Love this thread and have followed it from the very beginning posting now and again. Was even on the GLP voice chat with you around a year and a half ago.
Something I cannot reconcile, though, with everything you are saying, is the notion of memory as it relates to death and "after death". Without it, we are not "us". I've witnessed people in altered states, with amnesia, and so on. If we have no memory of an event, then it may as well have never happened.
I bring this up in reference to your point about "realizing" the truth of what you and sleeper and others are saying, but here's the issue (and the same goes for any life-after-death / eternal life notion):
If, after we die, we reincarnate, and aren't allowed to remember past lives, then "we" aren't coming back being reincarnated. There is, at that point, literally nothing that is "us" that is returning. No memories means that the "energy" that we are is now just that: energy. Like an electrical current. But it is not self-aware. It cannot be, since there is no point of "I" reference. We exist as riders in this "current", not as the current itself. I know we are partly made of this current, but we are sparks of sentience within it. And if that spark isn't there, then there is no more "me" in that current, and therefore no memories, no past, no afterlife, and no experiencing anything after this world. Therefore, nothing after we die, no matter who claims it to be true. Hopefully I'm making sense here...
I have often thought about this with the many friends and family I've seen pass on. Sometimes I'll get a dream and we hang out or do something in the dream, but I cannot understand that if "they" are there in the other side, then "they" can't have reincarnated. They can't be in two places at once to experience a sense of "I", or "being-ness". Anymore than I can experience being on "the other side" as my past life incarnation right at this moment while being alive here, now... The only "me" is right here, right now. The only way any afterlife can exist is if we are allowed to remember it. Because if we can't, then it doesn't exist. Like a dream we can never remember. Wiped clean before every incarnation. If we don't remember the experience then we'll never know if you, or Jesus, or Santa, or anyone, was right. We won't even remember judging ourselves, if that is even what happens!
It just doesn't add up. I want to believe, and I want to think that we continue on (and I mean "we" as in the identity of a "self", or "I", not just a mindless current that keeps reincarnating).
But the only way "we" can really continue on, whether I'm an energy or a body, is by having a sense of "self" or "I" in relationship to something (anything) else.
If we aren't "something", then there is no "I", no memories, no "soul" other than the "current" (like an electrical current, a "soul current", if you will). If that is the case, then there is no everlasting life, since life is defined by a sense of individuality, a sense of "self", a sense of "I". If not, then when we die, we are gone, done. No memories, no "self", because when (if) we return to Earth, that is all forgotten, and if it is all forgotten, then it is as though it never was.
I hate to sound like a cynic, and I really do want to believe, but I need to apply some critical thinking to this, and when I do, I just cannot get past this point in the reasoning of it. It is like the movie Groundhog Day but without him remembering anything and going through everything again for the first time. Every time. Makes me alternately a little scared about death and then a bit apathetic, since nobody can really say, and the logic doesn't seem to hold up. If when I die, I'm really gone forever, with no future memory of this life, that is awful. Since the "me" will either be on the other side about to have his mind wiped before reincarnating, or I will stay on the other side, with my memories intact, just waiting to get his mind wiped in case I end up reincarnating for some reason (against my will?). Quite frankly, that is all a bit freaky and daunting and not at all very comforting, heh. Am I missing something? (I actually hope I am!)
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this subject.
Thanks for all you've shared.