Creating heaven

HeavenWe are so used to watching or reading stories about people dying — oh, how sad, oh, how awful, oh, how tragic — that I thought it would be fun to explore what happens next. Why do stories about people stop when they die, particularly if death doesn’t truly kill us?

That’s what prompted me to begin writing a novel — still in progress — where the protagonist croaks in the first chapter, and we follow him into heaven. How does it feel? What does he find there?

That, of course, means that I have to invent a heaven for him to exist in. That’s where the fun is. I know that I am inventing a heaven for my fictional characters, but I also think that I am previewing my future.

I’ve read books on what it’s like in the afterlife. One of my favorites is Conversations with Jerry and Other People I thought Were Dead by Irene Kendig. Another favorite is Letters from the Light: An Afterlife Journal from the Self-Lighted World.

I have also read hundreds of accounts of near-death experiences where people discover that they’ve been liberated from their physical bodies and are free to explore new dimensions.

So I had a pool full of collected anecdotal knowledge from which to design heaven.


Heaven is a place where thoughts control your outer environment. You can think up your environment. If you want to go to the beach, you think yourself there. Zap. Waterfalls? Zap. Alpine meadow with stream? Zap. City street with posh shops? Zap.

People create their homes and their fashions and their favorite hang-outs through their thoughts. This is a fairly popular concept in metaphysical literature, but I also think it suffers from the limitations of language. Here on physical Earth the idea of dreaming up a steak cooked medium-rare with garlic mash on the side or a free-admission Disneyland to play in just by imagining them seems like quite a stretch. Many people in 3D Earth have trouble visualizing what color to paint their living room, let alone the intricacies of a spatial reality where you are truly and profoundly free to go wherever you please. Zap.

Nevertheless, the idea is pretty consistently expressed, so in my heaven I give it a test drive. For me, fiction writing is a proving ground. Playing in my daydream heaven lets me see how it might be to live in an environment where thoughts create things. Many people won’t even consider a strange concept unless it has been scientifically proven. As for me, I like to think if it were real, what would it feel like?


Another huge reality of heaven, assuming you remain conscious that you lived on Earth, is knowing for certain that there is no death. That becomes a new fact of life. Imagine what your life would be like here if you absolutely, positively knew that all the death you see on TV is based on crap thinking. What if you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that all the war dead, the crash dead, the terminal disease dead, the suicide dead, the infant mortality and the old-age, natural causes really most sincerely dead only applied to a physical body? What if you knew that physical death was all that death was and that consciousness was eternal?

In the heaven I created for my novel, they all know this. They see physical life as Earth School. They view our life events, including things we call tragedies, as life lessons. They see where this is all going — where on Earth we’re so often taught to regret, feel ashamed, and expected to cower in a corner — and it’s likely that we also have to throw money at the problem.


One delicious feature of the heaven I’m creating is that people there can read minds. We cannot hide behind our secrets or cloaked identities there. I base this on frequent reports from near-death experiencers that when they were in the light, they felt they knew everything. Answers were everywhere. Ask a question, receive an instant answer.

This is also based on the idea that if “thoughts are things,” thoughts can be stored somewhere, and the akashic records are said to be that somewhere. This is like a beyond-massive Library of Congress for the whole planet. I’ve heard it’s possible to literally step into the lives of people as if to attain instant empathy in a kind of consciousness encyclopedia. Rather than just read about Abraham Lincoln, you could experience a multidimensional hologram of Abraham Lincoln and grok his thoughts and feelings — his consciousness. Talk about a freedom of information act.

On a less intense scale, if you died and could suddenly watch anybody in the flesh, you would quickly pick up huge amounts of embarrassing data through simple observation. In the case of my protagonist, he quickly learned shocking truths about the wife he left behind as preparation for becoming one of her spirit guides.

This creates an opportunity to explore what true transparency is like, something pretty unheard of here. (Imagine knowing what all of our elected leaders are really thinking!) Here, we can hide and always have the element of surprise. There, thoughts are open for scrutiny. If you want to see how interesting this plays out, just try imagining (writing works best for me) what it would be like to do anything in an environment where there was no such thing as mental privacy. Many religions teach that God knows everything, but I don’t know if we ever consider that somewhere life could be like that for us, too.


My version of heaven does not portray it as a final destination. It, too, is a school, and once there we can choose different paths (or worlds) to explore. The “afterlife” becomes more of a “next life” because other options continue after that. That in turn means that Earth life could be an “afterlife” from some previous yet unremembered existence, not only of past lives on Earth but lives from other worlds.

Opening up the paradigm of the nature of life and death dramatically changes how spirits in heaven see events on Earth. Their perspective makes this book fun, and it also helps me as a human to view life on this planet from a different perspective. For example, spirits would see human pregnancy from an entirely different viewpoint. They would know the soul purpose or karma driving the embryo’s existence. I marvel at what life on Earth would be like if we had information like this for every baby that was born.

I like how this “reality” colors various social issues people face. For instance, same-sex marriage. Wouldn’t it make a huge difference to know that this was planned in advance for spiritual-learning purposes? And it’s made even more ironic to think that one of the main adversaries for gay people in many cases is organized religion.

What we do for a living could be more profound if we viewed it through the filter of soul survival and personal accountability. For example, my protagonist was in Earth terms a highly successful advertising copywriter. He made a fortune and got prestige. In heaven he was faced with confronting the karmic consequences of his career choice of becoming a paid professional liar.


Although it might sound like it, the afterlife that I have created is not about punishment. Nor is it about reward. It is a picture of a place where people arrive and simply have more access to truth. It’s something like a post-final exam debriefing where professors discuss the test of life and explain the questions. The exam is supposed to answer the ultimate question, “Did you achieve the purpose for which you were born?”

