DEATH

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tollestudent
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DEATH

Post by tollestudent » Mon Aug 13, 2012 3:16 am

Hello,

I'm brand new to this forum, although I've been a long time subscriber of Tolle's teachings for some years now. Even before this, I'm familiar with the teachings of most of the early day prophets and see the aggregation of such teachings in Tolle's work. So I don't mind being vulnerable and candid from the start here since I'm obviously in such wise and compassionate company.

I've had a rough childhood which included the death of my Father when I was 8 or 9. I'm not stating this as a victim identity but I do have a particular issue that I carry with me to this day which I think relates to this past experience.

Whenever I have extended family over for a visit and they leave at the end of their stay, or I have to fly away from home ( meaning away from my wife and children ) on business, or if my wife and I get into a heated situation in which one of us or both of us have to take a "time out" from one another, I feel like there's been a death that has occurred and all the feelings associated with that type of experience follow this thought.

If anyone here has experienced a death in your family you may be familiar with the great "silence" of someone's physical presence not being there. One moment they are there, the next they have vanished, seemingly forever. You're also familiar with that deep gut wrenching sadness and feeling of devastation and isolation, sometimes even regret.

My childhood after my Father's death didn't get any more positive. So I'm not sure at 8 or 9 that I realized I had much of a chance to actively mourn my father's death. But I can see that most people don't function this way. Most people go out of town without feeling like their loved ones have died or that they have themselves died.

Do any of you have or had a similar experience and if so can offer any contemplations, words, sentiments of encouragement and skills in bringing such a deep layer of suffering to the light of the surface?

Thanks dearly in advance

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Webwanderer
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Re: DEATH

Post by Webwanderer » Mon Aug 13, 2012 4:10 am

Welcome to the Forum tollestudent.

I have found it very helpful, even enlightening, to study near death experiences. Life and death are not on opposite ends of the spectrum. That would be birth and death. Life transcends both birth and death, existing prior to and subsequent to, life in human form. While that is not terribly helpful to one without a perspective that is inclusive of a greater reality beyond human life, when one does regain a transcendent sense of being, death can be seen in its proper context. The study of NDE's, of which there are many, many thousands of accounts, are exceedingly helpful in regaining that context.

Once it is seen that no one dies, that they just return to a non-physical reality which is our natural home, one can live through the understanding that there is no permanent loss at the physical death of a loved one. There is only a temporary separation, and even in that physical separation, conscious presence can yet be felt. Where there is love, there is connection.

WW

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Natalie
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Re: DEATH

Post by Natalie » Mon Aug 13, 2012 4:35 am

Tollestudent:

What a traumatic experience losing you father at such tender age. The maternal instinct in me aches to hug the little boy you were then. I amglad you found us on this forum.

I used the MC2 Method of emotional release to bring a very painful issue to the surface. This method is gentle and it really really helped me. It asks that you bring the pain of the memory to the surface and sit with the discomfort for various minutes. I noticed the pull of the memory and the strength of its emotional pain decrease almost immediately.

Another good method is Byron Katie’s The Work. I did The Work with a certified facilitator on the phone and through the email. It was also a wonderful experience. You’ll have to answer questions such as ‘Do you know with absolute certainty that what happened was terrible for you and that if something else would’ve happened you would be in a better position right now? My inability to answer yes and yes to this was shockingly disarming and forever changed my view on that particular issue.

I wish you success whith whichever approach appeals to you.

Natalie

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smiileyjen101
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Re: DEATH

Post by smiileyjen101 » Mon Aug 13, 2012 6:20 am

Hi Tollestudent, you've brought out the big guns of compassion with your vulnerability and candidness - well done you and welcome.
Dr Elisabeth Kubler-Ross spoke of such things in her works on grief and grieving as 'unfinished business' and in a close loss particularly when we're vulnerable through age or circumstance its understandable that we don't get to process a lot of the 'business'. Some of her books that I found most helpful include 'On Grief and Grieving' and 'Death is of Vital Importance'.

As a person who's had the nde experience I also agree with webby - this is a journey, not the destination. Many of the things those 'left behind' worry about is no worry at all to those back in the light of all love and awareness, yet that's maybe not as helpful from this perspective.

I'd like to share with you two perspectives - one on the grief journey and one on the unfinished business.

Disappointments or unexpected surprises - differences in expectation from 'what is' create a journey (grief is the journey of moving from expectation to reality)
of their own wherein we must move to blend the two together in order to move forward without being somewhat fractured. In very simple impersonal terms - if you 'expect' something even without realising that you do 'expect' and something different happens at that point of happening there will be an adjustment to make. that adjustment may include the processing and emotions of grief before we fully absorb the reality into harmony with our expectations - or in reverse move our expectations into harmony with our reality.


