The spirituality of death

According to the American Journal of Psychology, somewhere in the mid-1800s death became persona non-grata as spirituality was shunted aside and science began ruling the medical world. However, as Western society again embraces spirituality and metaphysics, the way the medical profession handles things is shifting again. Spirituality is now being welcomed back into those realms where once only science was allowed.

Of course, not every physician is willing to change, so many of them still follow the 5 unwritten rules regarding death:

1. Avoid taboo topics such as the patient’s appearance, future, upcoming holidays, or medications and treatments.

2. Stop discussing the current topic immediately if anyone in the room becomes emotional and add the topic to the list of those that are taboo (at least for that patient).

3. If the patient, patient’s friend, or patient’s relative mentions death or questions whether they or the patient is terminal, change the topic or leave the room.

4. Maintain “normalcy” always. Keep all conversations to a minimum and only discuss those things associated with “normal” healthy patients.

5. Be brief in all dealings with a terminal patient and their family.

However, many others who work in the medical profession are breaking free of those restraints. Although, the majority of our medical people have been taught Western philosophy and religions, many of them are exploring other philosophies and seeking more spirituality in their lives. This search is carrying over into their careers, too.

But it isn’t just the spirituality of life that they are exploring; they are also beginning to explore the spirituality of death. Death is becoming less of a forbidden topic and more of a curiosity and a challenge. People want to know what it means to die. They also want to know whether a soul actually exists, and if so, what happens to it when the physical body dies. They’re no longer content to “trust” that heaven exists because some man in a pulpit says so. Instead, they’re seeking “proof” or at least reassurances that seem, at least somewhat, based in something more sound than just the usual “because I said so.”

People have been led to believe in science and what it can “prove”, but when it comes to life and death neither science nor religion is enough. A vast majority of people are finding that there needs to be a blending of science and religion, and that’s where spirituality and metaphysics step in. These two are providing the basis for a different way of looking at the world.

Science writes off NDEs and NDAs as little more than biological and chemical reactions within a dying body, and religion claims they are glimpses of heaven (or hell). Meanwhile, spirituality allows each person to interpret the event in their own way in accordance to their own needs, and metaphysics gives each event a sense of reality by grounding things in a scientific manner, yet keeping an open mind for those things not easily explained.

Death is no longer the fear-filled event waiting for us at the end of our lives. Instead, death has become an intriguing question to which NDEs and NDAs seem to hold the answers. Each reported NDE or NDA makes us feel as if we’re a little closer to that answer. And each reported NDE or NDA draws people’s attention to the questions of life, death, and the existence of a soul.

Many have rallied to the challenge of bringing death out of the shadows and into the light where it belongs, and once illuminated, it is impossible to ignore. Even so, some doctors still view the dying as a personal failure, and will do anything to keep it from happening. They replace body parts; they hook the body to all manner of machines, tubes, and electrodes to keep it alive. But eventually even they will have to recognize that life without death is a lie. It doesn’t matter how many body parts you replace, or how many tubes or electrodes you attach to a person, when the spirit needs to leave, it will. That is how the circle of continuous life works.