others, and even how we wish to die. Indeed, a soul has plenty of choices in the circumstances of a life on earth. Some things in life are predestined to happen while others are not. You are partly at the mercy of life and the course it takes, but how you choose to live your life is entirely your decision. Free will and predestination work hand in hand. If you have never looked at it that way before, now it should make perfect sense.

The fact that you were born into a predetermined destiny doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t bother cultivating free will. The connection between free will and predestination isn't set in concrete or automatic, but your every conscious choice plays an important role in determining your future. Absolutely! A soul can see all its past lives and understands itself as a continuum of growth over many lifetimes. A soul recognizes all its strengths and weaknesses, as well as its karmic links that it created in the past, which must be dissolved. You can only move forward in terms of your evolutionary process, but that doesn't mean you leave your baggage behind when you decide to create a new life. Everything that you carried with you will still be there for you to deal with in your next life.

Of course, we always return to the earth at a later date than when we left the earth the last time around. On many occasions, I have felt a familiar feeling that I have been in a situation before. Humans call it deja vu - the sensation of finding yourself in a familiar situation with similar challenges as your previous life. Deja vu is the feeling of being in a situation before, not the concrete knowledge of it. Nonetheless, deja vu is very real and should not be dismissed as nonsense.

The general question regarding the interval between incarnations is a complicated one. It takes a great deal of contemplation before your soul determines a purpose and direction for your next life on earth. A soul prepares for its next incarnation at its own pace. Generally speaking, in the past people took longer intervals between incarnations than they do today.  In days gone by it was not uncommon for a soul to spend several hundred years or more between incarnations. Traditionally, the majority of people reincarnated in groups, so they waited until the rest of the group was ready to return to earth.

Now we are seeing a mixed bag of souls, both young and old, coming into the world, many who died in the 20th century. Many souls are returning to earth a lot sooner now than they did at any other time. The old souls, because of their ability to help others in these trying and challenging times, and the young souls, because they have recently awakened and have decided to go to earth to accelerate their spiritual evolution. There are billions of young souls on earth right now who have recently woken up and are evolving faster than ever before.

Subsequently, the souls of the masses are making much quicker returns to earth than ever before to accelerate their spiritual development. Hence, the human population on earth has risen dramatically from about one billion at the beginning of the nineteenth century to around eight billion today. At present there are many old souls who have consciously chosen to return to earth earlier than usual to help in this dynamic time of change. These days, more and more highly evolved souls are returning to earth to help the masses, many of whom are struggling with their spiritual evolution. You will one day see in the next generation to come, just how much more loving, compassionate and unselfish humans on earth will be.

The earth itself is evolving faster than ever before, so those who had progressed well in their most recent past life are now being provided with countless opportunities to return to earth, sooner rather than later. The spiritual evolution and consciousness of the planet has risen rapidly in recent years and it is rising exponentially. The main reason planet earth currently has so many people living on it is because there are a great number of young souls who have decided to take up the challenge and evolve into beings of higher consciousness. Such young souls account for about 90% of humans living on earth at present.

Taking the next evolutionary step involves completely changing the way you think and behave, a releasing process that's not easy to achieve, but absolutely fundamental when rising to a higher level of consciousness. Sometimes, a soul will choose to move forward and will move out of one earth environment and into another, regardless of the resultant circumstances. Tom told me that I made that choice when I was seeking to return to earth. I chose a completely different state of affairs from my past life; a choice that I knew would take me a long way out of my comfort zone, in order to best support the growth of my soul. Although this may not be obvious to me now, one day it will be. Sometimes, however, I have felt like a lost fart in a perfume shop.

There's a much bigger picture going on, which most people cannot yet see, but when you move into the World of Souls, the bigger picture will open up and everything will seem perfect. You can choose to return to earth and continue your evolution or you can say to yourself, "Boy, am I tired! This is as far as I choose to go at the moment," and decide to stay and rest in the World of Souls for as long as you like. But of course, too much of a good thing makes that thing not so good any more. The challenges that arise when we return to earth provide the perfect platform to enhance and accelerate our spiritual growth, much more than deciding not to return.

Tom told me that the human brain retains a primitive memory, which people call instincts, but the actual experiences of the past do not exist as images in the brain. Past mental images are not transferred from one life to the next. Only their essence remains. Your past mental images belong to your previous lives, but during your present life they can only manifest as latent tendencies. Your memory is encased and bound by your brain. Therefore, your memories are subject to the influences of this grey organic matter, which is sufficient to show that there can be no conscious memory of previous lives so long as consciousness doesn't rise beyond the physical brain. He added that the brain is made afresh each physical life, without any direct knowledge of previous lives.

Tom talking about the brain prompted me to wonder how things were going in Intensive Care. You may think that I was concerned about brain swelling, and that I was hoping that everything was okay. In truth, I didn't really care, one way or the other. If anything, I was secretly hoping that my body was in a morgue by now, or better still, all wrapped up in a wooden box, six feet under the ground in Rookwood Cemetery, just to make extra sure there was no coming back. For I was having the time of my life and I didn't want it to end!

Tom assured me that all was clear in there and not to worry about a thing. He somehow knew that my body had recovered well, which he said had pleased the doctors, but of course they could not wake me up because I was there with Tom, not in the hospital ward, which was causing some concern. The time had come for Tom to whisk me away back to the ICU in Sydney. In other words, the next time the doctors tried to arouse me, I'd find myself back in Struggle Street again. However, I also knew that I had a big and exciting job ahead of me. It's just that it felt so nice and free to be away from my physical body, but I figured I would get used to life in it again.

It felt awesome to be free from my sick and undernourished body. Never before had I felt this good. Seriously good! Never before had I felt so happy and content, simply to be alive. For the last eight days, I had been in heaven! Returning to my troubles on earth seemed like an exceedingly unattractive proposition. I felt incredibly good without my physical body weighing me down; an exquisite and elevated feeling from which I did not want to escape.

Tom fully understood my predicament. He told me that he was an empathetic man and would be feeling exactly the same way if the shoe was on the other foot. And finally, before we went our separate ways, he had one last question for me.

"In one sentence, why do you think that you went on this adventure with me?" Tom enquired.

"So that I can go back to my body, of course, to help change the public perception of death, and to tell the world that dying should not be feared in the slightest, but should be joyfully embraced instead!" I exclaimed confidently.

He nodded approvingly and seemed very pleased with my answer.

"I couldn't have put it better myself," Tom replied. "Perhaps one day you too may become a helper, just like me. Helping newcomers to the spirit world is the principal line of work in which I am involved. The percentage of people who die without any knowledge whatsoever of the spirit world is deplorably low. There are countless people on earth without this knowledge. Most have difficulties and perplexities after death, and need to be taken care of and advised."

