Do all lifeforms have a soul?
"I would like to ask your opinion on a couple of issues that bother me about the subject of an afterlife:
"1. In many near-death experiences people report seeing dead relatives, even in the cases of instant death by car accident or cardiac arrest. Are we to believe that these relatives are always just standing about waiting for their relative to die so that they will be there to greet them? Don't they have anything better to do? How would you explain how they can appear so instantly in the cases of unexpected, instant death?
"2. Surely, if we humans go somewhere after death, then every living thing does the same. Do all the billions and billions of microbes, bugs, maggots, birds, fish, reptiles and mammals go somewhere? I have read reports of people's pets greeting them, but no one ever talks about insects, etc. I would like your take on this subject.
"Thank you in advance for your kind consideration of these two questions, which have been nagging at me for some time."......Sandra
The vast majority of people who speak from the deathbed (before they pass over), and from those who revive or are resuscitated from the brink of death or clinical death, do indeed report seeing loved ones, friends, sometimes pets there to greet them. That's a lot of people with the same report, and it happens all over the world. Other animals are seen as well; for children, especially bunnies, turtles, and birds. "Greeters," as we call them in the field of study I am in, can and often are angels, light beings, religious figures - even people the individual does not know who came to assist. Always when these visitations occur or the greeters are present, there is a very clear sense with the experiencer that these people/beings/critters/relatives are either ready to escort them into the realms of light or to help them in some other manner. Thus, the visitations are usually comforting and sometimes informative - if a conversation ensues or revelations given. With angels and light beings, though, the sense is that manifesting as part of the death process, being there when death comes, is THEIR JOB; it is what they do. Serving in this manner honors the Godhead or in some way carries out or extends that Greater Will. With other types of visitors and greeters, like relatives and pets, the sense is that they came just for that moment of reuniting in love, and they will leave and continue on with their own path once the experiencer is okay and begins to adjust to their new life.
How can they know when to come? There is no time or space on the "other side" of death. Experiencers by the millions say this and that thought transference is instantaneous. In other words, the very instant death looms those who can help, come. These beings are not standing by, awaiting these moments. They respond only when it is right for them to do so. Not everyone is greeted by relatives. Remember that. There is a whole host of diverse intelligences who can respond. Often they will take on the shape or looks they do so they can comfort or put at ease the one who is dying. (Example with a relative: Aunt Millie may have died years before, perhaps when she was quite elderly, yet invariably, if she appears as a greeter for, let's say a favorite nephew, she will look somehow younger, more vibrant.) Visitors and greeters seen on the "other side" of death appear more alive to the individual experiencer than when they last walked the Earth, healthier, glowing.
As far as microbes, ants, flies, beetles, snakes, and such, these are seen by near-death experiencers on occasion, especially during their life review and I have spoken of this in some of my books. But you don't hear about it too often. There is a mystical tradition that says that lower lifeforms are part of group souls and that they evolve differently from humans and pets humans have endeared. Apparently, according to this tradition, by loving an animal or critter, sharing life with that animal, treating them as if they were a member of the family, enables the animal or critter to individuate (become individually ensouled). The claim is that this is what we can do for our pets. By giving them the gift of love and treating them as a beloved friend, we free them to become more than what they were before, to have free will and to move "up the scale of ensoulment." All evolves.
Interestingly, near-death experiencers and those who have had a transformation of consciousness, say the same thing or nearly so. The understanding that most come to possess is that all life forms have some type of soul; the lower lifeforms a group soul, the higher lifeforms the potential for individuation as a soul, humans individual souls and the gift of free will and the right to determine destiny and purpose. There are wonderful books about this subject. I refer you to material about the Findhorn Gardens and anything by Dorothy Maclean. I believe one of her books is "To Hear the Angels Sing." Her description of group souls and how they function is the best I have yet read, although books about this by Machaelle Small Wright (Perelandra Gardens) are equally good.
If you don't use Amazon, or have access to a good bookstore, you might contact the A.R.E. (Association for Research and Enlightenment) in Virginia Beach, VA. This is the Edgar Cayce headquarters (they archive and make available his many readings and related material). They have a bookstore and catalogue which are exceptional. They don't stock just any book - selections of what to carry is determined by committee, looking for a more affirmative, spiritual approach in the books they consider. You can call them at 1-800-333-4499. Their book catalogue is free. For hard to find books, you can always call Quest Bookstore in Charlottesville, VA - 1-800-346-9223. Kay Allison, who owns the store, is very good at finding titles and in recommending good ones on just about any subject you might be interested in.