In terms of loss of someone, or someone getting sick, or 'leaving' us it takes an adjustment period to bring all the little dis-appointments - appointments being time/place oriented in our imagination - back into harmony with what is.

I too have a probably not normal response to a fairly normal occurence - when someone tells me they are pregnant, since the death of my own baby many years ago, I can't 'do the normal' being ignorantly happy and excited on the 'expectation' that the pregnancy will go well, the baby will be healthy etc I accept now that I just have a different sense of the possibilities. Of course I don't 'dump' my widened frame of awareness on others, that would be unfair. I smile sincerely at their joy, I hope without attachment that all goes well but I can no longer pretend like 'nothing will' in any absolute sense - in some ways it makes me more present and more appreciative of what is right now and being joyful in that for its own sake rather than any future or past notions.

You have lived through the reality that people who in our somewhat 'ignorant' expectation of being there for us, may not be able to be. This 'knowledge' gets factored into your sphere of expectation - it is absolutely possible that someone you are apart from may die while you are apart. That is a realistic possibility. Whether it is a probability is the unknown. that it has happened in your life makes it feel more probable than for someone who has not experienced this.

In terms of the unfinished business - in the journey through the grief process, if you were not allowed to, or not able to express or move one or more 'expectations' from a distance to what is, that 'distance' will still be felt. I notice that suffering sleeps or lives in this distance. Sometimes it can lay dormant for a very long time and then gets triggered by something that is in focus at the front of our attention. If you have things repeating it's usually got a 'distance' that is a trigger.

One of the easiest ways to find the expectation is to imagine the 'thing' didn't happen and how we think it would have affected us / impacted upon our lives. You've already figured out how not to be victim etc of events and that's great, with that you can explore the expectations that may have become buried disappointments.

An example I'm making up here - if my dad hadnt died I would have been able to ....
Say it and finish the sentence as many times as you need to.

It's not 'that' your dad died, it's all the little disappointments that have been left at a distance to the reality that your dad died, that may hold any unfinished business.


I didn't mean that to sound maybe so clinical - of course, my hugs too for that little boy who lost his dad and has been putting one foot in front of the other ever since.
Welcome aboard.
Our rights start deep within our humanity; they end where another's begin~~ SmileyJen
http://www.balancinginfluences.com

tollestudent
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Re: DEATH

Post by tollestudent » Tue Aug 14, 2012 2:31 am

Thank you sincerely to everyone who replied. Your long thought out responses show a lot of compassion and care for your fellow brother.

The part that death is an illusion of sorts. I actually subscribe to this universal truth. Even science says energy cannot die, it can only transform into something else. However, whatever thought/s is triggering the emotions or vise versa the reaction to this feels very real and thus crippling, in this moment of now . It must be so embedded in my subconscious that even the degree of mindfulness that I'm giving it is not enough to dissolve it's affects on me. Even as I know this and as has been pointed out ( rightfully so ) it cannot bring back that physical attachment. That "Hold me Tight" experience as taught by Byron Katie. It's that silent physical presence that gets me. The shock of one moment physically here. The next moment gone in the physical sense. The sense that can hug you, or spend time with, or laugh wit or even yell at. These are worldly, human experiences, and even though they can cause a level of delusion and attachment, they are beautiful and worthy too.

smiileyjen101,

I'm really sorry for your loss of your child. I don't mean to sound insensitive, but I couldn't imagine a more devastating feeling than losing a child. It's an idea I entertain in my mind over and over and then entertain how devastating that must be to experience that as a reality. I can understand your reaction to hearing about a friend's pregnancy. I too have a similar reaction when I see other men my age in their late 30's having all these beautiful experiences with their Fathers that are alive and breathing. Or when I see anyone taking for granted the relationship between themselves and their parents. I'm sometimes even envious of my own children. That they have a Father ( me ) "there" for them.

Disappointment? That's a strong possibility. I am mostly disappointed in myself.

Byron Katie's work is phenomenal. Especially the part where you do the turn around. If that doesn't cut out the fat, nothing does. However, whenever I hear her speak to large groups and workshops I notice she really has to steer people to stay focused on the process. I find for myself that doing the process by myself that it's way too easy for me to get unfocused on the real matter.

