James A. Watkins is an entrepreneur, musician, and a writer with four non-fiction books and hundreds of magazine articles read by millions.
Transcendence: Life After Life
Is this the only dimension that exists? We live in a mortal space-time dimension designed for the growth of our spirits. The individual self is the prime focus of our consciousness, and the means by which we interact with reality.
Space shrinks as we age. Who among us has not gone back to a place of our childhood, a hill or a house, and found it quite small compared to our memory of it? A baby can only grasp inches at first, then feet, and then yards. It is quite some years before we can fully comprehend a mile. Space, like time, is relative.
Time flies. To a one-year-old, a single year seems like a lifetime—because it is. The tenth year of our lives is only one-tenth of our total experience, and therefore goes by ten times faster in our consciousness. By our fiftieth birthday, a year is only 2 percent of our experience of time.
If we live to be 100, a year consumes less conscious time than does four days to a one-year-old. If you live to be one million years old, time must fly by so fast that it would hardly be perceptible. It would almost be like everything is happening at once. You would go beyond time: Transcendence.
The organism that is you, and in fact each of your organs, requires the organization and integration of innumerable specialized cells. Man is made for cooperation. His eyes and hands work together, his feet take turns stepping, and his sexual organs eloquently bridge the gap between male and female. A human being stands between his ancestors and his descendents.
Our physical selves are made from the earth—3/4 water and 1/4 dirt, as is the planet on which we live—just as Genesis says. We breathe the same oxygen Jesus breathed. Scientists cannot measure the human spirit, and thus many of them doubt its power if not its existence.
There are some people who believe that this life and this world are all there is. Others think God is a superconsciousness into which we will be absorbed after death; into which our individual selves will disappear. But it seems to me that our perception is ever-widening, as is our awareness of ourselves, so why wouldn’t the afterlife include us, with our personalities? And if we do live beyond the grave, what are we doing here?
As we grow spiritually, we become far less self-centered and more outwardly focused, and yet we grow more acutely aware of whom we are. Mortality is the perfect tool to sharpen concentration on the education and growth of your soul. If this life were devoid of all pain and suffering, we would miss the greatest language of the soul and some of greatest learning experiences. Life is short, so we should be disciplined instruments of learning.
Some sort of world had to be designed with finite limitations to develop your mind and sharpen your spirit: A school of the soul, as it were. The problems of life may be the most important things it has to offer. A message must begin and end if it is to be understood. We assume form in this finite space and time in order to learn meaning, to grasp wisdom, to feel love.
Is There Life After Death?
One of the most mysterious and inscrutable questions of life is that which none of us can escape: Death. Your life can be extinguished by a single drop of poison. As the old country song says, “Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.”
Death certainly seems contrary to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Of course, our tooth enamel, nails, and hair are dead all the time. The death of your body will include the stoppage of your breath and heartbeat; cessation of metabolism and cellular growth; congealing of blood; and rigor mortis, followed by the decay and disintegration of tissues, which is accompanied by the quiet foraging (or feasting) of about 600 species of tiny bacteria, worms, and insects.
We inherit physical death. It is the disorganization of our bodily organism. Guided by our genes, our body cells disintegrate. Death is a part of life. It is the fact that we die that makes us value life so. You are a vapor that appears in this material world but for a little while, and then you are gone.
A Man and His Soul
Some folks wonder why God has not told us exactly what heaven will be like. I think it is because there are no words by which we might comprehend it. What if you told a baby in the womb what this world was like? Would she understand it? You could say, “There are colors, and trees, and cars, and buildings, and cities, and flying machines, and stars, and all sorts of people—but would the baby understand any of it? We are in the womb of the soul now. What lies beyond is beyond our imaginings.
Birth and death are comparably mystical, but we are more overawed by death because those who are born are strangers to us, while we intimately know those who die. Every mature adult you meet, or even pass on the street, knows she is going to die. It might seem that we are all on the same train, just getting off at different stops. But what if we are traveling to different destinations?
The physical body gives form to spirit as language gives form to thought. The Word was made flesh. As individual thoughts and memory patterns are developed, our physical selves become less important, and eventually our consciousness breaks free of the body. At the moment of physical death, ¾ of an ounce of something leaves our bodies. Therefore, death is how we transcend our bodies, what could be called a sort of “hatching.”
Life and Death
Life is about exercising faith. If we knew everything, we would be denied the exaltation of relying upon faith. God has promised the gift of eternal life after this life for those who accept it (on His terms).