Must We Die to Visit Heaven?


Joan Olinger -SW on Life after DeathIn previous posts, we’ve discussed Near-Death Experiences (NDE’s), End of Life Dreams and Visions (ELDV’s) and encountering deceased loved ones in both our dreaming and waking lives. In a tiny book called ECK Wisdom on Life After Death: What Happens When We Die? spiritual writer Harold Klemp accepts all these phenomena as real and goes a step further by offering readers a way to have similar experiences without having to die or endure a medical crisis.

 Heaven is accessible to everyone, says Klemp; all we need is the tools to get there. In this post, Dr. Joan Olinger reviews his pocket-sized book.

By Dr. Joan Olinger

“Love”. This is Harold Klemp’s answer to the question, “What is stronger than death?”

”Whenever there is a strong bond of love between two people, they can meet again in their dreams or by Soul Travel,” says Klemp in ECK Wisdom on Life After Death: What Happens When We Die? 

A prolific writer and leader of a religion called Eckankar, Klemp has penned more than 100 books, most of which include references to our fears about death and what happens afterwards. In Spiritual Wisdom he presents an overview of the meaning of life and the place of death in it. He writes: “Each person is a divine being who comes to earth with a spiritual purpose. Lifetime after lifetime, Soul grows in love and grace, ultimately to become a Co-Worker with God.”

He goes on to say every lifetime is precious, because it gives us the opportunity to grow spiritually: “Births and deaths mark the journey of Soul,” and, “Death is a doorway, a transition into the inner worlds,” he says.

These “inner worlds” can also be referred to as heaven; and, according to Klemp, each of us reaches the one that suits our individual spiritual unfoldment—whether after death, or by our own choice while physically whole.

Klemp, who counts divinity school among his many life experiences, writes that St. Paul of the Christian Bible spoke of leaving his physical body at will when he said, “I die daily”. Further, Klemp makes the connection between what he calls the “inner worlds” and St. Paul’s declaration that he knew a man who had been “caught up into the third heaven.”*

Klemp says we may be greeted by loved ones before the moment of death, and that they are there to welcome us into the heaven that is right for us. In that heaven—even though our physical bodies have ceased to operate—we continue very much alive, with similar appearance and personality, though we may be considerably younger and healthier, he says.

Klemp offers a simple exercise that he  says can take us to these heavens in our awareness while still alive in our physical bodies. He calls this “Soul Travel”, and we can use it to connect with the loved ones we’ve lost, or to let go of our own fear of death. The exercise goes like this:

“HU (pronounced like the word hue) is an ancient love song to God. Before sleep, close your eyes and place your attention very gently on the Spiritual Eye (a point between and behind the eyebrows). Sing HU, and fill yourself with love.

“This feeling of love is needed to give you the confidence to go forward into an unknown, unexplored area. One way to fill yourself with love is by calling up the warm memory of a past occasion that filled you with pure love.

“Then look inwardly for the individual who is your ideal at this time—whether it is Christ or one of the ECK Masters**. In a very gentle way, say, ‘I give you permission to take me to the place that I have earned for my greatest spiritual unfoldment.’ And then silently or out loud, continue to chant HU, God, or another holy word.

“Try to visualize yourself walking into the inner worlds and know that the individual who comes to meet you is a dear friend.”

Klemp says the purpose of this exercise is to open a conduit between ourselves and Holy Spirit; and, eventually—if we persist—we will be able to connect with our own individual heavens. In this way, he says, we can also visit with loved ones who have already passed on.

Klemp makes the connection between these types of experiences and what researchers call Near-Death Experiences (NDE’s). He tells stories of people who were clinically dead being delighted by the beauty, peacefulness, and love they found during these experiences. In these stories, each subject is met by a spiritual being with whom they felt guided, protected, and loved. Sometimes they had a chance to learn things of great importance to them, and they may have been told of their future or their mission in life.  Often, when these people returned to their physical lives, they yearned to return to that heaven but didn’t know how. Klemp offers the exercise above to help them do just that.

Small as it is at only 64 pages plus a glossary, this little book also gives advice on dealing with people who are grieving. Even if they believe their loved ones are alive and well in another type of existence, the pain of physical separation is real and often heartbreaking. Thus, talking philosophically about the nature of death does no good; likewise, it may even cause more pain if we talk about our own loses and how things eventually turned around.

Instead, Klemp suggests offering loving silence and lending a listening ear. And, he says, it helps to spiritualize ourselves when with the bereaved by allowing love to enter our own hearts unabated. We can express this love in simple words and deeds, like making meals or helping with funeral arrangements. In the end, though, only time can heal a broken heart, he says.

Two other small books authored by Klemp can serve as companions to ECK Wisdom on Life After Death. They are ECK Wisdom on Dreams, and ECK Wisdom on Soul Travel: What Is It, and How Do You Do It? 

* 2 Corinthians, 12:2

** From the glossary in ECK Wisdom on Life After Death: “ECK Masters. Spiritual Masters who can assist and protect people in their spiritual studies and travels. The ECK Masters are from a long line of God-Realized Souls who know the responsibility that goes with spiritual freedom.”


The Meaning of Forever Project continues to accept stories of comforting experiences with loved ones who have passed on, and of near-death experiences that have helped to show the continuation of life beyond the physical body. You can email your story to us at and you can find more about our project on our Facebook page, and our Meaning of Forever Website.

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