From the very first time that a human watched a loved one die there have been questions about the meaning of life and death. Clinicians look at the physical signs of death and when present, pronounce death as the end. But what if it is not? What if everything that makes us who we are-the very essence of our personality and spirit-does not die with the physical body? What would life, death and dying mean then?
Death has always been with us and in the ancient world many superstitions surrounded death-if you offend the gods they just might take your life. As scientific knowledge grew, there began to be two primary societal beliefs about death.
The death-affirming societies look upon death as just a part of life. The ones who are approaching death are regarded as wise elders and kept close to the society and allowed to make peace with death in their own way.
In death-denying societies such as the United States, billions of dollars are spent every year on products and services designed to promote both looking and feeling young. The elderly and sick are put away from society and death is treated as something unwanted and many Americans are very uncomfortable with the topic of death.
Sometimes smaller groups within these societies often have their own views about death; especially religious groups. Hindus and Buddhists tend to regard death as a part of life and to encourage their followers to live a good life filled with meaningful experiences and to welcome death as a part of the fullness of life.
Psychiatrist Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross has determined that there are five common stages of dying among the terminally ill. The first stage is denial where the person refuses to accept the probability of their death. The second is anger in which the person usually asks, “Why me? I don’t deserve this.” This generally leads to bargaining where the person tries to strike a deal with God that if He will just let them live, they will change their life in some way to be a better person. After this, depression sets in as they begin to realize what they will miss by dying. In the final stage the dying person accepts the fact that they are going to die soon and sometimes the question of what might happen after death is raised.
Spiritualism answers that question in a beautiful way for Spiritualists know beyond a doubt that the very essence of who we are does indeed live beyond our physical death.
Spiritualism teaches that the soul, which is immortal, has physical expression in life in the physical body and that the soul continues to have expression in the spiritual world when the physical body dies. The nature of the individual does not cease to exist and this has been proven in psychic and mediumship accounts of what occurs during and after physical death. This instruction shows that life is a beautiful expression of the spirit and that the spirit continues its expansion into a more perfect expression of life in the spiritual world.
What can we learn about living from the dead?
Psychiatrist Dr. Raymond Moody has made a study of near-death experience in those who have been pronounced clinically dead but have somehow been revived and then begin to recount their experience while “dead.” They tell very similar stories about life after death but primarily they all agree that how we live in this world is very important.
They support Spiritualism's belief that we take with us the essence of who we are into the afterlife-the only change is in our environment from the physical to the spiritual. They stress that doing everything in life from the motivation of truly loving our fellow beings and wanting to do good is the most important factor in our existence.
Death is the joyful experience of going on to further express love and who we are in the next world. Spiritualism teaches that there is no need to mourn for indeed, there is no death and there are no dead. We all go on to the beautiful expression of continued life in the world of spirit.
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