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