The Art of Dying – Part I by Dr. Newton Kondaveti, MD
Death is a word we don’t use lightly and so we asked Dr. Newton a few questions about it and in the process realized there is also an art to dying. We present Part 1 here.
(Read Part II here).
Thriive: Dr. Newton, if death is inevitable what is the point of life?
Dr. Newton: Death and Life are integral parts of each other and make each other significant. If Death did not exist, Life would have no meaning or value. Life is like playing cricket: it is time bound. Whether it is a one-day match or a test match, the requisite number of overs have to be played. Just as the match is played with a purpose we too come here with a purpose. With playfulness we create joyful experiences and this adds meaning to life. If there was no Death, there’d be eternal life and the sense of purpose would not exist. We need to play and give the best version of ourselves to the game. Also, the uncertainty (as in a cricket match) makes us more spontaneous and joyful.
Thriive: What then is the best way of living this life?
Dr. Newton: Living with complete and total awareness of the Self in every moment, is the best way. Our awareness guides us towards the right purpose and shows us what we need to do in the present moment.
Thriive: How do we know the meaning of life?
Dr. Newton: We need to remember that awareness existed even before we were born and knows our soul plan. Life does not end with death nor did it begin with birth.
Thriive: Why does the word ‘Death’ scare us so much that it makes us even afraid of using it?
Dr. Newton: The underlying cause of the fear of Death is the fear of change and the fear of the unknown. The lack of understanding and enlightenment about what happens after we die, keeps us fearing it. Being dead while living is a condition so many people find themselves in just because they live in fear of Death.
Thriive: How can one lessen this irrational, limiting fear and lead a life that is not fearful?
Dr. Newton: I highly recommend these two beautiful ways of getting over the illogical and irrational fear of Death: Meditation and Past Life Regression.
1) Meditation: Through meditation, one can know, experience and understand the deathless soul energy that continues to live within us even after we die. The experiences that we get during meditation (or sadhana) such as out of body experience, astral travel and so on, give us insights into that which is eternal and which is inside us. This makes us realize that when the death moment comes, it is just about leaving the decayed body here and taking up a new form. We then don’t fear dying or even the death of loved ones since we know that they come back again after taking a new form.
2) Past Life Regression: Many times the irrational fear about death that some people carry around is connected to the fearful, traumatic deaths they experienced in other lifetimes. Through PLR, they process that fear and understand that their soul continues to live and that they’ve come back in a new body. Sometimes they are also able to identify their loved ones from previous lifetimes who’ve now incarnated as their children or other family members.
This proves that Death is just a transition and not a final separation from our loved ones and once we accept that the fear of our own death or even that of our loved ones will vanish.
Thriive: Intense grief often accompanies the death of a loved one. How can one overcome that?
Dr. Newton: Grief is very natural. When someone dear dies, the people left behind immediately experience it as a physical absence. They are so used to the physical form that when it’s gone they miss it terribly.
As much as possible, the person who has lost a loved one must grieve in order to come to terms with the death. They must allow the tears to flow and with the support of the loved ones, the grieving process is much easier. If the grief is not allowed to be expressed completely it will be stored inside the body as a frozen energy and could lead to depression and other illnesses.
Dr. Elisabeth Kubler Ross has done pioneering work on the grief process. It can be summarized as D-A-B-D-A:
The first step is Denial where the person refuses to believe that their loved one has gone away. The next is Anger. The 3rd stage is Bargaining (the grieving person tries to negotiate sometimes with supernatural forces to bring the person back). This is followed by Depression and the final step is Acceptance.
This period of grieving can last for a day, months, decades or even whole lifetimes.
Reaching the level of acceptance that yes, the person has vacated their body and moved away to the other world and that they themselves will one day reach the mystery of death, triggers within them a sort of spiritual growth. This affects the whole family because they are intrigued by the mystery of death and it initiates them into the unknown. Grief vanishes with the understanding that we are multi-dimensional soul beings and we never die. Everyone goes through this grieving process but those who are enlightened beings don’t grieve for long but for a few days only. Their spiritual understanding makes them overcome their grief very quickly.
(To be continued)