Gnaws of death!

Discussion in 'Mind' started by Harry, Feb 3, 2016.

  1. Harry

    Harry Active Member

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    For people who want to get straight to the point, skippping my philosophical sh*t-move on the letters that are bold and underlined in this post.
    Death comes in many forms -accident, homicide, disease etc. When death comes suddenly, we do not have the time to think abt it as it happens within fraction of seconds. But when we know death is soon gonna come like cancer , death sentence etc, fear envelopes like where our whole existence is squeezed and all the sweet juices of life we experienced in the past, the joys of our birthday, marriage , our graduation, getting the first job, getting that first salary, becoming mother -all these feeling of happiness which we experienced and their memories we cherished seems to get formated from our mind and only one thought, one dreaded monster impinges our whole being. This bogeyman we eccountered in our childhood comes once again in the form of impending death. Imagine when our dear and loved ones whom we lived failed to turn up for our farewall form this planet , when our breathe starts getting slower and slower, light starts becoming dim, objects starts becoming blurry. There might be other scenario in which all our dear loved ones are around our sides. But this death is so pwoerful because all of our life we indulged in all the materialistic egoistic thing failing to realise that life is much greater than this fanatasies which we weave in our mind untill the final moment where our loved ones sit beside us , moving their empathic hands across our brow and we tell them the eteranl epxrience of our life that true life lies in authencity but all these wisdom falls on deaf ears with this vicious cycle keeps on running like a mutated DNA strand passed among your family members.
    how does people react when they know that death is coming for them- may be some incurable disease like cancer where patient has to suffer the exrucuating pain of chemo, the parentrals or some granny, nanny who had been left by her kids or society to fend for herself , how such type of people face death?
    As @Saraswati u have been a nurse all the way thru ur life, u might have been the witness of such difficult situatiuons first hand?
    What did u saw there? What did u learn? What was ur experience? How do u see death?
    hey! @grausam , u are a cancer survivor. u can tell us abt this in a detailed manner
    The questions are for all to answer
     
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  2. Shiv

    Shiv Active Member

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    There is nothing easy about dying or death. We can philosophize death till the cows come home but there is something within us that is viscerally opposed to dying. Call it the will for survival that is programmed deeply within our consciousness. Nobody wants to die. Even those who commit suicide only do so because they feel they have no choice.

    The proponents of enlightenment promote death as if its the holy grail. But the only death the talk about is an ego death, as if the two were the same thing. They are not. First of all the ego, the sense of "I" can never truly die. No matter how enlightened you are you will always respond when someone calls your name. You will always feed yourself when you are hungry. No, what "dies" if anything, is the sense of investment in a fictional storyline. But you still get to keep this body, you still get to feel emotions, you still get to connect with people, you still get to breathe the air, you still get to enjoy music. The enlightened death is the convenient death - the death of everything problematic and an access to real living. In a sense the enlightened death is not a death at all, but a boost of life.

    Physical death is something quite different. It is the complete cessation of all that we have ever known: breath, body, emotion, thought, love, hatred, family, friendship, solitude, material, spiritual, time, space, earth, life as we know it. A complete and absolute cessation.

    Our minds cannot even begin to comprehend death. Because how can we contemplate our own non-existence when existence is all we have ever known. The ego-death? Oh, we can contemplate that plenty and write books about it and preach about it. But actual death is beyond the realm of what can be experienced. And so we speculate about it.

    It is indicative of how insecure we are about our own fallibility that we have devoted so much time and energy speculating about "what happens after death". In fact, the sole basis of most of the world's religions has to do with exactly this sort of speculation. For centuries people have based their choices in life upon what they have told may happen to them after death. The Hindus are afraid of reincarnating as ants, the Catholics being judged as sinner, the Muslims and the Jews being cast into hell. Even the Buddhists are terrified of "remaining on this cycle of karma and rebirthing." What does that even mean? If you don't remember your past lives (assuming you have any) why is it such a bad thing if you are reborn? Don't you like your life right now? Does it matter if this is your 1st life or your one millionth one?

    In actuality, the Buddha denied such a thing as reincarnation maintaining that there is no such thing as an individual soul that reincarnates. Today, only a few traditions such as Zen stick to that teaching. The other Buddhist traditions have all developed complex afterlife theories, because lets face it, without an afterlife theory you have no hope of developing any kind of religious institution.

    Real death, the one that is the destiny of each and every one of the 7 billion plus people on the planet is something that we can never know. Real death doesn't discriminate, unlike ego-death which seems reserved for only the 'conscious elite'. Real death comes to every plant, animal, human and bacteria and when it does it erases every trace of that entity as if they had never existed.