"Why not? Why wouldn't I want to become a helper of the dead?" I retorted. "I can't think of anything more rewarding than helping people when they really need help, such as comforting and assisting them at their death. In fact, after my death, whenever that may be, helping newcomers is something that I want to do. In fact, it is my new ambition in life. Of course, wanting to be a thing and actually being that thing are two different things. Provided I get accepted by the appropriate authority, and that is a long way from guaranteed. After my death I want to study hard and do whatever it takes to become a helper of the dead." "Would be great if you did! We can do with as much help as we can get! Tom concluded.

He then assured me that he had confidence in my ability to carry out my task on earth, after which he asked me to hold tightly onto his arm and leave the rest up to him. The next thing I knew, we were back in Sydney, standing next to my body in the ICU. Tom and I exchanged a few formalities and revised a few important points. He assured me that the doctors should have no problems bringing me out of coma, for now I was in the same room as my body on the earth, not preoccupied somewhere else in the spirit world. He went on to explain that dealing with cases like mine was his job in life and that he loved his line of work. He claimed that he was well rewarded if those whom he taught benefited from his teachings in any real or practical way, so I need not feel indebted to him. He then wished me good luck and bid me farewell, and then he simply disappeared.

I had never felt this content before, although the feeling seemed reasonably familiar. It felt like I had been searching for something all my life, then suddenly finding it. Think about it for a minute. How would you be feeling if you had just been asked by a dead man to go back to earth to assist in creating a new definition of human death? What a grave and serious responsibility! How could I feel anything but honoured and humbled by an invitation to participate in such an important assignment? The thought of going back to help humanity made me feel very special, but in no way egotistical or exclusive. It felt as though I was taking on a real sense of trust and responsibility. How could anybody not want to go back to their body to tell the world that life is eternal and that death is an illusion? Tom had assured me that everything would be okay and would work out exactly as it should, even if I failed to achieve the desired effects.

I carefully weighed up the pros and cons, and eventually decided that it might actually be a good idea to make a U-turn and go back to the physical world. I knew that by coming back to my body, there would be plenty in it for me. All that I had to do was not stuff it up, such as marketing myself as an egotistical, self-proclaimed "special one" who ends up in a nuthouse. In other words, I knew that returning to my body was very much in my best interests on a personal level. It was obvious to me that there would be an abundance of riches in this assignment for me. Not financially, but far more importantly, on a spiritual level.  

Without further ado, calmly and confidently I looked down upon my physical body, but all of a sudden, I felt a change of heart. Suddenly, I felt very uncertain about my ability to help Tom with his objective. Besides, I held strong reservations about going back to my problems in physical life. All of a sudden, coming back to earth lost its appeal! As I gazed down at my body with mixed feelings, I felt indifferent and separate from it.

Talk about finding yourself under the pump! Should I live or should I die? Should I stay or should I go? For a time, I agonized over the implications of returning to my troubles in physical life. Imagine you were a B-52 pilot with a Messerschmitt right up your backside. That’s how I felt. To say that my heart was aching would be an understatement. The thought of leaving the spirit world, which I loved so dearly, depressed and disheartened me. The world to which I was about to return seemed terribly dark and foreboding.

Reluctantly, I accepted my assignment to leave the bliss of heaven and returned to a world that at the time seemed yucky to me. Returning to my earthly troubles wasn’t an easy choice to make, but thankfully I made the right decision to return to physicality once again.

Tom had left me by this stage, although I suspect he was watching over me. I had made a concrete decision to live again and patiently waited beside my body for my awakening. Exactly as Tom had predicted, the next time the doctors attempted to wake me up, they succeeded.

Chapter 15: What Exactly is an NDE?

In 2006, when I experienced a profound NDE while in an induced coma for nine days, upon arriving home from hospital, I decided that I needed to know more about other people’s NDEs before drawing any rational conclusions about my own. After I had regained my strength, I commenced my research into the phenomenon, and soon learned that a great number of people had already reported to have left their bodies during a near death experience. Many more than I would ever have imagined. And when I found out that so many people, and I am talking thousands, possibly tens of thousands, had reported to have experienced a similar thing, it came as a huge relief to me. Accordingly, I decided to do some homework, which turned out to be a never ending pile of homework, in order to better understand the larger implications of my personal NDE. After 15 intensive years of reading and conducting research into the phenomenon, I felt as though I was more than ready to start writing this book. 

Since about 1970, thousands of remarkably similar NDEs have been reported throughout all cultures. In the past, being near death was usually the immediate prelude to death itself. In days gone by, such experiences were seen as rare spiritual happenings and therefore misunderstood as mystical or religious events. In the modern day however, with recent high-tech medical developments, especially in the areas of Intensive Care and CPR, the number of cases of reported NDEs has increased greatly. Today, a large number of people have witnessed and remembered events that occurred while they were functioning outside their physical bodies.

The most common reported experience is floating out of the body and witnessing it from above. Moving down a dark tunnel is also common, as is the presence of a bright light, which most describe as loving and peaceful. Near death experiences are brushes with another dimension and usually happen to people who are at the brink of death. They can be perceived as either pleasant or unpleasant events, but each and every one is very significant. Those who experience an NDE are invariably deeply affected, often to the point of making significant positive life changes. The closer people are to death itself, the more likely they will have an NDE, although they sometimes occur without the threat of impending death.

These days, many people are experiencing NDEs. Modern day high-tech resuscitations are so effective that about 15% of cardiac-arrest victims are revived before the onset of permanent damage to the cells of the brain. Before the advent of CPR, cases of coming back from the dead were few and far between because resuscitating people from cardiac arrest was a rare achievement. Placing a person in a coma on a ventilator for days on end had never been achieved until the mid to late 20th century. Reported near death experiences are increasing in frequency because of improved survival rates as a result of new resuscitation techniques.

The term NDE is not a new catchphrase, invented by a modern-day snake oil merchant. It has become a world-wide reference term, referring to a broad range of personal experiences and sensations associated with impending death, including detachment from the body and a sense of levitation. To call my heavenly voyage a near death experience would essentially be a misnomer, because the way I see it, I didn't nearly die, but I actually died. And what's more, I remained dead for eight whole days before returning to my body in an intensive care ward. Without a doubt, I journeyed beyond the portal of death. Technically speaking, it would be more accurate to call my experience a DE (death experience) because that's exactly what it represented. People are in the process of dying when they have these experiences. And because our doctors can sometimes reverse the death process, we understand them as near death experiences. A typical NDE occurs when people are witnessing events while their brains are showing no signs of mental activity, yet their consciousness continues to function outside their physical bodies.

In recent years, the NDE phenomenon has been widely scientifically researched and documented, and has also received widespread media interest. People from all walks of life, including doctors and psychologists, are beginning to congregate together to gain a richer, more complete understanding of death. Many ordinary folk such as me, people of average morals and intelligence, have had an NDE and have then come back to our bodies to teach what we know and to share our experiences with others. Like me, some have returned voluntarily, while others have come back involuntarily. Along with many others, I have come back to my body to help humanity finally come to realize that there is no such thing as death, not in the sense of death being the end of our consciousness anyhow. When we die, we simply move on and continue to evolve. We live in a world where death is understood as final and fatal, but our consciousness continues to survive after we have passed away.

