Fifteen years ago, I came across an interview with Chris Boratenski, an avid ice-climber who miraculously survived a 72-foot fall during one of his climbs. It was an incredible story, but what struck me the most were his thoughts immediately after regaining consciousness. Chris wondered to himself, "Am I dead?" This contemplation may seem peculiar because if one were truly deceased, would they still be conscious of their thoughts, feelings, and surroundings? What also caught my attention was Chris' lack of surprise at the possibility of thinking, seeing, and feeling even if he were dead.
I was personally "struck" by Chris' reaction, yet not surprised. You see, I firmly believe that there are profound aspects of spiritual reality and life beyond our physical bodies that we instinctively understand. Chris' experience seemed to align with Emanuel Swedenborg's insights in his book, "Heaven and Hell," where he describes what occurs when our bodies perish, and our spirits embark on a new journey.
In light of Chris Boratenski's extraordinary encounter and his contemplations after the near-death fall, it becomes evident that there are facets of the spiritual realm and the existence of our spirits after physical death that resonate with our inherent intuitions. Swedenborg's profound understanding of this enigmatic realm offers illuminating insights.
Swedenborg explains that when we transition from the natural world to the spiritual realm after death, we leave our earthly bodies behind while retaining the essence of who we are. Our spiritual bodies closely resemble our physical ones, and we carry with us all our senses, memories, thoughts, emotions, passions, and interests from our life on Earth. It's as though we've relocated to another physical place, but with an unbroken continuity of our identity.
As "spirit-people," we enjoy a seamless continuation of our inner and outer senses, perceiving the world around us just as we did in our physical existence. Sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell remain intact, enabling us to think, love, and intend as we did before. Although our accumulated knowledge may lie dormant in the spiritual realm, it awaits the divine will to be awakened.
Some may find it challenging to grasp the concept of uninterrupted continuity beyond the physical realm, mainly due to their limited focus on tangible and sensory aspects of life. However, the spiritual world offers a heightened level of perception and discernment, as experienced by the angels in heaven, illuminated by divine truth.
It is essential to note that not all senses are equally sensitive in the spiritual world. Sight and hearing serve as channels for intelligence and wisdom, while the other senses play a lesser role. An excessive indulgence in sensory pleasure could potentially distract from the pursuit of spiritual wisdom, similar to observations made in the material world, where a focus on physical appetites can overshadow spiritual truths.
In conclusion, Swedenborg's depiction of the afterlife paints a captivating picture of an unbroken continuation of our spiritual bodies, encompassing all our senses, memories, and characteristics. Embracing this concept opens the door to a world of heightened perception and profound wisdom. While the subject may appear perplexing to some, the inherent intuitive understanding of a spiritual reality after physical death resonates deeply within us.