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Life, Death & "I Love You."

It is no secret that none of us can survive without love. It is likely the first conception of human connection we have, starting with who helps us arrive here, and who helps us remain grounded during our time on this planet. The words “I love you” is said often, almost like a cliché. Some say it out of obligation, some say it out of fear and others say it out of sheer habit. What happens to the power and strength of love when we use the word sparingly or without intentionality?

I will answer that question by telling a story. My son is 5 years old and his name literally means wise one and represents the number 3 in Japanese. He has a powerful yet creative way about him where he seemingly stares into your soul to reveal something to you. What’s interesting is I actually had visions of conceiving my son before I conceived my daughter; she was born 2.5 years before he was. Crazy isn’t it? But it really is not all that crazy when we think about love as a spiritual force in our lives. Does our conception of love start before we are born if we do not yet exist?

I watched a documentary last night called Death Makes Life Possible (2013), which focuses on various stories of individuals who know they are going to die or who have survived near-death experiences. The overarching message was that nobody really understands what happens after we die, which is why death continues to be the most fascinating human enigma. Neurobiology is the study of how the cells in our nervous system impact our thought patterns and behaviors. As a result, many medical experts and neuroscientists in particular, see the mind as solely a direct extension of the brain, but is that really true? Although we all know that we are going to die, we still wake up every day with goals, dreams and hopes. Is this connected to how our brains function or is it the spiritual aspect of the mind that is perceived as transcendent by those who have a more spiritual and alternative approach to life? I do not want to pretend as if I have the answer to that question, however, I can only judge by my own lived experiences. I do believe that the mind can exist in a spiritual sense even after our physical bodies die.

Spiritual mediums who claim to connect with individuals who are no longer physically alive, share things with strangers that they could not have known. Even when researchers analyze what happens in a spiritual medium’s brain as they recall information related to those who are no longer living, it is not clear how to determine exactly what is happening in their brains to recall such sensitive information. However, we know that there has been “evidence” of spiritual mediums connecting with and apparently speaking with the “dead.” Does being dead mean our physical bodies die but our minds remain interspersed in various forms throughout the universe?

Again, none of us really know, but what is knowing, without love? In other words, to know something or to learn something is almost always connected to an act of love. Either we seek information to determine something in our lives or the lives of others. Or we learn something we did not know before, thus amplifying our ability to love in the world. Even in the face of extreme hardship, we can knowingly do something different with love in our hearts.

Back to my son. He says, “I love you” often and to all of us at home, fully and intentionally. After he washes his hands, he walks by my bedroom, looks me in the eye and calmly says, “I love you, mommy!” as he returns to playing with Legos or bothering his sister. When his older sister teaches him something he did not know before, he says, “I love you, Z!” But something else happens, too. He also says, “I love you,” during some of our quietest moments, sometimes while watching a movie or walking in our neighborhood, he will randomly utter, “I love you.” And in these moments, I often feel as if something else that even he cannot explain prompted him to do so. And perhaps I feel this way because there is nothing directly in my conscious vision that has prompted this. However, what if saying, “I love you” is also prompted by spiritual realms we cannot see with our naked eye? As we continue to navigate the roles of love, life and pending death in our lives, we can find peace in the fact that we are here in the physical sense, however, even after our physical bodies are gone, our memories and spiritual presence still linger, somewhere, somehow.

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