Death – Facilitating the Transfer of Consciousness

Death – Facilitating the Transfer of Consciousness

Death is a great and inevitable transition. Classical spiritual traditions teach concepts and strategies for approaching and passing through it. The grief of personal loss is, of course, terrible. Nevertheless, from this classical spiritual perspective, death is a great adventure. How different would our lives and our society be if we understood and lived harmoniously with it as a befriended companion.

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal. – Irish saying

I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work… I want to achieve it through not dying. – Woody Allen

Death is a commingling of eternity with time; in the death of a good man, eternity is seen looking through time. – Johann Wolfgang Goethe

FACILITATING DEATH

The purpose of this article is to share with you an easy strategy for helping a companion who is dying. Specifically, it shows you how to bring comfort where there might be fear and how to ease the transfer of consciousness from the physical body across into the realms of more subtle energy.

I have worked with and taught this strategy for many years. It follows in the path of techniques from many spiritual traditions. No one from any faith or tradition has so far challenged or disagreed with its approach. My personal experience of this work comes from 30 years of meditation and facilitating the transition at death, as well as my own intimate experiences of near-death and out-of-the-body experiences. These started when I was in my mid-twenties and was severely ill from Hepatitis-B.

Funeral and Bereavement

First, we need to be clear that there are three major dynamics happening at death. Each one requires separate attention and mixing them together can be confusing:

• Disposing of the body.
• The grief and bereavement of those left behind.
• The transfer of consciousness.

This article does not deal with disposing of the body or helping the bereaved. There are many organisations that have a sympathetic approach to burial and cremation. You probably need to do some research and see what is available locally.

For the grief and bereavement, I only have simple advice, which is to be kind and patient. Keep your words to a minimum. The quality of your warmth and patience is far more important than anything you might say. Grief cannot be cured by words. Time heals and fills that vacuum and people will take as long as they need to go through the process. Kindness and patience are everything when working with grief.

The Separation of Consciousness

When someone dies, their consciousness lifts off from their physical body. The job of any helper is to support that consciousness as it travels through the confusing and polluted energy fields of human culture across into the Clear Light.

We could get into a long discussion here about what we mean by consciousness and what we mean by Clear Light. Different spiritual traditions have different elaborations, mythologies and descriptions, but I don’t think the differences matter. Essentially, they all state the same:

The persons identity/personality/soul/essence separates from the physical vehicle. This consciousness then has to find its way through the turmoil of humanity’s energies across into the universal fields of clear energy. This turmoil is for example known as Purgatory in the Christian tradition or the Bardo state in Tibetan Buddhism.

Once in the Clear Light the soul then continues with its next stage of growth. The Clear Light is a dimension and space of loving, wise and benevolent energy and consciousness. It could be called heaven or paradise. You can only help a dying person make this transition if you yourself are connected with the Clear Light, with the fields of clear energy. You can then use your own connection with the Clear Light to facilitate your companions journey.
– You connect yourself to the Clear Light.

– You expand your own energy field to include your companion.

– Your companion is then automatically connected with the Clear Light via your own Connection.

– You then visualise/sense/imagine your companion smoothly, gracefully and easily making the voyage across into the Clear Light.

Body Warmth

To be able to do this work successfully, you must not only make the Connection yourself with the Clear Light but also have it fully anchored in your body. This work cannot be done simply as a piece of imagination or as a head trip.

You are helping your companion’s transition appropriately if your own body and emotions feel comfortable, calm, warm and safe. You cannot do this work unless your body is in that pleasant mood. If you are in that mood of goodwill and warmth, then you radiate a benevolent field of energy that helps everyone around you.

You cannot facilitate the transference of consciousness if you yourself are in any way grieving, frightened, tense or excited by the situation.

The calm benevolence and warmth of your body and emotions will radiate across to your companion and make her/him feel safe. The loving and affectionate energy of your body will hold and cradle your companion. It is as if you have invisible wings of love that extend to envelope your companion. Just being a good and caring person is enough to help a dying friend.

A person who is dying does not need words, but needs a reassuring and loving presence. Imagine the kind of person you would want next to you if you were dying: warm and kind, making you feel safe.

Making Your Own Connection with the Clear Light

There is a huge difference between being caught up in the vibrations and stimulation of human culture, and feeling connected to the beauty of nature and the universe. Now you have to uncover your own best way of connecting beyond the turmoil of everyday human activity and bring yourself to sensing, knowing and feeling the great and benevolent flow of purposeful energy through the cosmos.

