Meditating on Death

chess with death

As noted in the authoritative Buddhist online archive “Access To Insight“, the standard Buddhist Meditation on Death is given by Buddhaghosa in Chapter VIII of the Visuddhimagga (“Path of Purification”), summarized in the quote: “Now when a man is truly wise, his constant task will surely be the recollection about death . . .”

In the classic text, it is suggested that “one should go into solitary retreat and exercise attention wisely thus: ‘Death will take place, the life faculty will be interrupted,’ or ‘Death, death.'” Indeed, one famous Western Zen teacher, Phillip Kapleau, remarked that the old masters recommended that the word “Death” be stamped on the disciple’s forehead, to keep them always focused on that unavoidable eventuality. A famous saying of one Buddhist school suggests that, if one does not meditate on death in the morning, the whole morning is wasted, and if one does not meditate on death at noon, the afternoon is wasted, and if one does not meditate on death at night, the evening is wasted.

Again, according to Buddhaghosa’s text, there should always be a sense of urgency in that contemplation, in order that no time on earth is wasted by indulging in frivolous activities. The correct program of mortality contemplations should include recollecting death in eight ways: “(1) as having the appearance of a murderer, (2) as the ruin of success, (3) by comparison, (4) as to sharing the body with many, (5) as to the frailty of life, (6) as signless, (7) as to the limitedness of the extent, (8) as to the shortness of the moment.”

As the commentator at Access To Insight explains, “Some of these terms are not quite self-explanatory: thus (3) means by comparing oneself with others — even the great and famous, even Buddhas, have to die; (4) means that the body is inhabited by all sorts of strange beings, ‘the eighty families of worms.’ They live in dependence on, and feed on, the outer skin, the inner skin, the flesh, the sinews, the bones, the marrow, ‘and there they are born, grow old and die, evacuate, and make water, and the body is their maternity home, their hospital, their charnel ground, their privy and their urinal.’ (6) means that death is unpredictable, (7) refers to the shortness of the human life-span.”

Indeed, many Buddhist teachings indicate that the best use of this life is to manipulate it in such a way as to attain an even better birth next time around, in order that one may accumulate beneficial merit and thus continue to advance further and further on the Buddhist path, eventually attaining enlightenment, and consequently eliminating the need to be born again as a human. Just so, the classical literature is full of admonitions to be aware of the inevitability of death, and that we are in a most precarious and dangerous situation because our life can end in any moment. For one example of a contemporary Buddhist take on the topic, see here.

Certainly, there are all sorts of variations which Buddhist teachers historically have offered on this theme, and I do very much admire and respect many of the brilliant insights Buddhism shares with us in the conscious process of recognizing our true nature, but perhaps it would be expedient to more deeply inquire into our own approaches and attitudes on the subject of enlightenment and death.

For example, is there is really an actual person who courageously climbs some esoteric ladder from life to life until finally, on one grand and auspicious day, they arrive at transcendental enlightenment? Subsequently, does this newly acquired state then cancel the requirement to keep returning to one tiny, harsh, and dangerous outpost at the edge of one mid-sized galaxy in the midst of billions, fraught as it is with primitive traps and poisons of every kind, which in turn necessitate that we keep learning endless lessons which we then forget the next time around, while relentlessly busying ourselves neutralizing old karmas, even as we are creating new karmas in the process? Yikes!

I have already addressed the issue of human enlightenment concepts in some depth in my essay The Myth of Enlightenment, but in this current consideration I would like to elaborate on what I have learned from my own investigation into death and its aftermath, which varies significantly from the fear and threat model that tends to infect virtually all human religious belief systems. Again, I have shared in some detail about this subject in my essay Notes from the Other Side (among a number of other related articles), but I feel there is a bit more to ponder on this topic, particularly vis a vis the commonly expounded Buddhist position. I could have just as easily dwelt on the more simplistic Abrahamic model of hell and damnation (although Buddhists also have their own concepts of hell realms), but if one is reading this blog, it is unlikely that particular dogma of sin and eternal punishment at the hands of a wrathful parental deity figure is given much currency.

