DEATH AS A CELEBRATION, CONSCIOUS DYING

DEATH AS A CELEBRATION, CONSCIOUS DYING

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People are singing, music is playing, People are swaying with the music, There is laughter and a gathering of a circle of loved ones. The  drumming is stirring hearts. To the outsider it looks like a party. For those participating, it is a celebration of death.

For many of us, especially those in the West, we tend to hear the word dying and change the subject. It is a word that has come to be filled with dread and fear. What would it be like if we took the fear out of dying and instead turned it into a celebration, of very conscious dying?

When my best friend died, I made the point of asking it to be called a celebration of her life. And once that was established, I was so amazed at how the energy changed. We all become more loving and participatory in this process. We could now see the process as joyful and honoring this amazing woman’s life.

 

What made the difference? The choice to take away the fear and darkness. That also meant we were willing to see death as a ceremonial way of loving.

Wow, that means, Death is finally coming out of the closet!

We are no longer in a space where dying needs to be whisked away.

Ram Dass talks about conscious dying as the letting go of the ego, so that the soul can leave the body. But that if we are attached to the ego, the soul cannot detach. As we are in the process of dying then it is important to let our loved ones see our soul not our ego.  He says”if we practice being here and now at this moment, then the moment of death will be just another moment..

That feels very comforting to me. Does it to you?

And isn’t that the epitome of being present, being conscious, being here and now.

If we choose to make decisions of not only how we live, but also how we die, doesn’t that feel so empowering? And very honest.  So what is conscious dying?

WHAT IS CONSCIOUS DYING

It is the choice to take our process of death and love it just as we have loved our lives. It is the ability to see dying as just another process in our physical lives.

Instead of leaving the decisions to a funeral home, we prepare for this long before death. In this process, we decide not only what kind of celebration we want as our ending moment, but also how we are going to choose the process of death, if it is not sudden.

That means we get to die as consciously as we are choosing to live. And why not?

Doesn’t that tell a lot about who we truly are? If we are living in a heart-centric way, why not leave in the same way?

CHOICES OF CONSCIOUS DYING

We, in the West have gotten so used to the sterility of hospital dying and then funeral homes just whisking the body away. What if we decided we no longer wanted that for ourselves or our loved ones?

More and more people are coming to terms with the idea that dying is our last place to share our love. It is the moment we can be so fully conscious to shower in gratitude.

 

Did you know there are Doulas now for dying? They are called End of Life Doulas. Just as there are Doulas to help ease birth, they are trained to ease death into a state of complete joy and ending. Serving in love and giving, the doulas are certified to teach and ease the wisdom of last breath consciousness.

Some of the other choices we can make, are dying in a place of comfort, whether a beautiful hospice setting or in our homes. We can decide who we want to be with us. What music we want playing and if poetry or a special reading is called for.

And instead of the funeral people rushing in to take over our bodies, we can ask our loved ones to do the sacred job of sanctifying and ritually washing our bodies.

A very dear friend shared a story. A relative of hers upon his death was living in community. The community organized a group of people to prepare the entire death process.  Every detail was handled by the community, two people build a coffin, people bathed the body, someone wrote poetry, and at each moment everyone had a moment to say goodbye. And the body was never left alone.

The adult child of the deceased was the one to oversee the celebration and said when it was over, it was the gift of a lifetime. To participate in his father’s death was a loving act of pure sacredness and consciousness.

Can we imagine if we took back the death process? Then, it would give us all the opportunity for such a sacred sense of ending and letting go.

We can also decide not to be medicated at the end. To have that moment of being fully present at our last breath. To look into the eyes of those we love with clear intention.  To not mask pain but instead be so very present.

So we can make this choice that our death is both wholistic and palliative, in a way that truly works with how we have lived consciously.

I think it comes down to knowing that if we have chosen to life consciously, we can then choose to die in full consciousness.

The question is how do we personally see that end?

For maybe, it is really about how we have chosen to live, rather than chosen to die?

 CONSCIOUS LIVING LEADS TO CONSCIOUS DYING

Osho says, dying jolts us into the present. It allows us a sense of truly being present in this moment. It then becomes a complete connection to our hearts. So if in the moment of dying, we are able to be fully present and conscious, did we do this also in our lives?

