In his eulogy he references some first hand accounts of the Flipside from Swami Yogananda, and I've included excerpts below. I didn't know Hefe, but I compliment him on his courage, his path and his journey.
Sail on brother.
Jeffrey L Forrester
1966 - 2015
September 7, 2015
I wanted to say a few words that might be helpful in your processing of my death, wherever you are with it in your feeling right now.
First, I want you to understand that the death process itself – to a point anyway – is actually well familiar to me. I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time “off the body” and by that I mean in the etheric body, or ghost body – hovering over it, stepping off it, walking around my room and outside where I could observe my physical body at a distance, also interacting with other ghosts, or so-called “deceased” people, and in a number of cases, helping some of the truly bound into a transition “upward”, into a far greater process than simply meandering around the surface of the earth in a mostly semi-bewildered state. But there have also been an equal number of ghosts who are largely happy where they are, and are conscious, relational, conversational, and 100% as normal and functional as we are. An amusing thing.
I’ve also spent an even greater amount of time in what is sometimes called the astral or what’s effectively an inter-dimensional domain. This astral domain of life is entirely real and self-existing, as real as anything you think real on this earth, and I think it’s maybe best characterized by a small chapter toward the end of Autobiography of a Yogi, (RM note: see chapter 43 excerpts below *) where Yogananda’s guru, Sri Yukteshwar, elaborates for many pages of detail his experience of this astral domain.
Among existing first-hand accounts from authentic gurus, I’ve found this one to be the most accurate. The astral dimension of life is pretty much like he recounts it. If you strip his communication of some of the culturally Indian mythology and language, it is exactly the way it is.
I’m telling you this not to imply any spiritual advancement on my part or to make any of you think I’ve simply lost control of my faculties. You may find it all preposterous, but you’ll see in time that all of what I’m saying is true. I mention it here because it’s relevant. Exhaustive time spent outside the physical body in either proximate, (ghost and subtle) or distant (astral spaces), profoundly changes your relationship to human death, and even the idea of losing your bodily life becomes a matter of indifference. In some way, death as we conceive it, does not occur at all. You simply transition into new forms of more subtle, yet incarnate experience, and most often a physical rebirth into the form that matches your evolutionary adaptation, typically human in our cases.
Anyway, all this time spent ‘off the body’ has, over the decades, radically altered my feeling for and understanding of what death actually is – a “transition” – as my Guru accurately puts it – and not at all an ending. What is interesting is that both ghosts and astral or inter-dimensional beings view themselves as “the actually living” and all of humanity as being in a kind of temporary hallucination or dream-state.
The gross physical realm where we live and function is actually felt and seen by beings in a more subtle domain to be less real or even in some ways unreal. So it is the exact opposite of our own point of view, which claims that anything beyond the gross physical is likely illusory or even imaginary. In any case, you’ll see what I’m talking about and have no doubts about it at all when you’re dead. One of the many surprises you’ll find is that the thing that seems least real of all is the very life you just left behind. You turn your head back, looking at all that you have loved, cherished, and been so attached to, and you will laugh, because it seems suddenly and absolutely like a mere dream. And you love it still, without any difference, but it is yet a dream, and obviously so. I’ll leave that with you to contemplate.
Finally, I wanted you to know just how happy and deeply resolved I am about this entire event of transition. The last six months especially and even the last month in particular have been among the most transformative of my life, and in the most precious and positive of ways. Many dimensions of my person that were in any way in conflict or simply not internally resolved, have suddenly resolved themselves to an absolute degree, putting me in a place of such deep joy I can barely communicate it.
Why has this occurred? I can’t say. The depth of peace and love in me within is so deep that I’ve almost felt it as a final spiritual gift of some kind from the source of all such gifts in my life, my still Spiritually-Living Guru. I’ve intentionally pushed away that thought in the last months so it doesn’t become a self-fulfilling prophecy about some kind of deep resolution before an upcoming death—which I’ve been fighting against to the last. But if I am dead, which I will be as you’re reading this, then yes, it was a kind of prophetic event of some kind, but what a happy one!
