Release Into Light — Meditations For Those Mourn
Birth is not the beginning, Death is not the end.
Chuang – Tsu
Let life be beautiful like summer flowers and death like autumn leaves.
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide into the body of life. For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.
It is clear to me as daylight that life and death are but phases of the same thing, the reverse and obverse of the same coin. In fact tribulation and death seem to me to present a phase far richer than happiness or life… Death is as necessary for a mans growth as life itself.
Men who have seen life and death…an unbroken continuum, the swinging pendulum, have been able to move as freely into death as they walked through life. Socrates went to the grave almost perplexed by his companions’ tears.
The thought of death leaves me in perfect peace, for I have a firm conviction that our spirit is a being of indestructible nature; it works on from eternity to eternity, it is like the sun, which though it seems to set to our mortal eyes, does not really set, but shines on perpetually.
Awareness of approach to death can be a beautiful thing, a frame into which we can put the work of art that is our life, our personal masterpiece.
Wether it is seen in personal terms or trans-personal terms, wether it is heaven or nirvana or Happy Hunting Ground or the Garden of Paradise, the weight and authority of tradition maintains that death is just an alteration in our state of consciousness , and that the quality of our continued existence in the afterlife depends on the quality of our living here and now.
We are not only given the body but we are given the ability to see beyond the body and to realise that we are not tied to it forever.
The reality of my life cannot die for I am indestructible consciousness.
Never the spirit was born; the spirit shall cease to be never;
Never was time it was not ; End and Beginning are dreams!
Birth-less and deathless and changeless remaineth the spirit forever.
Death hath not touched it all, dead though the house of it seems!
Sir Edwin Arnold
There are many levels of life which we cannot see and know, yet which certainly exist . There is a larger world, vast enough to include immortality…. Our spiritual natures belong to this larger world … If death is apparently an outward fact, immortality is an inner certainty.
Manly P. Hall
The disembodied soul does not part with Nature when it leaves the earth-life but, rather, it rises to a plane of Nature which is fuller, richer and sweeter in everyway than the best of which the earth dwelling soul dreams. The dross of materiality burned away by the astral vibrations, the soul blossoms and bears spiritual fruit in the new life.
The breaking of forms which we call death releases the consciousness within for the for the new adventure of building other forms for further growth.
These bodies of the embodied One, who is eternal, indestructible and boundless, are known as finite… (The embodied One) is not born, nor doth he die, nor having been, ceaseth he any more to be; unborn, perpetual, eternal and ancient, he is not slain when the body is slaughtered… As a man, casting worn-out garments, taketh new ones, so the dweller in the body, casting off worn-out bodies, entereth into others that are new… For certain is death for the born, and certain is birth for the dead; therefore over the inevitable thou shouldst not grieve.
It is not this trivial self which remains, It is the higher self that is much more aware of the understanding of what we have experienced… How sad it would be to bring back this (small self) When we could bring back the best of our traits, a cleaner slate and a better situation.
In the great wisdom traditions we are told of a period of evaluation following the transition beyond life in physical form. It is told that as we cross into other levels of being, what we have to offer is the result of the choices of action we have taken throughout the time on earth. This is looked upon kindly by the guardians, allowing us to see the effects of our choosing and how in certain instances, we might have chosen better. It is without harsh judgement but simply seeing clearly and with perception.
Thou causest the wind to blow and the rain to fall. Thou sustainest the living with loving kindness, and in great mercy callest the departed to everlasting life .
The more we know, the more fully we trust, for we shall feel with utter certainty that we and our dead are alike in the hands of perfect Love.
C. W. Leadbeater
Death is our sister, we praise Thee for Death
Who releases the soul to the light of Thy gaze;
And dying we cry with the last of our breath
Our thanks and our praise.
St Francis of Assisi
What is perhaps the most incredible common element in the accounts of near death experiences…is the encounter with a very bright light… The love and warmth that emanates from this Being to the dying person are utterly beyond words , and he feels completely at ease and accepted in the presence of this Being…He is ineluctably drawn to it.
Or even the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the cistern. Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was, and the spirit shall return to God who gave it .
My beloved soul, having awakened at last into My Peace, you can return consciously and completely to your own Original Source. As this homecoming fills you with in expressible joy it pervades Allah Most High with profound delight as well (You will) experience the perfect union with Love that is My highest Paradise.
I have got my leave Bid me farewell, my brothers! I bow to you all and take my departure. Here I give back the keys of my door and give up all claims to my house. I ask only for the last kind words from you .We were neighbours for long but I received more than I could give . Now the day has dawned and the lamp that lit my dark corner is out A summons has come and I am ready for my journey.
I often think that people we have loved and who have loved us… become a part of us and we carry them around all the time – whether we see them or not . And in some ways we are a sum total of those who have loved us and those who have given ourselves to.
In the old way, when it was time to die, old ones would go off by themselves feeling that the moment of death was as intimate between them and the Earth Mother as the moment of birth is between human mother and child. They would find a quiet place and there make prayers to the Great Spirit, thanking him for life they enjoyed. They would sing their song, and they would die.
Sun Bear and Wabun
Great Spirit when we come singing.
When we face the sunset
the last song, may it be,
without shame, singing
“it is finished in beauty
it is finished in beauty!”
I wished there were a place for gracious dying,
A high place with a distant view.
Where we could gather for a celebration of life
and death and friendship, old and new.
I’d like a place where there would be good music,
Good food and wine – and laughter, games and fun-
And quiet talk with friends and good discussion
Of what will happen when this life is done.
Letting the last breath come. Letting the last breath go. Dissolving , dissolving into vast space, the light body released from its heavier form. A sense of connectedness with all that is, all sense of separation dissolved in the vastness of being. Each breath melting into space as though it were the last.
There are only two faces to existence – birth and death – and life survives them both. Just so sunrise and sunset are not essentially different: it all depends on whether one is facing east or west.
In the face of such a mystery, we need to tread gently and respectfully… As far as is humanly possible, it is the business of the living to help the dying a natural death in a way that is in keeping with death’s beauty and grandeur.
Words and tears are nature’s most basic ways of helping us release our feelings of suffering.
Hospice of Du Page
Let us not cling to mourning,
Do not stand on my grave and weep.
I am not there
I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sunlight opened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in a circled flight,
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand on my grave and cry.
I am not there
I did not die.