My conception of life after death is not a simple one. I conceive of life as being made up of three things: the physical, the mental, and the emotional. I believe that all three of these are essential elements of life; further, I believe that there is certainly life after death, only not in the form that we know it. It has been shown that right after a person dies, he weighs very slightly less than he does when he is alive. I believe that this is what we know as the “soul.” It is partly physical, since it has weight; it is, I believe, the essence of everything we have experienced in the past, every bit of information we have gleaned from the existence we at present call “life.” It is an understanding and an awareness of every emotion one can feel.
I refer to “life” as we now know it, as a caterpillar stage. The worm inches along, doing what is necessary for his survival. He is unconsciously destroying his environment, but as long as there is enough to sustain him he doesn’t mind. His vision is poor, so extremely so that he could not see the butterfly which flutters past him. But even if it were to come close enough for his inspection, he would fail to comprehend it and would remain totally ignorant of what it is. He does not realize that the beauty he has just allowed to pass him by is an image of the future, a vision of himself when he has passed from his present state, the caterpillar state, the only state that even exists, for all he knows.
So, too, with man: he has no conception of the beauty and perfection which may well await him if he does what is necessary to complete the transformation from caterpillar to butterfly. Like his insect counterpart, man knows not how to go about achieving this metamorphosis. Yet, who is to say that death is not merely the cocoon from which the butterfly emerges? As I stated earlier, we are blind to what we may become. Well, I have seen the butterfly, and I intend to chase it until I learn its secrets. Then, perhaps I, too, can fly through the heavens, something greater than that which I left behind.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.