I mean to say that if I am dead, it could not have come at a better time. That seems strange to say, but it’s logical from where I stand. My life is culminating right now in such an extraordinary way. Whether this moment leads to death, or even more life and the continued offering to the world of whatever authentic gifts I have – either outcome is “right”. Either seems both true and deeply appropriate to me. Of course, I have, and always will choose life. Life is a blessing to always cherish and preserve. But just know that if death came, it came in the most gentle of ways, and with colossal and uncanny gifts to me prior to its to sweet arrival.
I want to say that nothing has fueled my will to live more during this very long trial than how my closest friends and family have responded to this whole drama. The outpouring of energy, service, kindness, contemplative prayer on my behalf, and a river flow of love my way has been of such a volume that it’s been truly difficult to receive at times. I wish I could say in words or poetry how much I love each of you, and just how powerfully that love for you flows inside of me, but I can’t. It’s a thing beyond speech. Just know that I’ve received this love of yours deeply and if there were literally nothing else in my life experience, it alone would have made my life worth living.
I’ve found in all of this that the love we share between us is about as close to the true sacred as it gets. It’s a force to be reckoned with and if you learn nothing else from the ordeal of cancer, you’ll learn this. Nothing breaks my heart more than to feel the loss of my friends in the Way and everywhere. All else seems miniscule by comparison.
For my friends everywhere, I want them to know that my death was an “easy death”. My life has been Blessed beyond belief, over and over again in a tidal wave of grace. I have nothing but gratitude for it. My death, not unexpectedly is equally Blessed. I find Bhagavan, my Sat-Guru, easily—on this side or the other. Or perhaps better said – He’s Always Finding me. I do not know what else to ask for in this life. Truly, there is nothing else.
I sign this letter with all, all of love to you.
I am at peace, in a deep rest, and my heart is Joyful.
I hope you will always remember how much I loved you.
I loved you with everything I have.
I so much look forward to seeing you again.
And, yes, it will be soon.
With all my love and a heart broken with the sheer joy of all of it, I bow down low, with the humility of my monk’s interior, to my Guru, to my brothers and sisters in the Way, and to each and every one who has ever touched my hand and said without a word, I am with you.
Hefe from function108 on Vimeo.
RM: I posted this eulogy primarily because he's got a unique perspective on life and the afterlife. He's spent many hours outside of his body and exploring this other realm. It's not something everyone can do - we all choose to come to the planet, we all choose our lifetimes, so rest assured that you are doing the thing that you sign up for - to live this life. But this is a fascinating farewell, as he really elaborates on the journey that he's taken. This life is wonderful and worth sticking around to explore. But consciousness does continue on, as we will one day see.
I looked up the references he mentions above, and will post some excerpts from it and where possible, point out how similar this text is to the research behind "Flipside" and "It's a Wonderful Afterlife."
* Autobiography of a Yogi can be found if you click this link. If you want to see what he's referring to, scan down to chapter 43, which I will reprint below, courtesy of the Swami. It's a 16 page discussion, it was written in 1946. (All rights belong to Parahamsa Yogananda, this excerpt is here for educational purposes only.)
After the death of his guru, Sri Yukteshwar, Swami Yogananda visited Bombay....
"Sitting on my bed in the Bombay hotel at three o'clock in the afternoon of June 19, 1936.... - I was roused from my meditation by a beatific light. Before my open and astonished eyes, the whole room was transformed into a strange world, the sunlight transmuted into supernal splendor. Waves of rapture engulfed me as I beheld the flesh and blood form of Sri Yukteswar!
"My son!" Master spoke tenderly, on his face an angel-bewitching smile. For the first time in my life I did not kneel at his feet in greeting but instantly advanced to gather him hungrily in my arms. Moment of moments! The anguish of past months was toll I counted weightless against the torrential bliss now descending. "Master mine, beloved of my heart, why did you leave me?"...
