Part 1. Accepting Death
I, as I’m sure many of you have wondered what it may feel like to die. Some say moments before a loved one transitions; they know they’re about to die. That a deep sense of knowing, of peace, takes over them as they leave all that they have come to see behind. Others believe the realization of their death is as sudden to them as it is to us.
What I find hopelessly amusing about this conversation is that you and I have already died many times. Now I’m not ushering you into a conversation about reincarnation, we’ll put that topic aside to be revisited on another day. I’m talking about the fact that our lives find true meaning through the process leading up to, and just after death. I know, I’m still not being specific enough, but stay with me…its coming.
When we think about death, we usually see it as the physical transition of spirits and/or souls into a different physical realm. Though many may argue with this logic, I don’t consider it to be necessarily incorrect. What I would however like to request, is that we adapt this idea on more than one level. The transition of a spirit and/or soul into a different realm can be executed on many different levels. Think about how you feel when you learn something new, something that shifts your understanding into a different level of consciousness, leaving behind that which no longer serves you.
When we meet God over and over again in our lives, and feel the resounding urge to change our ways, lean into a new realm of consciousnesses, or turn over a new leaf; we have accepted the process of dying. Baptism and initiation are two among the many forms of death, where those in question accept a new life. A common incantation shared amongst those who go through the process of initiation into Ubungoma (spiritual healers) is, “Xa uvuma ukufa, uvuma ithongo,” (when you accept death, you accept the spirit).
This formula can be used in our own personal processes of initiation into new understandings of love, being, and living. Even in the small everyday happenings of our lives, when we experience change, when we prove our inner critic wrong; we accept death.
Part 2. Fear of Death: Why We Are Still Suffering
In order for you to enter this new awareness, to thrive in this new consciousness; there is a part of you that has to be left behind. The part of you that will not understand this new world needs to die. That part of us is more often than not; our ego.
Our ego is not just the hardcore way we want to present ourselves to the world. The exterior we create for others to perceive us. Our ego is our protector; usually the home we have developed through our uncomfortable experiences of the past, and our fear/anxiety of the future. What I have come to recently understand is that our ego is what we feel we need to do to receive love from others. She/he/they communicate with us through our mind, and use the language of logic and reason. She/he/they is usually our comfort zone, especially for those like myself, who tend to deal with issues using our mind. To my sisters and brothers who will frequently chose the option that ‘makes the most sense’….yoh shem, we will continue to struggle and not understand why.
Because our ego/our mind, speaks the language of I am or I am not, this is the part of our self that is most reluctant to accept death. We often define ourselves using a plethora of identities. ‘I am an extrovert,’ ‘I am an activist,’ ‘I am a lawyer,’ ‘I am not creative.’ All of these identities form part of our comfort zone, and limit our elevation into realms beyond our current understanding. This is the part of us that holds on the tightest in the face of death, and for many of us, it’s the reason we don’t die and continue to live the same life, over and over again.
I also recently unlearnt the idea that the brain is the source of intelligence. We are complex beings that use so many parts of ourselves to make decisions. The part of you that decided to hike to the top of that mountain, even though your mind told you that you were not fit enough. The part that said ‘quit your job,’ ‘go on that date.’ That was not your sensible mind, that was the part of you that trusted in the intelligence of your heart, or your intuition (soul), or your body. How did that feel?
The acceptance of death requires our trust in eternal life. The same force that created the trees that witness centuries of human existence, the force that created your role models; the person/people you look up to, is the force that created you. That is the same force that will bring you closer to your purpose and help you experience the purest form of joy.
As I am writing this, there is a part of me that is dying. As someone who came into writing through academia, I can’t tell you which book, video, or scholar I received this information from. What I can tell you, is that this is a message that resonates from deep within me, and if you look deep within yourself, you will see that it resonates with you too.
There is an extreme sense of excitement that comes over me when I think of the idea of dying over and over again. The thought of moving closer and closer to my purpose on this Earth and beyond. To let go of as much of my social conditioning as I can, and to just Be. That for me is the alchemy of eternal life: the courage to just Be.
Science teaches us that energy cannot be created nor destroyed; it can only be transferred. So, the fear of death, like the fear of anything; is truly useless.
Let the deep sense of knowing, of peace, the knowing that your loved one once felt as they transitioned out of the physical realm of the living, into abode of the spirits; permeate your being. Trust yourself, the part of you that has let you die over and over again, and has brought to you new life. This is the force within us that has tasted eternal life.
Invocation (A Prophecy) – Richard Bona (2001)
Uthixo Ukhona – Iphupho L’ka Biko (2021)
Nomvula (After the Rain) – Freshlyground (2004)
Eternal Life - Sault (2020)
BLK Milk: A Taboo Podcast – Episode 3. Fear of Death: The Root of Human Suffering