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Preparation for death (Read 2911 times)
DocM
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Preparation for death
Mar 14th, 2012 at 4:55pm
 
A friend I knew many years ago (and had lost touch with) died unexpectedly at 49 this past week.  He was found sitting in a chair.  It must have been a massive heart attack or catastrophe. 

It started me thinking in terms of preparation for death, and how that can effect our post-mortem time.  For the atheist, they may expect nothing but nothingness; to the extent that they are open to the idea of an afterlife they may experience one - or not.  Bruce and others have described "statues" asleep as coming from people who believed so passionately that there was nothing after death that they were almost like an unmoving statue. 

All of this thinking then begs the question - how do we prepare better for death?  We go to school and learn certain methods and ways of coping for the practical aspects of life, but what about death?

The Bardo Thodol (Tibetan book of the dead) is a text meant to be read aloud to the departed person to instruct them on how to be mindful of the changes commonly associated with death. 

If asked, how to prepare for death, my first response would be to "live well," be open minded, and ask for help whenever needed.

Still that sound somewhat like a generic response or platitude.  We should come up with a better answer to this.....after all, it is an afterlife board.

M
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Bardo
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Re: Preparation for death
Reply #1 - Mar 14th, 2012 at 6:56pm
 
Mathew,
The Tibetan Buddhists say that we must live with death every day in order to be prepared for it when it arrives (as you know). In the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying (a sort of Americanized version of the Tibetan Book of the Dead), Sogyal Rinpoche tells us that we must prepare every day for death, and be ready for it, even if it is unexpected, by knowing the rituals required in the bardos that we pass through after death, so that we can choose correctly our response and therefore reach ever higher levels of consciousness rather that be fated to relive our lives in this world. I really like so much of what he says in this book, especially about the treatment of the dying. But I part with him when it comes to the ritualized preparation of the heart for death. I think in order to best prepare for death, we should, as Sogyal Rinpoche says, think on it daily, and live our lives in daily expectation of death, while living each moment mindfully. But I don't think that our fate relies on our split second adherence to ancient tradition at the moment of death.
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Lucy
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Re: Preparation for death
Reply #2 - Mar 15th, 2012 at 3:24am
 
Well from the NDE accounts I've read, I'd say there is nothing to prepare for! It sounds like fun.

Maybe going OBE and visiting the Park is a way to prepare.

I'm not remembering wel, but in Bob Monroe's 3rd book, he is o one of his OBE adventures and his guides show him what it is ike to exoperience some different animal's conciousness. Isn't there a part of that story in which he experiences death (as the animal) and isn't there something...special about that? Have to find my copy of the book and re-read it.

Maybe if we could experience death conciously ...fully concious..there is something in particular to be learned.
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Wonderer
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Re: Preparation for death
Reply #3 - Mar 15th, 2012 at 4:24am
 

Very good point Matthew. I know a few atheists and it worries me at times. Also, many people I know do not even think about the afterlife and are so immersed/focused with only this life.

But I've been thinking about something which I cannot make sense out of it....would it make sense for a soul to:

- maybe plan an earthly life,
- reincarnate to live earthly experiences possible to learn and grow spiritually, and
- then maybe turn into an atheist, die and end up like a statue!!!???

Once in the afterlife, they end up in a worse state of consciousness and this does not make sense to me. OK, maybe you tell me...it will be temporary as others will help them to get out of it. In that case, OK, it will make sense.

Cheers
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heisenberg69
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Re: Preparation for death
Reply #4 - Mar 15th, 2012 at 6:12am
 
An interesting question Mathew. I don't think modern western society helps where death seems to be viewed almost as an optional extra ! The message seems to be eat right, exercise, don't smoke, be safe  and you don't need to think about it !

I agree with Bardo that to live with death each day (but not morbidly) is key and of course the more you know about what comes after the better prepared you are. Maybe future generations will see the the transition more as a mere change of vibration with the distinction between life and death an artificially constructed one.
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DocM
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Re: Preparation for death
Reply #5 - Mar 15th, 2012 at 6:32am
 
One of the issues is how rational and aware are we when we cross over?  In our dreams, for example, we usually are not aware we are dreaming.  One of the loving/caring members of the board, as a favor looked for this old acquaintance of mine, and found him a bit confused in a gray place, saying "I don't like it here," before performing a retrieval. 

By all accounts he was a good, kind hearted person - who loved and was loved by others.  Yet he may not have believed in an afterlife or been prepared.