An NDE can be triggered by many causes and they appear very real and vivid. The experience is usually reported by individuals who have been pronounced dead or very close to death. However, some reports stem from situations that are not as life threatening as cardiac arrest. Resuscitation from heart-lung failure is not a prerequisite to experience an NDE. Extensive research into the NDE phenomenon has already been conducted, since about 1970. Thankfully, it seems that a few medical practitioners are a bit more open-minded about the word consciousness these days. Most of my homework had already been done for me by a few intuitive and brave individuals. Merely whispering the word afterlife has long been considered taboo by the medical profession in general. For centuries, doctors have been concerned about preventing death, but definitely not about what goes on after death. Thankfully there are a few doctors out there who are starting to take an interest in what happens if they fail.

At present, mainstream science suggests that these experiences are nothing more than the result of certain brain activity under extreme stress, or hallucinations brought on by drugs or medication. But there are a few mainstream doctors who are starting to believe that these experiences could be evidence of the existence of an afterlife. Such experiences shouldn't be so readily dismissed by science. At the very least, they hold tangible clues regarding what lies ahead in the hereafter.

Having gone all the way in a major way myself, or what researchers refer to as a core NDE, it didn’t take me long to realize that it would be short-sighted and downright irresponsible of me to jump the gun by going public before fully understanding the larger implications of my personal experience. Although it is possible for anyone at any age to have an NDE, how the story is told by the individual concerned determines how it will be received by others. Many reports that I’ve run into have been reasonably informative. Some have been thought provoking, but just as many, if not more, have appeared speculative, inconclusive and wide of the mark, typically caused by impatience. Therefore, instead of acting prematurely and making a clown of myself in public, I decided to deeply contemplate the larger implications of my near death experience for many years before forming any conclusive summations. In other words, I made a conscious decision to thoroughly research the subject and learn from the mistakes of others before voicing a concrete opinion regarding the delicate subject of death. And I didn't fancy the idea of marketing myself as an egotistical, self-proclaimed, self-styled, messiah-type fruitcake either. Ending up in a nuthouse for a spell, smashed to the eyeballs on Valium, was never my objective.

It is important not to act impulsively, so I didn’t run out there as fast as possible to join a religious group for the purpose of saving my soul. Why would I need to do something desperate like that? My soul doesn’t need saving, especially at the moment, and if it ever does, I’ll save it all by myself. Upon returning to their bodies, a lot of people have integrated their NDEs into their pre-existing belief systems. Not me. I have been very careful not to follow suit. Who am I to tell you that my way is right and that your way is wrong or not quite as right as my way? Nor do I wish to scare you in any way. At the same time, I don’t wish to lull you into a false sense of security. Instead, right from the start, the reason behind my decision to produce this book has been an inherent desire to help humanity lose its fear of dying, but definitely not to instil the fear of death into people. Unlike the church, frightening people was never in my strategy.

Most people believe that describing the process of dying cannot be done. This is perfectly understandable of course. No matter how much we have tried to explain what happens when we die, it has remained a mystery for thousands of years. The standard assumption is nobody knows or could ever know what happens after death. That’s because death is something that we haven’t taken seriously enough. Just because our researchers cannot yet prove scientifically if consciousness transcends the physical body, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t at least listen to those who claim to have experienced out-of-body consciousness. A rapidly rising tide of evidence would certainly help the cause, but the thing that prevents people from sharing such experiences with others is our tendency to paste psychiatric labels on them. If a man approached me on the street and told me all about his NDE, without me ever having heard of the phenomenon myself, there is every chance I’d think he was either crazy or simply trying to deceive me. The number of near death experiences is undoubtedly underestimated, essentially due to the feeling of insecurity that accompanies those who decide to communicate their NDEs to the world. I learned very quickly that people don’t entertain a return from the dead report as easily as I would like. Most of my attempts to discuss the phenomenon with others have been greeted with scepticism and a lack of understanding. And I feel certain that the same problem has applied to anybody who has found themselves in a similar situation as me. But unlike those who have chosen to shrink into their shells, I have decided to tell everybody all about my experience, without apology. However, it must be said that while I am not the sharpest tool in the shed, I’m not stupid enough to stand up and preach about my experience on a soapbox in a public park.

Many ordinary people such as me have been to the brink of death and beyond, and then we’ve returned to our bodies with detailed accounts of remarkable glimpses of a world beyond physical matter. Take a look for yourself on the Internet. There's tons of material on the subject out there. For me, a mere glimpse was more than enough to initiate an awakening process deep within, which is now irreversible. There are many well documented cases of people who have functioned outside their bodies, even when their hearts had stopped - a flat EEG. Some have returned to their bodies with information that was unavailable to them at the time. Others have told doctors what was going on while they were dead, such as the conversations between medicos during surgery, the clothes they were wearing and the exact instruments with which they operated, including detailed accounts of their own resuscitation from cardiac arrest. A few have described conversations that took place in the waiting rooms outside, or even events that occurred on the other side of the hospital, hundreds of meters away from their bodies.            

People deny these stories because they are not accommodated by their religious paradigms, or simply because stories from beyond the grave make them feel uncomfortable. Humans like to create boundaries for themselves, therefore many people are more disturbed by a return from the dead story than by the actual state of death itself. Unfortunately, reported evidence of an afterlife does not constitute scientific evidence. Scientific evidence involves replication of the experience and the existence of strict controls over the events being witnessed. From a purely scientific perspective, at the present stage of human evolution, life after death can only be considered as scientific conjecture, with a real chance of promotion to hypothesis as soon as we can figure out how to test it for ourselves.

Life after death cannot be proved scientifically yet, but it cannot be disproved either. Comparatively few things, if anything at all, can be proved absolutely, especially the existence of life after death. At present, there is no observable evidence of an afterlife. There is no observable evidence in our normal dimension of time and space that proves whether the dead continue to live. A credible afterlife theory must provide evidence of a different context of time and space. But a different context of time and space is not enough. A credible afterlife theory must also provide evidence that the mind and brain are separate, because only if the mind and brain are separate, can there be somewhere for our consciousness to go when our physical bodies die.

Life after death cannot be subjected to scientific proof, simply because scientific proof of it is not at present available. Facts, phenomena, observations and statements are one thing, but proof of them is another. Furthermore, the ability to appreciate proof is a totally different thing altogether. Despite the abundant stream of evidence out there supporting the existence of life after death, mankind has yet to devise an accurate system that conclusively proves whether life after death exists or not, such as a primitive yet reliable set of scales that measures the weight of an object.

