We Don't Die
In my many years as a metaphysical intuitive, people from all walks of life have come to me, each with their own specific question: "Is he the one for me?" "Will the big deal go through?" "Is now the time to invest in the stock market?" "Is this chronic cough anything serious?" When I give them the answers they usually just stare at me in disbelief. I may tell a client about an exciting new job that is coming up but they won't believe it because it's in a completely different field. Or I'll tell them they will meet the man or woman they're going to marry at a party within the next month but they've sworn they'll never get married again. Inevitably, they'll come back some time later and tell me, "Carmen, you'll never believe it but after I saw you I got a call out of the blue for this job interview and I left the retail industry and now I'm working for a magazine" or "Carmen, I know I said I'd never get married again but just as you said, I went to this party and met a man who wasn't my usual type. We fell in love and are getting married next year."
My clients claim that I changed their lives but in actuality all I did was change their perception. I've shown them all the possibilities and it has affected how they perceive their lives.
I've found that every person has his or her own level of perception and it defines what "reality" means to him or her. Your perception becomes your reality. Perception is really nothing more than our ability to become aware of things through our five senses and then process and understand what we've seen, heard, tasted, smelled, or touched. If you think about it, our physical perception is actually very limiting. We go through life collecting life experiences and processing them through a narrow lens. I believe, no, I know, that we all have a perception that goes beyond the limitations of the sensory. We all have the ability to see beyond the five senses into a parallel universe that rises above and beyond the senses. When your perception opens up, you can begin to find the answers to your questions.
My own perception of the world completely changed when I was just a little girl, five years old, growing up in Bistrita, a small town in Northern Romania in a part of the country most Americans think of as the home of Count Dracula--Transylvania.
The Invisible World
It was a beautiful summer afternoon so my parents and I, along with several of our neighbors, went to the Somes River near our town to enjoy the sun and have a picnic. Some of the other children and I left the blankets and were playing on the riverbank farther upstream where the water got a little rougher. I'm a curious adult, but I was an even more curious child, and that day I was standing too close to the riverbank's edge, fascinated by the patterns of the water rushing over the logs and rocks. Mesmerized, I wasn't paying attention to my footing, and I stumbled on a loose rock and fell over the bank.
While the other children ran back to get my parents, I was being dragged down by the river's strong current. I didn't know how to swim and felt myself getting pulled under. I was terrified and unable to keep my head above water. I flailed my arms and cried out for my father but that only seemed to make matters worse and I began to lose consciousness. I was surrounded by darkness and then, in an instant, I stopped struggling.
At that very moment, I was transported out of the dark waters to a place of dazzling light, a world that looked very much like the one I had just left but inexplicably different. When I say that, I don't mean there were houses and cars. It was more like a valley, surrounded by rolling hills of green grass. I was no longer in the water, but above it, in a very peaceful place with lots of trees and flowers, beautiful music, and the most illuminating and beautiful light. And best of all, I was no longer struggling and no longer afraid.
There were people there whom I knew, all dressed in similar white robes, like those you see on a priest or a monk. I could see their faces very clearly and recognized them. Each face was different and although I hadn't known any of them in the world I had just left, I felt that I knew them. They were my brothers and sisters--not my actual brothers and sisters who lived with me and my parents--but people who I knew loved me and would keep me safe. I was surrounded by an intense feeling of love and acceptance, of safety and warmth.
In this other world there was no fighting, no yelling, no cuts or scrapes or bruises on my knee, no being afraid of the dark. The people looked happy, it looked like fun and I wanted to stay there!
I wanted to be with these people. And they wanted me to be with them, too--they beckoned to me, gently calling out, "Come here." I took a step toward them and then saw my body below me, in the river and my father frantically pulling me out of the water. Suddenly the beautiful world was gone, and the people were gone and I was on the riverbank, coughing up water and gasping for air with my father's arms around me.
It wasn't until many years later that I would recognize this as a near-death experience. Many people have described and recorded their near-death experiences and they all describe the same thing--going toward the light. When you actually detach from the physical body you see a world that is beyond the physical and you bask in an extraordinary light energy that is in you and outside of you at the same time.
A traumatic event will often open the doors of perception, but for most people they only open when they are in so much danger that they move outside of the physical plane into the other side. When you are in a physically life-threatening situation a door can open in your mind from the conscious to the subconscious. A door opens that takes you from the visible into the invisible.
This parallel world, what I've come to call the Invisible World, is just as real as the physical world where we live here on Earth. It is even more real because the people there are souls unencumbered by ego, emotions, and attachment to material things. These negative distractions don't exist to cause pain, and so love and joy and peace can coexist beautifully.
This world is a place without negativity, without fighting or hatred; there is nothing but love. In the Invisible World we don't have emotions, we don't hate, we don't experience pain, we're at peace with everything so all we can do is love. It is a perfect world, the world the way our Creator meant it to be, and I've never forgotten it or the lessons it taught me.
That day at the river, I left my physical body for a short time and saw a glimpse of the Invisible World. And yet it wasn't my time to go to the other side. I came back. And in retrospect I realize it was, in fact, just the beginning of my mission.
