September 22, 2017
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Special Corner - Richard Rowley Just a thought part 3 - Death and el dia de los muertos January 16, 2010
 

Posted on SpiritualismList

Death and el dia de los muertos otherwise known as Halloween or All Souls Day

We all have to face death - that of our family members, friends and strangers, events in the news, and finally our own death. Once we do so, and begin to think about it, everything changes. The Buddha pointed this out thousands of years ago. We realise that our time here is limited, although at the same time, we begin to become aware that there is a part of us that is immortal. The more we understand this, and attune to this spirit within us, the more quickly fear and panic are banished and we feel secure and joyful as a wider and deeper vision of life emerges.

We may get a glimpse of this world of spirit when we are very young, or it may come during our adult lifetime, as a religious experience or illumination brought about within the meditative state, or during a near death experience or narrow escape in an accident. Or it may only come in old age. Whenever it occurs, it is life-changing, since we are caused by our vision to move away from material concerns, and attune to what is out of this world.

This is not to say that we neglect life here. We still have to care for our own body, and for our family, friends, country and the world in general. We still have our responsibilities as long as we have breath. It is foolish I think to deny ourselves normal pleasures and comforts, and natural functions. A life of renunciation is not natural, and can lead to all sorts of abuse and lack of balance. As a temporary discipline the life of a hermit or celibate may be beneficial, but as a life-long profession or avocation I believe it is a mistake, as some religions demand it of their clergy, monks and nuns, their renunciates.

So I don't believe that God, the Great Spirit, or any prophet or mystic ever taught that we have to deny ourselves human love and affection (including what is now loosely labelled "sex") in order to exclusively devote ourselves to Him or to spirit. This I think is a doctrine concocted by the more powerful popes and bishops in order to maintain complete control over their own clergy and general worshippers. I shall be called a heretic for writing this, but I have experienced enough to detect error in a lot of religious practices and teachings, which are continuing to cause much suffering.

But that is the topic for another debate elsewhere. Here the discussion is death and a parting of the ways. Sometimes death is not involved, but separation or divorce, leading to new beginnings. If a relationship starts to fail, one of my philosohy teachers, Usharbudh Arya, gave a useful 7-point checklist in one of his talks, to help those in such a situation. Here it is:-

Things to consider with regard to contemplating separation:

(1)

If there are certain things in your partner that you don't like, how important are they in the overall context of life?

(2)

If they ARE important, have you conveyed to your partner what is causing you to suffer, without screaming at him or her? Without discussion, just give the facts.

(3)

Is that person capable of changing? Knowing all his or her background and psychological makeup, can he or she change? That is, is he or she set in his or her ways, or flexible and open to change?

(4)

If he or she is capable of changing, does he or she love you enough to want to change?

(5)

If he or she can't change OR doesn't have enough love to want to change, in spite of not changing, or having enough love for you, ask yourself "Do I still want to continue in this relationship? "

(6)

If you decide to pull out, do so as painlessly as possible, for yourself and the other party (or parties). Otherwise the pain may haunt you, a ghost in the subconscious mind.

(7)

If you stay, enjoy what there is there to enjoy.

[ from my notes. Richard R. Happy Halloween! ]

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