What does it feel like to leave one’s physical body and become a spirit? Have you ever thought about it, because that after all is an experience, a transition that each one of us, without exception, will have to undergo one day sooner or later. From my own out of body experiences and those of many others, the actual moment of leaving the body usually happens so fast one doesn’t even realise that one has passed out of the body. This is in fact  one of the reasons why persons who meet a sudden end find it difficult at first to grasp or  recognise or understand that they are no longer “alive” in an earthly sense and must move on in their new spirit state to the astral worlds. There are those of course who believe that death as we know it, i.e. the cessation of life in the physical body, is the end and don’t believe in the continued existence of a soul. Some of them believe that if indeed there is a soul, bereft of a physical body that too dissolves and re-integrates with the elements.
Even though it happened long years ago, theosophists still relish relating an intriguing incident after one of them died. The dead theosophist had promised others in the Theosophical Society concerned that after death he would try his best to prove the existence and indestructibility of a spirit form. In keeping with his promise, he got in touch with fellow theosophists in his circle on earth and it was decided that on a particular day, people and the media would be invited for a special event where the dead theosophist’s spirit would consume a meal in full public view. Accordingly, a table was laid out and a plate piled with food placed before a chair earmarked for the spirit.
However, the appointed time passed and nothing happened. The chair remained unoccupied and the food remained piled on the plate. More time was given and still nothing happened at which all the invitees left, some in mirth and some in annoyance at having wasted their time. The crestfallen theosophists lost no time in getting the designated medium to contact the spirit who had apparently failed to make an appearance. Why didn’t you come, he was asked—it was most embarrassing and we’ll now get a bad press in a big way, discrediting us and our beliefs. But I did come, remonstrated the dead theosophist’s spirit, and I did partake of the food set out for me. Get it tested immediately, before it becomes stale. The food was tested by a premier agency and it was pronounced that its nutritional value was zero. The food seemed undisturbed, but its essence had somehow been imbibed or drawn out. The theosophists felt vindicated by this report though they knew explaining everything in its light would be an uphill task.

Some months ago I was reminded of this theosophical society incident when a friend I didn’t know had died contacted me in keeping with his promise. Like me and many others, he too had been most interested in the paranormal in all its dimensions and had promised that if he passed over before me, he would if possible try and tell me about it and the advantages, if any, of being a spirit. First of all, he said, leaving the body happened before I knew it—I was killed on the spot in a road accident. Suddenly, my spirit was free, gazing at the mangled remains of my car and a dented truck as if in  a bad dream but I didn’t realise I was dead till I saw some other friends and family members who had died quite a while back hovering by my side along with other beings I didn’t recognise. They were spirit guides, I was told, to guide me to the other world. But once I realised I was dead I was in no mood to leave earth immediately.
I wanted to do at least some of the things I’d always to do when alive, like travelling around the world and I can tell you that when you’re a spirit, travelling is a dream and time has no relevance. New York, London, Amsterdam, Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Sydney—you can reach there in a jiffy. You can stay in the best hotels, the most luxurious resorts with no bills to pay. Likewise for the food. No bills, and you can enjoy the most sumptuous food without disturbing it and anyone knowing though it took me a little time and guidance from other spirits I befriended on how to draw out the essence from food and drinks, he revealed. This reminded me again of the theosophical society incident. And it isn’t just the food and drinks you can savour as and when you want with no questions asked, or the umpteen places you can visit at a moment’s thought.
There’s  the overall freedom from the money trap, the earning a livelihood headache, the getting ahead in  life millstone around your neck, and best of all, there are no clothes or shoes or haircuts or shaves or going to the loo to bother about, no standing in queues, no physical pain and so on. But yes, even in a spirit form, I do need to rest and strangely, I rest better in a chair or lying down on a bed, he admitted. This reminded me of incidents I have written about when somebody sat on a chair or sofa only to find it occupied already by a ghost or found a neatly made bed rumpled by an invisible form. My dead friend continued telling me about many other advantages of being a spirit but alas, there is only so much column space. He’ll be moving on and away from earth to the astral realms soon, to square up, in his words, “my deeds and misdeeds like mindlessly kicking a dog or putting selfish pressure on my devoted parents and so”.  That’ll be another column another time, along with the remaining advantages of being a spirit.