Embracing Death Opens Door to Fuller Life

Death is a process of letting go. Whether it’s relinquishing our physical bodies or releasing our attachment to a destructive habit, potential for incredible growth lies in mastering our death processes. In her bold, new book, Embracing Death: Riding Life’s Transitions into Power and Freedom (Bear & Company Publishing), Dr. Angela Browne-Miller, who works with the terminally ill, shows us how our many non-physical deaths helps us prepare for physical death and beyond.

Our bodies have been programmed through genetic coding so that necessary functions, like breathing and digestion, become part of an unnoticed routine. This survival instinct benefits us in countless ways, but problems can occur when we habitualize other tendencies. Emotional and mental behavior patterns that begin accidentally can become habitual, even addictive.

There are a myriad of negative patterns that develop in this fashion. Look for subtle feelings that may indicate the development of a restrictive pattern. Feelings of restlessness or boredom shouldn't be overlooked. Feeling constricted, as if wearing a skin that's too small, can indicate that a death is needed.

When we are willing to consciously bring about and embrace the death of one these destructive patterns, we learn something about letting go. It’s important to take an active role in the release that each "death" can provide.

These "deaths" occur in stages. The first stage involves a period of mental and/or emotional struggle. This stage can last anywhere from a few minutes to several years, depending on how long the individual wrestles with the particular problem. Following this struggle is a period of paradox, where the person feels that there is no way out. No avenue seems to offer release. Although this stage is also of indeterminate length, the sudden insight needed to reach a higher spiritual elevation immediately follows. Though the insight stage tends to be relatively short, generally no more than a few minutes, the impressions it leaves can be lasting, offering a footing for stepping to higher ground.

Our many non-physical deaths are merely practice for a physical one. The more familiar and accustomed we become to the stages of non-physical death the more quickly and painlessly we can move through physical death. Though it is a natural tendency to fear change, our inclination to hide from it merely perpetuates our destructive patterns. Embracing change, on the other hand, opens endless possibilities. By releasing blocked energies and freeing ourselves from comfortable patterns, we can explore new avenues of spiritual growth.

Seeking the opportunity within the struggle can make each conflict an adventure, each problem a stride in the exciting journey of spiritual evolution. By openly pursuing and savoring our many deaths, we may finally be able to open the doors to a fuller and freer life. Living life to the fullest is the best preparation for a wonderful afterlife.

(Digest by Kim Linn, Atlantic University.)