Most doctors and scientists write off near death experiences as delusional fantasy. The phenomenon is generally dismissed by our medical profession as nothing more than twitches of a dying brain. Science excludes the paranormal. As soon as anything paranormal is proved scientifically, it is no longer considered paranormal by our scientific communities. It’s not yet possible to conclusively talk about life after death scientifically. In scientific terms, at this stage all we can say is there is a rapidly rising amount of anecdotal evidence that includes the possibility of consciousness continuing after clinical death. Scientific breakthroughs can only happen when someone adopts a different perspective, a new approach. To date, there isn’t any satisfactory scientific proof that proves the continuation of life after death, one way or the other.

It is important to be an objective observer. And therein lies the problem. Near death experiences are untestable. They are human experiences. We can't measure human experiences or validate them by scientific method. They can’t be verified because every NDE is a personal singular experience by an individual human being. There are no witnesses or photographic evidence to verify an NDE. At present, science has no choice but to take the word of individuals and nothing more. Now I’m not condemning the scientific approach at all. In fact, I strongly recommend that our scientific communities increase their research into the NDE phenomenon, which can only bring us closer to proving the existence of an afterlife. One day, science will present an original and testable scientifically based hypothesis that the brain and mind separate at death, but at this stage of human evolution it’s certainly not intellectually irresponsible to accept the idea of life after death as a distinct possibility.

In September 2008 it was announced that 25 hospitals in America and the United Kingdom would participate in a three-year study on near death experiences of 1,500 cardiac arrest patient survivors. The study hoped to determine whether people without a heartbeat or brain activity could have an out of body experience with visual perceptions. Many people who have come close to death have reported surprisingly similar experiences such as moving down a tunnel or floating out of their bodies and looking down upon the medical staff trying to keep them alive. To get to the bottom of this mysterious phenomenon, British and American scientists designed a three-year experiment to examine near-death experiences in heart attack survivors. It was launched at the University of Southampton in September 2008 and is the largest ever international study into near-death experiences.

And how did they hope to prove if we really break away from our bodies when we die? They hoped to prove that the phenomenon is real and valid with nothing more than postcards. Researchers set up shelves above hospital beds, on which they placed scientifically controlled test objects in the form of postcards with messages on them, such as “You are dead and have left your body!” which could only be seen if the observer was actually functioning out of their physical body and floating near the ceiling.

Patients who were resuscitated from cardiac arrest were asked to recall any memories from their time spent under cardiac arrest. It may sound like a straightforward exercise at first, but while I was functioning outside my body, it was highly unlikely that I would have paid any attention to a postcard on a shelf above my bed. Let’s just say that I was otherwise largely engrossed in looking at my withering and expiring body, which was hooked up to a ventilator in an ICU, and wondering what the hell was happening to me. Theoretically, by asking people to identify hidden objects, it would be possible to prove that people really leave their bodies when they die. Inconclusive findings like this are often dismissed as meaningless because they don't prove anything. Anecdotes are regarded differently in a science lab than in a criminal law court. In this case the anecdote is significant because it has promoted NDE research. It is debatable whether this experiment has proved anything or not, but at least science has attempted to investigate the phenomenon. At least there are a few brave doctors and scientists in this world today who not only concentrate on saving lives, but also conduct research into what happens if they fail.

When the results were released in 2012, exactly as I had expected, our scientists had plenty of anecdotal evidence with which to work, but they never really had any conclusive scientific proof that these out-of-body experiences are real, not just illusionary dreams. But one day they will surely have the undeniable truth scientifically tested and proved conclusively. Then the NDE phenomenon will explode into action. Personally, I’m of the opinion that it’s just a matter of time. It won’t be long before our scientists conclusively prove that a form of consciousness carries on after the body has died. Until then, there can be no compelling reason not to believe in life after death and no objection to it that cannot be answered.

People may think that either a man is dead or he is not? One master of all wisdom, bless his ignorant soul, with whom I discussed my NDE on some spiritual forum on the Internet, told me that I was deluding myself and that I should wake up to myself. This bright spark insisted that describing an event as a near death experience is like saying a woman is nearly pregnant. "Either she is pregnant or she is not!" he exclaimed.

Well, all I can say to that is I have journeyed some distance beyond the gateway of death and then returned to the physical world through that same gateway. Upon awakening from coma in November 2006, a long held suspicion of mine was well and truly confirmed. Determining the precise moment of death is medically and scientifically impossible, for the point of death is not a single moment in time, but a gradually unfolding process.

Society has distanced itself from death by taking it out of our homes and placing it in the hands of professionals. The job of a doctor is to prevent us from dying, therefore the medical profession has never understood what constitutes death. For a very long time, death has been shrouded in mystery, silenced by stigma and confined by convention. By interfering in the natural death process, we have undermined our pathway to transformation. As with life itself, there is still so much that science has yet to grasp about the nature of dying. At present, there is no consensus within our scientific communities concerning when conscious life begins and when it comes to an end. Science is not about understanding consciousness. Science is all about understanding nature and the reasons for things happening. A great understanding of nature has very little value to us, if we can’t grasp the basic nature of human consciousness. Science doesn’t hold a monopoly on human ways of knowing. There have been thousands of reported occurrences of near death experiences, all of which have been totally rejected by science because they cannot be proved scientifically. But the fact of the matter is all of these extraordinary experiences are real and significantly meaningful.

Contrary to popular perception, death is not a specific moment in time. Dying is an unfolding process, which usually begins with the condition that our doctors have termed cardiac arrest. In the period of time that follows cardiac arrest, which may last anywhere from a few seconds up to five or ten minutes, emergency medical efforts may succeed in restarting the heart and reversing the dying process. The brain requires a constant flow of oxygen to function normally. If that flow is disrupted, the oxygen starved brain is essentially prevented from performing vital biochemical processes. The greater the deprivation of oxygen to the brain, the greater becomes the likelihood of severe brain damage. Diminished oxygen supply to the brain impairs both our physiological and psychological functions. However, in certain cases recovery is sometimes possible, depending on which parts of the brain have been affected.       

During cardiac arrest, the absence of oxygen in the brain occurs within seconds. Brain cells start to die within a few minutes if they are deprived of oxygen. When the brain has been deprived of oxygen for more than 10 minutes, the result almost always is irreversible damage to the cells of the brain and most patients ultimately pass away. Administering CPR in time can reverse the loss of brain functionality, because permanent damage to the cells of the brain has been prevented. What people experience during this period of cardiac arrest constitutes a typical near death experience, each of which provides a unique window of understanding into what we get to experience when we die. Although it generally happens to people who are resuscitated after spending a brief period under cardiac arrest, the same thing sometimes happens to a person in a coma, as was the case with me. My transition was gradual as a result of spending nine days in a coma due to an underlying illness, as opposed to a sudden transition caused by cardiac arrest or an accident.

NDEs are not identical, but that doesn’t mean they are not genuine events. Nor does it mean that they are somehow hard wired into the brain. Some scientists believe that our brains are hardwired for mystical experiences because our involvement with the rest of the physical universe is contemplated by our brains. But the problem with this theory is during my NDE my brain was shut off from the rest of the physical universe.