Did we make the conscious choice in our every moment of being fully present? Did we choose to be a loving and compassionate? Did we choose to let go of all that was not ours to hold on to? Did we really see life as a heart-centric process?

In her taboo breaking work, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross talks about death as the final stage of growth. Click here to buy this amazing book.

She says that when we have allowed ourselves to come to terms with our ending, we have come to terms with our life’s true meaning.

I can really resonate with that. Do you?

Reaching this place of death, allows us to be in a place of completion. If we have been in a state of consciousness for our lives then death is just the last step in our journey of consciousness.

It is not the end, as the soul keeps going.  But it does allow our 3D world to be in a place of ease. If we have allowed for the process of consciousness.

In other words, if we have lived each moment in full awareness and consciousness, letting go of all that is holding us back, we have lived well.  For we have come to the space of dying without anything stopping us from looking back.

We can live and die in each moment and be more alive and conscious then we were in the previous moment.

It is the choice of conscious living that will then lead to a loving conscious death.

CONCLUSION

The idea that we have the option to make our own decisions about dying is quite lovely, I think. Because in this space we are consciously aware of all that we are ready to exit. We are not asking health professionals to just take over the process. We are being our own contractor for dying.

To me death deserves to be sacred. A space where the last breath is honored. The life is celebrated. The wisdom of this moment is seen. It is as life starts, with a newborn’s first breath and ends with the breath being exhaled for the last time. It is in that moment of last exhalation that we let go.

When our needs have been met, that of physical and spiritual needs, death is merely another doorway.

While I was thinking about how I wanted my last act of breath to be, I decided to write a letter to my loved ones. In this letter filled with love, I also specified how I want my last breath to be, who I wanted to be there and all the things that would bring loving joy to everyone attending. Music,drumming, dancing, poetry and cannolis!

And that I did not want a traditional funeral.. Instead I want a picnic. And have my ashes spread. But knowing that I have written down my wishes, gives all of us a chance to not have to deal with the anxiety of last minute decisions.  And more time to dance!

So do consider writing your own letter. It truly helps clarify and see our moments of great loving.

If we have lived consciously, then the last breath is eased out. For there is nothing, that we have held on to. Perhaps conscious dying is knowing we have fully completed our journey in a space of complete love and gratitude.

So goodbye is no longer an act of sadness. It is an act of love. For only our physical  part expires.

For our last breath, may we all be held, loved and sung to. May we know when the moment has arrived, we have reached our pinnacle of consciousness. We have given our love fully. We have lived each moment in consciousness. We have lived a simple life of sacred compassion.

May it be. So it is.

Blessings abound.

Where are you in your thoughts on dying? I would really like to have this conversation. Please do join me!

In peace and gratitude,

Founder, Success-full-living.com,  the Online Community of Heart-Centric Living.

 

IF YOU ARE READY TO TAKE THE PLUNGE AND START YOUR OWN ONLINE BUSINESS AND BLOG, DO JOIN ME. CLICK HERE FOR A FABULOUS NEW JOURNEY!

31 thoughts on “DEATH AS A CELEBRATION, CONSCIOUS DYING

  1. Hi,
    Conscious dying. Thats a whole new concept. Embracing the dying in our final stages really makes it easy for people around as well. But its hard for people to do it as idea of having a soul is not yet totally understood my people. what do you think??

    Regards,
    Saiprasad

    1. Hello Saiprasad! So many thanks for stopping by! I hear you! It is true we have become so impaled by the sense of the physical that we forget we are so much more than just our bodies. That indeed our bodies are just vehicles for our soul and inner truth. I hope as we are having this conversation it will open up the concept to many people that death is not an ending. And that if we live in peace and loving ways, death is just another way to celebrate. I hope we get to chat again soon. Do you have more thoughts on this?
      In peace and gratitude, ariel

  2. What a wonderful post I must say! This must have been so hard to explain and you explained it so well. I love the concept and I think we should soon adopt this process as we have lived our life then why not die happily? celebrating death is no unique concept, this makes death acceptable to us and reduces the fear I believe. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Hello Ramandeep. So many thanks for stopping by. I so agree with you. That, indeed we do have the option to die as we lived. And the idea that is how we can set it up for our family and loved ones. And ultimately I believe it will be a gift for those left behind. And I think you are right. Death is just another part of this life cycle, so reducing the fear brings us into ease. I am so glad you enjoyed the concept and the article. I look forward to speaking with again soon I hope. In peace and gratitude, ariel

  3. As a very spiritual person, I can completely relate to this beautifully written piece. If the idea of conscious dying could be adopted into a family and friend base transitions would become so much easier for everyone. The fear of leaving those you loved behind or life itself. For those remaining possibly a diminished amount of grief due to loss when accepting that our loved ones were about to venture on a grand new journey. Thank you for sharing this!

