The Seeker of Peace


Dealing with Death
April 5, 2009, 3:52 pm
Filed under: Suffering | Tags: , , , ,

I wrote last week about my fear of death, and how it related to the impending death of my dog. Yesterday, the matter went from theoretical to practical: we had her put to sleep.

As I wrote earlier, I believed that her death would mean that I would lose her. After a fair amount of Sedona Method-style releasing, I realized that I had things completely backwards.

In many ways, the dog I loved was already gone. She had constant pain, was mostly blind and totally deaf, and was constantly confused from senile dementia. She had lost any opportunity to enjoy life. Watching her suffer kept me from fully enjoying the memories of the many good times we’ve had together over the past 16 years.

As the veterinarian gave her the injections, I saw her fully relaxed for the first time in months. Having experienced chronic pain myself, I understand well what it’s like to be in pain even when asleep. How selfish would it have been to keep her alive? And, much of the time, I was trying not to think about how bad her condition was. Now, she can be fully present in my mind.

The most painful thing about letting her die was acknowledging that the pet of the past would never return. However, that was already the case. Now that I’ve accepted that, both of us can stop our suffering.

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Fear of Death
March 30, 2009, 4:22 pm
Filed under: spirituality, Suffering | Tags: , , , ,

Lester Levenson said that overcoming our fear of death was a key step in going free. An article in last week’s issue of The Economist reminded me of this. The article reported on a study from the Journal of the American Medical Association, which found that religious people were more likely to try to prolong their lives with extreme medical procedures.

I’ve written before about beliefs, going so far as to cite them as the source of unhappiness. I would expect that people with strong religious beliefs would also have strong beliefs about life and death. The irony here is that many of these people believed in an afterlife, and thus been less fearful of death.

I suspect that, at some level, even our ego knows that our beliefs are merely that. Who wants to actually test their belief in an afterlife? I’ve heard people actually say they don’t want certainly beliefs tested; a common example is when religious people claim that if there were proof of a god, then there could be no faith. True, but hardly helpful for finding Truth.

Maybe this is why Lester found the fear of death such a key topic. For most of us, death forces us to face some of our key beliefs. To avoid fearing death, we have to let go of our beliefs of what will happen. Otherwise, we’ll recoil when those beliefs are put to the test.

Coincidentally, or perhaps synchronically, death has been on my mind a lot this past week. Not my own in this case, but that of my dog. At a ripe old age of 17, she’s lived a long time, especially for a pet rescued from the Humane Society. Yet, as her health fails at an increasingly rapid pace, I can’t help feeling sad about it.

I believe that when her body fails, she’ll be gone forever and lost to me except for fading memories. How’s that for a belief that causes unhappiness? This appears to be the time to use the Sedona Method. As I try to do so, I see why teachers usually leave addressing the fear of death for advanced courses.