Dr. Krishna Bhatta, MD
Planning for the next life may seem like a daunting, if not an impossible, task. Is there anything I can do now, in this life, that will influence my life after death? According to many of the world's religions, yes. A Christian believes in heaven and hell after death. He or she is a good person and serves others to obtain a seat in heaven. A Muslim will be willing to die to have a better life after death.
Most eastern religions—Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs— believe in reincarnation. Quality of action, or karma, is important for them, as well. They all have a theory of karma management described in their scriptures and texts. Belief systems are strong drivers of what we do. If you believe there is a better life after this life, you will do everything you can to be there.
But before beginning to answer the question, consider this life—the one we are all living now. Are some people born with a silver spoon in their mouths? If someone is born into a wealthy family, and therefore, has access to advantages and privileges that others do not have, are they lucky to have been born into such a family?
Many of us will say, yes, it was luck. But what if you see it differently? What if, in a previous life, that individual had worked hard, had planned for the next life, and therefore, was deserving of being born into a privileged situation. They aren't the lucky one; instead, the family is lucky to have them in their life.
You can even go further with this line of thinking: was Jesus lucky, or was Mother Mary lucky to have him as her son? Was Buddha lucky to have the King and Queen as his parents, or were the King and Queen lucky to have Buddha as their son? You can draw your own conclusions on these questions, as it flips the standard assumption.
Now that we know it is important to plan for the next life, how can you do so? It is a journey—a journey to knowing yourself, your inner individual consciousness. Here are some assumptions that can be made, which will, in turn, tell you how to prepare for the next life.
Your mind and body grow and evolve as you do the same throughout life: You go to the gym to keep your body in good shape, and you seek knowledge to keep your mind sharp. When you die, all this growth dies with you, and the cycle repeats itself.
Any growth in your body and mind dies, but the flame of consciousness stays with you, and you start fresh from where you ended in your last life. You will lose the growth in the body and mind upon this death, but you will retain any growth within your individual consciousness.
Beyond the physical body, there are seven other bodies which have their own anatomy and physiology, including the Astral body. The Astral body, which is the third of the seven bodies, is the one that picks up the journey after we die, moving on from the physical body. The Astral body can see what is happening in our world, but we can't see what is happening to the Astral body.
As for emotions, we know about many emotional effects on our body, and we are certain that they exist. Sexual energy and anger may sometimes lay dormant, or forgotten, until something lights the fire or triggers an emotional storm.
But there is also a spiritual energy, which needs work to flow. Buddhists have a special term for it: sot?panna. It literally means "one who entered (?panna) the stream (sota)." Once you enter the stream, the stream current takes over, so you just need to make the effort and gather the courage to reach it and jump into it.
- Start with a practice of intermittent silence. This will allow you time to spend with your inner self.
- Then, start a practice of deeper meditations – vipassana, mantra, or chakra meditations—and maybe use a meditation app.
- Simultaneously, practice yoga-nidra meditation, a state of conscious deep sleep. You are awake while sleep surrounds you
- Now, focus on looking for the Astral body. The spiritual energy mentioned above will come and help you. One of these days, your astral body will get out of your physical body, and then, other doors open up for you. Now, your journey beyond life is in your hands because the Astral body is the one that travels beyond our death; once you are aware of the Astral body as you are of this physical body, you can travel with awareness.
- You can plan the trip, and you can choose your return. You can plan for your next life, too. There is no end point to meditation— it is similar to the unending cosmos. It’s a vast inner world out there.
Although more research and discussion are needed about this topic, the question of planning for the next life is not far-fetched. Great minds can reach the moon—and even the sun. So, exploring the next life is surely within our grasp.
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