Though death may well be an unexpected and unwanted guest how could we ‘help death feel at home?’ I know this may seem like an odd thing to ask and yet when done well this welcoming can help set our loved one’s spirit free with grace and dignity.
Often death is held as a failure or something to fight at all costs; minimally something to resist. It is this combative approach to dying and death that often results in less than graceful good-byes and lost opportunities to truly support the one dying in letting go consciously into the spirit they have always been.
Charles Berner, the fellow who create the enlightenment intensive, once said; “People who don’t know who they are have trouble in life.”
My own personal experience confirms he was right! So it follows naturally then it would also be true that people who don’t know who they are will have trouble in death. My experience says absolutely!
We humans are an interesting dynamic of inter-linked components, our mind, our emotional body, our physical body, and our spirit. The piece that seems to get lost is the spiritual piece – the reality that we are spirit too. When death does come knocking we seem to forget that aspect of us that is invisible yet as real as our body. Forgetting this fact we cling to the body, our thoughts and emotions in an attempt to avoid the inevitable.
Instead, we could put real attention on our spirit, and notice the same essence in our dying loved one. In so doing we immediately support the graceful exit of whom our loved one really is at their core.
Yes, we will miss their body, thoughts, and emotions; all those temporary elements, as we should. However, we will be more able to notice and stay in touch with their permanence which does bring a sweetness to our sorrow.
By discovering who we really are at our core death won’t feel like such an enemy, it may even feel more like an opening door.