Do you remember the Frank Capra movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life”?
James Stewart plays the lead character, George Bailey, who reluctantly stays in his hometown to run the family business. Due to some family mishaps, George becomes despondent, drunk, and wishes he had never been born. George throws himself off a bridge and is rescued by Clarence the angel, who shows George what life would have been like for his family and friends if George had not been born.
Upon reviewing his “unborn” life, George understands the difference he has made in the lives of his loved ones. Despite impending disaster and failure, George runs home, giddy with love for everyone and everything in his hometown. I think the afterlife is a bit like that.
The way I understand it is this: When we die, we have a life review. We look at the life we have lived from the soul perspective. This is always unconditionally accepting and loving. Our version of Clarence the angel says something like, “Let’s roll the video,” and we experience, from a soul level, a review of our life. This is not a punitive measure to determine blame, nor to judge right or wrong, success or failure. This is a soul assessment of our life, seen with detachment and compassion. What were our choices? What kind of person have we been? Have we acted with kindness and generosity of spirit? Have we been able to forgive, apologize, or right a wrong? Did we share ourselves? In essence, have we acted with a good heart and grown closer to understanding that we are all connected, we are all one?
There is the story of the man who had a near-death experience (NDE) in which he traveled as far as his life review. He came back to life and his friend asked him what he had learned. He answered, “I should have been kinder.”
This reminds me of ancient Egyptian mythology. Upon death, the heart, considered the home of the soul, is weighed against the lightness of the goddess Maat’s feather. Her feather symbolized truth, justice, and balance. This was the measure of a life, a light or heavy heart, and this determined the outcome of the soul in the afterlife.
That seems like a fitting measure of a our lives. Are our hearts heavy or filled with light?