    This is the only fact we can see. So, what happens if we try and face it fully?

    I have lost many family members to circumstances of sudden death. In each case, these individuals died young, well before their time. And in each case, the way I have seen most of the surviving family members cope is by developing some sort of comforting notion of their continuance in another realm. I have found myself doing it too. "They are in a better place now", "They have moved on", "They are still with us in spirit", "They are watching over us". These statements are made with such forthrightness and matter-of-factness as if they were self evident facts. But no one really knows.

    However, what these beliefs also do is help us to cope with the giant vacuum that is left behind in the person's wake. They prevent us from becoming completely swallowed by grief and despair. So, they serve a purpose.

    I contemplate the question of death everyday. I have been doing it for over a year now. I have seen it happen so often and to so many unlikely candidates that I have no delusions about it. Death rarely happens when we expect it and it often happens right when we are in the middle of some great project or undertaking, at the peak of our lives. I contemplate my own death and how it will affect my wife and daughter. I contemplate my wife's death and how it will affect me and my daughter. I contemplate my daughter's death and how it would affect my wife and I. And then I also contemplate the death of my extended family and friends. I do this everyday. And what this does is generate a subtle sense of dis-ease in the system, which then serves as a catalyst to cultivate a sense of urgency about my relationships.

    When a family member is diagnosed with cancer suddenly everyone is by their side bonding, reconnecting, sharing, laughing, crying. Its because the imminence of death motivates people to engage with what really matters. Well, I don't believe in waiting for that kind of motivation. Every moment I spend with my family I consider bonus time. I am like a man who was given a certain amount of time to live and has surpassed that time, so each extra day I get is a bonus.

    What do I know about death? Not much. I have a feeling deep down that there is more to come after it, but I can never know that until I experience it so I choose not to live as if I already know. It makes life appear a lot less reliable, the ground a lot less stable, the future a lot more uncertain. But I have found that this is exactly the space in which I also feel the most vibrant and alive.
     
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  3. Saraswati

    Saraswati Active Member

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    @Harry: Yes I've dealt with death a fair amount in my career. I agree with @Shiv that we really don't know much about it. I don't. I know there are many people who think they do know about death and if you want to know someone's opinion who has been very personally close to death or even physically died there are many, many stories of that on the internet and in books.

    Physical death is very final. There is a real and profound absence of life in a dead person that is very shocking. I agree with @Shiv that if anything, contemplating death should be to understand and celebrate life more. If you think, tomorrow this whole world I live in could be gone, doesn't that alter an anger or resentment you have? Perhaps that's all death is for, to help us really live.

    One thing that has shocked me is how people will cling to resentments even when a family member is dying in the next room. A whole life lived unconsciously cannot be clarified just because one is dying. To me, the time to have a peaceful death begins now. Speaking of peaceful death, I recently was sent an article by a friend that I find very touching as a nurse who has seen people die in hospitals.

    https://exopermaculture.com/2016/01/19/how-we-used-to-die-how-we-die-now/
     
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  4. Harry

    Harry Active Member

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    @Shiv @Saraswati
    What are ur thought on the occasion when people shower lavish praises on the person who dies but when they are alive , these people left no opportunity to despise and gossip abt that person?
    I think this theme runs common on our planet. What is the underlying issue?
    I feel most of the people really want to show their image of being a saintly person on funeral and hence they laud the dead person lavishly.
     
  5. Nick

    Nick Member

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    Beautiful @Shiv. Thank you for sharing.
     
  6. Harry

    Harry Active Member

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    @Saraswati @Shiv
    I meet some people . They had love marriage . But when I talked with them , I realised that both of them were not aligned with their force of life or not self aware. Women was full of fear and her partner was full with anger. But according to them , they had a successful marriage.They are , I think 50 plus.
    So, my question is --is it possible for a couple with low self awareness to have a successful relationship?

    One more question, Suppose someone threatens u at ur workplace or some other place due to some arguments with that person , a situation which we encounter sometimes in our life.And our mind keeps on feeling the fear, the fear is illusionary I.e. not aligned with ut force of life but we are feeling the fear. Does this fear arises from authoritative parenting of childhood where our parents threatened with consequences if we do not toe their line . Like wise on other side of coin is that most of the people might be respecting elderly people only due to this script of toeing authoritative parents line [ which is the parenting style rampant in most parts of the world]
     
  7. Markus

    Markus Active Member

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    My neighbor across the street died 2 months ago. Old age (85), just the body coming undone more and more quickly. She and her husband used to travel every winter, but said upon last year's return that they were done, too old to keep doing that. They pulled inward to their home and one of their children moved in to help them. Looking back, it seems they knew their time was up. He is still around, but his health is also weakening.