On deeper reflection, it strikes me that mindfulness and intent are the most important attributes that we can cultivate to have an easy transition.  Often, those who wish to master their dreams create certain opportunities to distinguish the waking state from dreaming.  (I've heard it said, an easy way to practice this is to assess your state of dreaming both during the day, and then in dreams - effectively saying to yourself "I must be dreaming" in the dream, then taking advantage of that state.) 

So too, we can practice mindfulness while alive, and be in tune with the state of consciousness. 

Intent seems to be quite powerful, and stating intent can change physical events by changing probabilities.  It stands to reason that intent when deceased would manifest even more powerfully - ah but where will your intent take you?  We all want to go to the park, but some may have their deepest intention guided by fear or failure.....

In these cases, from all I've heard, it make sense to ask for help.  That helpers, loved ones are available has been talked of for ages, but the person in need has to be open to it.


Matthew
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Re: Preparation for death
Reply #6 - Mar 15th, 2012 at 12:04pm
 
Matthew-

Seems to me the best preparation by far is the way we live our own life.

If we try to serve others when we can and have compassion for the less fortunate among us, I strongly suspect we will be just fine when our own death arrives.

Sometimes I think that a continuing preoccupation with death and the afterlife can easily make us forget why we're here in the first place.

R

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DocM
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Re: Preparation for death
Reply #7 - Mar 15th, 2012 at 12:24pm
 
Hi Roger,

I have been rethinking this.  Yes, living a loving life, walking the walk sounds right.  But I suspect some, like this person who sat down to watch TV and died unexpectedly, might temporarily be sidetracked, or stuck.

Perhaps some people can be very loving, but have, as a belief system deep down, that there is no afterlife, or not be as open to it.   I don't know, but it brought up these questions.


M
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recoverer
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Re: Preparation for death
Reply #8 - Mar 15th, 2012 at 12:40pm
 
I figure there are two key factors:

1. Develop ourselves in a positive way so we'll be able to move onto levels of being that include positive qualities. Related to this is finding out where true fullfillment comes from.

2. Develop the ability to truly think freely so we won't be limited by "any" belief system. Related to this is realizing that we can get caught up in our psychological conditioning and having a strong desire to break free of such conditioning.
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Re: Preparation for death
Reply #9 - Mar 15th, 2012 at 2:53pm
 
I make a distinction between being preoccupied with death and being mindful of it. I find myself reflecting on the thinness of the veil between this world and the next much of the time. Looking at the sky  and imagining the boundaries blurring. I often think that if I just shift my attention slightly, like a turn of the head, or even just shifting my eyes I can sense the other worlds around us. I don't have the pronounced OBE or clairvoyant experiences that many of you describe, but more like a constant intimation of them, with the occassional glimpse. I feel like this keeps me mindful of the continuum of life/death. Dunno
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Re: Preparation for death
Reply #10 - Mar 16th, 2012 at 1:35am
 
My answer is probably a different take than others'.  I think about that topic often lately, being prepared for what's to come especially since I don't ever really know what to expect in life and I'm sure that goes for death too. 

But what I do is take time each day at any point in the day when I think about it, and that is to just stop in the moment of what I'm doing and just be consciously aware of the moment.  Whatever I'm feeling, I just stop and take in everything about that feeling, let it flow through me and allow myself to process it.  It seems life is just full of making plans, time, and arrangements, and multitasking.  I'm either thinking about the past or thinking about the future.  So taking time specifically to just be in the moment is what I consider important no matter where we are or what we're going through.  I just try to feel appreciation for what I feel at the moment if I'm able to feel good, and if I'm feeling bad then I still try to remember to be present in the moment and allow what I'm feeling to process.  I figure there must be a reason for what I'm going through.
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Re: Preparation for death
Reply #11 - Mar 16th, 2012 at 7:30am
 
Quote:
But I suspect some, like this person who sat down to watch TV and died unexpectedly, might temporarily be sidetracked, or stuck.



One thing I've not seen discussed is that it seems like from stories that are told, folks can go to the Park and meet their relatives, but then another aspect of them can be stuck some where and need retrieval. How can that be? What does that mean?

But it seems that even when someone needs a retrieval, another aspect of that being can be in the park. Why not? But how can you prepare yourself for that sort fo experience?
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DocM
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Re: Preparation for death
Reply #12 - Mar 16th, 2012 at 7:41am
 
Hi Lucy,

Intersting question.  I am of the view that there really is a unity of all things, only we (individual pin points of consciousness) separate ourselves out into discreet separations for our own reasons.  So, in that sense, I do not believe in splitting the "soul" into bits, then collecting the pieces.  Can you imagine how much time that would take, considering that the divisions into ego based self are artificial to begin with?

