It’s never easy to face up to the fact that one of your loved ones is going to pass away. When you know that someone you care about deeply is struggling with a terminal illness, it can be heart-wrenching. Just remember – if it’s terrible for you, imagine how hard it is for the person who is dying. Here’s some advice on how to comfort the dying while dealing with your own pain.
Science tells us there is no physical evidence for the soul. Its shape and size cannot as yet be observed or recorded, so according to the scientific method, the soul does not exist. Science only calls real that which is measurable, observable, repeatable and quantifiable. Anything immaterial is unreal.
But is that really true?
If you’re browsing the internet for information and entertainment, chances are you’ve got online accounts and a host of pesky passwords to remember. With the advent of Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, Yahoo, Myspace and hundreds of other social media networks and forums, our identities no longer reside solely on our person. They are completely intertwined with the mass media in all its formats. Add legal and financial information on banking and government websites, and you’ve got quite a knot to untangle. Just as it’s important to write up a will, it’s essential to prepare for your digital afterlife.
Have you ever heard of a bucket list? It’s a collection of things you’d like to accomplish before you die. The term comes from the 2007 film about two terminally ill men who go on a road trip to achieve their tenth-hour dreams. Nowadays, it’s considered fun to make a list of both normal and zany activities you want to do before leaving this earth. Far from leading you into the depths of depression over your inherent mortality, making a bucket list can actually energize and refresh your thinking about life.
Losing a dearly beloved pet is just as terrible as losing a person you love. It’s not silly to go through the same feelings of loss, regret, guilt, denial, betrayal, anger and doubt for an animal, just the same as you would for another member of your family.
It has long been debated whether descriptions of afterlife experiences are real or not. Sceptics argue that people’s brains come up with hallucinations and fabricated memories after the harrowing experience of coming close to death. They say there’s no way to prove that humans actually experience anything like a spiritual reality after they are clinically dead. Critics propose that concepts of the afterlife are governed by social and cultural conditioning, so our minds superimpose our spiritual beliefs and desires onto death, after the fact.
Whether life after death exists is a critical question for many people. The thought of death scares us because it seems like a black void of nothingness and unknowing. But since time immemorial, religions and spiritual faiths have asserted that, in fact, death is just a rite of passage that leads to another, higher reality.
Death is a normal, necessary fact of life. But that doesn’t make it any less scary. Generally, being human is to enjoy being alive, even with the pain and suffering that brings. The one guarantee is that we will all die. And for many people, there’s a deep fear associated with mortality.
This fear begins in early childhood when the child first faces the notion of himself – and usually, his parents – not existing. Everyone knows that fear often feels worse than its object. Feeling nervous about death can ruin a whole lifetime, while death itself might take only a moment.
The world’s most popularly practiced religions all have pronounced and different ways of marking the passing of a person into the afterlife. The emphasis is on spending time with the body and watching over as well as honouring the remains. A funeral, like a wedding or a birth, is a time for the family and community to come together, remember, mourn and celebrate the person who was lost. Because the major religions all hold a belief in a continuing soul, there is the understanding that the deceased person is journeying to a new life, whether through Heaven, Hell, purgatory, soul-sleep, or reincarnation.
A séance is a session where participants gather to try and contacts spirits on the other side. The practice arose with Spiritualism, a religion that espouses the belief that spirits of the dead are able and willing to communicate with the living. It rose in popularity from the 1840s until the 1920s, mostly in the Western world. Spiritualists believe the soul lives on after death and has opportunities to learn, give messages, and improve itself. They also believe in Infinite Intelligence (God) with nature being its outward expression. The soul is part of this web of intelligence.