In any case, from the broader angle of vision which yields access to universal knowledge via expanded consciousness, we might be startled to recognize that only One Actor is playing all of the many roles which we formerly assumed represented countless individual sentient beings. Some roles might portray a virtuous and disciplined Realizer, for example, while others a lazy slacker. Of the two, which one is real? Neither of them! They are roles, after all – creative vehicles for the self-expression of Spirit, just as we express ourselves in dreams at night. When morning dawns and we awaken, do we worry about the character we imagined ourselves to be while we slept – whether he or she was wasting time and not properly focused on waking up from the dream?

In my humble experience, I’ve learned that life is good, and death is also good. It’s pointless to assign hierarchical value to either, since they both are expressions of pure divinity. Emphatically, there is nothing to fear about death. This I have seen first-hand, and all my decades of research, including the testimony of intimates, has confirmed that direct recognition.

Everything is now, and always will be, perfectly OK. It is not that someday we will awaken and then everything will be OK. Whether we are “awake” or not, everything is already totally OK. What stands in the way of us allowing that to be the case? Each of us can inspect our own lives and beliefs for an answer to that pointed question.

Essentially, what I have discovered is that we came here to be whatever we are, just as we are, in a similar way in which we might try on a particular role in a theater presentation, because its possibilities for self-expression intrigue our immortal Spirit. Of course, we are not the person depicted in the role. It is a production of story lines, lighting, costumes, and stage sets in which we immerse ourselves for the sheer experience, as long as it lasts, and which is made even more impactful by the amnesia we assume, allowing us to momentarily forget that we are actually the audience.

When the curtain comes down, so to speak, the experience of death merely clarifies our true identity, while also providing us with the opportunity to share our recent adventures with those who have been traveling along with us through infinity, all within the unconditionally loving Heart-Mind of Source.

Therefore, it may be fine to urge folks to practice the Buddha Dharma, but employing threats and instilling the fear and apprehension of death is really not so skillful at all. Most of those who have had NDEs will affirm that there is nothing to fear about the transition, and moreover, there is no such thing as “wasting time”. Time itself is a mental construct of the human persona, and death is simply dropping off a worn-out costume and gradually re-integrating into our natural spirit state – described by many experiencers as a blissful home-coming.

Moreover, it is rather presumptuous to designate any life as “wasted”, just because it does not meet a certain conditional religious criteria (which itself was established by humans), since as long as we are fitted in these bio-vehicles we do not have access to “the bigger picture” of the soul’s journey, and so are not at all qualified to pass such judgment.

Since we are here to be precisely what we are, as we are, whatever additional qualifications or complications one feels compelled by their favorite belief structure to superimpose on that innocent simplicity is really just like adding another head to the one we already have. The limitations we habitually impose on ourselves are simply based on various thoughts — imaginary constructs in which we have invested a provisional reality, because we are by nature creative, and enamored of the things we can dream up in our infinite playfulness. When we take them seriously, however, we tend to get stuck within our own design, and then embark on a search to escape our own self-imposed dilemmas. Maybe we feel like we should meditate and get more “spiritual” now, in order to free ourselves from our own contraptions? Maybe we should try Buddhism?

On the other hand, there are plenty of people who have never heard of the Buddhist Dharma, and yet report transcendental Near Death Experiences or similar spiritually transformative events which include realizations about the nature of consciousness as profound as that of any would-be spiritual authority, regardless of whether that teacher has spent decades sitting in a cave and chanting invocations, or done a million prostrations to their deity of choice, or refrained from sexual contact, ate only organic vegetables, and mastered long secret texts in their original obscure language.

