Can We Prepare for Death?

Chris: Do you think we can prepare ourselves for death?

Tony: I believe there is a great deal to be learned from the accounts people have given of their near death experiences. Very often in these accounts we learn that the person goes through a review of their life. This review enables them to fully experience each moment of their life, each aspect of relationships, what other people felt in such relationships. They experienced again the many decisions or turning points in their life. Such reviews are a sort of harvesting of their experience. In some cases the person even says that a being of light led them into and through the review and asked them what they had brought, what they had gathered from their life.

Today, many people have learned, through various forms of psychotherapy, through drugs or meditation, to experience such reviews of their life. They are seldom done in one full session as happens in the near death experience. But they are still a profound meeting with what one has harvested and what one has thereby learned from the powerful moments in one’s life. I believe this harvesting of experience is a way of getting ready for a huge transition. We have been living a life that is full of very personal experience, and the transition is to a life that is getting nearer to the universal. So anything that does not have something of the universal in it cannot pass over into this new life. See

To me this is a form of dying before you die. To do this requires a level of openness and surrender to what we have defined as ones spiritual life. So the surrender, the review, is to me a way of clearing the past, so that when you do die there is less work to be done as you have already learned to do the work and have carried out some of it.

The following is realisations brought back from a near death experience – quoted from book The Wonder of You by Lynn Russell.

Example: In  all  my thoughts,  feelings and actions, because I had designed or chosen my own destiny before taking on a physical body, I  discovered  that I had personally chosen to take on a physical body and have the life experiences I was having. I realized I had wasted time in suffering and what I should  have  been  doing  was  using  my freedom to choose true love, and not pain, in all that came into my  life. I realized that there was no judging or punishing God like religions say there is and it was my mind with an expanded consciousness that judged itself and sifted its actions through the filter of perfect, conscious love.

The only other preparation for death that I can see as being really relevant is to recognise what you identify with. Do you fully identify with your body? Or have you managed to glimpse and identify at all with the permanent aspect of yourself? If you begin to find an identification with the constant in your being, then that is perhaps one of the most powerful ways of preparing for death.

At the moment I feel strongly that all the new breed of children would need to learn how to die. It was like a process of transformation such as a caterpillar goes through. In our life today there are stages of growth and points of massive transformation as one period of growth ends and another stage begins. Learning to die was a method of passing through the transformation into the next stage of growth, and I was carving a way for my children if they attempted the further stages of growth. I see several people getting near it in their dreams.

But there is something that we often forget about that is important when we think of death – it is birth. Where do we begin? At birth, at conception? – but that is like not being able to see that the seed planted at conception was the result of millions of years of lives in the past. But even that was not the beginning because our actual beginning was what we presently know as the Big Bang. I believe from searching in the unconscious that the Big Bang involved a form of awareness of consciousness that is hard for us to understand, yet it lies within and behind all phenomena. That makes it universal and of course involved in our own life and death. We are used to thinking of ourselves as a body, yet behind it is the universal consciousness. When we ‘die’ we pass through an enormous change of losing our body consciousness and transforming into the consciousnesses that is involved with our creation. If you have never been able to let go of your belief you are simply a body, you may go to sleep in the process of transformation. See Steiner Life after death

Chris: You told me that when you were at my mother’s funeral something happened to you that was very impressive. What was that?

Tony: In describing this I have to say first that I did not go to your mother’s funeral with any sense of seeking an experience or looking for some sort of insight into what was going on. I went to be with you as your friend. And, as you know, the service was far from inspiring. The priest was stumbling over what he was reading, didn’t remember your mother’s name, and so there was some level of irritation with most of us because of what was happening.

Chris: He couldn’t even get the right name. It certainly wasn’t a celebration of my mother’s life in any sensitive way.

Tony: So I wasn’t moved by the ceremony. I was there involved in what was going on around me. But suddenly it seemed that something opened in me and I could see or sense that all the people there, although they were not attempting to do what I was now sensing, were producing something by their very presence as a group. The funeral itself, the fact that everybody was there to be part of your mother’s funeral, acted as some sort of focus. It focussed their attention, their feelings and their thoughts as a lens might do. It focused all their mental and emotional energy on your mother’s spirit. I saw her lifted, buoyed up by it. I suppose it would be right to say it was almost like she was brought awake by it also. So she was energised and lifted up to be with her chosen spiritual love, who was Christ. And what I had thought to be a funeral became a wedding as she was united with her love. That was a very wonderful thing to see.

Chris: Do you then believe in reincarnation?

Tony: I don’t necessarily believe in it in the sense of one’s personality being transported into another lifetime. But taking into account what was said about life being a balance between the changing and the constant, about the essence that lies behind the forms, and that the essence absorbs experience; taking that into account I believe the essence dips into different forms again and again.

However, I realise that sounds somewhat impersonal and I find my experience of it is not impersonal at all. I don’t think, for instance, that Tony as a distinct personality will be reincarnated at some time. What I do see is that Tony is a small part of the spirit that has existed throughout all-time. That spirit, of which I as Tony only reflect a small part, when I die will absorb the lessons of this life. At some other period that spirit will dip into human life again.

The reason I believe that is because I appear to have memories of past individuals whose lives link with mine in the present. There are aspects of those lives that influence this life.

This same rose will never bloom again, but a similar rose will arise from the same roots..

But there is a way of thinking about this that I believe makes it reasonably straightforward. It doesn’t seem to be a mysterious thing, and I don’t know why people make of it such a mystery. If you look at a tree, you can see it incorporates many, many past trees. It didn’t suddenly emerge out of a vacuum, out of nothing. It has its present existence out of what existed in the past. Of course, because in our culture we still are labouring under the world view that the atom is the fundamental particle or material in the universe, we still see ourselves and a tree as simply a physical process. All our calculations about this leave out the factor of consciousness. Even trees have a form of sentience. They respond to light, to weather conditions, to their environment. Did Tony suddenly gain the type of awareness, perceptions, concepts suddenly in the here and now? Of course I didn’t. Thousands of people pre-existed me who gave words, concepts skills that have together formed who I am. There are ideas, longings, weaknesses and blindness of which I am a very particular mixture. As I have gained insight into my being it really does seem that I am part of a stream of influence flowing through history.

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