Skip to main content


Scientists are currently grappling with a question that has haunted humanity for eons. It is this: Is consciousness annihilated immediately after death, or does it continue to exist? In other words, is there an afterlife?

One of my favorite books, What Dreams May Come, says there most definitely is. If I remember, the author, Richard Matheson, posits a spirit realm in which we exist with infinite capabilities before and after bodily incarnation, and earth is where we come to test our strengths within the confines that limitations (like the human body, and a finite lifespan) impose.

But who really knows what comes after death? Science has for a long time studied near death experiences, or NDEs, but they only give a glimpse as to what happens when the brain is temporarily offline, not when it has gone completely caput. As some experts argue, when the brain is dead, irrevocably so, as in past resuscitation, it flatlines, and since nobody has come back from such a state, no one can accurately describe what if anything lies on the other side.

Enter faith, which many of a religious persuasion assiduously cling to, when they justify belief in a hereafter. The mind generally enjoys existing, and so it likes to fathom a realm after earthly life has ended, but presumably the mind dies with the body, so how can it construct a realistic futuristic scenario in which it does not exist?

Physician and philosopher Raymond Moody, a leader in the field of "life on the other side" has this to say on the matter: "I am convinced that at death, personal consciousness is taken up into a more inclusive state of existence."

What precisely does that mean? Once you give up individual life, what is the nature of this total reality that you hypothetically achieve? A question worth considering.

But if as one sage has said, "Sleep is short death, and death is long sleep," and if while unconscious during deep sleep you can be said not to exist since you are not aware of your existence, then an awareness unaware of itself, or the long sleep that death is purported to be, is akin to not existing at all.

But since your mind is not around to raise the question, it is as good as unasked. Like so many other of life's grand mysteries.


Popular posts from this blog


I was watching the TV show Naked and Afraid last night as I sometimes do. The show teams together two strangers, a man and a woman, who attempt to survive on their own for a period of 21 days in some remote and isolated region. Some of the locales featured include the Australian Outback, the Amazonian rainforest and the African Savanna. The man may have a military background, or be an adventurist or deep sea fisherman. Sometimes he's an ordinary dude who lives with mom. The woman is a park ranger or extreme fitness enthusiast or "just a mom" herself. Sometimes the couple quarrel, sometimes one or both "tap out" (quit) in a fit of anger or illness. It is satisfying to see them actually make it through the challenge and reach their extraction point. The victors are usually exhausted, emaciated, begrimed and bare ass naked. 

Even more satisfying, at least for me, is the occasional ass shot, snuck in at strategic intervals to boost viewership, of course. It's co…


In my days in the working world, doing the traditional 9 to 5 thing - although when I was a teacher it was more like 10 to 2 and 6 to 9; and as a doctor it was often 6 to 6 - I saw how easy it is to fall into the traps of so-called civilized life. I'm talking about modern vices. Things like drinking, smoking, drug use, promiscuity, and a diet of processed food, with or without animal flesh.

During my senior year of high school I decided it was necessary for me to abstain from these five vices. Each day that I didn't 1. drink alcohol, 2. smoke cigarettes, 3. do drugs, 4. eat meat, and 5. have sex or masturbate, was a day lived in the right direction. The direction of purity, divinity, wholesomeness, God consciousness. It was a way of distancing myself from my more earthy peers, who even at the tender age of 17 were indulging in many of these fleshy pursuits, and on a daily basis. I had soccer teammates who smoked a pack of cigarettes, getting their fixes before school, between …


I hereby proclaim that June is meditation month. And July and August and some of September too. For me at least. During the hundred days that comprise summer, give or take, I have taken it upon myself to "assume the position" for approximately one hour each day, usually divided into two 30-minute sessions. During this time I sit in front of a candle flame, let my breathing subside, and with it my mental activity, and literally count the seconds.

The reductive tendency that is emblematic of science has penetrated schools of meditation, and there are many, each of which advertises its particular breed as, if not being the best, at least boasting novel or specific benefits not found in other forms of meditation. 

For example, there is mindfulness, which is the monitoring of thoughts. There is concentration or focus, as on an object or the breath. There is transcendental meditation, which uses the inward repetition of a phrase, or mantra, to "allow your active mind to easily …