Again, in my opinion, we no longer need religious superstitions based on fear and threat in order to motivate us to awaken to our true nature. Truly, have we ever? My sense is that the great volume of NDE reports flooding the collective consciousness now is pointing to that much-needed change in the spiritual paradigm. For example, the human-based notion that souls are trapped within a cyclical prison of reincarnation and must keep on returning to Earth to re-experience the same limited existence in order to clean up karma is a popular religious myth, but as it turns out, one certainly may choose to return, but most do not bother, having already experienced it. (See the link below, on Reincarnation).

One has to look within oneself to see how any message resonates — that is, does it stimulate a response of love or fear. If fear, then it should be discarded, regardless of the purported spiritual authority from which it issues. Moreover, concern for some future event and the possibility of inferior rebirths has the typical effect of distracting one from What Is. Of course, if pondering death is perceived as a useful way of spending one’s time, who am I to argue otherwise? Perhaps a good question one might ask oneself, however, is “What dies?”

Furthermore, from the viewpoint of expanded consciousness (though contrary to the preachers’ claims), there is really nothing special or dramatic in need of being accomplished, no great prize to be attained other than being here already, just as we are! Showing up is enough – just breathing, and not avoiding the abundance of gifts each life generously provides, by hankering after more, or better, or different.

Of course, if someone believes there is an ascending path that they must walk, then let them walk it to their best ability, but not expect that they are going to end up acquiring some mystical state that is not already true of them from the beginning. This is why those who finally get the humor of trying to become what we already are end up laughing out loud!

Obviously it is pointless to attempt fashioning a fixed philosophical position out of such a view — unless it is directly recognized, that game is just more head tripping. That’s OK too, though not very satisfying. Relaxed and care-free philosophers aren’t too common. More often, they look pretty intense, with furrowed brows and clamped mouths.

So, what is to be done? Well, first of all, we can relax. Let go of all plans, schemes, and strategies. Let go of all cares and preconceptions. Keep letting go. Enjoy releasing it all, and enjoy what remains when all is released. Stop resisting the inconceivable Love that is pouring down on us right now in the form of What IS. That would be a good start, it seems to me, and a lot more fun than pondering the 80 families of worms dining on our innards!

  • Be Yourself

See also:

https://theconsciousprocess.wordpress.com/2014/05/11/time-is-on-my-side/

https://theconsciousprocess.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/school-of-life-play-of-light/

https://spiritguidesparrow.wordpress.com/2014/11/01/reincarnation/

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About Bob OHearn

My name is Bob O'Hearn, and I live with my Beloved Mate, Mazie, in the foothills of the Northern California Sierra Nevada Mountains. I have several other sites you may enjoy: Photo Gallery: http://www.pbase.com/1heart Essays on the Conscious Process: https://theconsciousprocess.wordpress.com/ Poetry and Prosetry: http://feelingtoinfinity.wordpress.com/ Writings from selected Western Mystics, Classic and Modern: https://westernmystics.wordpress.com/ Free Transliterations of Spiritual Texts: http://freetransliterations1.blogspot.com/ Wisdom of a Spirit Guide: https://spiritguidesparrow.wordpress.com/ Thank You!
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17 Responses to Meditating on Death

  1. “Showing up is enough – just breathing, and not avoiding the abundance of gifts each life generously provides, by hankering after more, or better, or different.” {{LOVE}}
    Signed, f-o-o-l

    🙂

  2. Bob OHearn says:

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    The 80 Families 😉

  3. Bob OHearn says:

    It’s About Bringing The Light Into This Earth

    “He looked down at me and he said, ‘you’re not supposed to be here. It’s not time for you to be here.’

    “And I remember looking up at him and saying, ‘but I want to be here’… With all my heart, I wanted to be there. I wanted to go home. I was happy.

