Chapter 1 - The Spiritual World
You’re DEAD – and now what?

Let’s get to it: you just died – but that’s all.

For your peace of mind, this is not Hollywood, so there was no fireball, explosion, or body going splat. It was a nice, clean heart attack, and you don’t have to worry about the neighbors; you will be found in half an hour and tidy people will remove you. It was also quite painless; death is no monster. Well, it was almost painless. The stabbing sensation in your chest could not be avoided, nor your desperate struggle for breath — but they lasted a few seconds.

So now you know you are dead. Also your former body is still lying around, pretty useless.

Okay, and now what? If you were in the emergency room, of course they would try everything from heart massage to injections to the electroshock paddles they love using on TV. Unfortunately, none of that was here, so you stay dead. Please don’t traipse around when you are a corpse; except for satanists, nobody likes zombies.

If you like, you can now spook around a bit without that body. Admittedly it’s a waste of time, but you’re no longer in any hurry, right? You can check out, for example, what your kids are doing. A single thought, an intense desire, will take you right there. With no body to drag around, it’s simple. You can take leave of your relatives in peace. Of course they cannot see or hear you, but you can still think them some good wishes. You can also cruise the hot bars in town…but you won’t get much out of voyeurism now, because you lack the hormones and organs to do anything about your visit.

What is also lacking is any reason to stay around. You already know the world, so why roam about? You can’t change anything. Besides, you are expected in court, the Soul Court. There will be no citations for parking in front of the fire exit, or problems with how many times you missed church on Sunday, but only the really important things are reviewed- your whole life and how you will face the way you led it.

Then you are picked up. Unless you put out the call, the afterlife will send someone for you. This could be a good friend, or your grandmother, your sister … Some people want to be picked up by Abraham, Jesus Christ or Buddha personally. Oh yes, that can be arranged. At least the guide looks like your own personal superstar. It is a person in whom you feel the greatest confidence. Politicians, by the way, are seldom requested.

But before my publisher gets upset, I’d better let you go back to living. If the reader dies on the first page, I won’t sell many books, so the publisher would prefer that I kill Joe Smith, who never bought a book from me and won’t want in the future either. No, no, not the Joe Smith you know, but a completely different one. Honest.

Joe Smith lived a full life. Had he been a politician, he easily could have written a 3,000-page autobiography. Of course, it would prove that our friend Joe was always right and knew best what to do, and the others were all idiots. That’s how it usually is with celebrities.

Mr. Smith’s soul is now a little intimidated, and wonders why, after so many decades of loyal service, his body is no longer willing to house him. He keeps asking this until he notices a bright light. This light is so blinding that all other perceptions fade away, yet it is not intrusive or painful, just warm and enticing.

Joe Smith now stands before the Soul Court; he is now conducted led through the review of his life. At an accelerated rate it passes before him; the key events penetrate his consciousness. You ‘ll be shown just a short selection from his life. Or do you really want to read 3,000 pages from the life ofthe average Joe?

Mr. Smith is surprised to see his surroundings fade away. He finds himself in a new environment, holding a hamster from his childhood in his hand; he put the beastie like a living motor in a miniature car. Joe Smith is right in the scene, seeing himself act, feeling the little creature in his hands, its fur, the warmth of its body … and he feels the fear and uncertainty the hamster is experiencing. Yes, Joe Smith feels compassion for the animal. (0.00 => +0.03)

Mr. Smith then relives an experience on the way home from school. He feels in the middle of the action but passively, and he cannot change the course of events. His classmate Barry Bigelow has been waiting for him, insults are quickly exchanged, then the fists fly. Joe gets the upper hand, sits on top of Barry, and hits him repeatedly in the face until the loser begins to cry. Now Joe feels not only the physical pain he is inflicting on the other person, but also the humiliation the victim undergoes.

Well, he was cruising for a bruising. (0.16 => 0.07)

Sally Jones, his consolation prize … Joe had gone out with her only because Ashley Meyer had rejected him. Even when he had slept with Sally, he was thinking of Ashley. But now, now he had ended up with Ashley! Then he sees Sally, observing how she looks at them, jealous and angry. He can feel her anguish, sadness, and despondency.

