For millennia, we the living have known of heaven only what our scriptures and spiritual leaders told us. Conventional wisdom was that, once we crossed over, there was no coming back to tell about it. But, in recent decades, all that has changed. Now we have stories of near-death experiences, of children’s memories in times before they were born—of loved-ones who have passed away reaching out to reassure those they’ve left grieving behind.
So, what is heaven like?
In his popular book, Proof of Heaven, Dr. Eben Alexander tells of his experiences during the seven days he spent in a coma and tries to relate what it was like to be in the presence of God, whom he refers to as “Om”. Alexander has no compunction about claiming to have been in the presence of, and even in communication with, God because he says every one of us—every soul—has the capacity to do the same.
Alexander’s descriptions of heaven—or the “place” he visited while he was clinically dead—is not so much about a location with sensory detail as it is about consciousness.
“I never heard Om’s voice directly, nor saw Om’s face. It was as if Om spoke to me through thoughts that were like wave-walls rolling through me, rocking everything around me and showing that there is a deeper fabric of existence—a fabric that all of us are always part of, but which we’re generally not conscious of.”
Alexander returned to physical consciousness profoundly changed, with what he considers a duty to share his discoveries with others.
“I am especially eager to tell my story to the people who might have heard stories similar to mine before and wanted to believe them, but had not been able to fully do so,” he says in the introduction to his book.
In Memories of Heaven, Dr. Wayne W. Dyer and Dee Garnes collected vignettes shared by parents of small children who, in their childhood innocence, related memories of what it was like before they were born.
One mother wrote, simply, “My four-year-old used to talk about when he was in heaven before he was born, and when I asked him what it was like, he said it was all parks.”
A father was driving on the road with his three-year-old daughter when their conversation turned from the moon to heaven; so, he asked if she’d ever been to heaven. His daughter answered yes. The father said his own mommy was in heaven and that he was sorry his daughter never had a chance to meet her.
“Yes, I did,” said the daughter.
“What do you mean?” said her father.
“I saw her in heaven with God,” the little girl answered.
In our February 7, 2017, post Suzie wrote of a joyous reunion with her departed father and brother in a dream. They were happily farming the coconut plantation her father had only made a start at before he passed away.
“I believe a person brings his or her state of consciousness into the new world that they move into,” wrote Suzie. “Our aspirations are recorded in our transcendental selves and therefore are taken anywhere we go.”
In her book On Life After Death, Dr. Elizabeth Kübler-Ross wrote, “Dying is a human process in the same way that being born is a normal and all-human process.”
She wrote of her own experience, which she considered one of the stages in the process of crossing from this life to the next one:
“Having been born in Switzerland, I was allowed to cross a pass in the Alps covered with wild flowers. Everyone is met by the Heaven he or she imagined…”
In Spiritual Wisdom on Life After Death, Harold Klemp describes heaven this way:
“…As bright as the sunlight appears to our eyes, this physical world is a dark, small, mean place compared to the other worlds. You will see settings similar to those on earth, but larger and with a lot more light.
“There will be a lightness and spaciousness about the body that you wear there. Soul is once again wearing a body, but It is on a higher plane. It is so natural that generally you don’t give it a second thought. And you are always greeted by someone you know and love.”
Implicit in all of these descriptions is the value that knowledge of a life after death can add to our physical lives. Those who write of experiences with heaven see themselves as integral parts of something bigger, and the essence of that “something” is love.
Says Klemp: “For people who love truth and love God, it’s a smooth change. The key really is love.”
In his introduction to Imagine Heaven, John Burke, a former skeptic, says his studies of others’ near-death experiences have taught him to treasure his current life even more. And he adds this challenge:
“What if we became people who have a vision for the ultimate Life to come? …What if how you live really does matter to the life to come?”
The Meaning of Forever Project welcomes your stories of comforting experiences with loved ones who have passed on; or, of your own near-death experiences…encounters, perhaps, that have given you a glimpse of heaven.
For more information about The Meaning of Forever book project, please see our website (here), or visit our Facebook page (here). To send us a story or ask questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org