This is one of those experiments in link curation. I aim to point out to a few interesting things and give them just a little horizon to unite them.
First up, a quote from an oldie but goodie, W. B. Yeats:
The dead, as the passionate necessity wears out, come into a measure of freedom and may turn the impulse of events, started while living, in some new direction, but they cannot originate except through the living. Then gradually they perceive, although they are still but living in their memories, harmonies, symbols, and patterns, as though all were being refashioned by an artist, and they are moved by emotions, sweet for no imagined good but in themselves, like those of children dancing in a ring… (fuller quote here)
Which I would suggest reading alongside this article on Wikipedia about Mongolian shamans in the afterlife.
Then, when you are good and ready, go pick up a copy of Frisvold’s Quimbanda set on Pomba Giras and Exus because he is talking about a similar phenomenon–sorcerors and witches instead of shamans, but still.
Which is to say: there is a way to live that prepares the soul to launch into the afterlife with a mission, with the means and tools to change the way the otherwise whimsical dead flow through the world and organize them to the benefit of the living. It isn’t just boddhisattvas out there, though, and you should keep that in mind.
Looking at these ‘lesser saints’ helps shift gears from the high-falutin’ gnosticism that sees success as basically running so hard at the world that you punch a hole right through it into heaven to a gnosticism that sees success almost metabolically, as the continuation of the spiritual fusion of the giant and the messiah, just at a different frequency.