Death is Not the End

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Over the past few weeks we’ve learned that:

Health is a state
Wellness is an action
Wellbeing is an ongoing pursuit

They all attend the same church, but sit in different pews, so to speak. They work hand-in-hand to bring about balance—body, mind and spirit.

Wellness can’t be achieved from health. Neither can health benefit if there’s no wellness. However, we can experience wellness even if our health is questionable. Wellness is an inner state of being that supports health.

Health is the property of the body.
Wellness is a gift of the spirit.

Every single one of us—without exception—has an expiration date; the date that we’ll draw our last breath in our current body. Most of us don’t know when that will occur. It can happen in any number of ways: heart attack, car accident, natural disaster, illness, war, plane crash, or natural causes from the aging process.

I’ve shared with you before that my mother was a physically small woman, yet she was the biggest person I’ve every known. She taught me by example that how we live impacts how we die. She lived a life of courage, beauty and integrity; she died in the same manner.

As human beings we are energy. Each of us has a personal energy signature. One of the fundamental laws of physics states, “Energy can be transferred from one form to another, but neither created nor destroyed.”

As such, birth is not a beginning; it’s a continuation. That lends tremendous comfort because we then understand that equally true, death is not an end; it’s merely a continuation. In either case, it’s a change from one form to another.

Rabindranath Tagore was Asia’s first Nobel laureate by winning the 1913 Nobel Prize in Literature. One of the writings that he’s best known for is, “Death is not extinguishing the light; it is putting out the lamp because dawn has come.”

Recently in her blog post – Poem and Book about Death and Grieving – my friend, Sheila Glazov, shared about a wonderful book that explains death—especially to children. I purchased it and fully agree. It’s titled, The Fall of Freddie the Leaf: A Story of Life for All Ages by Leo Buscaglia. It’s a beautiful, strikingly simple story that illustrates life and death through a leaf and the changing seasons.

When recognized as a continuation, death is no longer a threat or a tragedy; it’s not a defeat or necessary evil that we have to brace our self against. Rather, it’s the way we embark on the next part of our journey. A journey we can undertake without fear.

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

www.HolEssence.com
Copyright © 2010 Laurie Buchanan — All Rights Reserved. 

19 thoughts on “Death is Not the End

  1. Hi, Laurie — “birth is not a beginning; it’s a continuation” – this reminds me of Joseph Campbell’s words “Eternity doesn’t start when you die. You’re in it now!” As soon as we get that, we realize we have always existed and always will. That kind of puts everything in a different perspective. It made me sit up straight and start to take notice of what I was REALLY doing with this particular phase of my existence.

    I know you and Len are on your 38-mile bike marathon today and enjoying the full wellness of it!

    • Barbara – I like Joseph Campbell’s words and I’m glad you wrote them here, thank you. When we were on the ride yesterday, I kept yelling up to Len“This is our life — right now. This isn’t dress rehearsal — this is it!” We had a wonderful journey. I’m going to post about it in the morning.

  2. Laurie,

    These words resonate for me:
    “Wellness can’t be achieved from health. Neither can health benefit if there’s no wellness. However, we can experience wellness even if our health is questionable. Wellness is an inner state of being that supports health.

    Health is the property of the body.
    Wellness is a gift of the spirit.”

    And death is the product of our humanness. It is something our bodies and mind choose.

    In Conversation with God, God says, “You never do die. Life is eternal. You are immortal. You never do die. You simply change form. You didn’t even have to do that. You decided to do that. I didn’t. I made you bodies to last forever. Do you really think that the best God could do, the best I could come up with, was body that could make 60, 70, maybe 80 years before falling apart? Is that, do you imagine, the limit to my ability.”

    It is how well we live and if we choose to leave our body, and much of what Barbara shares from Joseph Campbell, “eternity doesn’t start when we die. You’re in it now!”

    I am Love, Jeff

    • Jeff – I’m glad for your visit. I so appreciate the words you shared from Conversations with God, thank you. I sure enjoyed reading about your exhibit in your post A Sense of it All. I said it there, but I’ll say it again here — I’m so darned proud of you!

  3. Laurie,

    Beautifully written and a great reminder. What a blessing that we are given these reminders, almost all day, but rarely recognize them. Just watched foreign film (true story) ” The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”. Another beautiful reminder I suggest for fans of meaningful movies.

