Embracing Death, Dying and the Gift of Grief

Embracing Death, Dying and the Gift of Grief

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by Terri Daniel

Is it true there is a cure for all illness?
Only if you are wise enough to see death as a cure.
– Emmanuel’s Book

As a spiritual teacher, hospice chaplain and mother of a child who died at age 16 after a long illness, I am fiercely committed to a belief in the importance of conscious dying and conscious grieving. By understanding that death is neither an enemy nor an ending, the process of grieving the death of a loved one becomes a journey of awakening for the person who has died and for those who remain on earth.

I’ve spent a lifetime studying metaphysics and spirituality, and I believe unequivocally that there are no “good” or “bad” experiences; only the soul’s constant craving for growth and expansion. In this view, illness and death are not experiences to be avoided, but to be embraced with gratitude for the shifting of perceptions and the gifts of growth they provide. In a state of gratitude at this level, you accept every experience with love, because you recognize it as one of your soul’s creations. Even something as painful as the death of a child can be seen as part of a of flawless pattern of perfection, designed to move the family — and the entire soul group connected to that family — forward in unexpected ways.

When my son was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness at age 10, friends and family asked, “Does this change your unconventional spiritual views? Does it make you want to go back to traditional notions of God, afterlife and religion?”

This might have been a good question for someone who’d taken only a few tentative steps outside the religious box during this lifetime, but for me the question was preposterous. The stunning news that my son would only live a few more years actually confirmed what I’d intuitively known since I was a teenager… there are soul contracts. Reincarnation is real. There’s a reason for everything. And we create our own experiences on earth with the assistance of non-physical guides and helpers. I knew instantly that my son’s soul had a plan of its own. And it was my intention to honor his intention.

Let’s go back for a moment to those traditional notions of God, afterlife and religion. Had I perceived this situation through that lens, I would have been gripped with fear and helplessness, too puny and unworthy to comprehend the mysterious workings of an all-powerful god who randomly dispenses good or bad luck, sorrow or joy, wealth or poverty, and in death, reward or punishment for his children.

By contrast, a more self-empowered spirituality says that we are not separate from God, but are equal parts of the collective energy that IS God, an energy with which we work as co-creators. This work is done “on earth as it is in heaven,” as our souls continue to seek growth and expansion, in and out of the body. The growth work we do during our earthly incarnations carries over to the other side, where we evaluate and create new and effective situations to bring forth the very experiences we seek for our continued exploration. In this way there can be no tragedies, no here and there, no them and us, and no death.

Death should be as fearless and accompanied as possible, and grief should be as honest as possible. If we sidestep any of the process, something will be destroyed in us. But if we embrace death with boundless leaps of faith, we can honor innate knowledge, inner gifts and the positive experiences available to us in both physical life and physical death.

An honest approach to death and grieving is the key to tapping in to those gifts and shifting the experience of life-threatening illness or emotional trauma from terrifying to transcendent. An understanding of our own divinity and the perfect journey of our souls, supported by guides, angels and loved ones who have passed before us, helps us understand death as simply a journey to another room, where life continues in a different form. Prayers and meditations for opening the heart to gratitude and inner guidance can help us ultimately see all deaths as pathways to healing.

Terri is an author, hospice chaplain and Certified Transition Guide who works with assistance from the Other Side to advance a metaphysical perspective on birth, death and the afterlife. She is also the founder of the Afterlife Education Foundation, which produces the annual Afterlife Awareness Conference, coming to Portland, OR., June 5-8, 2014.  For more information, please visit www.AfterlifeAwareness.com.

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