Sunday, August 23, 2009

Helping the dying

Hi friends.
Yes... i came back sooner like i told previously. I had been trying to find a good topic and I found it all of a sudden while sitting and thinking and writing something. Well i was little in philosophical mood today.
Its been noted that all good thoughts come when you are sitting with mind relaxed and writing something out of the blue. So why don't we all just sit and be relaxed the whole day , so that we can get very good thoughts? Well , we cant do that, because , thoughts have to be converted into reality otherwise the world would not have been a better place to live in.

People nowadays are dying of a new disease called swine flu which we didn't know about it a year before. Other then swine flu, there are many other reasons why people die after falling ill like flu, cancer,AIDS, T.B etc etc... By the way, i read in a Buddhist book "that Tibetans believe that illness like cancer can be a warning , to remind us that we have been neglecting deep aspects of our being, like spiritual needs" how true and profound.
And when they are dying or about to die, not only them but the people around them, the immediate members of their family also suffer. Both don't know what to do in these kind of circumstances except few rare people who know how to help the dying. So what to do in those cases? I will present here some tips as well as some thoughts from what i have read over the years with my opinion of course.
Enough has been said by saints and sages and enlightened people from many ages on how to die spiritually and how to attain samadhi but few things has been said about how to help the common dying person.. lets explore now on some of these things..

What does a person feel and how do his/her family feels when they hear that he/she is going to die soon? How does he take death warning? How does he react? Will his death be peaceful or in a tragic way? Will he die alone or die in front of his family? What about after death? will his family desert him or be with him in his final moments? And many more questions come on and on.
Even we wonder , how does death happen and what functions of the body cease to function.
Even families react in a negative manner when they realize that there is no hope for the person to live now. Their attitude changes, their thinking changes, their way of showing love changes, in short their whole behaviour changes. They dont know hot to comfort the person.

When people are dying slowly , their mind is filled with various emotions and questions. They want answers to certain questions. people dying need more care and love from their family members . In those times, it is far more better to ask them to think positively about death and spiritual knowledge should be given to them about death matters so that their heart comes to rest and they get some peace of mind. I read somewhere that IT IS ONLY WITH SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE THAT WE CAN TRULY FACE AND UNDERSTAND DEATH. How true...

The eternal question which remains is: why do we fear death?
The answer may or can be put down as" because we never think of death and what will happen when the life comes to an end". We go on living like there is no death and waste time in eating, drinking, merry making"...the list can go on ... but when disease or catastrophe comes... we are left thinking on death and fear on unknown. What will happen to our body, what will happen to 'our self', whether there is a place reserved for us in hell by the Satan or god waiting to welcome us in heaven.

We always imagine that when death comes, we will be pushed back to something unknown or become something else. what will become of us after death with no friends, money , property etc etc...and meet strangers on the way. BUT don't we realise that we ourselves are a complete strangers to us? Have we really tried to find out who the self is as told by ramana maharishi?
Sages have told us that what we are at present, that we will be at time of dying. The same is said in bhagwad gita. Such simple statement yet so much thought provoking and a chance to improve ourselves constantly. lets see now somethings in detail.

1- The attitude of the dying person.

A person when dying has many emotions , like i told previously. his thoughts and thinking change drastically and with it the normal behaviour. He feels very insecure and sees everyone sometimes in suspicious way.. there is fear, there is anger, prejudice against somebody, the blaming game that you did this or you did that, the aloofness, both sides of emotions-negative as well as positive, guilt about something., worrying about some unfinished thing in life,strong attachments with family or with objects of life,withdrawal symptoms etc.
Sometimes a person is not even aware that he is dying , it is only when sees people around him in solemn mood that he realizes that something is wrong and slowly slowly comes to know that he is going away from the family and world. Its like a kid going to nursery for the first time without his mother or parents unknown whats going to happen there. He begins to forget things... can't remember people, grows irritable, keep demanding certain things, his behaviour becomes like a small child. He sometimes want to see people who are far away , cries for no apparent reason , becomes moody. He feels remorse and guilty for things said in past to people , family and friends.

2- What he should do or can do.

The dying person , if he comes to know that he is not going to be here soon, should come to terms with the situation and prepare himself. He should prepare to help himself for peaceful way of dying. he should meditate if he can or try to be peaceful or read something from scriptures. He should forgive all who has wronged him, should ask for forgiveness from others if he has wronged them, let go of everything , should let go of any binding attachments , and be more open .
Listen to soft music, and be happy . just keep on giving things to people which can be of importance to others AND prepare a will so that after him, the family doesn't have fights within.

Well... now lets move to the family now, as the family is the most important part of life in any individual, his root and pillar of support, his pillow etc.
The family sometimes doesn't know what to say or how to react or behave in these kinds of circumstances. grief and sorrow comes over in the family as naturally and some people behave awkwardly. lets see how the family can help the people dying without panicking...

3- The family should:

1) love and care for the person going.
2) Prepare themselves of the situation to come
3) Be more peaceful in the place.
4) Help the person to prepare for the inevitable
5) Slowly ... let go of the attachment with the person so that there is no feeling of pain after.

6) The family members should feel natural, relaxed and be as it was before. this will ease the dying person and the environment in the room will improve. let the person die smiling and laughing instead of normal traditional way of pain.

