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?


Rick Daley said...

In 1999, my father-in-law, who was a Baptist minister, gave a sermon on Father's Day. He had a pair of baby shoes that he spoke about. They had belonged to his oldest son, who would have been in his mid-thirties had he not dies in a car accident when he was 21.

The sermon started with a focus on the son following in the Father's footsteps, and how important the role of the father is to the family. It ended with my father-in-law saying that his son was now in heaven, and it was his turn follow in his son's footsteps.

One week later my father-in-law dies in a motorcycle accident. he was not at fault, a truck turned in front of him and there was no way he could avoid the collision.

Odd coincidence? Precognition? I don't know.

Going back a little further in time, before I made my first trip to meet my in-laws at their house I had a dream. My wife and I were at their house, but also at a house next door. We kept going back and forth between the houses. One was white, one was yellow. The street was on a hill, and it dead-ended into woods.

I told my wife about the dream, and she got excited because her parent's house has some white siding, and it was on a wooded lot at the top of a hill. It was in a cul-de-sac. Was it the one from my dream?

It wasn't. When we were on the way I did see a street and a couple houses that looked a lot like my dream, but they weren't the right ones.

Her parent's house was nothing like the one in my dream.

About five years after my father-in-law died, my mother-in-law moved. It's a yellow house, right next door to my sister-in-law, who lives in a white house. Their street is on a hill, and it dead-ends in woods. We've spent many evenings going back and forth between those two houses.

I do think my dream was precognitive. Too bad it didn't involve lottery numbers or anything more profound; but it does give me faith that there is something more to life, and that there are dimensions beyond the three that our bodies limit us to perceiving.

Kristi said...

Rick - thanks so much for sharing that. I think your dream was definitely precognitive - I've had many precognitive dreams and think the dream state involves more than most people realize. You've just inspired a Spirituality and Dreams post!

Also, your lotto comment is funny because I once DID dream powerball numbers once but could only remember 5 of the 6 when I woke up. I wrote them down and my husband told me to go get a ticket. Those 5 numbers were 5 of the 6 winning numbers. Problem - I never bought the ticket as I was too busy w/ grad school at the time (15 years ago). My hubby still doesn't let me forget that we'd have won a lot o' money. Oh well - hasn't happened since :)

Chuck Dilmore said...

i've never had such an experience...
but i long to! i totally subscribe to this!

thanks to an earlier post of yours
i started with a meditation CD today,
eager to see what doors open.

peace to you~

F. P. Dorchak said...

I grew up reading the metaphysical and weird, but when I was a kid back in upstate New York, one of our dogs, a Black Lab had been hit and killed by a driver. I had been riding my bike down to our post office (the area is countryside), and he had been running with me. On our way back, at a bend in the road just before making it home, he was hit and died in the road. Sometime later, at the top of our home’s main staircase, I saw the back end of him, heading down those stairs, his tail up in the air. We had no other dogs at that time.

And another instance: according to my mother, I’d been writing and drawing at about the age of six, scenes of the Civil War. Besides the normal dinosaur and spaceship drawings, I drew lots of Civil War battles. Several of those battle scenes are labeled “1862,” and deal with soldiers being bayoneted.

During my adolescent years, I had one dream in particular that I continue to think about: I had been bayoneted in the side during a Civil War battle. I awoke from that dream in intense agony and pain, clutching my side, so much so I fell out of bed. The feeling of intense pain persisted for some time afterward. I never told anyone about this dream until much later, in adulthood, I told one of my brothers. My brother told me he'd had an exact same dream, as a kid.

Then, in 1990, I had moved briefly to Alexandria, Virginia. While there, I visited the Civil War battlefield Bull Run (Manassas). I’d visited several Civil War battlefields before and since, but at this one I began to experience what I call my "Twilight Zone experience": though I couldn't name fields and units, I had had the most unnerving experience of literally feeling torn between two worlds: that of being in the present but also in the Civil War--there, at Manassas. Throughout the entire tour of the Manassas battlefield, I felt as if he'd been there before--and died there. And all these feelings leaned toward the second of the two battles. The battle fought in August of 1862.

Kristi said...

Chuck - I've found that a lot of insights have occurred for me after the meditation rather than during it, so keep that in mind. Good luck - I love meditating.

F.P. - I've spoken with others who have had very similar "parallel lives" experiences - especially after seeing a place they'd been drawn to visit. The fact that your brother had the same dream is also interesting as I've read that people tend to reincarnate with the same "energy families." When my husband first met me, he said it was very strange because he immediately felt as if he had known me forever - like we had been childhood playmates. Thanks for sharing.

L.J. Boldyrev said...

Great post, Kristi. I think you'll like the project I did for Nano :) Valerie's new one, too!

My mother is a strong believer. An elderly man passed away in her house before she bought it and she swears he's still there. Doors open and close, my very small children hold conversations with nobody in the room. I asked my eldest who she was talking to and she told me "The man in the closet". She was three or four when that happened. As long as "he" doesn't hurt anyone, he doesn't bother me, lol

Laura Martone said...

This is a wonderful post, Kristi. If only I did believe in an afterlife of sorts (and that my kitty was there, waiting for me).

As an atheist, I have no illusions about ghosts, but I do believe in energy transference. Too many friends have experienced too many strange things for it all to be pure coincidence. I so wish that weird things would happen to me, but alas, no one I've ever lost has "visited" me as a comforting presence. Sometimes, I really wish I could feel my grandmother's energy, but I never do.

The stories here are curious, though - I guess it's just that I believe more in the power of the mind (to play tricks on us) than I do in "spirits." Still, that Hopi prayer is lovely - I get chills (good ones!) every time I hear it.


weird, my word veri is "blesurra" - sounds like a prayer of some sort.

Kristi said...

Laura - thanks for weighing in. I do think it's much easier to believe in something when you've experienced it for yourself. For me, I've had those experiences since childhood but it grew much stronger after I received training in energy work and learned how to feel energy shifts.

Also, I think the concept of an 'afterlife' has been so strongly influenced by religious constructs that it has been distorted. I believe it's not a place but a state - just a different energy state than we experience here.