The Afterlife

I am convinced that for many, if not most persons, there is an ideal time to be born and an equally ideal time and circumstance for laying down the physical body and reentering the eternal realm of spirit. Whenever I have been tempted to indulge in vain regrets or to entertain guilt over some omission or commission that might have prolonged Bob’s physical life, he has been quick to correct me and in some cases go into great detail in explaining the divine timing, forces, and blessings at work in his return to spirit.

Moreover, because of the nature of an ongoing communication that began early on after his transition, I have been doing a lot of comparative reading on the subject of the afterlife. And although there are differing accounts there is also a consistency that for me emerges and resonates with what I am receiving in my journaling dialogues with Bob.

So, when recently I read Owen Waters’ article “Life in the Afterlife” it struck me as remarkably consistent with what I have been receiving with me here and Bob there—he in spirit form while I am still in physical form. From his higher perspective he indicates there are advantages to this arrangement.

This is not to say that if given a choice I would not prefer Bob still be here in physical form. Bodies can be so habit forming that we tend to forget their disadvantages and built in genetic limitations. One of the lessons I have been learning these past ten months is not to argue with or resist the way things are. This also includes on occasion allowing and going with a wave of grief as a way of not resisting. Acknowledging, observing, and letting it pass seems to work best for me, with the nature of grief being that it comes and goes as waves, washing upon the shore of consciousness from some hidden inner depth, and then back out again, merging and disappearing into the deep and wide sea of our common humanity, appearing and disappearing according to a rhythm of its own and as all forms do. In non-resistance inner peace and even the capacity to feel joy and to laugh returns.

Owen, in his article, writes about earthly life as a primary opportunity for overcoming fear:

The fear of death today is all-pervasive. It is so ingrained in society that it gets avoided wherever possible. If death is mentioned, the subject is usually changed as quickly as possible.

The fear of death is fed by, not just one, but three powerful factors:

A built-in, biological survival instinct.

Fear of the unknown.

Fear of losing the company of a dearly loved one.

His complete article includes his suggestions for creatively facing and overcoming these fears.

If you have something to share on this subject of overcoming the fears surrounding death please consider using the comment box below to do so. [Note: To add comments, click below on words “no comments” and the comment box will appear.]

About ann

When Bob and Ann Elliott purchased their sixty acre Murray Creek property in 1974 their purpose was to establish a retreat center for Inner Healing. This was the beginning of Creative Living Center and later the home of CLC Press which gradually evolved into an on-line means of sharing what they were learning and experiencing about the processes of becoming whole. Ann was born in 1929 in Holden, Missouri. Her parents were both journalists and co-published the local newspaper. They had met in Mexico City where her father was on assignment for a Washington DC newspaper and where her mother was doing advanced studies at the University of Mexico. When Ann was six they separated and she moved to Kansas City where her mother began a long career in radio and television. In high school Ann was sent east to Penn Hall in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. And that is where she met Bob who was attending Mercersburg Academy, the nearby boy's prep school. Bob was born in 1927 in Washington, DC. His mother had been a librarian in Hammond, Indiana before coming to Washington during World War I where she met his father, a young Marine who became an attorney when the war was over. Bob attended Sidwell Friends School in Washington through eighth grade and went on to Mercersburg, and from there, near the end of World War II, into the army. The war over, he began pre-law at Northwestern where Ann was studying journalism and doing secretarial work for her mother who was then Woman's Editor of American Broadcasting Co in Chicago. In the fall of 1947 Ann and Bob were married and the following spring left for Stanford University where Bob finished his undergraduate and went on to earn his law degree in 1952, by which time they were expecting the second of what would be their six children. During Bob's years at Stanford Ann studied and worked in the field of design. This led to her interest in symbolism, and the study of symbolism awakened her interest in spirituality, a combination that led to an interest in Jungian psychology at about the time Jung's writings were beginning to appear in English. It was through the writings of Christian Jungians such as John Sanford and Morton Kelsey that Ann became interested in the psycho-spiritual approaches to inner healing. Eventually she would connect with the three grand women founders of the San Francisco based Guild For Psychological Studies, all of whom had studied with Jung in Zurich. Together the three--Elizabeth Boynton Howes, Sheila Moon, and Luella Seibald--had established the Four Springs retreat center in Northern California where they conducted seminars based on "The Records of the Life of Jesus of Nazareth" according to a modified Socratic method. Ann participated in the Records and other related seminars at Four Springs during the 1980s. In the meantime, Bob was equally involved in pursuing his special interest in music as a means of furthering and deepening meditation. He was also studying shamanism with Michael Harner and the Institute for Shamanic Studies, and with Ira Progoff through his Intensive Journal Workshops. All this time, of course, he was carrying on a busy law practice in Lodi, California, some forty miles commute from Murray Creek. From 1984 until his retirement in 1998 Ann served as Bob's legal secretary. Ann, with both of her parents writers, had been writing off and on for a number of years, with numerous writings on symbolism published in magazines and journals, as well as two books on the use of symbolism in Christian education. In 1996-7 Parts I and II of Return to the Whole were published on the C G Jung Web Page, and this was the beginning of web publishing for Ann as a means of sharing the synthesis of ways to inner healing and wholeness she and Bob had experienced and been sharing throughout their years at Murray Creek. With their retirement in 1998 Ann began writing and editing full time, with her in progress "opus" being the series titled Return to the Whole, and including the full length book titled Higher Ground, offered here in its entirety. In 1992 Ann learned she was eligible to "test her vocation" as an Anglican Franciscans and after an inquiry and formation of some five years was, in 1997, professed. These are the TSSF initials that follow her name--The Society of Saint Francis--and for which order she now serves as a formation counselor. Additionally she is a Benedictine trained spiritual director and serves in this capacity also to whomever is willing to make the narrow, winding trip out Murray Creek Road.
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One Response to The Afterlife

  1. Robert says:

    I love your description of your experience of grief coming out of the depths like the tide and washing over you, and your description how accepting the grief instead of fighting it allows it to express itself and then pass. This idea of acceptance is one of the biggest ideas in psychotherapy these days. And certainly acceptance is how I have (for now at least) gotten past feeling dominated by my fear of my own death, which was such a big thing for me for most of my life, until I began using an acceptance-based prayer (see: )

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