"I left you only for a little while; am I not with you again?"
"But is it you, Master, the same Lion of God? Are you wearing a body like the one I buried beneath the cruel Puri sands?"
"Yes, my child, I am the same. This is a flesh and blood body. Though I see it as ethereal, to your sight it is physical. From the cosmic atoms I created an entirely new body, exactly like that
cosmic-dream physical body which you laid beneath the dream-sands at Puri in your dreamworld. I am in truth resurrected-not on earth but on an astral planet. Its inhabitants are better able than earthly humanity to meet my lofty standards. There you and your exalted loved ones shall someday come to be with me."
(He explains what work he's doing in the afterlife helping new arrivals, and then reports:)
"There are many astral planets, teeming with astral beings," Master began. "The inhabitants use astral planes, or masses of light, to travel from one planet to another, faster than electricity and radioactive energies. "
"The astral universe, made of various subtle vibrations of light and color, is hundreds of times larger than the material cosmos. The entire physical creation hangs like a little solid basket under the huge luminous balloon of the astral sphere. Just as many physical suns and stars roam in space, so there are also countless astral solar and stellar systems. Their planets have astral suns and moons, more beautiful than the physical ones. The astral luminaries resemble the aurora borealis-the sunny astral aurora being more dazzling than the mild-rayed moon-aurora. The astral day and night are longer than those of earth."
"The astral world is infinitely beautiful, clean, pure, and orderly. (RM Note: Same accounts from Galen Stoller in "My Life After life" and Erik Medhus in "My Life After Death") There are no dead planets or barren lands. The terrestrial blemishes- weeds, bacteria, insects, snakes-are absent. Unlike the variable climates and seasons of the earth, the astral planets maintain the even temperature of an eternal spring, with occasional luminous white snow and rain of many-colored lights. Astral planets abound in opal lakes and bright seas and rainbow rivers...."
..."On earth a solid must be transformed into liquid or other form through natural or chemical processes, but astral solids are changed into astral liquids, gases, or energy solely and instantly by the will of the inhabitants."
"The earth is dark with warfare and murder in the sea, land, and air," my guru continued, "but the astral realms know a happy harmony and equality."
"Astral beings (can) dematerialize or materialize their forms at will. Flowers or fish or animals can metamorphose themselves, for a time, into astral men. All astral beings are free to assume any form, and can easily commune together. No fixed, definite, natural law hems them round-any astral tree, for example, can be successfully asked to produce an astral mango or other desired fruit, flower, or indeed any other object."
"Everything is vibrant with God's creative light. No one is born (per se) of woman; offspring are materialized by astral beings through the help of their cosmic will into specially patterned, astrally condensed forms. The recently physically disembodied being arrives in an astral family through invitation, drawn by similar mental and spiritual tendencies."
..."The astral body is an exact counterpart of the last physical form. Astral beings retain the same appearance which they possessed in youth in their previous earthly sojourn; occasionally an astral being chooses, like myself, to retain his old age appearance."
..."Friends of other lives easily recognize one another in the astral world," Sri Yukteswar went on in his beautiful, flutelike voice. "Rejoicing at the immortality of friendship, they realize the indestructibility of love, often doubted at the time of the sad, delusive partings of earthly life."
..."Communication among the astral inhabitants is held entirely by astral telepathy and television; (RM note - interesting he uses "television" as in 1946 is was barely in existence) there is none of the confusion and misunderstanding of the written and spoken word which earthdwellers must endure. Just as persons on the cinema screen appear to move and act through a series of light pictures, and do not actually breathe, so the astral beings walk and work as intelligently guided and coordinated images of light, without the necessity of drawing power from oxygen. Man depends upon solids, liquids, gases, and energy for sustenance; astral beings sustain themselves principally by cosmic light."