    Wellness Blessings,
    Lisa

  4. This is a really important topic Laurie and I am glad you face it directly and squarely in the eye. I also like the perspective that we are energy that transforms from one form to another.

    I will offer this. We are much bigger than that. We are that which contains all form and energy. We are (in physical form) each the expression of the one thing. In truth the “AMness” even before the one. We are vast palpable “suchness”, presence, or ISness unborn and undying.

    I don’t want to be a bore, or a spiritual prig rambling on about it, so I will stop there.

    You are really pointing to the body\mind and saying we do not die, and that accepting death gives us reason to live, REALLY live. Facing that fact is crucial I think.

    The last minute before this life ends 3 things will be left. Whatever is left of this physical form. Whatever lucid awareness is left in the physical form, and death. Death will win out, and we do not know when it will come. No sense denying it. No sense mentally delaying the possibility when we really don’t know when it will happen. And no sense telling a pretty story about the after life and how this personal entity continues. Why? Because it postpones how absolutely critical and important it is to live life to the fullest NOW!

    I liked this quote I read yesterday…

    “If you realize that all things change,
    there is nothing you will try to hold on
    to. If you are not afraid of dying, there
    is nothing you can not achieve.”
    Lao Tzu

    Wonderful topic, pointing, and the pictures really drive it home!!!

    Also, I am Grateful for the reminder. It brought this to the fore as a wonderful reminder and emphasis of what is true at the most exquisite and perfect of timings!

    Deep Bow of Gratitude!
    Ben

    • Ben – Thank you for your visit and your comment: “We are much bigger than that. We are that which contains all form and energy. We are (in physical form) each the expression of the one thing. In truth the “AMness” even before the one. We are vast palpable “suchness”, presence, or ISness unborn and undying.” Well said. Very well said, indeed.

      By the way, I sent an email to your regular email a few days ago regarding your August trip. I hope you got it.

  5. Glad to hear you say this, Laurie. Death is NOT the end. I have had so many “communications” with those who have passed over…who have shared details of their lives and messages for others that the conscious mind wouldn’t have known. Something continues, for sure. Or perhaps we realize that we are all One anyway, and the Oneness that we are is what continues. Whatever happens, death is certainly not the end…

    • Kathy – I love how you shared, “Or perhaps we realize that we are all One anyway, and the Oneness that we are is what continues. Whatever happens, death is certainly not the end…” I’m so glad for your visit. Thank you for stopping by.

      • Everyone – My friend “B” just birthed her blog – Weaving Threads – today, with her first post, A New Day. Please head on over there and give her a great big hearty welcome to the world of blogging.

  6. Hi Laurie & team

    I like your description of health/wellness, but not the analogies to life and death.

    For me life and death are something very different indeed.

    The form of life is not, in my understanding, in itself an energy.
    In my understanding, life has the same sort of relationship to energy as a fountain has to water.
    Energy flows through living systems, and the living systems arrange that energy into a form; just as a the form of a fountain is created by a constant flow of water.

    For me, there are many levels to life, and each level has a start and an end.

    At the level of DNA, that start was some 4 billion years ago, and we all share a genetic lineage that started then and continues to this day in the vast majority of life on earth.

    At another level of complex multicellular organisation, by particular life form began when sperm and egg fused into zygote some 56 years ago.

    At another level there was a specific time and place where I drew my first unaided breath of air.

    At another level of languaging entity, this body started to use language some 53 years ago.

    At another level of self awareness, my egoic self was declared into existence by my languaging brain some 51 years ago.

    At the genetic level, I have a legacy of a son and a daughter, that with a bit of luck will endure beyond me.

    At the other levels, I am still around.

    At some point, my body will start to die. There will be a specific instant when my brain thinks its last coherent thought. There will most likely be a time after that (provided I do not get caught in some vaporizing explosion), measured in minutes most likely, when sufficiently advanced medical technology might have be able to resuscitate me, but didn’t.
    There will come another time, probably some days later, when the last of my living cells finally dies.

    Neither birth nor death is simple, and neither start point nor end point is easily determined.

    To me, it is abundantly clear that the patterns of energy that we know as ourselves and others had a finite start point, and will most likely have a finite end point ahead of the death of their bodies.