Silly goose! She should have known that she was just the consolation prize. That’s all she ever was. (-0,27 => -0,44)
”Joe, you’re going to be… we’re having a baby!”
” baby!? ……But, uhh …” Joe Smith’s thoughts tumble over each other. A hundred advantages and disadvantages crowd into his mind. He can’t think straight.
”You …but aren’t you glad?”

Joe feels the fear in Donna…her concern for the future. He takes a deep breath. ”Well then, we’ll get married — so my son grows up in a regular family!”

Donna sighs in relief and embraces Joe. The Joe now observing this feels again her body in his arms, breathes the fragrance of her skin and feels her relief and happiness, and the hope of a future together.

Joe never regretted his decision, although at the time he was ambushed by her revelation. As for Donna … He is enjoying the happy feelings. (-0.13 => +0.12)

Joe Smith experiences his graduation as a master carpenter. The test supervisor congratulates him and hands him his master carpenter certificate

Joe feels pride. He had struggled to get this far and given the best he could. (0.08 => 0.08)

Carpenter Smith presents an invoice. As a matter of course he adds two extra half hours labor. He senses his clients’ anger over the padding, but at the same time their reluctance to consult an expert or a lawyer over a relatively small amount.

Everybody does it. If I don’t cheat to make more, the taxes I have to pay will destroy me. (0.01 => -0.09)

His whole life is now rushing past Joe Smith. He relives every single scene, and not only what he himself thought and felt with his senses, but also everything that people or animals felt and how they were affected by his actions. Now, decades later, he sees many things differently. Things that once appeared incredibly important, seem now, with the wisdom of age and the distance in time, completely irrelevant. Other things he would now do the same way all over again, with the same conviction as when he made the original decision.

Yes, that was his life — the life of Mr. Joe Smith. He stands by it and has few regrets. His life is over, and he experiences himself now dying. Yes, Joe Smith is dead, or rather, the human being called Joe Smith is over. But his soul, life and existence continue – here in this strange place.

Mr. Smith finds himself bathed in light again and perceives a shadowy figure who seems familiar. He feels for the first time in his life an all-enveloping love, a physical sense of being welcomed. He goes up closer and recognizes in this figure his own mother, but not old and haggard as he had seen her on her death bed. Now she is the strong, loving woman she had been in his childhood. Yes, more than that, she is beautiful and flawless, without any of the wounds which life even at that time had already inflicted.

The mother welcomes Joe; it is a personal greeting, and it convinces the son that he really is face to face with his own mother.

Mr. Smith has of course a lot of questions now, many of which his mother answers, and she asks in return how things are going with the family and friends.

Finally he asks the most important question: ”What happens now?”

”Joe, you’ve already gone through the Soul Court. It may seem to last forever, but it was only a few seconds long. You completed it successfully, and now you may come with me. I was afraid a little for you… After all, you were not always my good little boy.”

”The Soul Court?” Mr. Smith’s thoughts raced. ”But then … will I go to heaven, hell… or to a purgatory?”

His mother hugs him. ”No, my boy. Oh those places really exist, but you will go with me to Eleuloria, to Newburg. You’ll get a house there and a new workshop …”
”Eleuloria? What kind of country is this? And why a workshop? Do I have to work again around here? I thought I was dead?”

His mother smiles knowingly. At this moment the environment changes. They are now standing before a one-family house, just like dozens of others that are found in every American town and suburb.
”Eleuloria is a kind of middle kingdom here in the afterlife, and equally far from both heaven and hell. You do not have to work, but work helps you to get used to things here. It’s almost like being on Earth.”
”Yes, but, but…”

His mother lays her finger on his lips. ”Let’s go in first, alright? Of course you have many questions, and probably more than I can answer. First get used to your new surroundings, then you can talk to the Rabbi.”
”To the Rabbi?” Mr. Smith marvels, to whom the house appears more and more familiar because it resembles more and more the one he had owned on Earth.

”So far no Catholic priest has made it to Newburg. Perhaps all of them go to a higher level? Once a year the Bishop from Chattanooga comes to see us …”
”Chattanooga has a bishop?” marvels Mr. Smith.

”Here it does” replies his mother.