Imagine being able to go to a space where you could talk about death and dying with people who care, understand and are involved in all parts of the death process. Nurses, Social Workers, Spiritual advisers and also those who are dying or being affected by the deaths of family members.
Also imagine being in an atmosphere where everyone is free to share their knowledge, hopes, fears and experiences without the fear of being harshly judged or being counted out of the discussion.
This is about as good as it gets. And it works very, very well!
The format begins with a brief introduction around the room where everyone gives their name and speaks a bit about why they came. Then the discussion opens up into whatever direction the group decides to go. This is most of the meeting. The conversations typically move between three themes; a) the death experience from the spiritual viewpoint, death from a medical perspective (the best painkillers, dealing with difficult doctors, etc.; b) Legal discussions including how to handle personal property, wills, testaments and directives, and c) Spiritual talk on death and dying. What struck us as most remarkable is that while everyone had their point of view, and there were many, nobody was making any attempt to promote one view over another.
While I cannot say that this format will work anywhere, it gives a lot of hope to see these kinds of coming together.
For those who are interested in either starting a Death Cafe in your town or are just interested in the concept, please visit the Death Cafe website. Please make sure to read the section on Holding your own Death Cafe. You and maybe someone you know and needs will be glad you did.
It was interesting to see what C G Jung wrote about death in his essay "The Stages of Life".
(As my nickname shows I like to 'piece' things together so that's what I'll do here <g>)
He wrote "I am convinced that it is hygienic–if I may use the word–to discover in death a goal toward which one can strive, and that shrinking away from it is something unhealthy and abnormal which robs the second half of life of its purpose."
"I have often been asked what I believe about death, that un-problematical ending of individual existence. Death is known to us simply as the end. It is the period, often placed before the close of the sentence and followed only by memories of aftereffects in others. For the person concerned, however, the sand has run out of the glass; the rolling stone has come to rest. When death confronts us, life always seems like a downward flow or like a clock that has been wound up and whose eventual “running down” is taken for granted. We are never more convinced of this “running down” than when a human life comes to its end before our eyes, and the question of the meaning and worth of life never becomes more urgent or more agonizing than when we see the final breath leave a body which a moment before was living. How different does the meaning of life seem to us when we see a young person striving for distant goals and shaping the future, and compare this with an incurable invalid, or with an old man who is sinking reluctantly and without strength to resist into the grave! Youth — we should like to think — has purpose, future, meaning, and value, whereas the coming to an end is only a meaningless cessation. If a young man is afraid of the world, of life and the future, then everyone finds it regrettable, senseless, neurotic; he is considered a cowardly shirker. But when an aging person secretly shudders and is even mortally afraid at the thought that his reasonable expectation of life now amounts to only so many years, then we are painfully reminded of certain feelings within our own breast; we look away and turn the conversation to some other topic. The optimism with which we judge the young man fails us here. Naturally we have on hand for every eventuality one or two suitable banalities about life which we occasionally hand out to the other fellow, such as “everyone must die sometime,” “one doesn’t live forever,” etc. But when one is alone and it is night and so dark and still that one hears nothing and sees nothing but the thoughts which add and subtract the years, and the long row of disagreeable facts which remorselessly indicate how far the hand of the clock has moved forward, and the slow, irresistible approach of the wall of darkness which will eventually engulf everything you love, possess, wish, strive, and hope for — then all our profundities about life slink off to some undiscoverable hiding place, and fear envelops the sleepless one like a smothering blanket." Meaning of Death-Jung/Feifel
“Death is the hardest thing from the outside and as long as we are outside of it. But once inside you taste of such completeness and peace and fulfillment that you don’t want to return.” His reference, when he suffered a heart attack late in life and almost didn't make it back..
if we understand the spiritual nature of life, we will see that death is actually the culmination and flowering of an ongoing process of individuation and spiritualization. The second half of life engages an unfolding process in which ego and divine Self gradually trade places at the center of the personality. As the ego moves to the sidelines, that is, as my identity and convictions become secondary to my awakening, the personality is infused with the energies and consciousness of divinity previously held in abeyance by the ego. This is a joyous and expansive process, and its ultimate completion - its full unity - happens at death when ego and Self merge in the archetypal divine marriage.
A reader from Vital Votes wrote in a interesting view and a few good questions:
"I agree with Jung on many levels. The most interesting thing is that most people focus on the future (what has not been). This eventually leads to fear of what has not been, death. What if death was the beginning and when we were born we are actually dying? If you believe in karmic laws, then life never ends. It is continuous and birth and death are the etheric names that we have applied to these journey's in life.
As humans, there is evolution (body to spirit) and involution (spirit to body). So when we are born, are we humans having spiritual experiences or spirits having human experiences. As Yogananda said, you have to have thousands of life times in order to be born into a human experience.
So what is real and what is not? What is visible and what is not? Death is something that we have created in my opinion. When the physical body starts to decline, what about the other bodies (mental, emotional and causal)? This is the time when they leave the body and the physical body does die.
But do the others die, do they continue into another body, into another lifetime? One will never KNOW for sure and all we can really do is speculate. We can all have beliefs and that is what makes our own journeys special."
Death..., one the most scariest ugliest most beautiful brilliant things that life has ever bestowed within creation.
Just remember that it's about the Quality of Life that matters most... yes Life... before Death, for what comes after death? That's the beauty in seeing.
We will all die at some time, but first I shall have a cup of coffee and live. Oz
John Mead in Reality is all Maths postulates that consciousness is vibration and concludes with the famous axiom, "As Above So Below". This is easily represented in a wave form plotted on a graph.
One life continues, whether above or below the baseline. Until vibrations cease.