    “And he took a pause and… you could see him thinking about something and deciding whether to say something. And with that… there was a picture placed in my head of a memory of my original agreement of why I had come to Earth to begin with. It was like I remembered and I went, ‘Oh, right. Right…’

    “One of the things that bothers me so tremendously about the metaphysical movement, in lieu of my experience and in lieu of what I was shown… if there is any message I can give, it’s not about meditating and leaving your body and taking your Light Being out of this Earth. Indeed, not. It is about bringing the Light into this Earth. Stay here. Be an anchor. Let the Light come in through you into this world. Don’t abandon this world. We need you. We need you here. We need you to be present. And we need you to be open, with an open heart… Everybody must be open. To bring this new age in, it is about opening your heart and letting it sing through you. It is coming! And it is a matter of all of us. Just open your heart and let It come in. Don’t leave. Don’t meditate and think this place is a bad place and we’re going to get out of here. This is a wonderful place. And it’s going to get even more wonderful. You’re here to anchor the Light so It can come into this dimension and be here.”

    ~Anne Horn

  4. Although I myself also don’t find death a worrisome prospect, have you considered that you are perhaps a victim of source bias here? Ie, the very fact that you are such a person who reviews these things point to you likely being karmically well off to such a degree that you wouldn’t have negative experiences of death. And likewise perhaps for those among your audience who might concur. Among white middle class spiritually interested people, it is perhaps to be expected things will look decent. What about murderous robbers in Africa or sadist sociopaths?

    Have you checked on what’s it’s like to die after a life as a bitter hateful murderer, for example? A quick scan of nde statistics show that 4% of all ndes are frightening and 34% are ‘mixed’. And half of those frightening ones are classified as ‘hellish’. Again, I also wonder if there is a source bias in regards to what kind of person typically has the karma for nde.

    Also, as food for thought, check out this for a variant experiential view:
    http://www.templesofwisdom.org/wisdom/karma.html

    I think in general, you’d be interested in studying j denosky’s websites. He has a handful on related themes. I can somewhat resonate with this description:

    “The weaker soul must struggle through the darkness and desire, weighed down by the karma, which has not been expressed, like rocks tied to the ankles of the soul. They draw the soul down to the dark, wet winds of rapid reincarnation, and the soul mindlessly falls into the waiting womb, and to a body bound for passion and rebirth.”
    http://www.templesofwisdom.org/wisdom/sideeffects.html

    It looks to me there are some who carry the burden of their choices in life so heavily, that choosing unawareness at death is the only recourse they feel they can handle. Even though it is in fact an effort to do so.

    • Bob OHearn says:

      Hello Anders!

      Nice to hear from you, and thank you for your comments!

      Of course, there are all sorts of angles being proposed over the ages on this topic, lots of fragments, typically in the same sense as the 12 blind men trying to describe an elephant.

      Consequently, I look at the cumulative evidence from the vast majority of reports, some of which I reference in my essay “Notes from the Other Side” (along with attached examples in the comments section). https://theconsciousprocess.wordpress.com/2013/10/26/notes-from-the-other-side/

      I also use my own experience as a reference, as well as that of a several intimates who have undergone ndes. In addition, I have encountered exceptional individuals in my research who have profoundly clarified the matter, and here I refer you to my blog of Sparrow’s disclosures (https://spiritguidesparrow.wordpress.com/ ). Among his comments, you might find his description of the death event of interest: https://spiritguidesparrow.wordpress.com/2014/11/01/at-death/ .

      In any regard, we need to look beyond the primitive fear-based paradigms and punishment-type concepts which have been part and parcel of the human religious fantasies surrounding the mystery of death, and awaken to what the actual reality of matter is. I realize that those who are committed, such as yourself, to the traditional Buddhist party line may find it difficult to hear that the reality is not at all like it has been presented in the various cautionary texts, rife with dramatic descriptions of hells, punishments, and karmic rounds of forced reincarnation, etc. That is all very appealing to the primitive human persona’s sense of justice — an eye for an eye. However, the reality is not at all like that, it is a conditioning story intended to keep people in line with societal mores, in the same way children are threatened with dire consequences for transgressing the parental commands.

