Death in a spiritual perspective
From a spiritual perspective, the most important moment in life is the moment we die. Life is meant as a preparation for this moment, in order that we may die in a harmonious and enlightened way. Therefore, not wanting to think and reflect on this moment, which will come for everyone, is from a spiritual point of view unwise and you are missing the most important point in your life.
Have you ever been blessed to be with someone who just died without being taken by emotions? Then you must have noticed another quality present, a kind of quietness, as if time really stopped for a moment while outside the room it just continued.
No one knows what will happen after death, also we do not know how we will react at the moment of our own death. In life we can have brave ideas about it, but only at the supreme moment, when death is (suddenly) there, will we really know and experience if we are ready for it.
An important realisation
An important spiritual experience to do with life and death happened to me about two decades ago. It just happened while sitting in my living-room warming myself to the central heating. Suddenly I saw it with my waking eyes but in a different state, and it was really overwhelming:
Life and death are one and the same! There is no difference!
Yes your body will die, but something else, that cannot be described, just stays unchanged.
This realisation made something very clear:
If in life your focus has been only on your body and the material life, death approaching you can be very scary. The same is true for exclusive focus on the mental life and emotions. Because it seems so definitive, you believe everything stops.
But life is not just your body; and not just the house you live in and the car you drive. That is only a very small part of it.
So if, when you are dying, your focus in life has been on that which is unchanging, you will know – by a certainty we shall call Nâm – nothing will change. Death is then just another path you take.
A very different perspective, is it not?
About letting go
Realising that Life and Death are one and the same is one important step. Learning and practising letting go is another important step and something to do for the rest of your life.
It is a way of living that transforms your life and brings harmony, inner peace and
Well-Being in living and post-living.
Living a more spiritual life means living a life of letting go. Learning and practising this in daily life will help you to let go of everything once the moment of death approaches you.
This daily practice is what counts because we can have beautiful ideas about dying, thinking life will go on once we die, but when the moment is there we still have to do it – we have to let go of the life we became used to and got attached to and we usually have no idea how deep and subtle these attachments are. e Since we have a very strong identification with our life, as if we own it, letting go is not necessarily easy, although it can be. For example, letting go of a body we have become so used to, feelings and ideas that we consider as important truths and as ‘ours’, and of course those who stay behind and who might not yet be ready to let you go, is not so easy.
If we have not practised letting go already in life, we may have a very serious problem and death becomes a struggle once we die. It is not for nothing that the mystics say:
“You have to die before you die”
Being close to death
Some people are confronted with death by close friends and family who died (sometimes too young from their perspective) and yes that can be a very sad thing because you will have to go on without the other, which can, I understand, be very hard. So far I am very blessed with my loved ones still alive. Death came to me in other, many different, ways and I was lucky to have the opportunity to discover more about it from different perspectives like being close to death in an accident myself.
Death has been an important part of my life in a very positive way which is why I am very enthusiastic to share this with others since it is not a sad, difficult and hard thing, it can be beauty in its purest form.
A young child I knew used to say:
‘What is the worst thing that can happen to you?’
And her own answer was:
‘To die, but that is not such a bad thing after all, so there is nothing to be afraid of’.
I believe that these different experiences with death, looking into it and not trying to walk away from it, really helped me to embrace life more. It brought a much deeper quality to life and knowing on other levels that death and life are one, helps me to attune to this every day again and to recognise it as more important than the material, mental or emotional world. I am very thankful to have discovered a life of letting go because it brings joy, happiness, fulfilment, meaning and well-being!
A text by Irma ten Brink
‘The Circle of Life” and ‘Dying in Spiritual Perspective’.
March 21, 2018