I think three things happen when you die, because your self is made up of three components.
There's your body-
Which goes into the ground and is eaten by bugs and rots away to nourish and feed and grow in the earth, enriching the world, becoming a part of everything.
Then there's your consciousness-
Which goes... well, that goes where ever you believe it will go. People who believe in Heaven and Hell will be placed in one of the two, people who believe in nothingness will just blink out and dwell, unknowingly in the nothingness between this world and whatever happens next. And those that believe in reincarnation will follow their souls.
And finally there's the soul-
which has nothing to do with you at all. Your soul is what gives you life. It's what allows you to love, to feel connected to all things and to live your life and enjoy it. And it will go on forever. Your soul is only your own for at time. When you die it passes on to a new body, a new consciousness, seeking to do it's will, continue on and live forever on this plane.
Some souls try to find their mates, others just want to do good or bad things and still others just want to experience life in all it's richness and beauty.
That's my belief, at least. It may not be right, and who am I to say it is? But it's what I honestly and firmly believe and it's what feels like the truth for me so that's all that matters.
I like to think about reincarnation - that you can be born again as a different person, but none of that remembering past lives crap. It's nice to think about, and that's good enough for me.
I don't really feel the need to have some kind of answer - whatever's going to happen is going to happen. I was not brought up in a religious home and have never had any religious inclinations, so as far as I'm concerned my choice to (believe is too strong a word) think about reincarnation is as legitimate as people's belief in heaven.
the optimist in me would love to believe in heaven. I have an idea of what my heaven would be like (I think heaven would appear to be whatever that person wanted- not the stereotypical white clouds and angels deal lol). so I really hope it exists! but then the realist in me thinks... worms will eat my decomposing body. woohoo. and then the pessimist in me thinks... you're definitely going to hell. :p
There'll be a cool explosion or something equally movie-ish. The police snipers will safety their rifles, CNN will start interviewing people who'll say "I don't know why he snapped. He was such a good boy!", police will tape off the area around my body, they'll walk away to put their shotguns/rifles away, and two kids will sneak under the line and poke me with a stick before being shooed away. The next Monday, at school, they'll brag to all their buddies how they actually got to touch that crazy guy with the gun that was on the news, and they'll be the coolest kids in school, until Mickey Vaughn gets to 1st base with Nicky McLean behind the dugout that Thursday. Then the kids will forget all about the dead body and focus on the lovebirds.
I believe the matter that makes me up will return to the earth and become fuel for new life. I hope there is some sort of afterlife but there is no way to be sure. Sometimes I feel like my need for an afterlife is my ego afraid to let go of dead friends and family.. and my own life. I hope my consciousness becomes one with the Universe and I can witness the destiny of future generations. I love humanity and I feel like we will get to a day when we all understand each other.. I would like to keep an eye on them like a watchful parent and cheer on their successes and feel sad for their failures and witness all the wonders of the universe.
I don't believe that will happen but I do wish for it. You can call it a fool's hope. What I do know for sure is that I will be cremated and spread somewhere awesome and beautiful. ;)
I partialy believe in re-carnation, if that's what you would call it (not exactly re-carnation though). But I have a more scientific way of looking at it. I believe that all conciousness is something that is made up by the brain, each person has a 'fake' conciousness. I think that when you die, your conciousness will be trasfered to another person. So, you probably don't remember, but you could have been in the conciousness of millions of other people.