The other night, I managed a ghost hunt field trip for my job at the historic Union Hotel (built sometime between the 1850s and 1870) in Dayton, Nevada, one of the state’s oldest communities. Like many of our field trips, a handful of participants had unexpected paranormal encounters—not with spirits from another era—but with their own departed loved ones.

At times such as these, those who connect with a family member may turn to me and ask why their parent or spouse wasn’t in heaven. My answer is always the same: “God is love, so it would be incompatible for God to prevent someone who’s in heaven from visiting those important to them who are still on earth.”

Once, I had seen heaven as a contained universe with its boundaries clearly defined: a wonderful peaceful place distinctly set apart from this earthly realm. That was until six years ago when I had an epiphany that I’d been equating heaven as a very nice prison, a place where I’d spend eternity without hope of parole.

Last year, a pastor speaking at our religion and paranormal panel discussion mirrored my previous belief about the afterlife. He proclaimed that God would never allow those in heaven to leave, and that those who’d ascended to heaven would never want to leave that realm because it was so wonderful.

For that view to hold any credibility, God would have to take away the love we have for those still “alive” in order for us not to want to be around them anymore. It is simply incompatible with my view of the Great I Am—the only source of amazing unconditional love—

that the love we have for others would be allowed to die just because the physical shell has ceased to exist.

If you’re a parent, imagine the pain you would endure being separated from your child. How could you revel in the other world’s paradise if you knew your daughter was facing great hardship on Earth and you wanted to console her, be by her side and send her love, but was prevented from departing through the Pearly Gates?

You’d probably feel like you’d been cast down to hell.

My experiences with the divine have occurred simultaneously with sensations of the most intense, genuine love one could ever experience. And that God would never extinguish our love for others.  Rather, the Great I Am would reinforce and support our efforts to share our love across the realms.

What are your thoughts on this subject?