I admit, I’m biased. I already believe there’s life after death. Several first-hand experiences have opened my eyes to the existence of an unseen world. But even more than that, I believe in an afterlife because of a deep inner knowing I can barely explain in words. The question for me becomes “Is that enough?”
I ask this because I am a seeker. I love research and stories and learning. I love asking questions even more than finding answers. I am an enthusiastic Student Of Life. Which makes me equally a Student Of Death.
This interconnectedness brings me to share Death Makes Life Possible, a new film produced by Marilyn Schlitz, Ph.D. and Deepak Chopra, M.D. (with the Institute of Noetic Sciences and the Deepak Chopra Foundation) that explores whether consciousness survives physical death. This documentary overlaps with much of what I’ve been thinking and writing about since 2012.
It felt only natural to support this project, and so I’ve been helping create the film’s discussion guides and educational materials since last winter. I’ve been thrilled to be involved!
Being in conversation about death & life
One of the things I appreciate most about Death Makes Life Possible is that it’s a conversation starter and offers plenty to ponder. Its purpose is to encourage a national dialogue on ancient questions about death and dying, while offering potential evidence from modern science that points toward the likelihood of an afterlife.
Instead of drawing specific conclusions, though, we are invited us to consider various viewpoints about what happens when we die, and to look to scientific research as well as cultural and spiritual traditions for guidance along the way.
The first weekend of June, I had the honor of bringing this cutting-edge documentary to the Afterlife Conference in Portland, Orgeon for its Northwest premiere. Over 200 people viewed the film, which touched on most of the workshop topics at the conference such as near-death experiences (NDEs), neuroscience, reincarnation, grief rituals, dreams of the deceased, communicating with those who have died, psychic mediums, survival of consciousness, and much more.
A week earlier, the film received a standing ovation at the world premiere in Arizona at the Illuminate Film Festival.
Exploring the greater mystery
Why are so many people resonating with this film? I think it’s partly because people do want to talk about this often taboo topic in our culture. And because it holds death up to the light like a prism, and casts a wide and colorful spectrum of possibilities for us to consider. We can’t touch or smell or taste rainbows, but inspired by our curiosity, we find ways to understand and explain them.
Just like images of the afterlife, rainbows were often seen in mythology and art before they were understood. Theories were developed around the time of Aristotle thousands of years ago, but before then, humans may have thought they were apparitions. Even when we claim to know how it all works – even when the gift of science demonstrates this – there is still a greater mystery beyond what we can comprehend. Yes, someone can tell you how a cell phone works. But, really, how does it work? Mind-boggling. Beneath the technical concepts, it remains a riddle.
Even with logical explanations, both rainbows and the afterlife are still beautiful mysteries to me. Worthy of practical investigation AND of awe. Worthy of theories AND of amazement.
Proof of the afterlife? Who decides?
If you’re someone who likes “proof,” you may or may not find it here in this film. While the evidence is compelling, it is still up to each of us to decide what resonates. But first, we need to be open to different thoughts, theories, and traditions. First we need to ask why it is important for us to ask these questions to begin with.
What does considering the afterlife offer us? To me, the possibility of life after death can open us to a new perception of reality and what it means to be alive. It can relieve stress and angst, creating more room for joy and connection in our lives. Ultimately, Death Makes Life Possible invites us to see death as a cycle of life, and to release fears of death in order to open to the fullness of life.
I don’t feel the need to convince people to agree with me that an afterlife exists. But I do love heart-to-heart conversations about what happens when we die, and how this may affect our present time lives. I’ll share more specific details about this documentary in future posts. In the meantime, please watch the trailer for just a taste of what it explores. And you can click here for an article interviewing Marilyn Schlitz and Deepak Chopra that you may enjoy.
An invitation to spark the discussion!
As Students of Life and Students of Death, may we engage in these conversations at our kitchen tables, on long walks with friends, in nursing homes and hospitals, at places of worship and business meetings and classrooms. May we continue to be in awe of the mystery and be open to what’s possible.
If you are interested in sparking the discussion by hosting a home or community screening of Death Makes Life Possible where you live, or for an organization you work with, please go to Specialty Studios, or contact me. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by leaving a comment on this blog post.
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