The Psychology Of Death And Life
The conclusion we come to – or don’t come to – about what happens at death is a belief, and a belief has a psychological effect on the way we live now.
If we believe that death is the end of our being, then we would want to make the most of this precious life, wouldn’t we? There may be psychological comfort in the belief that we might leave a legacy for our children, or even mankind: this would give us a sense of direction and purpose, and at death, hopefully some satisfaction that our life was worthwhile.
If we don’t give death any thought, and just get on with our lives, then that will also have a psychological effect. Maybe, at death, we feel, “I enjoyed everything that I did” …
Of course, most of us don’t have such a positive attitude, and live in a state of bewilderment and confusion: “No one knows what happens at death, so what does it matter?” This is a point of view.
There are those who might think that religion is the great tranquilliser: this is another point of view, and may or may not be true. The realisation of spiritually-inclined beings is that, at death, we move on.
Of course, all this is a personal matter and will depend on which tradition we choose to follow, and what makes sense to us. Our conclusions will have a tremendous effect on how we live now. Is that a scare tactic? Not at all, as we know that every effect has a cause, therefore every cause has an effect.
But do we know what happens after death?
Our beliefs – and the way in which they make our life meaningful, both consciously and unconsciously – are our own choice. It doesn’t matter what others say; their choice is their choice, so there’s nothing to argue about.
If we hear teachings that make sense to us in life, then if those teachings talk about death, we should be ready to listen. However, culture may colour explanations: The Tibetan Book of the Dead is very colourful and complex, but it is only describing the psychological event of maintaining an open mind and an open heart.
All I can say is, I know that I was born with a certain attitude which is entirely different from that of my family. Spiritual essence that is consciously aware has never changed, but looks through a cloud of ever-changing concepts of pride, fear, jealousy, desire and ignorance.
The last thought at the moment of death will be the result of our life’s practice. This is what we take with us at the moment of death. A life of an open mind and open heart brings clarity and joy, and death may come as it may!
To die is the end of living,
but not necessarily the end of life itself.
Always be prepared, and have a back-up plan!
😀 😀 😀