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Death and Rebirth

The poet Khalil Gibran writes of life and death as one; he says that in every moment of life you are dying, and in dying you are preparing the way for new life. You experience living and dying in every instant in small ways. Baby teeth must fall out so that adult teeth may emerge. Skin cells constantly die and are sloughed off so that new cells may take their place. Taking a new job means death to a previous one. Growing in wisdom and truth means death to old patterns of belief.

Always, a dying precedes a rebirth, for life and death are one. As we become increasingly aware of dying and being reborn in every moment, the experience of death that occurs at the culmination of our life becomes just one more familiar transformation to be embraced and accepted. In her many years of work with dying people, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, MD, found that almost everyone reaches a stage of resignation and acceptance prior to death. If each death has meant a small transformation, a new life, why should the Big Death be any different?

We may speak easily of the cycle of life, or the food chain, when talking about plants and animals, yet we often retract in horror from the stark reality that we humans are also a part of this cycle. Our bodies will return to the earth to nourish it, to feed our children's children. My thoughts and accomplishments build a foundation that will support the growth of future generations. It is the way of nature. Death is an energy-transforming process; thus, fighting it is a wasteful and irrelevant effort. Relaxing into acceptance of the inevitable eases this natural progression.

The tremendous popularity of such books as Life after Life by Raymond Moody, MD, indicates a widespread curiosity about what happens after death. It is but one report of a growing body of literature collected from people who have died" and yet still are alive; people who have gone "beyond and back." These reports have much to say about the lessons brought back from these close encounters with death. And what were the lessons? Simply, that life is given to us in order to learn from everything.In learning, we can grow in love for, and acceptance of, all that exists. We think that learning and loving are the attitudes and behaviors that give meaning to life. These are the things that will endure.

Also there is the fear that there is an afterlife, but no one will know where it's being held. —Woody Allen

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