February 10

Meeting Life and Death

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“If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.
For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.”

Kahlil Gibran – the Prophet

What is death to you?  How many deaths have you attended?  Can you talk about death, yours or that of your loved ones?

Do you believe that you are Spirit here and now, having a physical experience?  Do you also believe that there is life after death, that your Spirit continues and in that way your experiences here on Earth are not all there is?  Is there a purpose to your life, one that can help you make meaning out of what you experience?

There are as many different viewpoints on these subjects as there are people and sometimes, particularly in matters of faith which these must be, we must lend credibility to a particular belief unless and until our lives provide us with evidence which can happen.

If you decide on your feelings about death before you have to confront the death of a loved one, you may feel more secure when that time comes as it inevitably will at some point.  If you do believe in a life after death, then you can pray for your loved ones and you can lend some credibility when or if you feel their presence after they have passed away.  It is your choice, what you believe.  Clearly if you do believe in life after death, then you can look forward to being reunited or at least meeting with loved ones who have passed away at some later time when you have also passed on.  If you don’t believe in life after death, then you may feel that you have lost them forever and will never have any further experience of them and that is an enormous loss.

If you belief in life after death, how might that affect your life here and now?  Will it alter or in some way shape your behaviour?  Will it give you a sense of purpose and meaning?  Will it affect or alter the way that you treat yourself and others and animals and the world of nature?  Will it either encourage or discourage your attachment to honesty and integrity and fair dealings.

If you are aware of a life after death, how might you see the idea of Soul or Higher Self, and how much will you choose to attempt to align yourself with your Soul in terms of your life’s purpose.  Do you believe that you life might have more of a genuine purpose if there is a life after death?

There is a quote from Shakespeare:

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,

Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

- Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio

Do you believe in an unseen world which might also include a Spirit world?  If you do, then of what might that consist and what is the meaning that you give it in your life? 

Many of us have been taught to believe one way or another as children and growing up, but unless we have made that belief our own through our own experiences it can be vague and somehow untested, so I am suggesting that you actually think about all of this and do some research.  There are plenty of books out there on the subject either for or against I am sure.

If you have lost loved ones already, have you changed your original belief so that you now either do or do not believe in life after death and how does that belief affect your process of grief?

Can you talk about death and can you allow yourself the healing process of grieving when a loved one dies?  One of the most life giving experiences is the full expression and allowing of deep grief when a loved one dies.  Grief in some way opens us up to a new longing for life, for that which is unlived within us, willing us to allow it to live while we are still alive, while we still have a chance. 

People grieve for the loss of loved ones, and we in some way just about put up with that for awhile very often without acknowledging how profound such grief is nor seeing that even once we have allowed that deep grief for the loss, we may feel bubbles of it rising up again as we start to move forward in our lives and our loved one is not present.  Grief, true grief, and enabling it is a gift of the soul to us that offers us tremendous healing in the darkest times in our lives.

Nobody looks forward to grieving loss and yet we experience so much loss in our lives and also we know that the greater the love, the greater the loss when we lose that person.  When we emerge from a period of deep grief over a profound loss, we are deeper and more substantial souls with more to offer in the world.  Grief is an experience for which we need enormous respect and indeed reverence.

And so life and death are one, and the death process may be very like the birth process – profound, compelling, and sometimes even humorous in the most life giving way.  If we value ourselves and our lives, we will take the time and do the necessary work to embrace both our living and our dying.


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