Death is the last taboo – nothing concentrates the mind quite so much. We cannot have lasting peace of mind until we have come to terms with it. Who has not at some time wondered what, if anything, happens after death?
The truth is, we can never be sure. But our attitude to death impacts on our attitude to life. If we believe that death is final, why bother with matters of the spirit? Why not just get what we want and let someone else deal with the consequences?
If we believe that life goes on beyond the grave and we have to answer for our actions either to a Higher Power who can consign us to a heaven or hell or by coming back into human form and making amends, that puts an entirely different slant on the matter!
Death is an inevitable aspect of life
A woman whose young son had died was inconsolable. She visited all the doctors in the area to find out how the child’s life could be restored. Finally she sought the help of the Buddha. She asked him to help bring her son back to life and ease the terrible pain in her heart.
The Buddha told her that he would revive her son if she could bring him a mustard seed from a household in which no-one had ever died. The woman set out to find such a household. She visited one house after another, yet at every door received the same reply – at various times, members of the household had passed away.
She returned to the Buddha in a more realistic frame of mind. She had learned that death is an inevitable fact of life. We are all going to die one day. What matters, like so many things, is not what happens, but our attitude towards it.
Life and death are partners
We tend to see life as good and death as a bad thing, but this is untrue. Life and death co-exist. Death happens all the time while life continues.
Birth is the process by which a fragment of universal consciousness takes form as an individual being, but it is not the beginning. Neither is conception. We start out as ideas in the quantum energy field even before we become particles and long before we are born into the world. Hence birth is part of the transition from invisible substance into visible form.
Death is the transition back to the energy field. The Life Force leaves the body and is reabsorbed, mental activity ceases and the body disintegrates and returns to dust. Hence life and death are not opposites but partners in the great scheme of things.
‘Birth and death are of equal significance. They should concern you no more than going to sleep every night and waking up every morning. As you go to sleep, you die. As you wake up, you are born.’
©David Lawrence Preston, 19.1.2017
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How to Books, 2007