No experience on earth is the same as another. It’s the same after death. One needs to think of life after death as life before death. Try to think of life on the other side as an earthly experience. Everybody’s earthly perspective is unique. Everybody lives a different life compared to everybody else, yet there are a few similarities. For example, people live in homes, go to work, prepare and eat food, go to sleep, exercise, socialize with friends etc. Yet despite these similarities, no two earthly experiences are identical. Similarly, no two near death experiences are exactly the same, but they do contain certain common traits. I’ve run into thousands of different NDE descriptions on the Internet, simply because there are thousands of different perceptions, perspectives, beliefs, biases, backgrounds and afterlife realms of existence to accommodate them. You don’t need to qualify in any way to have an NDE. You don’t have to be a guru or religious to have the experience. NDEs are widespread in our society. Nothing special about me, that much I promise you! I'm as ordinary a human being as you will ever find. Yet it happened to me. In fact, I’d bet the entire city of London against a solitary brick that somewhere on this planet, an average Joe is having an NDE right now while you are reading this book.

In many ways, people who have an NDE can have the opposite things happen to them. Here are a few examples of this interesting paradox. Some travel back in time and bring back knowledge of our past, while others travel into the future and bring back knowledge of our destiny. I travelled into the future and have brought back knowledge regarding our not too distant future. Some are greeted warmly by religious figures, while others are attacked viciously by evil beings. I was greeted by a very caring guide who appeared very human to me. Some experience the ability to perceive the living but not the dead, while others experience the ability to perceive the dead but not the living. I experienced the ability to perceive both the living and the dead, depending on where I was at the time. Some experience a judgment day scenario and find it harsh or hellish, while others sit on God’s lap and are filled with satisfaction. I never experienced either scenario. Some return to their bodies voluntarily, while others return involuntarily. I returned voluntarily. Some actually look forward to their own death so that they can return to the beautiful realm, while others dread it like the plague. I look forward to my own death with great anticipation.

Interestingly, NDE research shows that about 20% of people who are resuscitated from cardiac arrest and about 10% of those who awake from coma retain conscious memories of their experiences. I fall into the 10% who awoke from coma with clear recollections of my out-of-body experience. A high percentage don't take actual memories of the experience back to earth, but they still bring the knowledge back with them. They just know the truth.

It appears to me that a good memory is essential in bringing back accurate memories of an NDE. Moreover, the conviction to retain those memories is even more important and can be most challenging. Every time I open my mouth to tell people about my near death experience, I run the risk of rejection by society, or even worse, ending up in a psychiatric ward doped up on Valium. The conviction of the individual is paramount. The reason that I went so far down the portal of death in the first place is because I intended to travel the distance. In other words, I really wanted to die, not live. And since that fateful day when I returned to earth in early November 2006, my conviction to understand and hold on to those memories has certainly played a major role.

A genuine NDE report is very easy to recognize because they all contain several common elements, which I can clearly identify instinctively. Nothing beats experience. It is clear to me that all people who have ever experienced a taste of death, and have then made it back to their bodies, share a few common denominators. During the death experience itself, all were aware that they had left their physical bodies. And as was the case with me, many claimed to have looked down upon their bodies. However, not all were aware at the time that leaving the body had anything to do with dying. Many have claimed to have felt fear at this point, and I was no exception. Fear of the unknown started to do its work with me, but it soon gave way to a fairly good idea of what was happening. At first I had no idea what the hell was going on and naturally felt scared and confused. But it wasn’t too long before it dawned upon me that I was functioning outside my body, with the clear understanding that death was not the end of me and not what humans ordinarily understand it to be.

And then there are a number of common after effects. After these enlightening experiences we are never quite the same. We don’t believe in life after death. We know that there is life after death, absolutely without a question. We no longer fear death, but instead have a firm belief in an afterlife. We notice an increase in our psychic sensitivities and have a strong commitment to spiritual growth, but tend to move away from organized religion. We share a definite shift towards a more positive view of “self” and become more accepting and compassionate towards others. We demonstrate noticeable changes in interests and careers and do our best to integrate our near death experiences into our everyday lives. We know that there is life after death and never fear dying again. We have experienced a continuation of consciousness outside our bodies and have retained the ability to perceive and conceive, even when we were separated from our lifeless bodies. We understand that the death of consciousness simply does not exist, but only as a thought in ignorant people’s minds.

Most people identify themselves as a body. People know that their bodies are going to perish one day, sooner or later. Naturally, people think that their consciousness will also perish along with their body. If my body generates my consciousness, then it surely follows that my consciousness must die when my body dies.  Right?

Wrong! Consciousness exists outside the constraints of time and space. It can exist in the human body and outside of it as well. Along with many others, I belong to a group of people who know this is true. We have all come very close to death, or have been recovered after being declared clinically dead. We have experienced consciousness outside our physical bodies.

We display common features in both our understanding of death as well as the resultant personal transformation process. Following an NDE, people change their beliefs, their attitudes and of course the way they behave. I for one certainly have. For nine days I was separated from my lifeless body, but I retained the ability of perception. Nearly all have lost their fear of death, because they have experienced a continuation of consciousness outside their bodies, many when they were declared dead by doctors.

The inherent nature of the person plays a significant role, as does the group culture he or she reflects. Although they vary widely, each near death experience conclusively reveals that death is only a transition. Something like walking through a door from the physical world to another world, which is invisible to the physical senses, then back again. A near death experience invariably changes a person’s ideas about death forever. This is often true for those who merely read about such an experience. A silent voice within tells them the truth.

An NDE analysis is an analysis based entirely on reported facts, but definitely not faith. Facts have everything to do with knowledge but nothing to do with faith. To me, faith implies the possibility of doubt whereas knowledge implies certainty. If thousands of astronauts on separate journeys at separate times returned to earth saying, “I saw little green men living on Mars,” wouldn’t you believe them? I certainly would. Why wouldn’t I believe them? Similarly, thousands of people have returned from death saying there is life after death. If you don’t believe them, why the hell not? Don’t you think it’s odd that thousands of people who have all claimed to have experienced the same sort of thing could all be wrong? Isn’t it logical to believe them, rather than doubt them? Isn’t it easier to believe that they are not mad but instead may be right? Of course it is! The rational conclusion to draw about the existence of life after death is it’s an absolute certainty. Faith and scepticism subsequently become irrational.

The issue with sceptics, however, is not whether an NDE is genuine or not, but whether it’s a genuine afterlife experience. My NDE appeared very real to me. In fact, it felt more real than anything I’ve ever experienced on earth before. But it is not the reality of these experiences that sceptics question. Rather it is whether they are genuine afterlife experiences that sceptics question, which is a very good thing because sceptics help us understand the mysteries of life. Sceptics make us look even harder at paranormal phenomena.

