Soul Afterlife shares your personal journey and the discoveries you have made along the way. What were some key ideas that you wanted to explore in this book?
That is an excellent question. Over a ten-year period, I noted more than a few explanations regarding the meaning of the phrase, “spirit of man”. It was, in part, an attempt to clarify the mind/body/spirit treatment concepts that were expressed in the psychiatric/behavioral health hospital industry. I explored medical, psychological, traditional religious, as well as philosophical justifications for using the word “spirit” – both in the positive and negative. In addition, I studied at a Taiwanese Buddhist monastery in Northern Virginia to understand deep-thinking Eastern philosophical views of the subject of human consciousness. At this holy place, I was introduced to the Buddhist/Sanskrit doctrine of anatman, also described with the Pali term anatta. My Buddhist friends argued that nothing is constant, everything changes through time – that we all have a constantly fluctuating stream of consciousness. In essence, there is no underlying substance that can be called a human soul or an independently fixed spirit.
I was conflicted over this when comparing it to everything that I was discovering. My latest book – “Soul Afterlife -Beyond the Near-Death Experience” – begins by documenting this debate: How can I bring into focus the Buddhist doctrine of anatman in the middle of everything I was uncovering? Ultimately, it required the discipline to look beyond obvious explanations – to remove the veil that seemingly walled in my superficial understanding. Only then could I begin to balance the scales concerning what was behind my continuation – that which I understand to be the consciousness of Bud Megargee.
My key ideas or strategies to explore all of this were:
First, if I place aside the doctrine of anatman, can I find my answers to the “spirit of man,” outside traditional interpretations of the human spirit and in a metaphysical account of what a soul and soul life might look like?
Second, in taking such a voyage I wanted companions – I did not want to travel alone. I wanted readers to become “co-pilots” and journey along with me into uncharted waters to challenging the authenticity of what we all have been taught about a life, death and our consciousness. The only requirements and tools that would be required? Our questions.
Have your spiritual ideas changed or evolved after your time studying at Wat Yaranna Rangsee?
I do not think that they have changed or evolved in dramatic fashion. Perhaps they simply have been categorically enhanced. Let me explain: My Buddhist monastery experience has not been one of deep philosophical enlightenment. Rather, I would classify it as settling on what “core” life beliefs, insights, and actions are essential to whom I have chosen to grow into. The voyage to become deeply self-aware is a weighty challenge. I found that Vipassana meditation – the dedication to self-examination and observation – provided the impetus to consider what I might need to change or adjust to become less flawed.
Confronting the notion that we are significantly more than we can imagine requires the courage to be self-forgiving, less imperfect and more compassionately aware. Perhaps, upon reflection, they would be the spiritual changes I would comfortably recognize.
What is one piece of advice you wish someone had given you before studying at the Buddhist Monastery?
I do not believe that there is a standard training pamphlet that exists prior to visiting a monastery but, here are several of my observations.
I remember initially standing in the entrance to the morning meditation room frozen by the level of respect that was on display between the monks, nuns and early morning visitors. Fashioned within the sounds of chanting and the periodic sound of the striking of an ancient bell, attentive monastic individuals were seeking the challenge of hunting for a moment of sincere enlightenment. Concentration, empathy and understanding are not just expressions for belonging within a Buddhist community. They are the needed building blocks for a heedful way of living.
So, to answer your question more directly – I would like to have been more prepared to understand that I would be an eyewitness to the heart of monastery attentiveness. That laced between the hum of an Om mantra, I would uncover the focused concentration necessary to grasp that, absent of my ego, I am more than I could possibly imagine.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
For the record, in the beginning, I never intended to write or publish anything as unconventional as life within the spirit world. Yet, with five alternative memoirs now in publication, including “Soul Afterlife – Beyond the near-Death Experience”, I am in the middle of organizing a sixth.
One theme that is universal throughout my mystical narrative accounts is the storybook temperament and collaboration of all energy. Within the literary limitations of “Soul Sins,” “Soul Mechanics,” “Soul Imprints,” and “Soul Afterlife,” there is an interconnection of energy with the natural elements that shape how we eventually act as a community.
