Tag Archives: Kubler-Ross

Contemplation of Mortality

Overnight, I received an email from LinkedIn connection Katherine Morris, who’s currently living in Switzerland.

She wrote, “I just read your last 3 posts on linkedin, and just want to say that I find you to be a very refreshing, very honest writer. I would even say that this is pretty scary to a lot of people. The idea of being able to be honest and not be destroyed, this is quite an accomplishment in modern civilization!”

Katherine added that she’s working on her dissertation right now . . . “very busy writing a review of the scientific and other literature on the topic of contemplation of mortality.”

WOW! Now that’s a subject many find really scary. Reminded me of the Essay on Death included in Conscience: Your Ultimate Personal Survival Guide.

So Katherine, this post is for you. Hope it’s helpful.

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2. DEATH

Merging with the eternal source,

sages travel safely through life

and survive intact

to begin anew,

unchanged by physical death.

  Patricia West, Two Sides of a Coin: Lao Tse’s Common Sense Way of Change. #16

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Dying patients went through the five stages, but then after “we have done all the work we were sent to Earth to do, we are allowed to shed our body, which imprisons our soul like a cocoon encloses the future butterfly,” and . . . well, then a person had the greatest experience of his life.

— Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, The Wheel of Life

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Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished.

If you’re alive, it isn’t.

— Richard Bach, Illusions

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Some day, maybe, there will exist a well-informed, well-considered, and yet fervent public conviction that the most deadly of all possible sins is the mutilation of a child’s spirit; for such mutilation undercuts the life principle of trust.

— Erik Erikson, quoted by Jonathan Kozol in Death at an Early Age

THE FRONT

Webster’s definition of death is the act or fact of dying — the permanent ending of all life in a person, animal or plant. Personified, death is pictured as the grim reaper, a hunch-backed, black-robed skeleton wielding a scythe. The term refers to extinction, as in the death of hope.

These definitions, however, represent an extreme cultural bias with important effects on behavior. They reflect the materialistic belief that the physical is all there is. When the body fails, there is nothing else. There is no essence which survives to travel on.

The I Ching embodies a more inclusive, comprehensive view. Like the learned amongst most ancient cultures, Chinese sages regarded birth and death as natural changes, complementary stages of an ongoing cyclical life process.

Sages continue to regard death not as extinction, but the culmination of a winter season most wisely spent preparing for the coming spring. They teach that a soul, having learned the lessons and completed the work of one life cycle, separates from its used up shell. The shell, once the spirit moves on, collapses. The life essence, however, simply migrates, possibly to take on another form.

Meditation practices are instrumental in reconnecting the alienated rational mind with the life principle, restoring trust. They prepare advanced souls to depart the physical form consciously at the auspicious time of their choosing. They also induce the changes of heart and mind that the Bible alludes to as rebirth. To be born again is not necessarily emotional self-deception. Technically, from I Ching perspective, it’s very possible.

As described by healer/teacher/author Barbara Ann Brennan, total transformation and rebirth can also take place within the same body. She describes spending two years in prayer and intense discipline. As a result of her efforts, by the end of that time, every aspect of her life had changed for the better. Going through stages similar to those described by Kübler-Ross, she released her old life, so that new attitudes, better relationships, and a significantly more satisfying lifestyle replaced that which had been outgrown and put away.

Country music star Naomi Judd, another example, refused to accept a death sentence placed on her by the medical establishment. Instead, she took it as a blessing in disguise. Taking responsibility for her health, with a combination of faith and true grit, she educated herself in a broad spectrum of healing arts traditions and succeeded in regenerating herself from the inside out. She not only survived, but became healthy enough to endure the ardors of another music tour, “The Power to Change,” calling on fans to rise to the challenge of change as she had.

butterfly

THE BACK

Fear is the natural outcome of limited materialistic beliefs equating the end of physical life with total extinction. Those who experience the True Self as immortal and indestructible are not plagued by fear of mortality. No doubt the courage and solace which sustained Socrates as he calmly accepted his death sentence — not as an escape, but an affirmation of principle — came from the depth of his soul awareness.

Permanent extinction, however, is possible. Real death is not dissolution of a temporary form, but the annihilation of the soul itself. According to learned traditions, a soul beyond redemption by its own repeated wrong choices can be extinguished forever. Even the thought is cause for horror, powerful incentive to make right choices.

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West, Patricia .E., Two Sides of a Coin: Lao Tse’s Common Sense Way of Change. # 16. (+A Positive Action Press: Madison, WI, 2004).

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, The Wheel of Life: A Memoir of Living and Dying. (Touchstone: New York, 1997.) p. 189.

Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah. (Dell: New York, 1977.) p. 159.

Erik Erikson, quoted by Jonathan Kozol in Death at an Early Age: The Destruction of the Hearts and Minds of Negro Children in the Boston Public Schools. (Plume: New York, 1967.) front page.

Human Survival Cannot Be Taken for Granted

Utopia.sized

AXIOM FIVE of the Positive Paradigm states, “History Is Neither Progressive or Linear, Nor can Human Survival Be Taken for Granted.”

This concept runs deeply against the grain of progressive beliefs. It’s so apparently threatening to even consider that many are unwilling and/or unable to wrap their minds around these basic facts. However, denial doesn’t change what IS. It only leaves the fearful unprepared – unable to make the in-formed, correct decisions necessary to meet and survive immanent dangers.

The dangers are no surprise. Einstein warned, “We will require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.” In answer to his call, the methods included in the Handbook embody that substantially new manner.

Survivalists have warned of a Near Extinction Level Crisis (NELC). Some say it’s already under way. We’re already in its midst. Others speak of a catastrophic “deep well die off.”