    1. Hello Christina! That is so well said. Thank you! And I think that is the basis of conscious dying, that we are fully connected to our inner truths and hearts, while loving our loved ones. Can you imagine though if this could truly catch on in the West and death would be always a celebration? There is no loss. There is only a growing heart. Thank you so much for stopping by. I so hope we get to chat again. In peace and gratitude, ariel

  4. Hi Ariel, thank you so much for this beautiful article. I loved reading it and it touched my heart. Personally I don’t consider the dead of my physical body (and that of others) as a sad thing. It is a transition. You leave behind your body and continue in spirit, where you came from before you stepped into the life you lived. I also worked as a registered nurse for many years and worked with terminal ill patients in a nursing home for about 3 years. Those were the best of my life. Dying is a process that you can deny, but it won’t stop it from coming. There is a small sad thing about death, which is, that we can’t hug the one that has passed anymore. No more physical contact, etc. But we can still be connected with our loved ones, they do hear us, they are still there, in spirit. That is how I see it.

    Thank you and many blessings to you!

    1. Hello Anja! So many thanks for your thoughts and for stopping by. I am so enthralled that you had that chance to work with terminally ill. I think it is a sacred gift of love that you have given to them. And I agree, the physical body is only the vehicle. You are so right, there is no end, there is only the continuum of the perpetual now. And although we do indeed miss the physical contact, I have learned that our loved ones are still around us just as you say. May your world be filled with all the blessings and joy you give to others. I do so appreciate your comments. In peace and gratitude, ariel

  5. Great article. I have never heard of this concept before but it makes a lot of sense. Funerals should be the celebration of the life that person lived. We shouldn’t be sad that they have passed away. Death cannot be avoided. This is great stuff.

    1. Hello Chad! So glad you stopped by! Thank you for reading and commenting. I agree, the end of life is just another moment of celebration and sharing of love. ariel

  6. I enjoyed your article. Thanks for sharing, Ariel! It is true what you said. For me, death is just a doorway to another dimension, another plane of existence.
    After death, we all remember, what we truly are, and it is like coming home. But of course, I am trying to do it in this lifetime. I want to remember who I am and be home on Earth.
    The concept of conscious dying is beautiful. But many people don’t think that they are eternal, and they believe that death is the end.
    Have a great day, Ariel! Thanks again! 🙂

    1. Hello Linda! It is so lovely to have you stop by, many thanks!I think you said it so well, we are all looking to come home forgetting that home is in the deepest recesses of our hearts. That is where our truth and soul and connection to the universe lies. So when as you suggest, if we do this in our physical lifetime there is never a sense of leaving or loss. We are at any moment living in the energetic vibrations of multi dimensions.When we actually do know this, we can step out of our physical hold and into the inner spaciousness of potential. Thank you for reading the article and commenting. So glad you are here. Wishing you blessings and joy! ariel

  7. Hello, I enjoyed reading your article. It really brought back some memories about my relatives’ death and the way it was handled in my country. In China, death is sort of treated as a celebration. Even though we cry and grieve. But the deceased person’s body is in a coffin in a room throughout the whole death ceremony. People get to see their loved one for several days and I really think this helps with the grieving process. In US, people don’t really have much time to spend with their deceased loved one. The process is too fast. The funeral home seems to take care of everything. You article about death make it less scary for some people. I agree with you that death need to be celebrated just as birth.

    1. Hello Hong! I am so happy you stopped by. Thank you! How wonderful that in China death is treated as a celebration. In China it seems to me the elders are also treated with much love and respect. It sounds like a very humane way of getting to say goodbye. I agree that here in the US, the process is so fast and also so hands off! I am hoping we will all see the choices we can make to change how we choose our death. I have left instructions for my children on how I want my celebration to be while I am actively dying and for the death celebration. And who I want to be surrounded by as I take my last breath. So perhaps that is what we all need to do. Leave our end of life instructions. Thanks again for being here. I wish you great ease and joy.