..."The earth-liberated astral being meets a multitude of relatives, fathers, mothers, wives, husbands, and friends, acquired during different incarnations on earth, as they appear from time to time in various parts of the astral realms. He is therefore at a loss to understand whom to love especially; he learns in this way to give a divine and equal love to all, as children and individualized expressions of God."
"Though the outward appearance of loved ones may have changed, more or less according to the development of new qualities in the latest life of any particular soul, the astral being employs his unerring intuition to recognize all those once dear to him in other planes of existence, and to welcome them to their new astral home."
"Because every atom in creation is inextinguishably dowered ("In a way that cannot be extinguished; immortally") with individuality, an astral friend will be recognized no matter what costume he may don, even as on earth an actor's identity is discoverable by close observation despite any disguise." (RM: Note - and why when people say they see "Jesus" it's not because he's wearing a name tag).
..."The astral being does not have to contend painfully with death at the time of shedding his luminous body. Many of these beings nevertheless feel slightly nervous at the thought of dropping
their astral form for the subtler causal one. The astral world is free from unwilling death, disease, and old age. These three dreads are the curse of earth, where man has allowed his consciousness
to identify itself almost wholly with a frail physical body requiring constant aid from air, food,and sleep in order to exist at all." (RM Note - "Curse" is a curious word, but considering the speaker was a guru, would have observed them as such)
..."Physical desires are rooted in egotism and sense pleasures. The compulsion or temptation of sensory experience is more powerful than the desire-force connected with astral attachments or causal perceptions."
..."Causal desires are fulfilled by perception only. The nearly-free beings who are encased only in the causal body see the whole universe as realizations of the dream-ideas of God; they can
materialize anything and everything in sheer thought. (RM: Note: this is often repeated in the research, "everything is energy" and we learn how to "focus our energy" via thought) Causal beings therefore consider the enjoyment of physical sensations or astral delights as gross and suffocating to the soul's fine sensibilities."
"Causal beings work out their desires by materializing them instantly. Those who find themselves covered only by the delicate veil of the causal body can bring universes into manifestation even as the Creator. Because all creation is made of the cosmic dream-texture, the soul thinly clothed in the causal has vast realizations of power..."
..."A soul, being invisible by nature, can be distinguished only by the presence of its body or bodies....
...."A man identifies himself about sixteen hours daily with his physical vehicle. Then he sleeps; if he dreams, he remains in his astral body, effortlessly creating any object even as do the astral beings."
...."Angelic guru," I said, "your body looks exactly as it did when last I wept over it in the Puri ashram."
"O yes, my new body is a perfect copy of the old one. I materialize or dematerialize this form any time at will, much more frequently than I did while on earth. By quick dematerialization, I now travel instantly by light express from planet to planet or, indeed, from astral to causal or to physical cosmos." My divine guru smiled. "Though you move about so fast these days, I had no difficulty in finding you at Bombay!"
"O Master, I was grieving so deeply about your death!"
"Ah, wherein did I die? Isn't there some contradiction?" Sri Yukteswar's eyes were twinkling with love and amusement. "You were only dreaming on earth; on that earth you saw my dream- body," he went on. "Later you buried that dream-image. Now my finer fleshly body-which you behold and are even now embracing rather closely!-is resurrected on another finer dream-planet of God. "
"Someday that finer dream-body and finer dream-planet will pass away; they too are not forever. All dreambubbles must eventually burst at a final wakeful touch. Differentiate, my son Yogananda, between dreams and Reality!"
"My child," his voice rang out, vibrating into my very soul-firmament, "whenever you enter the door of samadhi and call on me, I shall come to you in flesh and blood, even as today."
With this celestial promise Sri Yukteswar vanished from my sight. A cloud-voice repeated in musical thunder: "Tell all! Whosoever knows by nirbikalpa (self realization through meditation) samadhi realization that your earth is a dream of God can... find me resurrected in a body exactly like my earthly one. Yogananda, tell all!" (RM: Note - Okay, we will.)
Excerpts from Chapter 43, "Autobiography of a Yogi"