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20100510

How I Cope With Death

As a personal with an open mind and familiarity with spirituality, I look at death with a sometimes unorthodox view about it. After almost dying at age 8, I will not claim to have been deeply changed by that experience because of youth and ignorance.

Rather, the life changing experience happened after a traumatic injury in 2004.

My personal philosophy about the dead goes like this: Once the dead go to heaven, their souls return to God. Having been wiped clean of their earthly existence, they become the pure and immaculate souls they originally were at the moment of creation by God.

I am influenced by Tibetan Buddhism, and use the word "soul" to be similar to the Three Minds. Additionally, the Japanese concept of kami has influenced how my unorthodox view of the soul.

This personal philosophy first came to me in the week as I laid in the hospital after suffering the traumatic injury in 2004. The hospital chaplain had inspired me speak of this unorthodox view of the soul, which arose spontaneously during a conversation we had.

People cope with death with the way they feel most comfortable; some people silently grieve, others cry, and still others avoid it. No two people have the same reaction to death and dying. All of it is the normal part of grieving.

How I cope with death since then is most likely a normal reaction to death.

Four years ago, my best friend Frank M died in May 2006. Then his best PM died the following year in January 2007. And finally my dad died in May 2007.

Since I'd lived with Frank from June 2005 until his death, it's affected me deeply. Using what I'd learned from Buddhism, I have coped with his death as best as I can.

One way of coping I used was to tell Frank when he was alive that in my heart he will become a bodhisattva, which is the Buddhist term for angel or saint.

Another way of coping was to idealize Frank and later, PM. At one point in the year following P's death, I even briefly considered Frank and P as the archetypal Lover and Beloved, reborn in Heaven.

My father's death has led me to idealize the first four years of my childhood.

As I continue to internalize my memories of Frank, Paula and my father, everything I remember about them will be idealized as perfect and whole.

This is all done out of respect for the dead.

Reference:
The Three Minds: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soul#Buddhism
Lover and Beloved: http://peacefulrivers.homestead.com/Rumilove.html

1 comment:

Steve said...

Since God creates each of our souls, the soul is originally pure and basically good.

It is experience in this corporeal body of flesh from birth to death which may occlude our vision of that basic goodness.

When a person dies, and his flesh is no more, what returns to God is the soul as His child.