We must consciously realize that we are eternal.
There are four stages in our eternal life:
The first stage is our embryonic life, which begins from conception until birth. This stage is characterized by the fact that we, as human beings, are very dependent on the spiritual and biological lives of our parents – firstly, our mother’s, of course.
The second stage (as such as we all read this) lasts from birth until the separation of our body and soul, an unnatural phenomenon brought in existence by Adam’s sin (hence, our fear of it): the phenomenon called death. This second stage is very important because, in this stage, we determine to a great degree our existential plane for the next two stages. This happens because, here, we have the free will to change.
Even if, after death, our bodies decompose, our souls remain alive and know very well who we are and remember absolutely everything—since the phenomena of ageing and forgetfulness disappear. Our souls, which remember everything, are pleased by the virtues and good deeds we did, but are tormented by the existential distortions (sins) we accumulated and did not confess. In this stage, our souls rely on the prayers of those still in the second stage( and of the Saints in heaven) and hinge on the consequences of our deeds in our former stage.
At the Resurrection, our souls regain our bodies. The main change of the body is that it is incorruptible. It doesn’t need any more meals, water, sleep, and similar things. In this period, which is also eternal, the human being stabilizes on the existential plane which is gained in the past three stages.
This is why we should never ever commit any deed of which we might be ashamed, in the future.
In this photo, a monk comforts Elder Gervasios in his cell, a few hours before his death.