“Why are we here?” “Where are we going?”

If you have ever pondered over questions like “What is the purpose of life?” “Why are we here?” “Where are we going?” “Is there life after death?”, you are not alone. These are common questions that have intrigued the human mind over centuries.

Based on the hierarchy of needs (proposed by Maslow in 1970), one can derive that these questions stem from the human need of transcendence, that is beyond self actualization. This is the beginning of the realization that we are a part of something beyond ourselves and this leads one to the journey to explore the unexplained.

Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs#Transcendence_needs

Near Death Experiences

A near-death experience (NDE) is a deep personal experience related with death or approaching death that are found to have some common characteristics. These may include sensations such as separation from the body, feelings of levitation, total serenity, safety, warmth, the sensation of absolute dissolution, and the presence of a light.

Bruce Greyson, a psychiatrist, has spent decades interviewing patients who have had near-death experiences. His work makes us think about what happens when we die and how we should live.

Dr. Greyson was approached by a patient who claimed to have left her body while comatose on a hospital bed, a month into his psychiatric training in the 1960s.

His interest in near-death experiences, or NDEs, led him to investigate what happens to us when we die. The psychiatrist Raymond Moody, who was formerly a colleague of Greyson’s, labelled these incidents “near-death experiences” in his 1975 best seller ‘Life After Life‘. His study has resulted in a collection of hundreds of NDEs, which he has gathered over the years, either from people who were aware of his work and gave their accounts, or from patients who happened to have episodes while in the hospital. Greyson says that feelings of wonder, mental clarity, and bliss are almost always present in most episodes. 

According to Plato, Socrates had one, and Pliny the Elder had another (in the first century). We appear to be as fascinated with their meaning as we have always been, and they continue to be strewn abundantly across popular culture.

“What would you do with your life if you got a second chance?” they ask. According to Dr. Greyson, near-death experiences can have a significant influence on how individuals spend their lives. In most situations, those who have experienced an NDE, find that they are no longer terrified of dying or taking risks.

They begin to perceive a meaning in life that they previously did not see, and they grow more accepting of the uncertainty. The doctor even goes on to state that “After doing this for 40, 50 years, I am certain that there is more to life than our physical bodies.”

Around 8 million Americans claim to have had a near-death experience (NDE), which many view as evidence for an afterlife

What is the Afterlife?

The afterlife is a hypothesized existence in which the essence of an individual’s identity or stream of consciousness continues to exist even after their death.

Some people believe that after death, the individual is reincarnated into a new body and begins the life cycle over again in a spiritual dimension.

Is the Afterlife real?

Reincarnation is a philosophical and religious concept concerning the rebirth of the soul or spirit in a new body after biological death. It is also called transmigration. The word “reincarnation” derives from Latin, literally meaning, “(entire) birth (again)”.

Dr. Michael Newton, a renowned psychologist and hypnotherapist, was the first from the scientific community to author a book (Journey of Souls) that suggested a possibility of individuals being reincarnated. Through his extensive research, he discovered how to facilitate his clients to access the wisdom of what seemed to be a non-physical or “spirit world” and provide a higher direction while they were still on the physical plane. 

When Dr. Newton was treating a lady for depression in 1968 using age regression therapy (a method used by hypnotherapists to assist patients recollect past experiences that have an impact on their current health conditions and then address them), on gradually regressing her to a younger age to take her back to the root of her agony, instead of a childhood memory, she spontaneously shifted to a transitional state between lifetimes (a.k.a. the hereafter or the afterlife), where she met her “soul group”. After meeting the group of familiar souls, she was able to get over the loneliness that was found to be at the root of her depression. In her session, she recalled how emotionally difficult it was for her to leave her soul group behind but she was also made aware that this was necessary, in order for her to learn how to be ‘self-sufficient’, which was one of her life lessons. This process of hypnotherapy later came to be known as ‘Past Life Regression’.

Link between Reincarnation and Karma

Robert A. Stevenson conducted a study of over 3000 “past life” case reports from all over the world. Stevenson was often able to identify a real-life character based purely on the child’s remarks. Many of the participants had unique birthmarks or birth abnormalities, such as deformed fingers, undeveloped ears, or being born without a lower limb.

  • A young Burmese woman born without her lower right leg described being ran over by a train.
  • A child in India born with boneless stubs for fingers on his right hand after losing his fingers in a fodder-chopping machine accident.
  • A Turkish child identified a murderer based on what was found to be his memory from another life, as the victim.

Spiritual author, researcher and hypnotherapist Robert Schwartz says that we are all Souls in essence. We plan and choose every aspect of our lives including our most difficult challenges, before taking birth. The reason we take birth is to master certain divine virtues (such as faith, compassion) on the physical plane and to balance the karma of our prior lifetimes.

In his books he goes on to investigate the reasons why one would decide to be born into a life of severe hardships. The information received were in the form of “readings” that were given to selected people who have experienced tremendous adversities in their lives. The readings were performed by gifted individuals a.k.a “psychics” or “spiritual mediums” (who are clairvoyant, clairaudient or have similar special abilities). They reported that the information they received mostly came from divine beings called “Spirit Guides” who are assigned to every soul and act as a guardian throughout a soul’s physical incarnation and spiritual evolution.


From the research studies and cases detailed above it seems that our consciousness does not end with our physical death. It appears that we always seem to carry our essence, that is our ‘soul’, with us. Once our life ends, we reunite with our soul group and other souls in the spirit realm, evolve spiritually based on the life we just experienced, and later we’re again brought back to physical life in a different body.

The act of dying is not the end of life; it merely marks the end of one biological form. The continuation of lifetimes is not to be feared or considered unnatural. We all must eventually exist in some form after death. The soul retains the continuity of its individual identity, and one eventually attains a state of joy and peace in a place of perfect tranquility.

When we truly grasp the reality of death, we realize that our concept of self, i.e. the ‘ego’, is an illusion. Death liberates us from our perception of existence as a separate entity in a world of impermanence. We cease to exist in the same way that a wave ceases to exist when it reaches a shore, or a drop of water ceases to exist when it flows into a river!

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