    How did she react? At the end, she was quite calm about it all. She led a 'good' life, raised a family and kept a home, befriended neighbors, kept a safe eye on the children of our street, etc etc. Her body was failing, she knew what was happening. A life well lived leaves one without regrets.

    Like was said above, if one lives each day as a gift or blessing, he is doing his best. At your funeral, they will surely say some kind words; what would you - who knows what you really have been/said/thought/done - say at your own funeral? Live today so that you can truly say you did your best when you die.

    For anyone who wonders what it means to live in the moment, here is a fine description:
    You could have died yesterday. But you woke up again today, hoorah! Lucky you, now go out and live it like the present it is (in both meanings). This attitude makes all the difference.
     
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  8. Saraswati

    Saraswati Active Member

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    @Harry: Success is self defined. Nobody else determines if your marriage is a "success". Ever heard that song by Carly Simon "All I want is you". Perfectly sums up the dichotomy that can exist between what the external "says" and the inner experience of any relationship. If they view it as a success then it is to them.....



    Fear is arising due to beliefs about any situation. There is no way to not feel the fear but it's the obsession with the idea fueling the fear that is causing the anxiety. That type of anxiety arises from living in a world of scary ideas and believing them. That's it. When you believe the scary thoughts more than the non scary thoughts then you feel anxiety. Stop believing the scary thoughts and you stop feeling the fear. It's IMO d/t submissive mind that became conditioned towards negative thinking.
     
  9. shi

    shi Active Member

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    A deep fear of death instilled within me at around the age of 7. As far as I can consciously remember, my mother had very frail health. I remember times when I would wake up in the middle of the night with a knowing that something was wrong. I would peek into my parents bedroom, find the lights on and the room empty. I would then run to my grandmother, whose worried expression would only confirm my fear - she would tell me that dad had to take mom to the hospital for some emergency procedure; something my mind at that age could not even comprehend. She would lovingly comfort me but her body language would communicate fear. My mind only absorbed the fear!

    After one such visit to the hospital, I remember the feeling of immense relief of lying down beside my mother; feeling snug and secure. She stroked my head gently and said " you are very brave and mature - I want you to promise me that you will look after your siblings if I was to die during my next trip to the hospital". At the age of 8, I promised her - but all I felt was a deep, dark fear of death.

    And ever since, for countless years to come, a crippling sense of fear would grip me from the moment I would get off the school bus coming home. I was almost certain that I would find my mothers dead body at home. I couldn't think beyond the fear and enter the house with great apprehension. Everyday that I found her alive seemed like a huge bonus but the fear grew deeper and deeper.

    To diffuse the fear, My mind got used to the imagination scenario of taking turns In
    picturing the death of family members and how I would survive without them. When the evening approached, a morbid fear of death would consume my being.

    Ironically, my father who was fairly healthy and robust, died suddenly at a fairly young age many years ago; whereas my mother, with the frailest possible health and countless hospital trips, passed away only last year. She was in great pain and suffering and we constantly prayed for her release. A few weeks before she passed away, she said that she wanted to be by herself and did not wish to be disturbed. And from that moment onwards, she somehow 'chose' (for lack of a better term) to disconnect with her family and everyone around. Very much at peace with herself, despite her suffering, it appeared that she almost prepared herself for her bodily exit, until she gradually slipped into unconsciousness. Strangely enough, I felt no fear - instead a subtle sense of relief to see her go.
     
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  10. Harry

    Harry Active Member

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    @Saraswati
    I read this article. What I had got from this article, that we had introduced so many interventions , right form pulse oximetry's bleeping sound, vasofix, ventilator to resuscitation by pumping chest which had impinged the gracious transition of life to death. This has stopped people from feeling the death thur natural means by lying around their loved ones with warm hands , smile with ER physicians, doctors repplacing them in ICU's .
    But we have to look in a broader way that due to all these interventions, many people came out of the jaws of death which seemed impossible in the past and it's very difficult and I think inhumane to say for the doctor that I am done with my interventions except the situations like cancer where there are quite sure that patient is gonna die , even that is just a speculation, but the best possible one. Even , if u had the technology in the past for prolonging the life , people wud have definitely used it as everyone wants to live a long life or do not want to die.
    But, the beautiful thing the article is telling that we shud embrace our death in a more embracive manner which is good , but I think in current scenraio , the best possible shot wud be , for the patients who have gleam chances of living shud be transferred in a special ward or room where both I.e. doctors care and family empathetic presence plus the patients embracement of death is fully covered, somewhat just like hospice where terminally ill patients are kept.
     
