Individual character: will it be the same after death?

Dr. Raymond Moody carefully studied the visions of people near death. They reported similar experiences to each other which he termed the ‘near death experience‘. What the typical individual notices are:

“A warm spirit of light appears and this being communicates in a non-verbal way so that he thinks back to his past life and sees the important events of his life as they were played back to him.”

Those people who experience a near death experience commonly report this life review process as part of their vision.

Interestingly, mediums also report that sooner or later after death, each person’s spirit must undertake a life review. All the lessons that could be learned from recent terrestrial life are explored in the course of this review. This is said to involve directly experiencing, within oneself, the happiness and emotional suffering caused in others by one’s own actions. People don’t always recognize when they are being loyal, kind, and helpful. They also don’t always realize when they have been critical and inconsiderate of the needs of others.

Will others see any fault in our character?
Swedenborg also describes how the inner character of people in the next life is gradually revealed so that each can be seen for what he is. The hypocrisy is exposed, the simulation no longer works, and the soul is ugly and naked.

Our inner character is what we really want and desire. In ordinary life it often remains hidden. Who deep down does not want social approval? So not many of us are so open with our true feelings and attitudes as to reveal who we are on the inside, warts and all. Except possibly for those who share our home, other people do not clearly know us. We often pretend, even to ourselves, to be better than we really are.

In my clinical practice with clients suffering from various personal problems, I have noticed that they vary in their self-awareness. The process of personal therapy can help unravel unseen reasons why any of us act as we do. The counselor helps to explore our true character.

Such exposure, we are told, occurs in the afterlife. One way of putting it is to say that the inner individuality can be seen in the light of truth but not recognized in the darkness of self-righteousness.

It is not hard to imagine that, if true, there will be unrest in the afterlife as the person confronts his or her past desires and intentions. But this is a necessary step if spiritual progress is ever to be made. Some of us can hope we can be ‘purify’ in relation to any damage that we may have caused in the terrestrial life.

Do we purify ourselves after death?
This notion of a ‘purification’ process seems akin to the notion of ‘purge’. This is a Roman Catholic doctrine regarding the afterlife. Furthermore, Chinese folk religion speaks of, “Diyu” which is a mythological realm of purgatory. It is said to serve to punish and renew spirits in preparation for what is believed to be reincarnation.

Swedenborg describes what may be a similar process in the afterlife which he calls ‘vastness‘. In his view, this is when others challenge one’s mistaken assumptions and selfish motives. If the individual basically wants to know what is good and feels genuine remorse for the harm done, then any remaining self-centered attitude can be set aside. Those with basic good intentions go through experiences that remove their wrong ways of thinking so that they live in the light.

On the other hand, if the person is not interested in the truth about their life, they may become defensive and resist the enlightenment process. They avoid taking responsibility for things. The consequence would be no learning and no improvement.

Albert Ellis (the founder of rational-emotive behavior therapy) wrote “The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide that your problems are your own. You don’t blame your mother, or the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.”

I would say that in the afterlife that follows death, the inner character that we formed while living in the world will gradually emerge. Who we really are will be revealed to others and to ourselves. The individual differences between us are obvious. The whole world would see those of us who have honest integrity. Likewise, those who have selfish attachments.

Does the quality of life after death have to do with our individual character?
Professor Fontana points out that mediums who work with spirits sometimes insist that people do not change their nature simply by dying. For example, he quotes one who says:

‘Death does not make a sinner a saint, nor a fool wise. The mentality is the same as before and individuals carry their old desires, habits, dogmas, faulty teachings, indifference or disbelief with them into a future life.’ (Carl Wickland)

I would say that if each of us becomes the person we have chosen to be, do we not create our own destiny? It could be said that it is a bit like the idea of ​​karma. I accumulate karma and positive or negative karma affects my destiny.

Similarly, and according to Swedenborg, the quality of life experienced after death depends on the inner character that each of us has formed during life in the physical world. How each person grows and develops. What desires ruled our hearts.

How does individual character affect our happiness?
If, during the life before death, we became kind and sensible, then we will experience a life after death surrounded by constant kindness and sensibleness. But those of us who had become selfish and foolish will instead want to live in a different social climate. One where different social norms apply. A state of existence created by those whose lives are equally focused on what they want for themselves. Not such a pleasant experience, one might say. But wouldn’t it make us as happy as we are capable of being?

A selfish life leads to your own happiness or at least your own illusion of happiness. Such an individual finds pleasure in bringing out the best in others, in taking what they possess, in manipulating them to get his way. On the other hand, a altruistic life delights in serving the community, being helpful to the family, and seeking the good in others, even when friends and relatives are rude or unkind.

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