autumn days

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Faith in Dying

The elders in my family are very actively aging and dying.  I appreciate such beauty and sadness within this process.  I see great beauty in the love we feel for each other and great sadness in how we mourn the loss of beloved ones.

While my 88-year-old grandmother was staying with us for two weeks, she talked of her faith in going to Heaven to be with her departed beloved ones when she dies.  In contrast, my 91-year-old neighbor is terrified of death, having no idea of what awaits her after this life.  I ask her if she can imagine a reunion with her beloved husband, though she shakes her head and holds tightly to her fight to live forever.

My partner's uncle is now fighting for his survival.  I am comforted in knowing he has likely had conversations with his spiritual wife about an afterlife.  Another of my partner's beloved aunts passed a few days ago.  Both she and her husband have a comforting faith in an afterlife.  Her husband calmly shared "She's already on to her next life."

One need not attend a weekly service or practice to fully immerse yourself in an afterlife faith, though it seems to make a spiritual belief more comforting and concrete when surrounded by active spiritual practice and like-minded believers.  Dying is not easy.  Some say it is the biggest thing we will ever do with our lives, or at least the grand finale for which all of our lives prepare us.  We have invested so much energy and faith into living.  Death is indeed difficult on those left behind without their loved one.

I find such peace personally in having gone through training as a shamanic practitioner to discuss afterlife possibilities with others.  It naturally works into heartfelt conversation.  My training allows me to see we choose our own adventure after our body expires.  We can call upon God, Buddha, Muhammad, Jesus, or others who have created a path into a specific afterlife.  When we call upon that entity, we are taken directly to the afterlife described by them.  Each path is valid and real to the believer.  There's also the choice to be indecisive and terrified and to roam around trying to stay human.  We then attach to living people, fragmenting and polluting humanity.  (Shamans heal this toxic relationship with "compassionate soul release".)  Another option is to rest in the dark void, to sit and meditate, to see the infinite possibilities for our own souls before choosing one.

I've had the privilege of seeing my possible death journey in my courses.  I saw my soul split into three pieces upon my physical death, as do many ancient cultures.  After saying goodbye to my loved ones, one part of my soul went back into the earth as a steward, one part moved into being a Guardian Angel for my loved ones, and another went to sit in the dark void to ponder possibilities.  My death journey is ever evolving, though my faith comforts me.  I take comfort in talking with others about their thoughts of afterlife.

After exploring my own possible death process, I talked with my mother about it.  As a life-long Christian woman, she was stunned to think she had a choice.  She fairly yelled at me, "We have a choice?!"  So we talked and talked and continue to talk about our personal journeys in preparing for our own transitions.  When so much of our culture revolves around staying young and never dying, it feels wonderful to me to discuss the inevitability of death, our wildest desires of what we choose to do with our last act within these human bodies, and the adventures beyond.

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