This is not an unusual or rare experience. You may have had it many different situations: listening to music, in landscape, doing sport, making love, appreciating art, relaxing on a beach, satisfied at a job well done, caring for someone, in prayer, meditation… and so on.

When you are in that kind of experience you have reached beyond the normal turmoil and stimulation and can feel the benevolent flow of all life.

When a companion is dying you need to go back into that experience of connection and wellbeing. The simple stimulus of a friend dying may be enough to motivate you back into that state. Kind thoughts, beautiful thoughts, careful focus may work for you. Do whatever works for you to make you feel compassionate, kind and connected to the benevolent love in nature and the universe.
You then need to allow your sense of connection to land fully into your body. Like a sponge, allow yourself to absorb it. As best you can, sense and feel your connection anchoring down into your body. It will make you feel even more comfortable, kind and safe.

This is the important bit

You are now doing two things simultaneously:
One: Your body and attitude are warm and benevolent, and they are expanded to include your companion. Two: You are also connected to the Clear Light. Staying calmly and serenely in that space compassionate, connected and expanded you now softly and patiently sense, imagine and feel your companion passing safely across into the Clear Light.

So the strategy is threefold:

– Compassionate and warm.

– Connected to the Clear Light.

– Extended to include your companion.

Gracefully sense them making the transition into the Clear Light. If you do this practice regularly, then it will carry on without you having to give it attention, like riding a bicycle.

(It may be helpful for you to do a simple drawing of yourself, your companion and the Connection to the Clear Light.)

Preparation

From the moment that you know that someone is going to die, you can begin the practice. It can do nothing but good and is in itself a healing process. It will not speed up the dying process, but it will certainly help to ease it.

In some cases, for example with prolonged illnesses or elderly parents, you may hold the Connection for someone for several years.

Ending the Process

You will feel when it is appropriate to end the practice for someone.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Are there souls who do not make it across into the Clear Light?

Sometimes, for various reasons, people are so compulsively engaged in the chaos of human life that they get caught up for a long period in the vibrations of human life. Sooner or later they pass over.

Can they be helped across?

Yes, of course they can. You can do it yourself, if you feel strong and have a calling to do so. You can do the whole practice for them and gently but firmly sense them making the transition. It is always best in these situations to send out a strong telepathic message asking for help. There are other souls and consciousnesses, sometimes called angels, who will come and help.
Or you can ask a space-clearer or priest/ess to help.

Are there many souls who have trouble crossing to the Clear Light?

In my experience, the vast majority make the journey smoothly and easily. There is help and grace to support their transition.

Then why teach this strategy to help?

Because it is always good to be fully conscious of these hugely important transitions and to cooperate. It is benevolent and loyal to be there with your friends as they change dimensions. And, of course, better safe than sorry.

Is it any use doing this after someone has died?

Yes it is. There may be small trails of energy that have not fully made the transit. This will help bring about completion. It will also help you feel complete in the transition.

Can it do me any harm?

If you have any concern at all that doing this work might harm you, then do not do it. Never take risks with your psychological and spiritual health. That said, I have never met anyone harmed by this work.

Can I do it at a distance?

Yes, you can but it is much more reassuring if someone has your physical presence.

What should I do if there are other people around grieving and showing emotion or talking too much?

Often your example of silent kindness will be picked up by the others.

Do not become tense or judgemental. Your work is reassure and stay in the Connection for your companion. You should also have the same attitude and caring for any people who are upset. Extend your kindness to include them.

If finally you do feel the need to shepherd them into being quiet, make sure you remain in a calm and kind mood. Make sure that whatever you say is sandwiched in kindness, eg: “This is a very difficult time for all of us and I sympathise with your deep feelings, but maybe it would be best if things were more silent around our friend. Would you like to join me in meditation? Can I get you a tea?” They will usually follow the hints.

Should I touch my dying companion?

Only touch your companion if you know for certain that they like it. Be very careful and look for clues as to how they respond. When you touch someone, you want them to relax and not tense. I spent the last 8 hours of my mothers life with her. I did not touch her and felt that I was protecting her from being touched and intruded upon by other people. I had to communicate this to some nursing staff and they immediately respected my instinct as appropriate. On the other hand some people die lying in the arms of their loved ones.

I am told that a person’s last thought determines the nature of their next incarnation. So should I help someone think the right thoughts?

This old chestnut derives from the stricter schools of Tibetan Buddhism and Hinduism. The abbots were trying to discipline their monks into having a clear and conscious focus as they approached death. It might even have been uttered as a friendly joke, but unfortunately became a serious threat and part of religious dogma. It is as banal and lacking in compassion as Catholic teachers threatening their young students with tales of hell and eternal torment. No, its not true.