It is becoming increasingly clear that stockpiled energy defines specific outcomes – individually, ecologically or within the intimate fabric of our society. As a result, I have begun to examine a detailed spiritual explanation of how the roles of water, fire, earth and air affects all life.
In “The Chaotic Energy of the Soul” I knowingly engulf my mystical narratives into the turbulence created by positive and negative chaos. Not everything that we experience is tilted toward disorder, but we need human warriors – those individuals who possess the indispensable energy to actively set the scales within nature’s basic elements, and in doing so, ensure that we all live inside a balanced world.
“The Chaotic Energy of the Soul” will be available in paperback, eBook and audiobook formats beginning Spring 2022.
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Soul Afterlife delivers a thought-provoking examination of life, death, and the afterlife. Why was this an important book for you to write?
Several years ago, I was studying at Wat Yaranna Rangsee, a suburban Thai Buddhist Monastery in northern Virginia. Although the topics of life and death were occasionally discussed, any tolerance for hard-hitting afterlife debates were almost always tabled or played down.
Let me explain why something like that might occur. Buddhists believe that it is the human ego that triggers suffering when we struggle to find our personal compassion for death and a possible karma driven afterlife. Additionally, they have an uncommon expectation about what occurs after we take our final breath when compared to the general population. These unconventional views are conveyed in the Buddhist doctrine of anatman – the principle of “no self/no soul” that is discussed in the book .
I found anatman to be a difficult concept to support. My explanation for that struggle? My ego’s outright refusal to accept that upon passing I am basically a ball of energy that dissolves and wanders off into the cosmos. I could not comprehend the casual evaporation of my individuality – the essence of who I am.
As a result, my ongoing mystical questions and the narratives within the book were attempts to unearth what is required to “emotionally balance” what I have held as historical spiritual beliefs against newly acquired information.
In writing about a Soul Afterlife, I was not testing my Buddhist friends tenets; I was humbly seeking to understand unusual beliefs that conflicted with my understanding of otherworldly adventures.
What I did not expect, however, were the powerful opportunities, and unorthodox possibilities that the soul guide Laz shared.
What is a common misconception you feel people have about near-death experiences?
I am not sure I would classify anything I have learned as a misconception regarding near-death experiences. Certainly, there is a scientific community that suggest multiple explanation as to why someone might have mental, emotional, or visual outcomes when their biological systems shut down. Additionally, there are a number of academic and philosophical professionals who have a wide variety of explanations regarding human consciousness and they would add to the debate.
In Soul Afterlife I tell the story of a former patient, Whitney – it is the only earthly exposure I have had with a near-death experience. As I began asking questions about an afterlife, it was my ability to recall that encounter that led me to believe that there might be something beyond what many individuals encounter. As my questions were laid out and the answers were forthcoming, I tried to imagine something beyond what I found in research and discussions with religious scholars – something that might just be extraordinarily different.
For any readers seeking to examine conventional expectations from near-death experiences I suggest visiting the University of Virginia’s School of Medicine – Division of Perceptual Studies. For others looking for a more mystical “life after Life” exposure Michael Newtons works, including “Destiny of Souls” is an option.
As for me? My guide was insistent that near-death walked along the parameter of an afterlife experience and as a result souls experienced aura attachments, human memories, religious beliefs, or alternative lives in near-death – beyond those boundaries everything becomes more complex.
I appreciated all the candid reflections on life and life after. What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
Throughout my ten-year adventure into the world of souls there were three primary themes that were laced throughout the five unconventional memoirs that have been published, including Soul Afterlife – Beyond the Near-Death Experience.
The first was the part my human ego plays in suppressing the awareness required for me to see beyond the obvious. The second was the reminder that I am largely made of undying energy and the third was how I am fixed to the critical elements of life, especially water.
To answer your question, however, let me briefly explain the influence of the human ego, it is the essential theme played out in Soul Afterlife.
