Thursday, August 30, 2007

Consciousness After Death?

When a cat dies, does it have a soul or consciousness that continues to live? If so, is it a consciousness similar to what it had before it died--feline consciousness? Or after its soul or consciousness is no longer bound by a feline nervous system, does it become something else, something very different, something grander, richer, and vastly more expansive?

And the same questions hold for people. If we are conscious after our body dies and that consciousness is no longer connected to a functioning brain and body, is it a radically different and greater kind of consciousness than what we know in this life?

I've probably wondered this before, but never as vividly as I'm wondering it now. It seems to me that consciousness after death, unbounded by its biological and other limitations in this life, would have to be something far different than we experience in this life, something so different that it is virtually alien to our worldly experience. Yet most of us think of the afterlife as a continuation of consciousness largely as we know it. Maybe a little brighter and wiser, but essentially the same.

I don't know if Smokey's consciousness still lives in some realm of existence or what form it might take if it does. But I find myself hoping, in the grip of my sadness, that if he still lives, so will I after I die and that he and I will be together again.


Finding Fair Hope said...

I have a friend who had to have her beloved old dog put down. She got a phone call a few days later from a close friend who had had a dream she needed to tell her the dream a woman she never saw before told her to tell this friend that everything was all right. She said my friend had taught her three languages (the friend had spoken "hello" and simple phrases to her dog in French and Spanish as well as English.) The woman in the dream said "Tell her I loved her very much and not to worry about me now."

I wish something like that had happened to me, and I hope it happens to you. I'll watch my dreams for a stranger with a message for you.

AG said...

Sorry to hear of your loss.

When I had to take my second dog in to go to sleep I'll never forget holding her, repeating over and over that I loved her and the shot and her eyes and breaths fading away. After staying another 15 minutes and still holding on, I said to her, of course IF she could hear, "Ok, let's go home now."

Driving home I felt something touching the top right of my head and I at first thought I was sitting too high in the seat and touching the car's ceiling, but no, I wasn't even near it.

I haven't felt anything like this while driving in the 18 years since and I truly believe by dog WAS going home with me and trying to be near.

I can't prove it, but I believe it.

I'm so sorry again


Nagarjuna said...

Mary Lois, how I would love for you to be visited in your dreams by a stranger with such a timely message for me!

AG, while the vet said he discouraged owners from being present when their pets were euthanized, he said many elected to stay while they were drugged into unconsciousness before being administered another drug to stop their heart. However, my wife and I just couldn't bear to go even that far. But, as I look back on it, I wish I had. It would have been very difficult, but I think it might have been easier than my final memory of Smokey's wide eyes as we left him behind in the examining room. That vision haunts me.