It has become clear to me since that experience that the Invisible World of peace and light is the way we are all meant to live. We are put on Earth in physical form to gain wisdom and evolve toward that perfection. This is something many religions have been saying for thousands of years, but what they have missed is that we aren't put on Earth to suffer; we are put on Earth to evolve. We exist to be happy and to give and receive love. And most of our suffering holds within it great opportunity to learn and create that evolution.
We Don't Die
The most important thing that I learned by seeing the Invisible World was that there is no death. Our physical bodies may stop serving their purpose but our souls never die. They live on in the Invisible World and have the choice to come back into a physical body again. Often souls choose to come back to the Visible World to work out their karma. And a soul will come back for as many lifetimes as is necessary to do this. I'm certainly not the first person to say this, but to know this in the core of my soul, to have witnessed it, is truly incredible! That knowledge will dramatically change the way you live your life. It will change the way you treat people and it will affect the choices you make in life.
I know this knowledge makes me feel connected to every person and living thing that I encounter. This feeling of connection is with me all the time--I know at the core of my being that separateness is an illusion. I see people not based on how they appear physically, whether they are rich or poor, ugly or beautiful, polite or rude; I see them at the level of their souls. When I look at people I can see right into their memories; I know their joys and I know their sufferings and I share in it. I also know that we are all brothers and sisters on the other side and since I know that at our essence we are all love, that's how I treat people--with love.
I hug people; I tell them I love them; I tell them how grateful I am to have them in my life. I do this with everyone, I can't help it! I meet people and I see the love and beauty in them. I see past the physical body and the ego and I have to tell them, even if I've just met them once. Some people are taken aback by this, but not as many as you might think. Most people are desperate to be loved; they're thrilled to be shown and told that they are loved. It's something none of us does enough. We're all love at our core. Yet we live within the limits of our bodies, starving for the very thing we all have an infinite amount of inside us. We're afraid to show the very love that we are. It's truly crazy!
Although we live in the physical world of the five senses, the world we can hear, taste, touch, smell, and see, this is just a small piece of the greater totality. We are limited by the five senses and by our own fears of the death of ourselves and of our loved ones. But there is nothing to fear. The fact is, we are much more than we think we are; there is much more to life than the sensory world. Often what we see as limitations in our lives are illusions imposed upon us by our enslavement to the physical world and our lack of understanding of the world of energy.
As a way to broaden your perception, think about gravity. If you could eliminate gravity you could eliminate the death of the physical body. Gravity is a phenomenon that only exists on the Earth. If we didn't have gravity we would fall right off the Earth and float into outer space. Gravity influences the density in matter, and since our bodies are matter, gravity makes the body deteriorate and age. If you lived in the space between the Earth and the moon for twenty years, you wouldn't age. When you are in space there is no gravity, no aging, and therefore, the body cannot deteriorate and die. If we were all living in space, instead of on the Earth we would have a completely different perception of what life means. We would know firsthand that the death of the physical body is nothing more than an illusion!
Evil Is the Only True Death
The second important thing that I learned from the Invisible World is that the essence of the Universe, the pure state and intention of existence, is for love and peace and good. In the Invisible World evil does not exist. It is purely an aberration of human nature driven by ego and emotion and nurtured by the amnesia we all experience when we live only in the physical body and forget our souls and our true source and purpose. The only true death in our existence is evil and negativity. And this death occurs only in the Visible World.
Evil is darkness, and everything and anything where negative forces obscure the light. Evil is a lack of awareness, confusion, conflict, betrayal, lies, and limitations. Evil is when we disconnect our physical bodies from the eternal light. Every person has to struggle with this feeling of disconnection but we can feel whole again by acknowledging and integrating the wisdom from the Invisible World into our daily lives. Rather than wasting time fearing physical death, we should devote our lives to eliminating negativity and evil, in our own lives and in our world.
Often we don't even recognize evil because we are so far from the light and so used to the human laws of the walking world. The Invisible World is made up of Universal Laws and the more in touch we are with the Universal Laws, the more we can recognize evil. In the light, evil is exposed. And when it's exposed, it can be eliminated.
We Are All Parts of the Greater Whole
My journey to the other side also showed me that we are all interconnected and part of the greater circle of life. None of us can escape the circle of life, which the Buddhists and Hindus call "Samsara" or the "Wheel of Life." Everything in the Universe is made of energy and all this energy is contained within this circle. This circle has no end, and since energy can't be static, it's in constant, perpetual motion. Everything is in motion; everything is constantly transforming; everything is in a constant state of transition. Since we are all energy and energy doesn't die, we all share in this condition of perpetual evolution and transformation.
Since nothing is fixed, and since we know from physics that the energy of one thing affects the energy of the other things around it, everything in this circle depends on everything else. We are all part of this same circle; we are all part of the greater totality; there is no escaping it. We're all part of the same act and art of creation and we are all connected to one another. It is when we forget there is an interdependence among all living creatures that we make mistakes, become susceptible to wrongdoing, and make ourselves miserable.From the Hardcover edition.
Excerpted from Everyday Karma by Carmen Harra, Ph.D.. Copyright © 2002 by Carmen Harra. Excerpted by permission of Ballantine Books, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.