Podcast Notes: What Happens When We Die?

Notes (by Gayla Groom) from Science Set Free Podcast with Rupert Sheldrake, titled What Happens When We Die. Rupert Sheldrake quotes are in quotation marks.

  • “When we die we may continue to dream, but because we’re dead we can’t wake up.”
  • “That means that the kind of after-death experience we might have depends on what kind of person we are, what kind of fears we have, what kind of beliefs we have, what kinds of things we expect… and what our religious faith is.”
  • “If we’re used to praying regularly then in our dreams or in our after-death life we may be able to go on praying, and that would enable us to contact a spiritual realm beyond the more limited realm we’re confined to in this post-mortem dream state.”
  • “Purgatory is [said to be] a realm of continued development or existence after death, where there is still change and development but it’s an intermediate state because one can go beyond it.”
  • In the Tibetan Book of the Dead, there’s an intermediate stage, bardo, where people pass through continued development and then they are reincarnated.
  • There are two types of subtle bodies: 1) etheric (the morphogenetic field, shapes the bodies, maintains health) and 2) astral body (dreambody).
  • Tibetans think you can work on dreams now — dream yoga or dream practice — lucid dreams, gain control of your dreamings, “like practicing for when you’re dead”, whereas in normal dreams you may be “buffeted by psychic forces beyond your control”.
  • Are people in dreams projections of ourselves? “How big is ourself? Does ourself actually include our relationship with other people?”
  • In dream groups and workshops, dreams are sometimes shared. Two people meet in their dreams, there’s some kind of “telepathic overlap in the dream state”. And it’s not just a projection; they are actually meeting in the dream.
  • “If, when we’re dreaming while we’re alive, we enter a dream realm which is one where the normal rules don’t apply — the rules of dreaming apply but not the rules of physical life — and if the dead are in a kind of dream world then these dream worlds could overlap. They’re not in the normal space-time continuum. So it may be that in our dreams we can actually meet ancestors who are now dead and we can actually have communications with them. and it may be that they’re not just projections of our own waking life or our subconscious mind but they have an autonomous existence in the dream world that we can actually encounter and interact with.”
  • “And this encounter with the dead through our dreams in our dreams might not just be with our own ancestors.
  • “It could also be with other people who are dead who we can relate to.
  • “I’m thinking particularly of the saints.
  • “Saints are dead people. You can’t be a saint while you’re alive, at least in the Christian tradition. You’ve got to die first before you can become a saint.
  • “And the saints are people to whom in the catholic … tradition you can pray and ask them for help. So one is actually forming a relationship with a dead person through praying to a saint.”
  • The Virgin Mary, Saint Anthony, Saint Jude, might be in millions of dreams every night.
  • People dream of Ganash, the elephant-headed Hindu god, even though he is not ‘real’ he has “mythological power”, “luminous power”, is a “manifestation of god”.
  • Dreams could include interactions with dead people, and archetypal figures.
  • Distinction between ‘praying for’ and ‘praying to’. Requiem prayer = praying for.
  • The idea of rest in peace is related to a fear people have always had of the dead coming back to haunt them, or being displeased with them from beyond the grave.
  • And perhaps many dead people who exist in the dream world do feel neglected.
  • Thus, the importance of rites in helping to rest in peace, and of honoring ancestors, including ceremonies and national ceremonies to acknowledge including people (such as veterans) who may not be acknowledged by their descendants (who might be atheists, for instance, who believe there is no afterlife).

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