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Community building, Groei

The Reinvention of Age

From aging tot saging

Connie Zweig is een therapeut en is bezig met het schrijven over ouder worden. Boek is op dit moment nog in wording. Onderstaande komt voort uit een situatie met een vriendin van haar die stervende is. Ze is bang om dood te gaan en Connie brengt haar naar haar innerlijke weten over de dood. Ze schrijft stukjes op Medium..

“Oh, a white eagle came to me on a shamanic journey.” She’s smiling now. “It’s a spirit guide I’ve been neglecting.”

“Can you ask it for guidance now?”

“It tells me that dying is like a shamanic journey, traveling away from the body, past my fears and the images those fears generate, toward another realm. I’ve done that; I know how to do that.”

“Anything else?” I ask.

“’Dying is safe,’ the eagle says,” as her body relaxes into the bed.

A few days later, she stopped talking and began to go in and out of awareness. She took her last breath in peace, with her best friend holding her hand. Every detail of her vision was enacted. As the boat carried her body out to sea, dozens of dolphins circled and leapt into the air.

To my surprise, I discovered that Jung called death a goal that’s being lived unconsciously in late life, that is, in the shadow. “If we listen to the quieter voices of our deeper nature, we become aware of the fact that soon after the middle of our life the soul begins its secret work, getting ready for the departure.”

In other words, the Shadow knows. Sherry’s dream was not unusual. A recent study of dreams in dying people confirms this observation. A team at Hospice Buffalo, N.Y., conducted interviews with 59 terminally ill patients to examine their dreams and visions and whether these could predict the timing of death. Their conclusion: As death neared, there was a dramatic increase in frequency, particularly in seeing dead loved ones. And these incidents brought inner peace, in contrast to delirium.

The study, reported in NextAvenue (Oct 26, 2015), found that 88% of patients had at least one dream or vision, and 99% believed they were real. Common themes included traveling, seeing loved ones, and being comforted by them.

Death is not a failure to the soul, then, as it is to the heroic ego. Rather, beneath the ego’s dread and foreboding, behind the fortress of denial, something in the shadow is preparing us for the end. This something is separate from our conscious will — but it’s purposeful, helping us to orient to the tasks of aging and death.

This something, I would add, is the soul’s evolutionary impulse or holy longing, which is carrying us to the great return. This something is not imagining Death as intruder, but as homecoming. When we align with it, we are aligning not only with the cycles of nature but with evolution itself.

So, there is an intimate link between our relationship to shadow and our relationship to death. This link is embodied in Hades, Greek god of the underworld, known as the Good Counsellor, who helps the dead cross the threshold to the afterlife. Hades teaches us to be quiet and listen to the inner voices that direct us to the gold buried beneath. Hades calls us to the depths, to our own underworld.

When we resist the call, we deny the shadow of death. In denial, the ego does not open to the preparation occurring in the shadow. In denial, we live as if we will never die. So, we fail to do life completion. We fail to become an Elder. We fail to cross over from role to soul. In denial, we die as if, in some ways, we never lived.

What if, instead, we were to open a channel of communication between ego and shadow so that the wall between them became more permeable? This, after all, has been our exploration with shadow-work. We have allowed the ego to recede and the silenced voices from the darkness to be heard. We have coaxed them gently into awareness and discovered their precious gifts.

Now, we meet the shadow of death, an impersonal force that is out of our control, with a purpose all its own. What messages might we hear in the whispers of Hades? What if we met Death as a counsellor? What if we released our heroic strategies to defy it — and instead coaxed Death to speak to us?

My dear, sweet friend heard the whisper of Death and heeded its call. An athlete only a few months ago, then a dying patient, Sherry also was an experienced meditator and student of Thich Nhat Hahn. She knew the deepest truth: Our individuality dies, our separateness dies. But the spiritual essence of who we are cannot be annihilated. Whether we view that as atoms, genes, ecosystems, the web of life, a reincarnating soul, or transcendent Spirit, we are That. And It is eternal.

This is an excerpt from my forthcoming book, The Reinvention of Age.

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