Of course, I wonder if my view of heaven is just an elaborate daydream, even though it was based a great deal on what others have written. So for me the next intriguing question is did I cook this up from scratch or am I channeling what it’s really like there?

11 thoughts on “Creating heaven

  1. Impybat says:

    I love that this post came along as I’ve been doing much reading about near-death experiences lately. I would love to read your novel. It sounds like it will be amazing!

  2. N℮üґ☼N☮☂℮ṧ says:

    Your novel sounds like it will be fun to explore. You said:

    “This is also based on the idea that if “thoughts are things,” thoughts can be stored somewhere, and the akashic records are said to be that somewhere. This is like a beyond-massive Library of Congress for the whole planet.”

    I smiled when I read this. I never believed the akashic records were possible (with exception to being taught a traditional religious concept that god knows everything we think. Scientists now know that our cells have antenna’s and transmit information. Our cells can oscillate with outside frequencies in the environment. They use frequency encoders and decoders and phase-locked loop circuits to tune into external signals of a slightly different frequency. Our cells also contain magnetite, especially in the brain.

    Answers were everywhere. Ask a question, receive an instant answer.

    I thought of the Internet, search engines, when I read that. Answers are everywhere. And think of our capacity to store information. Imagine if there is valuable information stored in the electromagnetic fields that surround the Earth.

    If thoughts are things, they are also energy. If you can find the time to watch the lecture I posted, I think it would be worth your while. I believe you are going to have an aha moment towards the close of the lecture. The lecture explores near death experiences in detail. His theory was published in a peer-review journal on the study of near-death experiences.. Murphy’s theory may add some spice to your novel. If this theory is true, it opens our world up to unlimited possibilities.

    Should you watch the lecture — — I’d love to know your thoughts. 🙂

    • Joshua Bagby says:

      Most of my input on what heaven is like comes from near-death experience accounts and some “interviews with dead people” via mediums. Since much of this cannot be proven, I take it in with that caveat and then play with the ideas as if they were so. I don’t consider myself a scientist or an academic, but that frees me to dream big. So yeah, akashic records sound awesome beyond belief, but then there are many NDE accounts of people who experience extremely intricate life reviews and tours of the universe. So again I like to wonder about what it would be like if this were so. Am I being foolish? Maybe, but I am sure having fun.

      I started watching Todd’s lecture but truth be told, exhaustion got to me as the first part was very familiar territory for me except linking it to evolution. I will get back to it and report later. I am familiar with IANDS and especially like to go to local groups to hear people talk about their NDEs. I very much appreciate your linking to it (despite the sleepies!)

      • N℮üґ☼N☮☂℮ṧ says:

        I appreciate you taking the time to watch part of the video, and I think that if you can get past the dry and raw presentation, and past the foundational info (which you already know), I’m guessing you will have a light bulb moment when Todd ties his theory together towards the end.

        Speaking of NDE’s, I had several between ages 4 and 10. Todd explains it as “the Void”. As a child I called it the black hole. I also had OBEs.

        In the late 90’s I had another near death experience. Am I to understand that you also had a near death experience or simply fascinated with the subject?

        In 2005, I had what is traditionally known as kundalini awakening. I was not trying to have this experience. It was spontaneous, and it took me a while to process it all and gain a better understanding of what had happened. The experience completely changed my life. I experienced what I can only describe as a Heaven — Nirvana. Research gave me satisfactory answers to questions I’d had since a child.

        You said:

        “So again I like to wonder about what it would be like if this were so. Am I being foolish? Maybe, but I am sure having fun.”

        Are you being foolish? No way. 😀 The best part is, you’re having fun. I wish you all the best on your novel. Dream big.

  3. nikkir1972 says:

    I would also recommend C.S.Lewis’s book The Great Divorce, It is a similar theme of people experiencing Heaven and Hell….short but highly interesting read!
    Intriguing idea for a novel….I would love to hear more about it.
    Being a believer, I know I will go to Heaven when I die, but what is it exactly? We are going on a vague dreamy interpretation offered in Revelations by someone in a altered state, “writing” his vision as he goes. It gives a glorious description of a city festooned with jewels and a river with the throne at the end and trees…sounds like a beautiful place, I can hang out there for eternity.
    That being said…..I don’t think that’s the limit of Heaven. Now set free from our limiting bodies, we have even greater potential. I envision here…even if we live to be 80…as being in a spiritually infantile state. God (or how you see him) has no concept of time. Only in Heaven will we continue to grow and become more “enlightened” so to speak. I believe we will have the ability to see other planets, perhaps other people, because I don’t believe Earth is the only populated planet. The possibilities are endless.
    I think we have differing ideas in some ways, but that’s okay because ultimately this is a fascinating subject and should be explored in depth. Above all, death is NOT an ending, but a beginning to something so much better:)
    P.S. I will enjoy hearing about your writing and your discoveries.

  4. Joshua Bagby says:

    I had very little religious training, and I would have to say that what I had was dull as dust. I got much more enthused when I started reading metaphysical literature when I was in college. Not all of it but SOME of it created a fabulously interesting universe. The heaven that I am creating for my novel is a lot of fun wish-fulfillment, but it also has its own logic, it own karma if you will.

    I would have to agree with you that we on Earth are in an infantile state. This is too violent and materialistic of a place for it to be anything else but that. One of the reasons why I like to play in heaven, my fantasy as it may be, is that I can imagine a world where people are more into love. It’s good for MY soul anyway 🙂

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