What Actually Happens When We Die?

what happens when we die

Question: What happens when we die? What does the person who dies experience?

Avatar Adi Da tells us that death is not an ending, but is a living process and a very profound transformation. He has also described death as a “benign psycho-physical process.” You will not know exactly what will follow your own death, but you can know about the process in general.

As the body is breaking down, the person is experiencing a lot of chaos and confusion with strange sounds and sensations, feeling feverish then cold. The Tibetan Book of the Dead describes in detail how someone may experience great water falls, earthquakes, fires, and wind which corresponds to this period of disintegration of the physical.

When someone dies, they may experience floating out of their body and still be aware of what is going on around them. But they may not realize that they have died. Things are similar, but not quite the same as in life. This is especially the case when there has been a sudden unexpected death. After death someone may have experiences similar to ones that people who have had near death experiences report. Adi Da says that we can learn from near death experiences, but that they do not describe the full reality of the death process, both because the person does not complete the process as in death and because what is reported is complicated by personal and cultural influences, rather than being a revelation of reality, itself. In any case, one is likely to feel they are going down a tunnel and into a bright white light. He says going down the tunnel and seeing the light is just the first step.

In his book, Easy Death, he says “attention will eventually gravitate from the Brilliant White Field back into lesser planes and visions. You will see other individuals. Helpful people will appear, and you will move into another condition quite naturally and easily.” These transitions are not all pleasurable. He says circumstances may arise that justify fear, sorrow, anger and desires, but the secret is to understand these visions as formed by your own mind. In spite of any desire to stay in the White Light, you will automatically drop back into planes of manifested existence leading to a rebirth either in this realm or in another vibratory plane of existence.

Again in Easy Death Adi Da says “Death is not a permanent event or effect. Death is simply a transition to further experience. … The death process is simply another form of participation in the Mystery and Universal Unity of existence.”

3 comments for “What Actually Happens When We Die?

  1. June 8, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    And you know this to be fact because….

    • Judy
      August 20, 2015 at 6:14 pm

      It’s a good question: How can we really know what happens after death?

      The answer is that actually we know a lot. In addition to material from various spiritual traditions, we have extensive, carefully documented commentary from those who have survived near-death experiences.
      A recent McLean’s magazine article has a well-balanced overview of the latest research. See http://www.macleans.ca/society/life/the-heaven-boom/
      For more in-depth study, you might start with Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Near-death_experience, where you’ll find a list of the common phenomena that arise during these experiences along with information on the research and analysis of near-death experiences from a variety of points of view.

      Some researchers dismiss near death accounts as merely brain phenomena, but what seems irrefutable is that an out-of-body experience often occurs, where dying people describe, accurately and in detail, objects and activities, later verified, that they could not have observed from their location at the time.

      Adi Da encourages the study of near-death experiences, but says that they are misinterpreted by survivors, who tend to see them as evidence of a paradise that awaits us. He explains that we do not survive death as individual selves. In his essay, “There Is No Individual Self That Dies”, he writes that
      “… the reason you survive death is not that the ego is immortal. You survive death because the Inherent Identity of all phenomena and of the apparently individuated consciousness is Transcendental, Inherently Spiritual, and Self-Evidently Divine.”
      (The full essay is available as a 99-cent ebook. You can search by its title or by “Adi Da Samraj.”)

      In another essay from Easy Death called “The Truth About Death”, he points out that we can learn about the death process in other ways too:
      “The process of death—like all common events of human existence—is clearly available for you to observe in others and to study as a common (as well as a personal) psycho-physical event, and you must prepare for that event, even as you normally prepare for other great events—such as childbirth, or an operation, or a test of knowledge and skills relating to a profession.”

      For Adi Da’s very detailed account of after-death phenomena, set in a unique structure of interpretation that makes it clear how we need to prepare for death, the Dawn Horse Press has a special-offer CD at http://tinyurl.com/cosmicmandala.

  2. Eric Leber
    August 30, 2015 at 9:25 am

    I see all Life as a constant stream of Gifts, all to be received and passed on to those in need. Understanding that I began dying right after my birth, I have one-only prayer: “Help me stay present in loving service to all beings and things.” All preparing, whether for someone’s birthday party or the transition labeled “death,” arises naturally, fully and helpfully when I am wholly present, knowing there is always everything to do and nothing to be accomplished. Thank you for the invitation to comment; I also welcome all comments, with you in God is Love, eric

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