Getting Friendly With the Grim Reaper

“We behave as if we are never going to die – an infantile arrogance. But even more injurious than this sense of immortality is what comes with it: the sense that we can engulf this inconceivable universe with our minds………Our goal is to reach infinity and be aware of it.” Castaneda, The Active Side of Infinity

There are endless accounts of what to expect after death – everything from a maintaining of appearance as we rejoin with family, friends and spiritual masters in a heaven of endless magnificence – to the other extreme of grotesque tortures experienced as punishment for bad karma. Threats of a fiery hell have always been used to keep the masses under control and have nothing to do with preparation for after death realities.

Death and dying should not be thought of as a taboo subject. Try bringing it up in conversation and see the reaction; you are immediately perceived as negative. Yet, recognizing death as a constant companion is a first step toward experiencing a fearless encounter with one’s final reality which can come without warning at any moment.

A rewarding first step in developing a friendship with the so called grim reaper is Stephen Levine who dedicated his life to work with death, dying and grief, writing about the process in numerous books such as Who Dies? and A Year to Live, combining Buddhist principals with other wisdom traditions. In Who Dies? he writes, “Who is prepared to die? Who has lived so fully that they are not threatened by their imaginings of nonexistence? For it is only the idea of death that frightens us. It is the unknown we pull back from.”

Another master of the subject is Carlos Castaneda, the author of a series of life changing books. For those who think of him as an unremarkable hippie guru I turn to Deepak Chopra who wrote “Carlos Castaneda is one of the most profound and influential thinkers of this century. His insights are paving the way for the future evolution of human consciousness. We should all be deeply indebted to him.”

The Active Side of Infinity, Castaneda’s final book is concerned with aspects of death and dying focused on dying in full consciousness. Don Juan called the death experience the definitive journey and described life after death as “a concrete region filled to capacity with practical affairs of a different order.” Preparation for entrance into the active side of infinity includes close examination of one’s life in search of memorable, life changing events of an objective nature. He describes the type of acceptable events with great clarity.

The other major activity in preparation for death is to leave no debt unpaid which sent Carlos on a journey to find all his benefactors and gift them in a magnificent manner. It is an incredible book of much value to those planning to die at some point in the near or distant future.

If there is an afterlife it is certainly determined by one’s energetic configuration at the time of death. This frequency is enhanced by love and joy – and lowered by fear, anger, and ungratified longings. One’s life’s work is to assure a frequency of bright radiance at the moment of death that will gravitate toward energy of a similar nature in the stratosphere and beyond. Embracing impermanence and change, releasing material attachments and creating a loving nature establish a good path toward a higher frequency and peaceful death experience. And this is no small task in today’s world.

It’s good to keep in daily contact with the following wisdom-cliches because they monitor deep realities. Although it will appear quite simplistic, try repeating these phrases from time to time and notice how your awareness transforms: Nothing lasts forever; we are just passing through; you can’t take it with you; live each moment as though your last; make love not war. Basically everything fades into a new and brilliantly unknown reality.

One thought on “Getting Friendly With the Grim Reaper”

  1. Beautifully articulated, Jane! This is my life’s work you discuss here. It feels wondrous to hear from a different angle. One can only hope that folks can come to see that there is nothing to fear about death, and there need not be negative connotations. These are both the societal residue of taboo.

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