Wisdom on Death and Dying

Consciousness doesn’t just cease at the time of

death. It is not like a lamp that goes out when

the fuel is finished. The body and mind are totally

separate; they are two different phenomena.

– Lama Zopa Rinpoche


Thoughts from Diane Eileen:

Every life is impermanent.  We are only here but for a short while.  The best thing one can do to make sure when this inevitable transition does occur that we have made every  part of our life as meaningful, thoughtful, and compassionate as we can.  Although it seems at first a pessimistic way to go about things, the Buddhist masters remind us that we should think about how there are no guarantees, and that we have no idea of when we will pass.  It could be today, tomorrow, or next year.   No one knows.  Therefore it is an important part of our practice to recognize on a daily basis the impermanent and transient nature of all things.    In doing so we will naturally develop a more calm mind, a more loving attitude, more patience and gratitude for the smallest of things.

As a volunteer for hospice I have come to know how common death really is.   In all sincerity this really has gotten to my core.  One week I will greet and say my hellos, and try my very best to make a new patient comfortable.   We talk, we laugh, we hold hands if they want, we listen to their favorite music.   But the following week,  a very good lesson in impermanence comes right into full focus.  As I walk into the wing, and check each room.  I see my friend is gone.  Their hospital room is empty.  The bed has been moved, their flowers, the cards from family are all gone.  It’s a very lonely feeling.  It’s happened over and over hundreds of times.

I have come to realize through this experience how precious and short life is.  Also everyone meets their transition in a different way.  Some poor souls bodies are hurting with so much physical pain they can only last a short while, trying their best to overcome with morphine.  They also may be devastated with emotional trauma.  They can be absolutely truly frightened  when the time does arrive.  Others laugh and joke until the end – asking for a Coca Cola and a good movie.  Some are more prepared than others.  They have tried their best to be good parents, sons or daughters, just kind loving people for a good part of their lives, and have few if any regrets.  Others sad as it may seem, may only have me for their “family” at the end. But for my end of things, I feel fortunate and blessed that at least I can help one more soul feel peaceful and loved.  I always promise they always will have me no matter what. We laugh about how I am their tour guide to the other side thanks to more than my share of Out of Body experiences.  I share with them exactly what it feels like to move on.  The incredible peace and love that will comfort and heal them.  One dear lady exclaimed how nice it was to finally have an “adult conversation” about what was going to happen.  She and I watched Turner classic movies every week for three months and listened to big band music.  She let me know it was the “tops”.   Until finally a great granddaughter arrived into the world, and then she decided it was ok to take her leave.

So my whole point is there really is no sense in deluding ourselves into thinking we have until tomorrow, or next year.  We need to be a better more compassionate person now while we have time.  Don’t wait until the last two weeks of your life.  By then, alas it’s a bit too late.  It’s hard to make amends or get everything right with such a short time frame.

Fifty years from now, I certainly am not going to be here.  Probably you won’t either.   These words will disappear along with everything else.   After all, this is just a website.  When you think about it, it’s really just spinning electrons flashing across your screen.  But hopefully a few of my thoughts will help you or someone you know progress or shine with a wee bit more light and love.

You will come to realize that life after death is a fact and not an illusion or a fairy tale.  It is an experience that is unexplainable, beautiful and healing.  Quite simply, when you pass on no matter who you are, or how you feel about yourself…You will be welcomed home whole heartedly.   You are a part of the divine experience, the universe is you and you are the universe.  You will know and feel true  love, compassion, and complete and total acceptance.  No judgment, no big old interview to fear.  Although I don’t claim to have any super wisdom, super powers, or even own a plastic cape, hopefully you will remember these words.  When it comes to dying keep a calm and peaceful mind as it will help you move on to a higher realm.   Die with fear, and alas it won’t be as much fun now will it? 

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