Death | The future we seldom speak of

“If you were going to die soon and had only one phone call you could make who would you call and what would you say?
And why are you waiting?” — Stephen Levine

“These markings of the year, of the cycle of birth, early growth, fertility, ripening, reaping, decay, death, and then rebirth again, are vital to both our psychic and our physical health. To our psychic health because they show us that, year after year, that death is not final but part of a cycle, that everything comes again. To our physical health because they encourage us to allow our bodies to be in tune with the seasons—to dance all night in summer if we want to, to sleep long hours and store up energy in winter.” – Scilla Elworthy

Look at love
how it tangles
with the one fallen in love

Look at spirit
how it fuses with Earth
giving it new life

Why are you so busy
with this or that or good or bad
pay attention to how things blend

Why talk about all
the known and the unknown
see how the unknown merges into the known

Why think separately
of this life and the next
when one is born from the last
.” — Rumi

“The only thing that burns in hell is the part of you that won’t let go of your life: your memories, your attachments. They burn them all away, but they’re not punishing you, they’re freeing your soul. If you’re frightened of dying and you’re holding on, you’ll see devils tearing your life away. If you’ve made your peace, then the devils are really angels freeing you from the earth.” – Meister Eckhart

When you start preparing for death you soon realize that you must look into your life now… and come to face the truth of your self. Death is like a mirror in which the true meaning of life is reflected.” – Sogyal Rinpoche

“So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none. When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision. When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.” – Tecumseh

To fear death is nothing other than to think oneself wise when one is not. For it is to think one knows what one does not know. No one knows whether death may not even turn out to be the greatest blessings of human beings. And yet people fear it as if they knew for certain it is the greatest evil.” – Socrates

“It is not all of life to live, nor yet all of death to die. For life and death are one, and only those who will consider the experience as one may come to understand or
comprehend what peace indeed means.” – Edgar Cayce

I have tried to show death from the perspective of the soul in order to ease the pain of those left behind. As Plato said, ‘Once free of the body, the soul is able to see truth clearly because it is more pure than before and recalls the pure ideas which it knew before.’ Survivors must learn to function again without the physical presence of the person they loved by trusting that the departed soul is still with them. Acceptance of loss comes one day at a time. Healing is a progression of mental steps that begins with having faith you are not truly alone. In order to complete the life contract you made in advance with the departed, it is necessary to rejoin the rest of humanity as an active participant. You will see your love again soon enough. I am hopeful my years of research into the life we lead as souls may assist survivors in recognizing that death only exchanges one reality for another in the long continuum of existence.” – Michael Newton

You are kidding your self if you think this life is all there is. You are kidding your smaller self if you think that loved ones who have passed no longer exist. You are kidding a limited version of the Self if you think and do not feel with the heart. Your smaller self is not kidding when it tries to tell you there is no unlimited version called a Self, for if you were to truly know and feel this, then the self would be fully incorporated, integrated, and reconciled with that Self and the jig would be up. No more fears, no more drama, no more doubts. No doubt about it, you are this Self having an experience of the self in human form. Just don’t let that self be Self-effacing.” – Sanaya

As best as I can tell, life is intolerable. Oh, not always of course. A case can be made for all the big wonders and little blessings and blah, blah, blah. But when you really boil it down, our entire existence rests on a few really ugly premises. First, Life, and by that I mean the big life, with a capital L, must ingest other life in order for it to remain life. Or, put another way, in order to witness the miracle of creation, we must continually eat, and then poop out, a little bit of that miracle. Second, one of the charming side effects of sentient life is emotional pain. The fact that dead and fermenting plant life creates alcohol—a terrific anesthetic for emotional pain—might cause one to think that this is, by nature, a compassionate universe. Think again. Keep dulling that pain with booze and you wind up, if you’re lucky, in a church basement sharing your tears with complete strangers. If you’re not lucky, you wind up on a waiting list for a motorcyclist’s liver. And finally, there is the ever-present knowledge of death. In order to ‘more fully appreciate the gift of life,’ we all get to ponder a violently sudden or slow and agonizingly painful descent into oblivion—after which our beloved bodies turn into the stuff of nightmares. Which brings me back to my original premise: life is intolerable.” – Chuck Lorre

“Probably the most powerful experience a person can have is to face death. Until only a few decades ago, women did it every time they gave birth to a child (and in many parts of the world, they still do). To feel the fear of death, and go through it, and come out the other side, changes a person profoundly. …The task is to face the fear, and not invent endless strategies to avoid it or deny its presence; to look it straight between the eyes.” –Scilla Elworthy

In the teaching of the Buddha, all of us will pass away eventually as part of the natural process of birth, old-age, and death and we should always keep in mind the impermanence of life, the life that we cherish and wish to hold on to. In Buddhism, however, death is not the end of life; it is merely the end of the body we inhabit in this life. Our spirit will still remain and seek attachment to a new body and new life. We see our death coming long before its arrival. We notice impermanence in the changes we see around us and in the arrival of aging and the suffering due to losing our youth.  Once we were strong and beautiful and as we age, as we approach our final moments of life, we realize how fleeting such a comfortable place actually was.” — Thich Nguyen Tang

“We’re on assignment
Bodies on consignment
Return them to the circus
And what is the purpose?
What is the purpose and would you believe it?
Would you believe it

“I am a miracle made up of particles
And in this existence
I’ll stay persistent
And I’ll make a difference
And I will have lived it

“And the day that I don’t wake up
I’ll transcend the holy make-up
I am capable, I am powerful
And the day that I don’t wake up
And transcend the holy makeup
I am on my way to a different place…” – Nahko

We go forward and die; we go backwards and die; so let’s go forward and die.” – Malidoma Somé

“If a man hasnt discovered something that he will die for, he isnt fit to live.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

“The crucible of making human beings is death. Every culture worth a damn knows that. It’s not success; it’s not growth; it’s not happiness. It’s death. That’s the cradle of your love of life: the fact that it ends.” – Stephen Jenkinson

At the end of the game, both the pawn and the king go back in the box.” – Italian proverb

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Photo by Catrina Gomez for Unsplash.com.

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