If you’ve ever had a near death experience (NDE) or tried astral projection, you may have seen the silver cord. The silver cord is often referred to as the “life thread” because it supplies energy to the physical body. If the silver cord is severed, the physical body can no longer be sustained and dies.
I had a conversation last week with a Christian about the silver cord. She told me she was raised by her Nanny who experienced an NDE in the hospital. Her Nanny stated that she was floating near the ceiling of the hospital room watching her body on the operating table. After floating around she grabbed the silvery-looking cord still attached to her and used to it to pull herself back into her physical body.
“I know it sounds like New Age misinformation,” my friend assured me, “but my Nanny was the most sincere person you could ever know.”
I told my friend not to worry. It wasn’t misinformation at all; the silver cord is known about in many religious circles, and it’s even in the Bible. A shocked look spread across her face, so I showed her the scripture:
“Or ever the silver cord be loosed…Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it (Ecclesiastes 12:6-7).
The Bible clearly supports the teachings of many Eastern religions; if the silver cord is severed, your consciousness can no longer be filtered through the physical vessel. Many Christian commentaries, such as the one written by the evangelist John Wesley, suggest that this silver cord mentioned in Ecclesiastes is referring to the spinal column. This is a poor interpretation. The Hebrew for “loosed” indicates that which is completely removed from the person, not just a breaking of the spinal column.
The Appearance and location of the silver cord
People usually describe the silver cord as a wispy, etheric-looking filament about one inch in diameter. It’s silvery-grayish in color, and seems to have infinite elasticity, stretching on as far as the astral (emotional) body travels. It is connected to the heart chakra in each of the subtle bodies. A lot of people report seeing the silver cord attached to the head, but perhaps they are confusing this with the consciousness thread that is attached to the crown chakra.
The function of the silver cord
The sole purpose of the silver cord, or life thread, is to provide the subtle and physical bodies with vital energy. Think of it as a sort of umbilical cord. Just like a baby has an umbilical cord that receives and transfers physical nutrients from the mother, the silver cord serves as a sort of energetic umbilical cord to receive and transfer Prana. Prana is a Sanskrit term meaning “life.” Without Prana, or spirit, the physical body could not operate as it does. This is why once the silver cord is severed, the physical body has no choice but to die.
I like to think of the physical body as a sensitive electromagnetic vehicle which filters and grounds spiritual energy and consciousness. By filter I mean that higher (subtle) energy is stepped-down (by chakras) through each subtle body until it manifests in the physical body. Denser matter is the most restrictive, so energy and consciousness is more limited in the physical body than in our subtle bodies. Although the physical body is more restrictive, it provides a highly varied experience for consciousness, so more restriction isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
What happens when the silver cord is severed—i.e., true physical death
According to esoteric literature, true physical death occurs when the silver cord is severed. So what happens next? While it is true that different people have different experiences, we can discuss these experiences in two ways. After the death of the physical body, consciousness resumes in our more subtle emotional bodies. Depending on the development of one’s consciousness, the emotional world can be a pleasant experience or an unpleasant one. If a person is holding on to a lot of emotional negativity and desire, the experience on the emotional plane isn’t going to be as pleasant because there is no physical body to damper or restrict these emotions. In other words, strong emotional desires would seem amplified without the restriction of the physical body. Imagine having an uncontrollable desire that can’t be quenched! This is the true “hellish” experience that religion really speaks of. Hell is not the eternal abode of the dead like many Christians believe. It is simply an impermanent experience in the cycle between incarnations.
Someone whose consciousness operates with higher emotions will have a more pleasant experience on the emotional plane. But this state isn’t permanent either. The emotional body will eventually die too. Like the physical body, the astral body is subject to the law of impermanence.
The death of the emotional body is known as the second death in religious literature. Beyond this second death, individual consciousness may or may not sleep (remain conscious). Again, it depends on the level of mental consciousness the person has developed through their many incarnations. In Corinthians the Apostle Paul states:
“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep…” (1 Cor. 15:51).
By “sleep” Paul means that not everyone remains conscious after physical death.
If the consciousness is developed enough in the mental body, consciousness is regained after the second death and the individual experiences the mental plane. It is believed that this is a more blissful experience because thoughts instantly manifest. It is possible that this will be a “heavenly” experience.
It is silly for the church to teach a cut and dry version of one heaven and hell. Even the Apostle Paul said he was taken up to the “third heaven.” Doesn’t it make more sense that there can be different degrees of both heaven and hell. Ultimately, the experiences are more subjective than objective, and largely dependent upon the development of one’s consciousness.
The silver cord, then, isn’t just connected to the etheric and physical body. It is connect to all the subtle bodies and serves to transfer spirit to all of them.
I would like to mention a closing thought on the original Bible verses from Ecclesiastes at the beginning of this post. It told us that the body returns to dust, but the spirit goes back to God. The spirit going back to God is speaking of the life-force of the highest self returning to source where it rests before another incarnation. This represents the sum-total of all that we are, and includes the energy that made up the temporary physical, emotional, and mental bodies that we used to develop consciousness through our former experiences.
Personally, I believe it would do the world a lot of good to learn these esoteric truths rather than the watered down version of spiritual things we are usually taught in church. Not everything taught in church is bad, it is just incomplete. In order to get the bigger picture, the esoteric interpretation is needed. I believe that a vast majority of Christians are ready for these teachings. They are certainly a better alternative than the typical salvation messages that are being preached today. These salvation messages usually do not end up raising the consciousness of church goers. In fact, it often times lowers it, because many seekers believes that in the watered down message they have already received the prize and give up seeking higher truth.
We should never give up on our development. It should be an eternal endeavor.