Some doctors feel the experience is caused by physiological changes in the brain when brain cells die as a result of lack of oxygen. Other doctors feel that the release of endorphins or some other type of chemical basis in the brain is the trigger of an NDE. A similar experience can be induced by taking hallucinogenic drugs or under extreme gravitational force, or even by stimulating the right temporal lobe of the brain, therefore proving the experience to be real and valid. By way of certain scientific methods, an induced experience can be proved to be a valid experience. The question that arises is whether a reported NDE is a valid afterlife experience or another thing altogether. Science reduces everything down to its basic elements. Reducing an NDE merely to brain chemicals is like reducing the feeling of love to hormones. Reducing an NDE to chemicals in the brain cannot ever explain the whole experience.

Without doubt, hallucinogenic drugs can induce an experience similar to an NDE. Naturally some doctors suggest that the process occurring with an NDE is the same as it is with a drug-induced hallucination. The problem with this chemical approach however, people consciously create altered heightened mental states by taking drugs such as LSD and DMT, whereas I was as unconscious as I could possibly be.

Extensive research conducted over many years in many countries clearly shows that NDEs have no connection with drug induced altered states of mind. Common sense should tell you that the chemical approach is clearly flawed. People are conscious when they create altered mental states by taking drugs, whereas I was in a coma, heavily sedated, attached to a ventilator in an intensive care ward. Think about it for a minute. For nine whole days I was unconscious in an ICU on life support, fer-christ-sake! A ventilator was doing my breathing for me. Obviously, I was as unconscious as anybody could ever possibly be! My cortex, the cognitive part of my brain had been shut down. My eyes were firmly shut, yet I could perceive my surroundings in an unconscious state. Then I regained consciousness with clear, lucid memories of my experience. At present, there isn’t any scientific explanation to support this fact, yet many others have reported to have experienced the same thing as me.

The decision to place a person in a coma is generally made by intensive care doctors for a number of reasons, such as head trauma or a serious underlying illness, but you can be sure that a comatose person is still very much alive, not simply asleep. A sleeping person can be woken easily, but you can’t wake a person in a coma. Doctors induce coma by using drugs to put the brain to sleep. Either a barbiturate or a sedative is administered to induce profound coma. During coma the patient’s brain wave activity is not flat. There is always some electrical activity, depending on the cause of coma and medication given. When there is no EEG activity measured - a flat-line - people are declared brain dead after a short time. In my particular set of circumstances, although I never flat lined, for nine days I was in a deep state of unconsciousness. Yet I could still perceive the world around me. Sure, I couldn’t react with the doctors and nurses around my body, but I was fully conscious and very much aware of my surroundings. A comatose person is still very much alive. Didn’t I find that out in a major way? The brain wave activity in a comatose person is a completely different thing from that of a sleeping person.

The general idea is to put the brain to rest by closing down as much brain activity as possible so the patient is completely unresponsive to external stimuli such as light and noise. Then doctors closely monitor brain activity and adjust the level of drugs accordingly to ensure that the brain stays asleep. Doctors also monitor the pressure in the cranium to determine how long to maintain the coma because coma is associated with brain swelling and immobility problems, such as blood clots. Maintaining the patient’s nutritional status can also be challenging. During coma, my brain activity was significantly reduced, yet the capacity of my consciousness increased immeasurably. For nine whole days! Modern medicine somehow allowed my consciousness to leave my body. And leave this world I certainly did in October 2006.

Before my NDE, I used to think that my consciousness was produced by my brain. However, during my NDE, I suddenly realized that if my brain produced my consciousness, it would not be possible for me, while functioning outside my physical body, to perceive the world around me. Nor would it be possible for me to retain clear memories stretching back to when I was a child. The part of my brain that consciously thinks had been shut down by intensive care doctors. At the time I was in a deep state of unconsciousness, yet I still retained full memories of the events from my life and I could still perceive the world around me, in real time. And I am not alone. Thousands of people have reported to have experienced a similar thing. To all you sceptics and doubters out there, put that in your pipe and smoke it! A near death experience occurs when the information that inhabits the brain leaves the body. Before death, while we are still with the body, consciousness resides in the cells of the brain, which is the primary organ of the body for processing information.  But upon your death, this information will be released from your body. And that means your consciousness will go along with it.

Despite the many differences between near death experiences, it’s the similar aspects that are of great importance because they demonstrate definite observable patterns that are repeated over and over again, by different people from different religions and cultures, even during different periods of human civilization. The differences are wide and varied, but despite these many differences, there are also many common aspects. Roughly half are told in various ways that it is not their time to die just yet. The mere fact that such a large number are given this message gives strong credibility to the experience being an objective experience based in reality.

Every NDE provides a window of discovery into what happens when we die. However, it is impossible for me to describe what actually happens when we die in a couple of sentences. And there are certain things about death that I cannot reveal in a trillion words. Not because I choose to conceal anything, but simply due to the limitation of my present state of consciousness. Even if I could somehow reveal everything there is to be said about death and dying, you would be unable to conceive everything that was being said to you. Moreover, to accurately describe the various conditions of the afterlife is further complicated by the inadequacy of physical world language. Furthermore, not many people have any recollections of their conscious experiences in the higher worlds.

It is very clear to me that after death my consciousness will continue to exist in an invisible and immaterial world. While there remains a plethora of unanswered questions regarding the reality of life after death, it wouldn’t do humanity any harm to at least consider the possibility that dying is nothing more than the passing of consciousness from one state to another. Research has not yet provided undeniable scientific evidence of the existence of life after death. Still, we are getting closer all the time, so more can be said and really needs to be said!

An NDE is not the same for everybody. What occurs during an NDE depends largely on a person's cultural background and how he has prepared himself during his life on earth. Decades of NDE research clearly suggests to me that the process of crossing over to the other side is largely determined by the nature of the person. There is much variation, even though it’s the same journey, but essentially leaving the body and crossing over to the other side is merely a personal awakening process that prepares people for the subtle conditions of heaven. A typical NDE involves the experience of passing away from the physical world, but not necessarily the experience of life on the other side. Some people experience life on the other side, as was the case with me. I left my body behind and moved through a dark tunnel and experienced a comprehensive life review before arriving in the light of the spirit world. Passing away felt like an individually appropriate form of transition, which is unique for everyone.

I have come across many stories and descriptions of the tunnel experience, written by people who have died and moved through a dark or dimly lit tunnel. Of course I can only speak for myself, but I for one certainly moved down an infinite dark space of sorts. Not only on my way out of my body, but also on my way back to my body, nine days later. It was so much easier on the way back because now I knew what to expect. On my way back to earth I felt nothing but a sense of peace and love as I floated down the tunnel, and very much connected to my source.

The majority of people who return to earth from an NDE have been presented with a glimpse of what it's like to die, but most have not felt the full impact of death. Fortunately, a few of us have gone all the way. Undoubtedly I have been to the spirit world and back, but I'm certainly not the only one. Luckily my set of circumstances permitted such an occurrence. For most, going all the way and then coming back is not humanly possible. Not enough time, and it all happens so fast. That is why so many people remember the tunnel experience. It is the connection to their physical body and their way to return to the physical world. Not everybody experiences a tunnel vision of life after death, but of those who do, most do not fully encompass the entire experience.