  8. A lovely read Ariel. I’m not sure why we are weirded out by death. I too am very uncomfortable with the subject, it must be a my culture brings so much sorrow with death instead of life celebrations.
    I’ve been looking at purchasing Grateful Passages from Ram Dass for a while now, your link has reminded me to get it. Thanks you for sharing.

    1. Thank you so much Vince! I am so glad you stopped by and commented. It is an interesting question isn’t it? Why do we not see it just as the last act of our life? And treat it as we would any other moment? I hope we change the mindset so that it is so much more compassionate and loving. Do let me know what you think of the book. He is someone I often refer to for wisdom. In peace and gratitude, ariel

  9. Very interesting article Ariel. A subject that probably needs to be broached more often. I agree that if the aftermath of a loved one’s death is treated as a celebration of life, it can make the grieving process easier, and honors the deceased at the same time. Thank you for bringing this idea to light. Tom

    1. Hello Tom! Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I wonder why we have shied away from seeing this as just another moment to show our love? Would like to hear if you have any other thoughts about this subject. I am grateful you liked the article. I hope it brings you more of a light to shine on our process. In peace and gratitude, ariel

  10. Interesting read. I have never heard of anything like this. I typically avoid funerals like the plague, but I have heard people refer to them as celebrations of life. Not really sure how I feel about that just yet, but you have definitely given me something to think about.

    1. Hello Kayla, I am so grateful you dropped by and took a moment to comment. It is interesting isn’t it that people see funerals as dreaded events. What would it take to make them into love fests and celebrations? How cool would it be to see death as just another moment instead of dark and sinister? I would really love to hear how your process works as you think this through. I am ready to listen. Write back any time. In peace and gratitude, ariel

  11. Dearest Ariel, Thank You for this magnificent and enlightening piece. My husband has very specifically requested no traditional funeral when he transitions one day but we have not discussed alternatives. I love your idea of a picnic! Will discuss that idea with him.
    I was sad reading this because my Father, who, as a very caring, pastoral Minister has been an incredibly heart-centric, conscious man his entire life, does not have the choice of conscious dying. It’s not his body that is failing him, but his mind. He has Lewy Body Disease, a form of dementia and his brain is no longer able to connect thoughts and words into coherent patterns. So… sadly, I do not know how to help him cross over. I often wonder whether he is already in the process of crossing over because he sees so many people, babies and pets that we don’t see. (LBD is characterized by hallucinations and night terrors). If you have any thoughts and suggestions as to how I can communicate with him, I would greatly appreciate it. One thing that is truly amazing that my parents are both doing, is donating their bodies to the University for dissection and study after their death in the hopes that they can leave one last contribution of themselves. Though of course their contribution lives on in each of their children and each of the many, many people they have touched throughout their lives.

    1. Hello Lauren! I am so grateful that you dropped by. I appreciate that your husband is taking the time now to define how he wants to transition. Doing it now while we are in sound body and mind allows us to really think through how our hearts can shine even in our last space of breath.

      I am so sorry your Dad is going through such a horrific time. When my dad was also going through this, it was so insidious and ugly. The only way we could actually reach him was through music. It brought him back alive. He could remember who he was. I remember dancing with him in his wheelchair. After all, he was my first dancing partner.

      And it still brings tears to my eyes thinking about it now. But so incredibly, his eyes became focused, and he used words he hadn’t used in a bit. And in that moment, I got to say goodbye to him. Because he could see me. He was so in the moment, he knew me and told me how much he loved me. And wished for me that I be loved as much as the love I give. Ah, talk about a tear crusher. That really wrecked me.

      In that moment he came through. And ironic enough, the song that we danced to was Memories, from the show Cats. And to this day, 9 years later. I am still profoundly impacted by that unexpected beautiful gift.

      So unfortunately, I think the time for that conversation for your dad might be gone. But the moment to still connect is very much there. It is just being hyper vigilant for the moments that might become incredible gifts. And as his beloved daughter, I am sure your sense of him is what will help you and your mother decide how to transition him in a way that reflects his love. It seems that he impacted many people. I am sure they all want to be able to say their own goodbyes. And I am guessing that when he is ready. his last breath will be as he is surrounded by all of you who so love him.