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  11. Em1

    Em1 Active Member

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    Fear of death (in ourselves) is really about fear of the unknown. Everyone eats and breathes but we aren't afraid of it because we can talk about the experience after, measure it, quantify it. We can turn to others who've experienced it in moments when we're unsure about it. Imagine if death was like a vacation... If your parents or coworkers said, "I just died last weekend and it wasn't that bad! You'll be fine when you go for your visit." There would be a lot less fear surrounding death cause you could ask about the weather and what to wear.

    Fear of others dying is really a fear of abandonment. Death is the ultimate form of abandonment (to the conscious/psychological mind). We are losing people who we are attached to and legitimately need. If you've had a partner for 30 years helping tend to your needs, it's going to take time to adapt to have those needs met by someone else (or yourself). It will feel like a void or lack in the interim.

    I think that people who know how they are going to die are lucky because they have a chance to prepare and say goodbye (to others and to their present body and life). Most people don't get that opportunity - they leave on whatever that last thought or feeling was (like "oh crap I'm about to get hit by a car" or just pain and confusion). Those are the experiences that leave survivors confused or traumatized. There's regrets and unfinished business. Funerals don't exist for the deceased - it's a ceremony around the needs of survivors.

    When my son died last year (at birth) someone gave an interesting response: His life was complete. A complete life doesn't have to be living to old age or even making it out of the womb alive. There's a lot of suffering (for survivors) if you think about what isn't happening as opposed to the reality of the moment. Loss of life is still tough and takes time to adapt to, but it's a lot harder to cope when you're fighting your own fears about death and focusing on a future that won't exist.

    In a spiritual sense... Living a complete life is not positive or negative because every life is what it is. A life that's short just means that whatever needed to be accomplished by that soul was accomplished. The energy will be back again as a different form - just as it was before and as it will again. I've always felt strong energy/presence at funerals and memorials to the point that it's hard for me to be sad for the person who passed because in that moment I know they still exist (but in a freer form). I think anyone is capable of intuiting that feeling but many deny it (or its masked with grief/fear/etc.)
     
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  12. Harry

    Harry Active Member

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    We don't fear the unknown . We always fear the known. We fear death becos our ego [unhealthy] indulged in all sorts of things from money, relationship, power, honor and money and in the mean time we just forget to live our authentic life. And we are the jaws of death , we fear unconsciously that we are losing something .
    Those who live their life authentically does not fear death , because the sole joy of living the life makes them forget abt death and when death comes t, they do not shiver or fear, but they are eager to know what death is. Although, I don't have experience as such, but do a child knows death ? It does not because he lives his life fully in the now. He is completely immersed in life. What actually is death- a four lettter word, a sound when it is being uttered by someone . we shud ask ourselves why do we fear death? Only reason will come out-fear of losing something and incidentally this is the same reason why we are not able to live life fully. So, either we live our life fully when we are alive or we die each moment fearing death and death may be of anything-relatiosnhip, money, power and lastly which we are talking abt is physical body.

    This thing sometimes makes me sad for my parents have become old and in mind comes this creepy thought that my parents will die and have to take over the responsibilities .But we shud ask ourselves why do we feel in that way. Again we are indulged in our relationship . Any indulgence will generate fear. May be our love was not unocnditional for them becos true love does not have barriers. Most of the people love their kids but when it comes to other kids - a poor one, their love is not that of much intensity which only shows they love their kid because it's their kid and hence here love is conditional. We have do one thing , just love ourself unconditionally and hence we will start loving the whole existence unconditionally.It is because we fail to love ourselves unconditionally, our love remains adulterated with conditions.
    In the end , I will just quote some lines said by Osho

    There’s a great scene described by Osho that happened between Confucius and Lao Tzu:

    …Confucius asked, ‘What happens after death?’

    And Lao Tzu was just like a flare, became aflame, and he said, “Again! Are you going to drop your stupidity or not? You are alive – can you say what life is? You are alive – can you reduce your experience of life into objective knowledge and make a statement of what life is? And remember that you are alive, so you must know.

    You don’t know life while you are alive and you are bothering about death! You will have enough time in your grave. At that time you can meditate on what death is. Right now, live! And don’t live lukewarm.”

    Many people go on living on dimmer switches. They go on dimming, dimming. They don’t die, they simply go on dimming; they simply fade out. Death happens to only a very few people, those who have really lived and lived hot. They know the difference between life and death because they have tasted life, and that experience of life makes them capable of tasting death too. And because they know life, they can know death. If living, you miss life; dying, you are going to miss death.
    I hope my writing does not sound like a sermon or speech but that's the way I write folks. So live life and forget death [ easier said than done though :(
     
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