      You might also find Sparrow’s comments on reincarnation of interest. It is actually much more in line with what many of us have been shown about the process. https://spiritguidesparrow.wordpress.com/2014/11/01/reincarnation/

      In any case, thanks again for your comments, and I hope you enjoy some of the links I have provided here!

      Blessings!

      • I am not especially committed to the Buddhist party line on this, in fact my method is not too dissimilar from yours.

        But I do think you are setting yourself up for a predetermined view if you a priori discard any narrative that might be frightening or similarly unpalatable. The intimates I’ve encountered do on occasion describe post death outcomes that are anything but pleasant. Including spiritual practitioners who end up too attached to emptiness and so forth.

        This isn’t about psychologising the issue to make it fit in with what I think it should be, but taking in the whole picture and not discounting certain spectrums of reports and experiences because they don’t fit the picture. And as far as I can tell, there is such a thing as highly unpleasant realms to live in and people don’t end up there by random chance. I don’t need to invoke ideas about cosmic justice or punishment to make sense of such things any more than I need to discard such possibilities because they might be suggestive of such mechanism. As far as I can tell, such destinations are more a result of a psychological choice than something meted out by the universe (then again much karma is like this as far as I can tell), though from the perspective of the being involved it might not look like much of a choice.

      • Bob OHearn says:

        Hello again Anders!

        I would again encourage you to examine the links I provided. They treat these matters in some detail. I do realize, for example, that there are certain reports of distressing experiences, and this issue is discussed both by Sparrow, and also by the additional link I posted, from Dr. Penny Sartori.

        Sometimes, it is merely a matter of being revived from an initial confusing state before the human persona, with its accompanying fearful religious belief conditioning, is re-acclimated to its natural spirit state.

        A good example of someone whose experience was initially distressing, but later opened up into something transcendental, was recently reported by the neurosurgeon, Eben Alexander, which has gotten a wide exposure.

        In any case, it is clear that the death experience will provide us with a feedback loop of our own beliefs and attitudes at the onset, but that will be simply a transitional situation, as we begin to shed the human persona. For some, such as those who may have just experienced a life of discord and trauma, etc., that transition may extend “longer” than for others who lived and died in relatively peaceful circumstances.

        In any case, whatever unpleasant realms are initially encountered are not destinations, but serve the soul in its return to its spirit form by reflecting back to it its accumulated baggage, so to speak. Again, this is detailed more extensively in the links provided.

        Blessings!

  5. Bob OHearn says:

    By the way, Anders, I find it interesting that you mentioned those too attached to emptiness concepts experiencing a rough transition. Here is something from Sparrow in regard to atheists’ experience (which might be useful for certain Buddhists to keep in mind):

    “The spirit world is sort of made of different indexes of consciousness, or energy frequencies. The state of belief, of consciousness and of morality you resonate within at your time of passing will determine the index of consciousness you are drawn into upon death. If, at your time of passing, you seat yourself within consciousness that holds no belief of an afterlife, or God, or Angels, or anything of the divine, then you have to ask yourself what are you then projecting from the energy of your thoughts? Basically, you realize you are dead, and because you have no consciousness will or knowledge of the higher realms of light, fear immediately sets in and confusion overwhelms you. You immediately feel lost and vulnerable, and have no idea where you are supposed to go. Because this state of consciousness you have is also that which you had once in your physical life, then you would have spent many years attracting all sorts of negative energies and created disconnections from your divine spirit. These disconnections, these attitudes of separation from your beloved spirit then propel your consciousness into a state of ignorance and within a dark empty void upon your passing.

    If these individuals had educated themselves in regard to their ancient spirit, their soul journey and their energy responsibilities, then they would have propelled themselves into a different frequency of experience. They would not have been ill prepared, fearsome or vulnerable. They would immediately have their heart and soul open to the love and light, from their educated belief systems, moral understandings, and spiritual developments to manifest a completely different experience. This is why it is important to work on your moral, emotional, mental and spiritual understanding… now. You may die tomorrow, or you may die in 20 or 30 years. Ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance is your own key through the gates of hell.