Naturally, I consider it an honour and a privilege to belong to a group of individuals who have managed to move beyond the light. We have experienced what life is like in the spirit world. It is not a large group at present but the number is growing steadily. We have made a conscious choice to come back and teach what we know. Some people who have experienced a taste of what it's like to die have little concept of what life is actually like after death, such as I have described in detail later in the book. It's just that I've been a bit further than most, simply because it was impossible or impracticable for most to have gone the distance. Most people who have an NDE are limited to what they are able to see, because they are suddenly and unexpectedly forced from their bodies as a result of cardiac arrest, and have to return to their bodies in five to ten minutes, before their brain cells die from a lack of oxygen.

The experience in a tunnel is a commonly reported memory retained by those who have returned from death. Some, like me, describe a tunnel that is infinitely enormous. And yes, it definitely is a tunnel. Others describe a tunnel that appears more confined and narrow and experience the tunnel in a different way. Yet, decades of NDE research tells me that a number of people don't report the existence of a tunnel. I would say that this is due to the fact that there are many different degrees of near death experiences and visions. And I'd say a fair number wouldn't even have realized that they had been in a tunnel because it is other-dimensional and also because of the darkness. It is important to understand that those who are having an NDE are either so scared or so excited about what is happening to them, and because it usually happens so quickly, that they don't always take in everything at the time. In my set of circumstances, I had a lot more time on my side than most. Coma can be classified into two basic types. Either a medically induced coma as a result of a serious underlying illness, or coma caused naturally by damage to the cerebral cortex or the brain stem. My coma was medically induced, not due to any damage to my brain, which I believe is the major reason why I remember most if not all of the events that occurred during my NDE.

Not a sudden traumatic departure from the body associated with an accident or cardiac arrest, but a gradual and gentle departure while I was in an induced coma for nine incredible days. In my case, I died due to an extremely serious underlying illness, not as a result of any vital organ failure. My heart did not stop. There was no damage to my heart or brain. And just as importantly, I had lots of time to perceive my surroundings and to question and to wonder. Plenty of time to absorb plenty of stuff. For nine days I slowly soaked it all up like a thirsty sponge. And because I woke up with no brain damage or swelling, and also because I naturally have a good memory, or so I have been told many times by many people over the years, I can clearly recall my time spent on the other side.

During an NDE, most people are still strongly connected to their physical bodies so they are limited and in conflict with their higher selves. Some know exactly what is occurring, but the body desperately pulls them back into physicality because the body doesn't want to move on just yet. It's not time to go. Different people have different NDEs. Most people only connect with what they choose to experience, determined primarily by their pre-existing beliefs and social conditioning. Most are therefore unable to absorb the total experience of death, not to mention its larger implications. Thankfully I had heaps of time on my hands and was therefore able to absorb a great deal, so of course I have a fairly good idea what you will experience at your death, but I cannot give you a precise description.

We are all born in much the same way and similarly we all die in much the same way, yet I cannot tell you if your death will be a positive or negative event or somewhere in between. It might be expected or unexpected. Personally, the biggest surprise for me was the realization that I was still me and that I was still conscious. And I could still think and remember things. It came as a huge surprise that dying did not end my life. To the contrary, I felt a definite sense of moving into a grander state of existence. When death comes knocking on your door, how will you react to the gloriously mundane revelation that the thing we call death is just another human experience?

I can tell you this much however. There was an energy adjustment at the moment I left my body that fine-tuned my energy, which produced a duplicating effect of me in another realm, in order for me to continue experiencing life, even as I moved into another plane of existence. Without doubt the same energy adjustment or refinement process will happen to you one day, whenever your big day inevitably arrives. The experience of dying is almost identical to the experience of being born, only in reverse. Both birth and death are moments of creation because both align the energy that is you, either by decreasing or increasing the frequency of your vibration, depending on whether you are entering the physical world or departing it. At death we create by what we bring from the physical world and at birth we create with what we bring from the spiritual world.

Near death experiences vary widely from individual to individual, so I can only speak for myself, but all the way through my NDE, the sense of “I” remained very much with me. It was an experience largely imprinted with familiar physical world items. But gradually I found myself leaving earthly physical forms behind, simply because I felt that I did not need them anymore. The events that I experienced were at one level or another, a direct result of my life on earth as well as my beliefs at the time. In other words, the reality that manifested during my NDE reflected my level of awareness at the time. At the time, my sense of self was well and truly identified with my body. Therefore, I carried that configuration of awareness forward with me. But it wasn’t long before I lost the compulsion to cling on to a physical form.

Although my brain activity wasn't completely flat, it was to a great extent reduced. The part of my brain that senses and thinks had been shut down. Coma is a state of consciousness in which people cannot be awoken, cannot respond to external stimuli such as touch, light or sound, and cannot voluntarily initiate action. Yet I could see the world around me and felt whole, able and generally more complete than ever before. No disabilities or pain, just a sense of wholeness of self in the prime of my life.

When I left my body, I felt more alive than ever before. There was a temporary state of confusion, caused essentially by the sudden sense of disorientation, as I came to realize that I was not with my body any longer, but rather separate from it. Undoubtedly, next time around I’ll understand what's going on a whole lot better, a whole lot quicker! Let it be understood. A wizard I am not. Nor am I a genius. In fact, I'd be lying if I called myself an academic. Honestly, I reckon I’m a rather average scholar. With that in mind, if it didn’t take me long to realize that I was functioning out of my body, then I’d suggest that most humans would soon understand that as well.

As I moved deeper and deeper through the passageway between the physical and the spiritual, in many respects the experience diversified more and more. However, there was one thing that occurred with me that also occurs in every NDE that I have ever come across. At one level or another, every NDE is based on that person’s beliefs at the time, which is based on their perceptions, which is based on their perspective. If an unbeliever makes a decision to start believing in life after death in the moments before having an NDE, it would immediately alter his NDE. It’s the same with death itself. And just as in life before death, your perspective can change after death. It’s simply a matter of seeing life in a new way. What people experience when they die depends not only on how they have lived their lives on earth, but also on their beliefs at the time of their death, which reflects their level of spirituality.

You may be greeted by an illusionary saint or teacher, who you had worshipped in your life, such as Jesus. Not the real Jesus, but your imaginary conception of him. Depending on your expectations, at your death you may be met by the illusionary appearance of someone who you had hoped you would meet. Many people, especially in the western world, die in a deep hypnotic state of sleep, due to their religious beliefs that they must sleep in their grave until the second coming of Christ. But that is not how it works. After death, everyone wakes up in their own time, sooner or later.