7) There should be free atmosphere in the room so that the person dying can express his thoughts and talk freely about life, emotions and fears and happiness. This will very greatly help the person in transitioning ahead.

8) This is one of the good things which i read recently in a book. " When the dying person is finally communicating his private feelings, do not interrupt, deny what the person is saying". they are in very complex situation in their lives and they need sensitivity ,love and patience from us. Instead of making him afraid by behaving crazily, we should try to be calm and listen to him peacefully without any anger or prejudice. Sometimes the time is short and they want to say more and more and open up at last moment , When for whole of their lives, they have been to themselves and introverted. "JUST SIT THERE AND LISTEN . LISTENING IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART". "learn to listen and listen to receive in silence. make the person accepted"

9) When the dying person says something out of anger , don't take it to heart. they at their last moment of death tend to feel anger and irritation and blame you. just LISTEN.
Elisabeth kubler said that " do not imagine that this rage is aimed at you"
Use humor . humor helps the dying person to ease out and be himself at peace.

10) Sometimes one or some of the family people tries to read to him something from the scriptures or tries to preaches him so that it would help him, but if the person does not like it, then it would turn into arguments and anger. It is good to avoid this when the person does not want it unless asked. only do so after asking or when the person asks you to do it.

11) Another thing i learned," A dying person needs to be shown as unconditional love as possible without expectations. Don't think that you have be an expert. Be natural and yourself, and a friend. the person will be reassured that you are with him and communicating with him." Even if you both have had differences in past, forget it, there is nothing more important then to forget and forgive and help each other when in pain and difficulty. Ask him to forgive anyone who has wronged him

12) Help the person to express out his emotions or grief when they come out. guys, let him be natural . The more he keeps back the more he will suffer. Ask him to just let out everything he can so that he will feel light and calmness in his heart. Ask him to let go his attachments and fears and feel happy,positive, cheerful. Ask him to take out all his grief and prejudice so that he will feel natural inside.

13) Just be with the person. sometimes there is 'silent communication' between 2 person when they meet. just see their eyes and talk with your eyes and heart. smile , just smile.
radiate peace and love to them. they will feel nice.
I would like to cite an example here. recently a bollewood actor, famous for his films in era between 60's to 80's called FEROZ KHAN died of cancer. When he was in hospital, his fellow colleague and friend 'dharmendra' went to meet him. What he describes was that when he went to hospital to meet khan, they just looked at each other, holding hands, crying out and laughing sometimes, communicating with their hearts and only talking whenever needed.
that should be the ideal thing to do.

14) Now the practical thing to do. ask the person if he has any confession to make, finish some unfinished work or concerns, tell anything to people far off or communicate something of importance .

15) Another great thing i have learned some time back from a book is," tell the person that you love him/her . Tell him that you are now going back to your original family of god, and that you are now dying, and that is natural. it happens to everyone. the time we have had together will be always be cherished by me. Don't hold on to life any longer, just let go. you have my full permission to go ahead and die. You are not alone, now or ever. you will be with god"
wow , i think this would calm the person and prepare him for his next 'life' ahead.
let also the family members accept the fact and let go.
If the person is in hospital, make sure that he is allowed his privacy where he is allowed to die peacefully. but i think this can be possible only in hospitals abroad.Not in India. Here , the authorities tell the family to take him home so that other patient can fill in and they get more money.

16) Make the person remember what things in life , they have done and achieved. this will greatly make the person confident in facing life ahead and facing death. make him more happy as possible. ask him to meditate if he can. other family members who can't control their grief should not be allowed near that person.. that will only make the person go negative. let sweet soft music be there in background.

Now that we are done with what the family should do, some of people have questions as to what actually happens at moment of death. well , even I don't know as even if i have died many times previously, i have forgotten it. but i have read about it and found it to be true so here i am presenting it as what happens at death.

Our senses begin to cease slowly one by one. if people are talking around us, then we can hear the sound but not their words meaning that our ear is about to retire.
We look at an object around us and we see only its outline , that means the eye is about to say good bye. the same with other senses.
We get devoid of energy from our body. we cant hold anything or sit up straight.We feel uncomfortable and heavy. our mind becomes frail, frustrated and nervous.
Our eyes begin to dry out.we cant speak anything nor drink or eat anything. there is shortage of breath.

Sometimes the family members remember their dead people and feel longing for them. what they can do is send out positive vibes to them and send them love. Because this will help them to proceed ahead in astral world. Instead of crying for longer time, we can send them love, positive vibrations, and good wishes to them. Crying makes the soul attached while sending love and positive vibrations to them in meditations will help them proceed ahead in astral world.

S friends. here i end this long discussion of helping the dying family members and friends.
here i have quoted some paragraphs or sentences from the book i read recently and which has given me new knowledge , "THE TIBETAN BOOK OF LIVING AND DYING by SOGYAL RINPOCHE. Those quotes , i have put it as " "

Will come back next time with a good topic like this. hope you enjoyed this topic and that would help you somewhere.

god bless you always


Jai Guru said...

very wonderful,interesting and helpful post...keep sharing :)..

jai guru!!!

Priya said...

hi kuldip bhai,,, its a really good topic,,, helpful for the ones like me who actually fear losing their beloved ones.... it enlightens the fact that the ultimate reality is finally the SOUL

Thanks a lot for writing this topic.....