Sunday, January 22, 2012

How to die well

I hope this doesn't seem too morbid. I know a young woman who is about to die of a terrible aggressive cancer. She is much on my mind which reminded me of all the wise things I've heard from people close to death, also from the living teachers who are/were damn smart about these things.

One of my great teachers taught that if possible, leave your body through the crown chakra at the top of your head. In that way, she said, we can take our wisdom with us. Sometimes of course it's not possible. In sudden deaths there's not time to organize our thoughts around an exit strategy.

Another great teacher of a friend here in DC said, shortly before she died, to stop often in life, ".. just stop whatever you're doing," she said. "Smile and wave at whatever is in front of you. If you do, when your life passes before your eyes at death, you'll see yourself waving from many different eras." Ha. It's funny, like a bunch of postcards. But it's also a cheerful call to mindfulness, helps me remember to be here now, and that I won't always be here now. She was a great teacher.

Watching the feet of people near death is really interesting. They often move as if swimming or floating, sometimes it looks like they're pushing off, as if from the bottom of a pool. One man, just as he was dying from AIDS back in the 1990s, told his partner a secret. He said, "I'm not supposed to tell you this, but ... when the square becomes a circle, you can pass right through."

Intriguing, yet utterly mysterious to the living. A woman who was about to die told me, "They all know you." Twenty minutes later she slipped behind the veil, so I guess I'll never know what she meant. I think in those moments just before death, many things become clear.

What I'm told is that after death, one should go to the light. More accurately, go INTO the light. The light is all around us even now. In this form, we can't enter the light, but after death we can. Sometimes folks float around in a state of quasi-consciousness before they move forward into the light. We call them ghosts. It might seem to them as if they've only been in this condition for a second, while for us it seems like hundreds of years. My goal, when I pass, is to move into the light asap because it is there that we find peace, healing, and renewal - and reunion with those who went before.

Yeah. That resonates.

But for now, for today, live well, live fully, please? Take a moment or two today to wave into the nowhere. Yes? I say yes. L'chaim!!


Kerry said...

I will, I promise. I like this idea, if only to make myself more aware of what's around me right now.

Reya Mellicker said...

It's hilarious. But I do it, whenever I remember.

Jo said...

I've sat vigil for the dying several times in the last year, Reya, and it's interesting, indeed. What I have found so surprising is not the somber heaviness exhibited at times, but the joyous laughter and happiness that sometimes occurs. As we do when we mark all significant passages in our lives, it is appropriate to mark this one in the same is a celebration worthy of all emotions.