Which is to say, I don’t really think about it that often. I have some theories, some comforting thoughts in the event of the death of a loved one, but quite honestly — how a religion handles the afterlife is one of the least important things to me when it comes to faith.
There are some religions that focus exclusively on the afterlife, on what happens after we die, and I find that the worst sort of head-in-sand syndrome. What good is it what happens in the afterlife if I’m living in the world now? Moreso, what good is it to believe in an afterlife that punishes you for mistakes in your real life?
I believe in reincarnation. I believe that we learn lessons in each life. I also believe that consciousness is like an ocean, and each soul a cup of water from that vast ocean. When we die, our cup is emptied into the vast sea, and when we are reborn, a new cup is scooped out of the sea. So while I may contain molecules of consciousness from my past lives, I am not the same person, and never will be again.
I also believe in an afterlife. A place where we can go to rest and see loved ones again. There is no entrance exam. This is where I’ll see Blue and Major and Oma and Ariel again, where we’ll have time to spend with each other, because time means nothing in the afterlife.
I haven’t reconciled these two beliefs, and I don’t feel the need to. I’ll die someday, far away from now, godswilling, but right now that doesn’t concern me. What concerns me is living and dealing with the here and now. As Ram Dass says, be here now. It’s the only time there is.