As far as the Christians are concerned, we are fast approaching the long awaited return of Jesus. To all you Jesus lovers out there, while I agree wholeheartedly with his teachings, I'm terribly sorry to say this, but I have to spoil your long awaited party. No, the spirit of Christ will not simultaneously enter the masses and resurrect the dead, as believed in by certain religious groups. And no human being, who is still with the body, irrespective of their beliefs or their position within the clergy, will suddenly be lifted into the sky to be with Jesus, leaving all those remaining on the earth to perish in the fire and brimstone. Time to wake up all by ourselves. Jesus isn't making an appearance anytime soon. Why would he be bothered? If you were Jesus, would you return to earth? I certainly wouldn't. Look what we did to the poor guy the last time he made a special guest appearance. Can't really blame him when I think about it. Crucifixion doesn't sound like the best of fun to me!

Don't get me wrong for a minute. I think Jesus was an amazing man. In fact, I'm his number one fan even though I've never met him personally or read the bible in my entire life. Being a facts man, I always look at the facts first, and according to my observations and calculations, Jesus is the greatest human who has ever graced our planet. Undoubtedly! The facts don't lie. Just do a search on the Internet for yourself. Only God registers more hits than Jesus. Other than God, nobody even comes close to the guy! Jesus is the stuff of legends. The man hasn't been around to promote his cause or give a media conference for two thousand years and he's still the top dog in the popularity stakes! Now that's what I call impressive. Uber impressive! That's an incredibly long time to still be on top of the ratings. However, just because Jesus is the perennial megastar of our planet, it doesn't mean he is coming back to earth to hoist you up into the sky or wake up the dead. It simply doesn't work like that. Everybody wakes up in their own time after death, sooner or later.  If you try to elevate the whole idea of Jesus, from the level of a great teacher and prophet, which is what he surely was, to the level of God incarnate, which is what he surely wasn't, you will miss the whole purpose of Jesus coming to earth in the first place. In other words, don't preach in the name of Jesus, rather demonstrate his teachings in your everyday lives, because that's exactly what Jesus would want you to do, don't you agree? Jesus dying on the cross is just another case of ignorant humans condemning a great man to death. Have you ever noticed who we have assassinated over the years? It is usually people who have told us to live together in harmony and to love one another! Jesus Christ, Mahatma Gandhi, Indira Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Yitzhak Rabin, Benazir Bhutto, Medgar Evers, John Lennon; I could go on for a page or two if I looked through the history books, but this is not a history book. Point made, let's move on.

After a few days, most people are gently brought out of their illusions. If you don't believe in life after death, the chances are you will be retained in a state of sleep for the first few days. Then you will wake up in a calm and peaceful environment and you will receive teachings, in the hope that you will quickly realize that you are dead.

Decades of extensive NDE research clearly suggests the following. When we die, at first we all see what we believe we will see. Over the last 50 years, there has been an enormity of research conducted into the NDE phenomenon. However, while we have found a number of similarities, along with the temporalities of those similarities, we have also found many anomalies. In other words, NDE research has provided humanity with tons of anecdotal proof that consciousness survives physical death, giving us an idea of the events that take place at the point of death, but it has not explained what is actually happening to people when they pass away. With all the NDE research that has taken place, the researchers have not yet drawn any concrete conclusions.

That is perfectly understandable to me. Like any situation in life, you only get to understand it, when you have actually experienced it. You can read all about Times Square and you can see hundreds of images of Times Square, but until you actually visit Time Square, you cannot truly understand what it is like to be in Time Square. Most NDE researchers have not been to Times Square, so to speak, but I applaud them loudly for researching the subject in the first place. A lot of credit must go to Moody, Van Lommel, Parnia, Greyson, Hagan, Sabom, Long and company for bringing the NDE phenomenon into the public eye. Their research has demonstrated clearly that consciousness survives the death of the body.

But I have actually been to Times Square and leisurely explored through the place at my own pace without rushing to get back home. My NDE occurred as a result of a serious underlying illness. Thankfully, I was intubated and placed in a coma post operation as a result of failure to regain consciousness from general anesthesia, not due to brain trauma, which I believe has helped me retain clear memories of my NDE. And when I got back home, how pleased I was when I realized, by means of all the research that had been conducted by the above mentioned authors, that thousands before me had had an NDE. For 15 years I have exchanged correspondence with NDE researchers, and I have read a heap of NDE material. And so, I believe that I can provide a few useful insights, to both the general public and the researchers alike.

I cannot reiterate enough, the importance of understanding what is going on at the point of death, for so many people in the modern world die with absolutely no idea of what is happening to them, and it is the fear of the unknown that causes all the problems.

Closing

It would be a great mistake to think that human spirituality is already established and fully understood. History tells us that human culture is constantly evolving. From humanity’s perspective, the journey of self-discovery has only just begun!

Strange and extraordinary, perhaps even impossible, as many of the statements in this book may have seemed to you, it would be prudent not to reject them, merely because they cannot be proved. If these words have awoken a responsive thrill that feels true to you, then why not accept them for the time being? Or at the very least, set them aside for future reference, for as time goes by you can verify them for yourself. Why spurn an idea simply because it is strange to you? Why not listen to all sides of the story and draw your own conclusions? Your mind may temporarily become chaotic, but out of this chaos you will see the light.

You will find that many to whom you offer this plate of knowledge won’t wish to eat it. Some will even warn you to stay far away from it. If someone doesn’t like a certain truth, they will find countless reasons to reject it. Modern science will surely reject this book, as many of my statements are totally subjective. Our scientists will label this book as religious fantasy. To the scientists of this world, all I ask from you is a little humility.

I’ve been told that it’s outside my domain to discuss something that can only be proved by death. Many people believe that writing a book on dying and the afterlife cannot be done. The standard assumption is nobody knows or could ever know what happens after death. No matter how many times people have tried to explain what happens when we die, it has remained a mystery for thousands of years.

A rapidly rising tide of evidence would certainly help the cause, but the thing that prevents people from sharing their evidence with others is our tendency to paste psychiatric labels on them. If a man approached me on the street and told me all about his near-death experience (NDE) without me ever having heard of the phenomenon, there is every chance I’d think he was either crazy or simply trying to deceive me. The number of NDEs is undoubtedly underestimated, essentially due to the feeling of insecurity that accompanies those who decide to communicate paranormal experiences to the world. Thousands of humans including me have caught glimpses of an invisible world, while functioning outside our physical bodies. Despite the mortality of the body, there have been many reported cases of people who have had a taste of immortality.

As far as I am concerned, my brush with death was a blessing for me. I took a good long peek through the veil of physical matter, at a luminous dimension beyond physical reality. In the past, these peeks were generally perceived as confused or insane states of consciousness. However, to the contrary, they produce the clearest state imaginable, utterly beyond words. Life provided me with such an opportunity. It convinced me beyond any reasonable doubt that consciousness survives after death. Now I know that there will be more life after the death of my physical body, and that life after death should not be feared. I also know that I will reunite with my deceased friends and loved ones. Death will not be the end of me, but it will facilitate my transition into another way of life, as it surely will with you.

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