In order to answer the question, "What happens when I die?" I feel it is important to take a look at something a bit less speculative and that is the question of what happens when we live.
There is no way to understand death if you don't know what life is. What happens between the moment you take your first breath and the moment you draw your very last?
Who is it that is looking out through your eyes?
Is it not the same quality of awareness that existed right before you read these words? Is that quality of awareness not the same quality that existed yesterday and the day before?
And that awareness, the pure state of awareness was there before you could form words or even knew your name. It is independent of personal history, of labels, of nationality of ethnicity of religion of political orientation or even a gender. This is the essential self. And the awareness of this self, even if momentary, is what is often referred to as "Self Realization".
The essential self is not contained within the boundaries of worldly identification, although it plays in those fields.
The essential self is not limited in perception by the five senses, although it enjoys experiencing them.
The self that is eternal is not limited by space and time, although it uses space and time to creatively express its essence.
The Realized Self came from nowhere and is going nowhere, but may choose different manifestations perhaps throughout the birth-life continuum.
The brain that tells the lungs to breathe will die with the body, but the Awareness that animates the organ called the brain is eternal.
You are not your thoughts. You are not your story. You are not your body.
Experience your thoughts, experience your story, experience your body, as none of it will last.
That which experiences remains constant. We can call that constant the "Self" - the real self and not that which masquerades as you.
So when you ask the question, "What happens when I die?" I would have to ask you a question in return...
Who is asking?
Eric Allen Bell
Eric Allen Bell is Founder of