So is reincarnation true?

It doesn’t matter in relation to helping someone die. Just hold them in grounded love and maintain a connection with the Clear Light.

Can I help if someone has committed suicide?

Of course you can. The strategy is always the same: hold them in grounded love and see them across. Usually someone who takes their own life has been thinking about it for some time and there are inner helpers who will be there to look after them.

Suggested Reading

Sogyal Rinpoche: The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
Stephen Levine: Who Dies and Healing into Death
Elisabeth Kubler:-Ross On Death and Dying
Richard Boerstler and Hulen Cornfield:  Life to Death: Harmonizing the Transition

 

Soul Rescue in Disasters

Soul Rescue in Disasters

Your hearts may be touched by natural and man-made disasters in which many children, women and men are killed.

If you have a contemplative, meditation or prayer practice, then you may feel called to give inner support. You may feel called to help the souls of those killed and lost in the chaos. They may require some assistance to make a graceful transition across into the clear light for the next stages of their journey.

This short blog is just a reminder of some basic principles.

  • Only do this form of inner work when you yourself are completely calm and grounded, and feel connected to wonder and energy, love and grace.
  • Softly open your heart and psyche. Allow yourself to scan the geography and the situation.
  • Be prepared to feel empathically some of the suffering and panic, yet stay strong and compassionate.
  • With warmth and reassuring kindness greet the souls who are lost in the chaos.
  • Have a clear and joyful sense of the energy of the realms beyond our material Earth, of the clear light. Especially for the souls of the children, have a sense that the realms of clear light are filled with fun and play. We want to create a passage across into the clear light that is magnetic and attractive. What will irresistibly attract souls across? Allow your creative imagination some freedom here.
  • Sense the lost souls gracefully making the transition.
  • Acknowledge the presence of and feel grateful for the help of other compassionate beings. Ask for their help.
  • When you feel you have done enough of this work – it comes in waves – remember to ground fully, close yourself down (like a tulip closing its petals at night) and give yourself some compassionate care too.

Four Guidelines for Caring

Spring

 
As I write this we can finally feel the bubbling energies of spring. It has been a long cold winter in the British Isles and it is lovely to feel a warmth on the breeze.
 
 
But even as the weather becomes warmer people are catching flus and colds.
 
 
This is typical of life though, isn’t it? The sun comes out and we catch a cold. Spring is sprung but we may be laid low in bed. The contradictions and paradoxes of the human condition!
 
 
Ageing is similar. There we are, tootling along through life, working on our personal and spiritual development. Through study, practice and grace we acquire a tad of wisdom, soften our edges, become more conscious and compassionate. We begin to understand what life is all about and we reach a point of truly valuing the full beauty and potential of what it is to be human.
 
 
And then what happens? We all get old!
 
 
The irony is that spirituality renews and continuously freshens our minds, emotions and consciousness. We open to the energies and flow of the cosmos, and our psyches become more vibrant, awake and alive. But – and here comes physical reality – our vehicles, our flesh and blood bodies have a life span and start to wear out. Our souls are eternal but our biological bodies age and return to earth, dust to dust.
 
 
*
 
 
Except for the most fabled of yogis we are never fully in control of our bodies.
 
 
This was tragically brought home to me recently as I accompanied a young friend through his last days of terminal lung cancer due to asbestos. Michael was in his early forties. He was not at all frightened of death because he had been having powerful psychic and spiritual experiences since childhood. In fact he was looking forward to passing over, meeting old friends and exploring new dimensions.
 
 
His cancer though was particularly painful and his palliative care team worked carefully with his medication so as to ameliorate the pain without impairing his mind.
 
 
The high dosages of morphine however occasionally overwhelmed his brain and nervous system and he would slip sometimes into states of paranoid delusion.
 
 
At one stage the hospital contacted me to come and help manage him. When I arrived he was in an anxious and delusional state, trying to escape. His normal rational mind was not present. It took three hours to calm him down.
 
 
I soothed him through being a grounded and reassuring presence. The words I spoke to him were hardly relevant except that I was careful not to say anything that might provoke or trigger him.
 
 
More than anything, he needed the reassuring, relaxed and healing vibration of my body.
 
 
My own calm body could communicate directly to his nervous system and soothe him.
 
 
*
 
 
This form of healing – sometimes called co-presence – requires that every cell of your body be relaxed and in an ambience of wellbeing.
 