    The thing about being an atheist is that you, through free will, choose to disconnect yourself from the abundance, love and grace of God and your beautiful spirit. You create such a separation between you and your beloved spirit guides and helpers that, upon physical death, your attitude and belief systems literally block your access to them and to the realms of the heavens. Those energies which linger in the dark void then take advantage of your disposition and lead you further into the gates of fear, emptiness and despair.

    At some point the soul who has passed on and who has endured this despicable encounter seeks out of desperation the remaining seed of faith within them. Within their darkest hour they look for the light of love and hope, of compassion and guidance, and this immediately opens a door for those who reside within the light to come through. Sometimes it takes an eternity of darkness and suffering to realize what is really important to us, and what it is we really want.

    While the preparation of your soul passage through knowledge and self-development grants you much greater access initially, this is not to say those who disbelieve in a spirit world or their own spirit are going to be separated from their loved ones, or they are going to some hell-ish place. While it is true, that soul may not immediately perceive their spirit guides or immediately return to the spirit world upon their passing, this does not necessarily give cause for concern. For it is that, in the mechanics of thought, and how consciousness works for all beings, the moment your child or loved one thinks about you, they will immediately be united with you. That is, if that thought is created from the energy of love and sincere intention. What occurs is that sincere feeling and intention, combined with their thought of you, makes your vibrations immediately compatible to allow you both to see one another. Because of their beliefs, or absence of them, they may indeed have less initial access to other dimensions or entities, but they will still hold access to you and every single being or creature they once loved. If there is love in the heart between two beings, they can never, ever, be separated, regardless of their spiritual beliefs.”

    -SPARROW

    • Bob OHearn says:

      One more snippet explaining hellish experiences from Sparrow that might help to clarify the matter:

      “The only place evil exists is in your own thought fabrication and interpretation of value as an individual. Good and evil are simply differences in held values inherent within different beings. An individual may place judgement on something or someone else as being evil in its nature, only because its nature does not adhere to or exist in appliance with their own value structure. When another being behaves in a way compliant with your own value structure then they are deemed as being ‘good’.

      To understand the nature of what is perceived as hell, as a place, and the nature of what demons are, one must adopt a broader perspective. Allow yourself to sit yourself above a mountain top looking down upon the great many swarms of life and circumstances that span the land below. This allows a more unbiased perspective of not actually being ‘submerged’ within whatever it is you’re trying to understand.

      Firstly, contemplate the fabric of the spirit world. It is a multi-verse of thought; a sensually founded and cohesive living matrix. The very substance and fabric of it melds and bends to your interaction within it. Everything is alive; the matrix that forms your surroundings and manifests image structures to support you, it sings from whatever song sheet you currently have within your soul. If your soul is full of negativity, then the song sung by the living matrix will reflect that back to you for you to experience what you are. So too if your soul projects peace and harmony the living matrix will reflect this back to you in order for you to see that.

      What state of experience and sensation of spirit you have whilst within the spirit world will depend on how you vibrate as an energy being. Because that is what you are, a being of energy. You can only gain access to particular states, or places, if you so wish to call them that, if you resonate at a frequency of energy that state is placed upon. If you want to travel to a place in the spirit world where you are completely surrounded by beautiful angelic tree formations, or forests, then you have to resonate at a state of appreciation and love for trees to such an extent you will gain access there. If, for example, you have no regard for the wellbeing of trees and could care less about them and their ancestry, you will never gain access to specific places in the spirit world where trees exist within vast paradise communities and speak to one another like humans do.

