What Comes Next?
In the Hebrew Bible, the prophet Ezekiel described the Garden of Eden as a place that was initially occupied by humans who were perfect and were adorned with rubies, diamonds, topaz, beryl, carnelian, jasper, sapphires, emeralds and garnets. It was only when people began buying and selling that they lost their identity and were cast out of their pristine environment. (Ezekiel 28:13f)
In the New Testament, the Book of Revelation described The New Jerusalem in much the same way. (Rev. 21:9-27) The gates of the city will remain open forever because “nothing that is impure would be entering the city, or anyone who does shameful things or tells lies. Only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of living will enter the city.”
Perhaps the Apostle Paul was the closest to describing what comes next when he reported a man’s response after he returned from an out-of-the-body experience. Paul wrote that this man claimed that there were no words that could express what he experienced. (II Corinthians 12:2-4).
Being material beings, most of our words give expression to issues, causes and realities that have form. Try to imagine communicating about an environment that has no physical forms whatsoever. Even in our dreams we are surrounded by physical symbols that are well known to all of us. So, what comes next?
The Apostle Paul tells us that we really do not know who we are while we are here. He realized almost two thousand years ago that we only partially recognize what we are experiencing in our world. (I Corinthians 13:12) What he summarized about our existence wasbased on the qualities that our spirits have the potential to radiate, “faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love.”
What comes next may disappoint us while we still remain locked in our physical experiences. For example, many of us hope that we will see loved ones who have died when it is our turn to transition. The forms and roles that we enjoyed here have no reality in what comes next. In fact, Jesus once taught that we lose much that we associate with our identities. “When the dead are raised to life,” he said, “they will be like the angels and will not marry.” (Mark 12:25)
Having incarnated hundreds of times, each of us has enjoyed countless roles because we have been both men and women. We have died as children and as people of extreme age. We have been poor and wealthy, lowly laborers and people of vast wisdom as well as being victims and victimizers. When we transition, we take with us the bounty of experiences that we have added to the knowledge from countless former lives. This collected understanding enables us to create more informed responses.
It will not matter how many people with whom we have had sexual encounters, how many banks we have robbed and how many people we have killed or how many hospitals or universities we built. All those experiences were decisions we made because we did not understand that our purpose for being born was to evolve spiritually.
What such accomplishments reveal is that we were slow to learn that such things have no meaning in what comes next. When highly skilled criminal minds transition, they will find themselves in an environment without skills they can use to create. This understanding is what caused Jesus to say from the cross, “They know not what they do.” People who have only mastered skills that work in our world will transition to what comes next with knowledge that they cannot use.
God does not need to punish or reward those who were participating in a dream that was as authentic as anything could possibly be. As we have said before, each entity is who he or she is during each level of their spiritual evolution. Sometimes we have to be so wedded to our earthly environment before we realize that our true nature and our creative qualities remained unused during a particular lifetime. We learn that we abandoned our true worth and wealth in order to pursue some fantasy.
What we pursue reveals the desires of our spirit. During countless lifetimes, we may pursue such longings until we learn that such desires have confined us to wanting a life of fleeting pleasures. Once we transition to what comes next, our response is frequently, “Oh no! I failed to awaken to my purpose. But, I had a good time anyway. I learned a lot.”
Those who do not base their identities on attachments to the physical world are those who have awakened. This is what Jesus meant when he said, “The Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” He knew of even greater realities that would dawn only to future generations when they became receptive to understand. Jesus could not teach what he knew his disciples could not possibly understand. (John 16:12)
If there is an awareness that propels us successfully through the maze of our illusionary existence, it is creative detachment. We remain at peace during our losses. We remain at peace while enjoying the pinnacle of success in the material world. Peace comes when we know that nothing here really matters. What matters is the spirit by which we live.
Each of us carries our collective memory into the next reality where we continue our journey toward learning how to create as our Creator creates. There is only one way to accomplish this – by radiating our loving energy patterns as we create. This skill serves us here and it will serve us well in what comes next.