    The idea of eternal life is, to me, the sort of story that we tell children to make the do as we want. There is no evidence in reality for it that I have found, and a great deal of evidence that we are strictly mortal.

    It does seem entirely possible that at some point we will develop technology to allow indefinite extension of lifespans. Such technology is, in my opinion, essential for the survival and prosperity of life on this planet.

    It is starting to seem unlikely that I will be around to enjoy its benefits.
    There is no point in arguing with reality, we lose, 100% of the time.

    And so long as I still draw breath, and think thoughts, there is possibility.

    I enjoy Leo (aka Dr Love) as an author and we have one of his books on our bookshelf.

    Arohanui
    Ted

    • Ted – While it’s universal, death is a very personal matter. And while I don’t share the same opinion as you, I fully respect your thoughts on death and dying.

      I’m curious as to your thoughts about living people who’ve had “encounters” with people “on the other side” — people who have died. These “encounters” are not one-off incidents. They are, in fact, had by thousands and thousands of people, myself included. Last year we had the Wisconsin/Illinois Paranormal Society (WIPS) come speak at HolEssence. That presentation was beyond amazing.

      Your thoughts?

      • Hi Laurie

        In my understanding, our conscious awareness is a model within a model – twice removed from “reality” (whatever that may be). When we think we are dealing with reality, we are, for the most part, dealing with a shadow of a shadow.

        Our brains form a model of the world based upon our sensory systems, which model is predictive in nature by about 200 milliseconds. This predictive mature allows us to operate in “real time” without having to consciously allow for all the delays in signal propagation and processing.

        Our awareness resides within this model, and is itself subject to processing delays, and to distinction effects.

        By distinction effects I mean that for the most part we do not actually see what our senses report, rather we get to see the closest “distinction” that we have made. A distinction can be “chunked down” and is far easier to deal with than raw data. To get an idea about how this works, look at a TV or computer screen, and just try and distinguish the individual colored dots that make up the image. It is very difficult to do. Our brains turn those dots into the familiar images. When one does manage to see the dots, one can no longer see the images – just thousands of colored dots changing color. It is, by and large, very useful that our brains deal in distinctions (without it we would not be able to see the woods for the trees).

        However. when we get into “noisy” environments, where there are few if any signals, our brains tend to provide a set of distinctions that seem appropriate to the context. That means that we can see things, hear things, smell things, and even taste and touch things that really are not there; they are simply what seems most appropriate to the subtleties of context that we are feeding to our subconscious. (Any form of sensory deprivation can do this, dark room, quiet, meditation, ……)

        None of us can escape such effects. It is how the human mind works, and in familiar signal rich environments, it works exceptionally well.

        However, when we place these brains of ours into situations where there are few, if any signals, they will create and supply a signal from the huge repertoire of experience, intuition and abstraction we have experienced in our lifetime.

        These experiences are in one sense, the experiential, as real as any other.
        In another sense, compared to objective reality, they are phantoms.

        This phenomena does, for the most part, explain most such experiences.

        I have had several friends who claimed psychic abilities.
        When subject to strong tests, they failed, consistently, to predict anything in reality.

        A strong test is one in a realm that they are unfamiliar with. All of us are very good predictors of reality in realms that we are familiar with – that is what brains evolved to do.

        I have had many weird experiences.
        Some of them had me believing in things for quite long periods, and each of them can be explained by the quite simple model above.

        Does that mean that the model above is necessarily the explanation for all such things?
        No – it certainly does not mean that.

        Is it possible that other explanations are possible in some instances?
        Yes, such is possible, and it would take some quite hard evidence to firm up the probability of such an explanation.

        Arohanui
        Ted

      • Ted – I’m grateful that you took the time to share your thoughts. I appreciate it — thank you. I acknowledge and respect what you have to say, I simply don’t share the same opinion. And that’s okay, too 🙂

  7. Dear Laurie. Thank you for included me and my blog in your thoughtful and thought-provoking post. Your words were well chosen and written. I also am fan of Joseph Campbell! Yes, we all attend different houses of workship in a variety of formats with coupious beliefs. I’ve enjoyed reading the other readers’ cotements and perspectives and your photos. L’Chaim- To Life! Most gratefully, Sheila

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