Sun | Feb 19, 2017

'None-sense' makes perfect sense

Published:Monday | September 1, 2014 | 12:00 AM

A lot has been said echoing the doubts and fears of many human beings. This question of a spiritual life after physical death has always hounded us. No one seems to know for sure what happens when we 'die'. Do all our experiences, joys, sadness, thoughts, emotions, everything that we are simply cease to exist?

Our physical bodies must 'die' (stop functioning and decay), as is the nature of things. They break down and eventually return to their elemental state. Some believe that our inability to accept the inky blackness of nothingness is why we seek to convince ourselves that we are immortal in some way.

Some say that all we are is just 'buck-up'... sheer happenstance. They say that we result from the random collision of atoms and the random interaction of molecules and absolutely nothing else.

Some also claim that our thoughts are as a result of the random firing of electrical impulses from the nether regions of our brains. If that were true, there is no purpose to anything and the answer to why we are here is simply that everything is only coincidence. They claim that when our bodies die, it all ends there. According to them, we begin with our first inspiration and end with our last expiration.

However, I don't agree. And, I also don't agree with those who speak of the 'hope' of an eternal life. 'Hope' is a weak and unsure word. I know that the true essence of who we are transcends our physical bodies and continues after our earthly vessels can no longer house our spiritual bodies.

When I was about 18 years old, I became conscious around 2 a.m. I found myself looking down at my own body all sprawled out and fast asleep on the bed below. I was able to see straight through the concrete roof and clearly into the dark room. After observing myself asleep for a few seconds, I decided to test my status - I needed to know if it was only a very surreal dream.

I had lost a pen that I liked a lot and decided to look for it in the dark room. I was able to look through a chest of drawers and saw that the pen had somehow fallen in such a way that it was vertical between the right rear leg of the furniture and the wall. I then realised why bending over and surveilling underneath everything yielded me no positive results the day before.

I awoke to find myself in the exact position in which I saw my sleeping body. That may have been just a coincidence, so I hurriedly jumped up, turned on the light, pushed aside the chest of drawers and saw the pen leaning vertically against the wall directly behind the right rear leg - just the way I saw it as I floated metres above the dark room. It was certainly no dream.

I have had three other similar experiences: One involved clearly seeing someone moving around behind me while I was face down and fast asleep on a couch after a long stint of duty. In that case, I was able to corroborate what I saw going on behind me while was in a deep sleep.

Science is limited; it can only measure some physical things. People often admonish and rebuke me for being a scientist who believes in spiritual 'nonsense'. But, that's okay. Nonsense is 'none-sense' - which, in this context, I choose to define as something that cannot be understood or observed using our physical senses.

We are far more than just our physical (clay) bodies that are destined to decay. If you remember that we are all spiritual beings having a physical experience, the none-sense will make perfect sense to you.

Garth A. Rattray is a medical doctor with a family practice. Email feedback to and