To begin, my Buddhist friends have always promoted the human ego as a heartless regime that is on an untiring mission to suspend the development of my human mind and to a degree I concur with that approach. I was encouraged by my monk companions to liberate my ego’s authority over how to live my life – by imagining that nurturing this ability would make available an unpolluted release of both daily life and spiritual awareness. Essentially, I came to trust that there is much more to be understood that the human ego will permit to be known, and if permitted to an unlocked (aware) mind, unusual afterlife possibilities can be explored.
I believe the premise that reverberated most throughout the year long journey was this – “stagnation only comes with the human shell, and when that occurs, the human ego takes over stalling out the soul’s evolution”. I found it odd that throughout life we intentionally rely on our ego for support and strength while developing our earthly plan and self-esteem, yet “soul awareness” might be more achievable if the human ego is silenced.
What is one thing you hope readers take away from your book?
I believe there might be two that I recommend. First, from a spiritual or soul perspective, we are more than we could possibly imagine. Too often we become locked into the expectations of others and present-day dogmatic understandings – assuming life just becomes easier to navigate under such a mindset. I was consistently invited to think about how traditional spiritual teachings assist during daily human activities yet may delay how a soul might navigate an afterlife. How regrettable, I thought, if this is true.
The second takeaway was Laz presenting the image of old fashioned “key”. He disclosed that it represented the ability to become mindful to discretionary prospects after we die. Suggesting that newly formed afterlife alternatives might create unobstructed pathways for our future soul travels. I was plagued by that comment.
As a final commentary – The Socratic dialogues contained in Soul Afterlife are unquestionably “offbeat” and remarkably unlike other approaches to a life after death. There are countless opinions about how we exist now and hereafter, including that there is no life after death. Soul Afterlife is offered merely as an alternate point of view.
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In his book Soul Afterlife: Beyond the Near-Death Experience Bud Megargee engages the reader on topics that many think of but not all are open to talk about; life, death, and the after life. Every human being is mortal. Knowing that at some point man will cease to exist is not a pleasant thought for many. The author however tries to make the topic about life, death, and what exists beyond, easy for his readers. Reading Soul Afterlife was a delight because the author’s style of writing is not spooky nor eerie. Even when talking about death, Bud Megargee uses a tone that is friendly and warm. Each topic has something unique the reader learns about living souls and how to deal with disturbing realities.
One of the chapters that I found to be intriguing was the first chapter. ‘The Octopus Analogy’. The brilliant narration set the pace for the book. The author talks about his interest in otherworldly aspects of non-physical realities and explains how he was introduced to the octopus analogy and what it entails. I enjoyed reading about the clustering of souls and the author’s spiritual adventure. Conversations between Bud and his Soul guide Laz were fascinating. While reading the dialogue between the two, the reader not only learns about the spirit world but also gets informed on certain things in life that are thought to be mysterious.
Ever thought of reincarnation? This is a topic that I always find intriguing. The author extensively writes about reincarnation, the birth of new souls, and related topics. The discussions on Buddhist theories were eye-opening. Being a practicing Buddhist, the author had a lot to write about Buddhism, its beliefs, and notions. The text on Buddhist tenets was captivating. Many people question whether Karma is real. In his book, Bud Megargee writes about Karma and explains to readers whether Karma is a real concept or not. One thing consistent about Bud Megargee’s writing style is clarity. Bud leaves no term unexplained. His conversations with Laz the soul guide are raw and enlightening for any curious mind.
At the end of the book, the reader gets to understand life, death, reincarnation, and related topics. Soul Afterlife is a great book for people who are looking for answers about the complexities in life and death. The author bases most of the discussion on Eastern philosophy, which makes his writing style distinct and the content in his book much more interesting to follow. The authors’ thoughts are well defined and the conversations in the book compelling. Bud Megargee’s book answers provocative questions human beings have about life, spirituality, the otherworld, universal energies, and other spiritual subjects.
Pages: 235 | ASIN: B085GM3HNP
Tags: author, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, Bud Megargee, ebook, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, personal development, personal transformation, read, reader, reading, self help, Soul Afterlife, spirituality, story, writer, writing