I'm fighting me. I'm aware of it. But I am not aware of why and cannot seem to connect to such a deep seated trauma. I feel open to accept any truth that may come my way. I am not in denial in any way that I'm aware of.
(grief is the journey of moving from expectation to reality)


This is a very powerful insight. However, for me the grieving will just not come out. I can sit silently all day long, think over it, but nothing or at least very little. Could this mean there is nothing there to grieve and if so why do I feel this way about physical death?

I think I may be rejecting impermanence. I may be attaching. In fact, I was even angry at Buddha for leaving his family in order to sit under a tree or years to gain enlightenment. It struck me as some kind of backwards approach.
Why are we so designed as social animals, so interdependent, but the only way to gain true enlightenment is to detach from wanting and craving the experiences that make us so instinctively human? Seems at odds.

I'm hoping our dialog will shed some light on this confused matter of mine.

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Re: DEATH

Post by smiileyjen101 » Tue Aug 14, 2012 5:54 am

I've been pondering this a bit more. I'm not sure how helpful, if at all they will be but I'll just randomly share some thoughts.
However, for me the grieving will just not come out. I can sit silently all day long, think over it, but nothing or at least very little. Could this mean there is nothing there to grieve and if so why do I feel this way about physical death?
hmm, feelings running to a schedule, on demand? Maybe, maybe not.
It's kind of not how they arise for me.
But when they do arise, I 'notice' - for instance I had a (I'm not religious) new appreciation for Mary Mother as in the mother of Jesus character and I also noticed when I was getting cranky about people not appreciating every single precious moment with their children - rather than explode at them I'd go .. .oh.... it's 'that' again and kind of 'hug' it in recognition - EKR says when these emotions knock at our door to open it, not quite set a place at the table for it, but let it teach us what it's come to teach us, then let it go again.
In fact, I was even angry at Buddha for leaving his family in order to sit under a tree or years to gain enlightenment. It struck me as some kind of backwards approach.
^ This is more how the emotions 'leak' through into our living from our perspective based on our experiences, that may be different to the experiences of others.

Elisabeth Kubler Ross describes natural expression of anger lasting 15 seconds - long enough to register something and say 'no thank you' - beyond that is if suppressed a deep underlying resentment, if enacted for longer than 15 seconds it becomes rage, or revenge or retribution. In sensitive souls its more likely to be buried deep and the little signs of resentment leak out occasionally.
Or when I see anyone taking for granted the relationship between themselves and their parents. I'm sometimes even envious of my own children. That they have a Father ( me ) "there" for them.
EKR says natural envy/jealousy is the emotion that spurs us on to achieve things we see as admirable, as a pointer to us that agitates us to grow, distorted or buried it can become a sense of unworthiness or pitting self against others in a competitive / judgemental rather than celebratory way.

Now, in your case you weren't on any level in a position to be asked whether it would be okay with you if your dad died but it's likely that the 'no thank you' arose and has arisen in some form or another over the years.

What did you do with it?

Can you be at peace with the knowledge that you feel the way you do at times because of an experience that impacted upon but wasn't really 'about you'? That these feelings will come and go and add a little depth to your character - nothing to be feared, nothing to be fought in yourself or in others - different is not 'wrong', not more or less. Different is just different and we are all uniquely different by our experiences and our understanding of them.

EKR really describes it very well in Death is of Vital Importance.
Our rights start deep within our humanity; they end where another's begin~~ SmileyJen
http://www.balancinginfluences.com

abc123
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Re: DEATH

Post by abc123 » Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:00 am

Hi Tollestudent,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSfqFQuxZmY

Carolyn Myss is someone you may find useful.
Listen, smile, interact and grow. We are learning in a toddlers playground.

OnthePath
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Re: DEATH

Post by OnthePath » Tue Aug 14, 2012 6:06 pm

I would recommend the same methods as Nathalie did:
MC2 and The Work of Byron Katie. At a given time, you will even look forward to the experiences that you dread the most and the emotions that accompany them. It takes a lot of practice and a lot of investigation, but the results are mind blowing.

tollestudent
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Re: DEATH

Post by tollestudent » Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:58 pm

Thank you all again.

Due to your kind insights I've decided to take a more proactive approach to gaining insight to my particular phenomenon. Instead of seeing it as merely something that is suffering and "bad", I'm choosing to sit with it in the understanding that it is as it is and it is a "tapestry" and integral to the bigger picture of my path or journey. It could even be a message in a bottle.

I will not reject this pain. I will observe it for what it is, without giving it any more importance than anything else.

Thank you everyone. Your words and references are very helpful indeed.

Love,
Tollestudent

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