Be that as it may, in Positive Paradigm context, some things never change. Others do. Knowing the difference between absolutes and ephemerals is a matter of life or death. The center of the Wheel is changeless. Those in the know depend on this. But the Wheel’s rim spins in endless circles of repeating, patterned change. Therefore, survivors anticipate the predictable, cyclical changes of nature.

They know far better than to take immediate appearances at face value. They’re not fooled by wishful thinking into the false belief that what can be seen is permanent.

Lao Tze, author of the world-loved Tao Te Ching (The Way and Its Power), knew this and tried to warn the world. Sun Tzu, Chinese author of The Art of War — a manual used by successful military leaders for hundreds of years — taught savvy strategists how to exploit the knowledge of human dynamics to win their battles.

Today’s international business leaders have adapted this wisdom, as well as spin-offs like the 36 Stratagems, not with an eye to human survival, but only to capture markets, maximize corporate profits and beat out the competition.

These various texts all draw on the wisdom encoded in the Chinese I Ching, the venerable Book of Change to steer the decision-making process. They rely on applications of the laws of subtle change to stay ahead of the curve. Knowing that surface appearances are deceptive can be used either as a protective, self-defense measure or as a means for taking advantage of the less informed.

Those who love life and take human survival to heart have passed on the basics of how the world really works to those with ears to hear. In contrast, others hoard this knowledge as if to prosper themselves at others’ expense. They deny or even ridicule it, keeping perceived enemies “in the dark” to prevent their success.

In the dark ages, Europeans were taught to believe that the world was flat. The fact that the globe of spinning Planet Earth is in fact round was received as life-changing information that dramatically changed the way people thought and lived.

Similarly, today some still continue to think of history as a flat, perpetually forward-moving straight line. But they are as sadly mistaken as were the ancient seafarers who guided their ships on the assumption that the world was flat.

In fact, the dynamics of human history resemble a multi-layered clock whose second, minute and hour hands continuously return to the same starting point at different rates of speed. Rethinking the paradigm of history to align with known facts would give future leaders an edge on survival.

compass clock

Hegel and Marx had a partially correct, but disastrously hollow view of historical change. They pictured it as a rectangular-shaped grandfather clock with a pendulum that swings back and forth, repeatedly moving right and then left of center.

Their concept of a dialectic prescribed an eventual synthesis of both sides in an upwardly moving, progressive direction. The partial truth in this model is obscured by its inaccuracies and politically destructive applications.

It’s important to note that the interrelated, interconnected fabric of life pictured by the Positive Paradigm Wheel isn’t limited to this particular planet or even one solar system. As a universal model, it literally has applications to how the universe, or even multiple universes, work as well. This possibility is not completely foreign to our human history.

For example, the Anastazi, a highly sophisticated culture of eco-savvy cave dwellers located in Mesa Verdi, Colorado, thrived and then mysteriously disappeared. Like the Inca civilization located in Peru, and ancient Egyptians who built the pyramids, their detailed and accurate understanding of astronomy led archaeologists to conclude that they came from, were in correspondence with, and might eventually have returned to destinations far beyond Earth.

Just as humans continue to navigate their ships in the waters of Earth’s oceans, there may have been — and may again be — times when star travelers operate on paradigms that allow them to travel the oceans of distant space. The wheel-shaped Star Gates of the science fiction series by the same name are suggestive of imagined (or carefully kept) secrets.

In sum, there’s far more to human origins and history than people dream of. Science fiction teases us to think outside the limited historical paradigm. There’s truth in supposed “fiction” that would enrich our possible futures if we use it to expand our knowledge paradigm to match the facts of what has been and could yet still be.

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Corollary A: The seasonal, cyclical model of history applies equally to personal lives and the dynamics of organizational and even dynasty life-spans. Knowing the current time, as well as the direction in which its going, is important information to be taken into account in any decision-making process.

Corollary B: Just as the hour hand returns to its beginning point and then continues on to start the next hour, our lives do not end with one span, but continue on. This accords with metaphysical and religious views on reincarnation and immortality. These are not mutually exclusive beliefs. Reincarnation occurs on the surface of life’s wheel, while immortality resides at its center.

Corollary C: Facing the prospect of human extinction may be threatening. But refusing to consider and act on the possibility doesn’t make the danger go away. It renders us unprepared to meet and mitigate danger, preventing the possibility of re-charting the course of history for the optimal use of available options.

Keeping the subjects of magic and space exploration secret, relegating them to the genres of so-called fantasy and science fiction is form of denial. It limits our options for meeting whatever is to come fully and optimally prepared.

When life transitions are anticipated and wisely prepared for, they can be faced without fear and navigated successfully. Elizabeth Kübler-Ross’ research on death and dying has equally useful applications to both individual experience and the history of civilizations.

Corollary D: Nothing on Earth lasts forever. Accomplishments in the fields of science, humanism and spiritual enlightenment cannot be taken for granted. In Positive Paradigm context, the creative source resides eternal at the center. While there’s evolution on the outward path, there’s also the opposite and equal potential for devolution on the return path. This includes not only physical dis-integration, but also corruption. This leaves savvy leaders with important choices to make, for themselves as well as the followers who depend on them.

Corollary E: An apparent death sentence makes time remaining all the more precious. In biblical terms, awareness of impending disaster is motive and opportunity to repent (meaning to change one’s heart and ways), and to atone (meaning to realign with the center), using the gift of whatever time is left gratefully, wisely and well.

Some will actually defy medical/historical prognosis and survive to carry on, whether it be here, in other dimensions or even different universes. (Science fiction fans of TV’s two-hearted, regenerating time traveler Dr. Who are well-acquainted with these possibilities.)

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