I of course have no problem for others who choose to think multidimensionally, for instance that we may be part of a greater consciousness, and that "Lucy" may be functioning in different planes at the same time.  I just feel, in my gut, that if we separate out our moods, fears and anxieties as discrete entities, that we are complicating and dividing what is more likely to be a much simpler unity.

Matthew
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Re: Preparation for death
Reply #13 - Mar 16th, 2012 at 4:21pm
 
This discussion reminds me of Michael Newton's books, in which his clients, while under deep hypnosis, described the process of incarnation.

Briefly, they said that they never took 100% of their energy when they incarnated.  They took only that amount that was considered necessary (via guidance from their guides/helpers) to adequately cope with the type of life that was in store for them based on their own needs for growth and challenges.

So in essence, part of their spiritual make-up remained on the other side while they embarked on their earthly sojourn.

And in reading ES' book Debates With Devils, ES says that we are inhabitants of two worlds.  Our bodies are in the natural world, but as to our spirits we have another environment.

I don't know if what ES says is compatible with what Newton's clients reported, and I do realize that there is some skepticism as to whether his clients were subconsciously influenced by his own preconceptions.

Nevertheless it's an interesting concept.

R
ps- as an aside, I recall Bruce saying many years ago that only a small % of people need retrieving after death.
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Re: Preparation for death
Reply #14 - Mar 16th, 2012 at 8:37pm
 
This topic affects me viscerally right now.  A couple of days ago, I received a call with unspeakable horrific news from members of our church family.  Ken and Sherry had lived together out of wedlock for 12 years and had a young son in the first grade (Jimmy--age 6).  They were having problems paying their bills and Sherry and Ken often fought over her perception that Ken wasn't doing enough to seek a local job.  She had even threatened to leave him.  Recently, Sherry had a job offer in Spokane 75 miles away and felt she should take it, so the couple could build up some savings to support little Jimmy.

Sherry's youngest sister (Vicky)  was downstairs a few blocks from me with an angry and depressed Ken.  Suddenly Ken retrieved his hidden gun, put a bullet in the chamber, and walked upstairs where Sherry was playing with her little boy in her bedroom.  Vicky was shouting, "Don't do it!  Don't do it!"   Ken shouted, "All of you need to see this!"  and blew off his face.  Little Jimmy was just a  few feet away, but behind the door.  He exclaimed:  "Someone just died--and it's Daddy!"  Sherry was and still is far too hysterical to be interogated by the police, but Vicky recounted the grisly details to an officer.  An unspeakable act by an angry and depressed young man (age 30) to hurt Sherry as much as possible!

Sherry's family (but not Sherry and Ken) attends our church.  So I was called to go over and help everyone cope with this tragedy!   I needed to spend hours there the past 2 days.  A hysterical Sherry kept on insisting that if she went home, Ken would still be alive and everything would be OK.  She blamed herself for what he did.  Despite sedatives, she and her family have had little sleep since.  Jimmy needed his Mom, but we had to keep him away from her until she could be sensitive to his needs.  Today, Sherry wanted to go to the funeral home and see Ken's corpse.  Her determination to do this is problematic because Ken has no face now!  I insisted on going with her.

Vicky tried to help by saying, "Ken is with God now,"  but Sherry snapped, "No, he's in Hell; suicides don't go to heaven!"  Ken's family is gradually arriving from the west coast, and I'm concerned that blame will thrown around at the worst possible time. 

Sherry's family wants me to do a memorial service early next week celebrating Ken's life. Now I didn't know Ken, but I certainly am not prepared to claim that he is in Hell.  Still, I think he will be held accountable for his cruel and selfish actions.  But this accountability will surely take into account that his depression and anger made him temporarily insane.  My reflection on Ken's life will basically tell positive and humorous stories designed to release affection.  In my view, all funeral and memorial services need to strive through stories to capture and express the essence of the deceased's soul.  I also urge families to create a memorial display at the front of the church that resembles a work of modern art--i. e. not just the best photos of the deceased from infancy to the present, but also objects that symbolize his passions, hobbies, and character.   I also offer the grieving families the chance to consider various prayers, hymns, favorite love songs, etc. so that the content of the service bears  their personal stamp and is as positive as it can be under the circumstances.  I have learned not to ask families to share reflections before the crowd.  Rather, I ask them to be prepared to share with a chance to decline when the moment arrives.   After me own reflection, grieving family members often find the strength through the poignant and funny stories I share to "lighten up" enough to regain their composure and speak.  Doing so is very fulfilling and therapeutic for them.

[I have taken steps to get the best counseling for Jimmy.  I have changed all the names to protect the family's privacy.]


 
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