HearSay with Cathy Lewis Podcast “The Art of Dying” – My Response

by Frank L. Jordan III

(The HearSay podcast “The Art of Dying” can be found here.)

When discussing the experience of death, I think it’s important to differentiate between what we know and what we believe. The plain and simple fact is, as human beings living in the early 21st century, we know precious little about our existence after bodily death, or whether we continue to exist at all. Even if we take into account the testimonies of people who have had near death experiences, these accounts only describe the early stages of death. We have no knowledge of what occurs following the final stages of death.

I think it’s important to note that, even though your guest has devoted much time to the reality of death through meditation, his belief that we “lose our identities and dissolve into the Cosmos” is just that, a belief. The fact is that consciousness itself still has a dimension of mystery to it, and we cannot say for sure whether or not our identities are retained or lost after death. Given our current lack of knowledge on the matter, it is just as valid to believe that our individual identities survive the death experience as it is to believe that our identities are somehow absorbed into the Cosmos, or that they cease to exist at all.

Because these beliefs are equally possible, I choose to believe that my individual identity will survive the death of my physical body. In other words, I nurture the hope that I will continue to exist. I know that this is an optimistic viewpoint, but it is one that I will most likely carry with me to my dying day.