      So it was my experience that music is the bridge. I would love to hear if this works for your dad. And what I learned was the savoring of moments. Sending you love and hugs, ariel

      1. Hi Ariel, it’s so interesting you say that because I asked my Dad what his favourite memories were when he was still a bit more lucid than he is now, and he said, well, you three children and I always loved music. I asked him what kind of music and he said Light Classical, so we went out and got him a CD player and headphones so that he could listen to all his old CD’s in Frail Care. It’s one of the few joys he has left.
        Also, a friend of mine mentioned yesterday that she has a documentary called “Alive Inside” that she wants to give my Mom and I to watch, about how music really helps people with Dementia. Looking forward to it.
        Thank you for sharing your touching story. Your deep understanding of these matters is appreciated more than you know. I will keep celebrating each precious moment with my Dad.

        1. What an excellent blog about dying. Your way of presenting means you have a very deep understanding about what live is all about about. I endorse everything you said to be accurate. In fact, let me tell you that sometimes I look forward to dying. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not desperate. I look forward to that moment because I know what awaits me there. Secondly, our destiny on this earth is to DYE AND GO TO HEAVEN, AND LIVE A LIFE THAT NEVER ENDS. It is always mistaken that our purpose on this earth is to accumulate a lot of wealth. And become whosoever. I know many people will disagree with me but that’s alright. I didn’t define destiny. The Bible did. Any other definition which is not from the Bible is not authoritative.

          I love your post. People with the consciousness you have are not scared by earthly problems anymore.

          1. Hello Stunning Bell, I hear what you are saying. I am so glad you stopped by. And I agree, our soul never dies. It is only the physical that dies. And you are right, who we are is how we live by our heart and our inner truth. That is how we change ourselves and our world. I always say I am very rich. Because of all the blessings that I have been showered with. I live in my gratitude. May you be blessed. In peace and gratitude, ariel

        2. Hello Lauren, It is so amazing that music works in ways we can only imagine.I am so happy you were able to do that for your dad.I have seen that documentary. It is truly uplifting. If you get a chance to watch it, let me know what you think. And yes, being now with your Dad is also another way of seeing and learning about the gifts of this moment isn’t it? Celebrate, it is what the universe wants us to do and see!

  12. Very interesting article Ariel. Thanks very much for taking the time to explain it so well. I totally agree with you, okay, we do need professional and/or medical directions at birth (for the parents as well as for the baby), but once we have lived a complete lifetime, we should be able to know and decide for ourselves how we want to die. Everything seems to have to be decided by people who are not even members of the family, who have no idea of what we would like, or even care about it.

    In earlier civilisations, things were different, people then used to celebrate death, even now, as I lived many years in West Africa, deep down in the interior, I have assisted funerals, it was a celebration, people used to laugh, sing dance, eat, drink (a lot), then everything was remembered as a great time.

    But now, we are not in control. My wife and myself have taken a funeral plan so that if something happens to us, nothing would be left on the back of our children, but all we were allowed to decide was the colour of our coffins and how much we want to spend. All the rest is taken over by strangers.

    Hope that this will change sooner than later.

    I like to read the comments of your readers Ariel, to see what are people’s thoughts on the subject, so I will come back here often.

    Thanks for sharing.

    John ツ

    1. Hello John! I hear you. I think you are so right. We need to take back the responsibility of our own death. And die as we lived. I would like to hear more about your experiences in West Africa. I love the idea of celebration. It brings the joy to the forefront instead of solemnness.It must have been amazing for you to assist in that kind of funeral/celebration. I hope also we decide to make our own decisions. And then we can just truly let our love shine! I am so grateful you stopped by. And thank you for your very kind words. In peace and gratitude, ariel

  13. “Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, ‘DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory. O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:51-57 NASB)

  14. I’m reminded of Castaneda’s Don Juan who talks of Death as our friend and advisor who will always tell us the truth. And I think I heard somewhere that Roman emperors used to have someone whispering in their ear that this is all fleeting and they’re going to die one day, at times of great victory and celebration. All worth meditating on! All the best

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