Thursday, November 19, 2009

Spirituality & Death

Greetings Spirituality & Science readers - after watching the last of the autumn leaves lose their hold on the branches this week, I thought of death. Ah death, the topic that strikes fear into the hearts of many and is not your typical cocktail-party banter - but here's the thing - I think death is often misunderstood. If you've followed this blog, you understand the science of energy - and I'll do a comprehensive post on energy and the human body in the near future. Science shows us that energy can change form and shape but it doesn't cease to exist - and since humans are made of energy, consume energy in the form of calories, and expend energy - they doesn't stop existing either. Therefore, although the body degenerates over time, the energy within that person doesn't die. Religious people call this "the soul" but it doesn't really matter what you call it in my humble opinion.

There are many people out there that have had contact with energy from those that previously existed in a body. Some people call this energy "ghosts," but what they describe is simply a communication with an energy no longer connected to a physical body. I know many people that have seen and spoken to these entities - and no, I'm not talking about psychiatric patients that I've worked with in my practice - I'm talking about everyday people that have had some experience that lets them know there is a greater energy out there. I saw a good friend of mine recently who had a close family member die last month, and as close as they were, she feels that she's even closer to him now. She described how she feels his energy around her and that he's guiding her at times - obviously, this doesn't dull the pain of not being able to pick up the phone and call him or invite him over for Thanksgiving dinner - but she knows without a doubt that he's still there even if it's not in physical form and it brings her comfort.

Chances are good that if you haven't had such an experience yourself, you know someone that has but they just haven't told you about it. People tend to be uncomfortable talking about the subject or worry that they'll be perceived as kooky - not that I haven't heard some kooky people discuss the subject but it hasn't been the norm.

Personally, I don't see dead people - which probably wouldn't be as cool as it sounds, especially in the middle of the night - but I have had enough contact from family members and friends who are no longer in physical form to know they're not really gone. In fact, my watch stopped every year at the exact time of one family member's death - one time being only several weeks after getting a new battery. The repair shop couldn't get it to work again and I've since stopped wearing a watch. I have way more mind-blowing personal examples but I wouldn't want anyone thinking I've been ingesting strange drugs - seriously, ibuprofen is the hardest thing I take - but after I've told close friends about my experiences, they've told me equally mind-blowing stories of their own.

I grew up with the religious explanation of the concepts of souls becoming angels in heaven versus the wrath of eternal hell. This was never an idea that resonated with me in childhood - I thought playing a harp on a cloud sounded really boring - and while it would be easier to explain it that way to my children, I've answered questions from my 5-year-old in a way that better fits my beliefs. In that respect, angels are one type of energy form so my son thinks the whole energetic angel idea is pretty cool. This led to a whole conversation on Spirituality & Reincarnation but that's one I'll leave for another day - although it'll definitely be before Spirituality & 2012.

I'll leave you with this Hopi Funeral Prayer which is a reminder that the funeral is way more about the living than the presumed dead - trust me, they're doing just fine.

Hopi Indian Funeral Prayer

Do not stand at 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 on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet white doves in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there, I did not die.

Until next time...and if you're feeling brave, what experiences have you had that lead you to believe that life doesn't stop when the body does?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Spirituality & Mother Teresa

Hello Spirituality & Science readers - it's been awhile since I've been here as I've lately immersed myself in writing of a different sort, however just last week I was reminded of this beautiful poem and wanted to pass it along. Those of you who read the blog know that while I consider myself spiritual, I'm not religious in any shape or form. I believe you can substitute whatever your belief is for the term God in the poem (e.g. Buddha, source, universal energy, etc.)

I was speaking to one of my spiritual gurus last week - the wonderful Marnie Vincolisi-Leichtenberg - who reminded me that it's okay to shine even if it makes certain people around you uncomfortable as they may envy what you have. Then today I was waiting for a client and randomly pulled a business book that I'd never read off my colleague's shelf and opened to this poem - obviously not a typical business book - but the poem echoed perfectly what Marnie had shared with me several days earlier. The credit for this poem is given to Mother Teresa although it's based on an essay by Kent Keith.

To add yet more synchronicity to my Mother Teresa vibe this week, an artist friend of mine, Jia Apple, emailed me her latest beautiful creation. It's a portrait of Mother Teresa from her Larger than Life Series on women she respects - and is the picture at the top of the blog.

So while I usually include inspirational quotes here, I'm dedicating this whole post to the poem of a wonderfully spiritual human being.


People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind,
people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful,
you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank,
people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building,
someone could destroy overnight.
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness,
they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today,
people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have,
and it may never be enough;
Give the best you've got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis
it is between you and God;
it was never between you and them anyway.

Until next time...shine on! :)