      Hell then, might be considered a place, for there is a ‘place’ for all beings and all things in the spirit world. No-thing is ever denied access to the spirit world. So then, those of hell-ish standing, who resonate an energy of great negativity, hate, anger and cruelty have a ‘place’ of their own in the spirit world. In fact, the spirit world is so vast, everyone has enough ‘space’ to have their own private universe. This is not to then say, all ‘bad’ souls are sent to this one place, or that place. It does not work that way. It is about the law of attraction and proximity.

      The fact of you or someone else encountering visual and sensory environments portraying hell-like characteristics simply means you have attuned your human consciousness persona to a particular density, through your own memory retention and interactivity, and thus encountered, not a place of hell, but an expression of detachment from your true Self; your spirit. The observer that you were during such experience was not your spirit, it was observed and experienced through your human persona and had not reconnected to its original source. What you encountered was an experience of a particular vibration, interpreted and interacted with through the instrument of your human persona and its many fears, belief systems and learned formats of interpretation. This is to say, you as a human, interpret such vibrational interactions as ‘places’ because that is how your human thought processes work and relate to it through logical analysis. This is why I have previously stated the common human perspective can only penetrate so far into the spirit world when attempting to define it. Human beings have this tendency to pigeon hole everything into boxes; this place and that place; this is good and this is bad; this is heaven and this is hell. If you are thinking in this format then know you are still experiencing Self from within human persona, and thus subject to its many influences.
      What the person is attracted to in physical life will be the momentum force that propels them into a specific state within the spirit world. As said, because the spirit matrix responds to the energy you give it, it will reflect it back to you by creating the surroundings that represent what you have become.”

    • I think we are mostly accentuating different things here. It roughly reads to me like you see such negative states as briefly liminal states to cleanse the soul on its journey back to its spirit self from where, bathed in unconditional love, it can then make a fully informed decision on where to go next.

      As I see it, all states are liminal, including this life and whatever ‘time’ we spend in natural spirit form. And my point in all this is to point out that it is possible to die and transition to a state that is not very nice at all, without this necessarily being a fully informed choice or the best of possible options. And this liminal state can last quite a long ‘time’ as well.

      The point being in all this – preparation for the moment of death, whether intentionally or not, can be consequential for what happens next. It’s not necessarily the case that all shall be well,or even that all shall be as well as it can be, even as it is the case simultaneously that all things are well from a more timeless perspective.

      • Bob OHearn says:

        Yes, we both agree that it is possible to die and have distressing experiences, there is really no argument there.

        In terms of preparation, my point is that it is not a matter of dwelling on fearful possibilities, projecting negative rebirths and painful after-life states, which is unfortunately the general tenor of religious cautions, including both Buddhist and Abrahamic. That is what I was critiquing in my original essay.

        Rather, it is more a matter of fully embracing our life adventure here as it is, without the burden of hope & fear, but more as an expression of our fundamental loving nature.

        Blessings!

  6. Bob OHearn says:

    “If your physical life were primarily to prepare you for the afterlife you would certainly not bother coming to physical life to begin with. It is for you to reflect on the values possible and sustainable here, and in what ways you can apply your inherent gifts to create an environment which aspires to expand those values and enrich them to very beautiful potentials. To understand better why your spirit perceived value in having a physical life, when it actually did not ever need to have one, we must look at how you perceive vibration.”

    https://spiritguidesparrow.wordpress.com/2014/11/01/value-of-physical-embodiment/

  7. Bob OHearn says:

    “This body is not me; I am not caught in this body, I am life without boundaries, I have never been born and I have never died. Over there the wide ocean and the sky with many galaxies All manifests from the basis of consciousness. Since beginningless time I have always been free. Birth and death are only a door through which we go in and out. Birth and death are only a game of hide-and-seek. So smile to me and take my hand and wave good-bye. Tomorrow we shall meet again or even before. We shall always be meeting again at the true source, Always meeting again on the myriad paths of life.”

    ~Thích Nhất Hạnh, No Death, No Fear

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