 
I like to imagine that there is a tiny elemental creature in every cell and all these wee creatures relax as if stretched out and sunbathing in deck chairs.
 
Then all the elementals in my companion’s body will also relax and sunbathe.
 
 
This for me is the essence of good ‘bedside manner’: body elementals on sun loungers! (Could we put that in the trainings for medical schools?)
 
 
*
 
 
I saw again the way in which our physical bodies have their own dynamic in the hours shortly before Michael’s death. He was now mainly unconscious occasionally surfacing with a few mumbled words, but at several points his body tried to break free of his bed. As a companion and observer it was difficult now for me to fully understand the relationship between his soul and his body.
 
 
It is similar in old age when people for example may endure Alzheimers or dementia. The brain and nervous system seem to be pursuing one process, whilst consciousness and the soul appear to be dancing to another tune. There is a process happening here that is difficult to understand.
 
 
*
 
 
To help us develop an appropriate attitude I often quote the American professor of nursing Margaret Newman. She is spiritually very down-to-earth.
 
People, she taught her nurses, are always moving between wellness and illness. It is the human cycle. We are ill and then we are well. The job of a nurse, she suggested, is to recognise the true nature of this process. She suggested to her colleagues that their true vocation is not to nurse wellness but to birth consciousness.
 
 
This new consciousness transcends our physical state and is the essence of true health.
 
In the Spiritual Companions project, which I direct, we help train people in pastoral care and we often discuss this tension that exists in our work. On one side we want to relieve suffering. On the other side we want to help people wake up and be conscious.
 
 
In guiding how we might behave in these difficult situations, I propose four simple guidelines:
 
 
1.
Have a relaxed and kind body vibration, so that it reassures and soothes your companion.
 
 
2.
Intuitively, prayerfully and compassionately tune into and greet your companion’s soul.
 
 
3.
Speak only words that are carefully chosen and appropriate to your companion’s state.
 
 
4.
And if you physically touch your companion do so with great tenderness, sensitivity and care.
 
 
These might be good guidelines too for all of us when we are with someone who is vulnerable or in distress.
 
And I would like my own children, friends and carers to abide by them if ever they have to care for me.
 
 
*
 
 
But today spring is in the air!
 
I salute the eternal bubbling spring of our souls and I wish you all many blessings and much love.
Rescuing Lost Souls in the 2005 London Bombing

Rescuing Lost Souls in the 2005 London Bombing

It has been a rich and paradoxical week. Last Tuesday and Wednesday I was working in Ulster with a group of educators and projects involved in conflict resolution and community building. These were frontline big-hearted men and women, heroic – and I was proud to be working with them as they looked at their next steps for the coming months and years.

 
 
At the beginning of the seminar I commented to them that I came from and was grateful for the peaceful land in which I lived – in Glastonbury in sleepy rolling Somerset. But I am also a Londoner and as I prepared to leave the hotel where we had been working – next to the Giants Causeway on the north west coast of Ireland – people were listening to the news as the first broadcasts about the London bombings came in. I winced. London is my home city and, living there, I had heard 5 bombs explode over the years. I knew the implications. And there was extra irony because it came so directly after the celebrations of winning the Olympics bid.
 
As timing would have it, I came up to London the next day, on the Friday after the bombings, to teach a course over the weekend and the hotel in which I stayed, a small Quaker house, the Penn Club, was right next to Russell Square where the main underground outrage took place. In the immediate vicinity, no cars were allowed, only pedestrians. It was very quiet, peaceful above ground, except for the drone of occasional portable generators, powering the satelite broadcasting equipment for international media reports.
 
That evening and on Saturday morning I went into deep meditation and prayer, and opened my awareness to the tragedy that was so physically close. I began to do a particular meditation practice, which I had done for many years when I lived in central London. In this practice, which comes from many traditions, you allow your awareness to scan for people who have recently died and are still earth-bound, unable to find their way across into what is called the ‘clear light’. You then magnetically draw them towards you with warmth and understanding, at the same time creating a connection, a passageway, across into the light. (There is a fuller description of this on my website, under articles and practical help.)
 
I am writing this, I suppose, partly to reassure people that I and many others work in this way when there is tragedy and disaster. Also to encourage you to do similar work if you have a calling for it.
 
I took my awareness down into the underground and into the carriages that had been destroyed. I have never previously experienced such compressed confusion and chaos. There was of course the sheer carnage from the explosion, but the physical results were constrained to the carriages and tunnel. People’s energy and consciousness, however, were pushed out beyond the immediate scene, out into the tunnel and into the surrounding earth. There were several souls in a daze, in a trance, caught bewildered in the substance of the earth.
 
Because of the compression and confusion it was difficult for me to create a magnetism and light that could attract the attention of these lost ghosts. For many decades, however, I have been mapping the earth energies and leys of London, and also meditating with what I call the Angel of London. I asked, then, whether I could cooperate with them and together we began to create an energetic scenario that would help the recently deceased. We created a very wide crater or bowl, 300 metres across, deep in the ground beneath the disaster and then began both to lift it up and open it to the flow and energy of the sky and sun. Atmospherically it felt as if the disaster area was no longer compacted and under ground. It was more like a green, meadowed, high mountain valley. In this new resonance it was easy to attract the attention of the deceased and facilitate their transfer of consciousness across into the after-death dimension. At one point I also felt a small swarm of dazed rats passing through my field and across into the light.
 
I did this meditation work over those two days fully aware of the many others, locally and globally, who were also praying and present. I felt particularly proud and touched by the multifaith group that gathered around Aldgate station – Jews, Muslims, Christians and Hindus – to demonstrate solidarity in the face of this crisis. I also fully understand that some people reading all this may think I was just fooling myself with projection and imagination, doing anything that would bring me comfort. I admit the possibility of that. I would also ask the cynics to be open to the possibility that the practices of the greatest meditation and tribal traditions also have some validity.
 
On that same Friday when I had come up to London, I had done the school run in the afternoon and picked up my 11-year old daughter from her small village school. Like the other children in her class she was carrying a large brown envelope which contained her school report and her Sats results. She had done very well and her headteacher had written in the report that if she could bottle essence of my daughter and distribute it, that would help heal the world. I was proud and I wept. Then I came up to London.
 
Whatever the tragedy, injustice and cruelty, there is always new life. There are always the new children emerging with innocence and beauty.
Final Years – Eileen Caddy and My Mum

Final Years – Eileen Caddy and My Mum

Leading a retreat at the Findhorn Foundation in May 2003, I took some time off to visit Eileen Caddy, then 86 and one of its founders, whom I loved. There was something about Eileen that was more peaceful and joyful than I had experienced before.
 
‘I’m going to stay around now for as long as I’m needed,’ Eileen said. ‘And I don’t want to die anymore.’
 
She went on to explain how she had just been on a trip down south to visit her family. In the house of one of her sisters, she had fallen to the floor and she had also got stuck in the bath. In both instances, she was unable to lift herself up and had to call on the help of her sister.
 
‘I lay on the ground,’ she said, ‘and relaxed. I realised then that I needed help and I was able to say, I need help.’
 
Listening to her and watching her, it was inspiring to see what a deep transformation and inner surrender she had been through. She was flowing, glowing and bubbling with more life and love. The energy and attitude were beautiful.
 
It was also marvellous to witness a senior citizen still in the process of learning and transforming. With a smile, she was still up for the lessons that Classroom Earth gives us all. I was pleased too that she was now also experiencing relief from the back pain and severe spasms that she had been enduring over recent years. Her body was more comfortable now and so too was her attitude.
 
Some of you may remember that for a while she was quite grim and impatient about still being alive. She was open about this with everyone. She did not want to be in an old painful body relying on other people. She had done her work and was ready to move on! Her attitude was almost military. Mission accomplished!
 
That attitude has now melted. Once again, she had surrendered more deeply to the embrace of God’s love. She had pulled herself through that huge lesson which the last decades of life present to us all. She was flowing with the natural cycle of physical decline and its lessons of acceptance and new wisdom.
 
This was personally very poignant for me. Not so long ago my own mother, had not approached her death with such surrender. She was a great open-hearted, humorous woman and fiercely independent. Until the day she died, she retained her fiery sense of self-sufficiency and was intense as she resisted any dependence. She was also in physical pain – a pain that she endured with her resilient and stoic attitude.
 
It was a touching paradox for me, wanting my mother to surrender gracefully to the realities of her old age and yet respecting her courage and character. Her wilfulness and strength had once been the perfect manifestation of the vitality and flow of life – but they now needed to surrender and harmonise in order to allow healing.
 
In the end my mother chose to take herself out with an overdose rather than face the rest of her life in care. I had to respect her independence and choice. Yet also I felt some sense of a missed opportunity for healing and development
 
Illness + Spiritual Development = Healing
 
Suffering + Surrender-to-Universal-Flow = Spiritual Development
 
(Eileen Caddy died in 2006 at the age of 89)