(Excerpt: Introduction)

Why should we care about death? Unless we are faced with death, we tend to think little about it. We may even avoid the topic entirely. It makes us uncomfortable to talk about it, as it may bring up fears, or feelings of loss and grief, we'd rather not feel. It is certainly not the most fun or entertaining subject and, based on our culture, may even be considered impolite to discuss. In some Asian cultures, there is a superstition that simply talking about death can cause something bad to happen. If we are young and healthy right now, we simply have many other things on our minds, and death seems far away. Maybe we even fool ourselves into thinking we are invincible and cannot get hurt or seriously ill. When we are older, in the middle of our life, we are probably too busy to think much about it. Perhaps as we reach retirement age, we start to ponder our death more often, in part because more people around us get ill or die, and we get closer to The End. If we hardly think about death, it may be because we manage to distract ourselves from such thoughts. However, there usually comes a time in everyone's life when we must deal with a death when life's tragic circumstances force us to come to grips with our mortality. At this point, we can no longer suppress or hide the questions that come up inside of us. Maybe this happens as one of our loved ones is passing or has suddenly died. Maybe it is you, confronted with a terminal illness, or perhaps you survived an accident and got a wake-up call. Such life crisis jolts us immediately out of our ordinary state. But what are we supposed to wake up from? We may have gotten in the rut of everyday things, distracted by life's obligations or keeping up with tasks and demands that never end. Some may get complacent, go through their days on autopilot, or always look to the future with the illusion that they will be happier when they get that new job, a different partner, a long-awaited vacation, or when they finally retire. We assume that our life will more or less continue as we know it, that our loved ones will be around, and that we'll be healthy with more time to do this or that. So, in the life-altering moments facing a terminal illness or death situation, we wake up to the immediacy and preciousness of our life, body, relationships, and the remaining time we have. We wake up to what is absolutely crucial! We see everything in a new light and with new meaning. It's like a slap in the face that tells us to wake up and look around. Wouldn't it be nice if we only needed a gentle reminder? It's interesting to see how much of our time is spent preparing for the birth of a child. If you have ever been around expecting parents or have been pregnant yourself, you will know the extent to which that happens. The future parents likely create a colorful room, read books and magazines to help them understand what to expect during pregnancy, and what happens during each week of development. They take classes, learn about all the different ways to give birth, what to do and not to do, how to care for the newborn, and how to feed, clean, and keep it healthy. They learn about possible pregnancy-related illnesses and children's diseases, all before the baby even arrives. Many parents immediately create a trust fund to secure their child's college education. In school, we at least get a basic education about how children are born, but unless we learn as part of religion or philosophy, or we are a medical student, no one seems to educate us about death. It is something that also affects each one of us, sooner or later. Pregnancy affects nearly half the population (women); death, however, will affect everyone. Why don't we talk about it? Learning about birth is serious, and even more crucial is the education on what to do after birth. However, many do not put the same care, thought, and preparation for their death and what comes after. Nor do we tend to prepare to assist in someone else's death, to ensure we know what to expect, how to care properly for them, and ease their fears. It is my hope that one day this will be the case, and we learn just as much about dying as we do about pregnancy and birth. Living in a physical body, which seems to contain only the memories and references about to our physical life, conditions us to identify more closely with the physical body. We start to believe we are the physical body, and when it ceases to exist, we also cease to exist. I would like to invite you to open yourself up to the possibility that this may not be the case. There is indeed much research and evidence to the contrary if one dares to take a look. There is enough information available to help us reconsider our current concepts. Many of our beliefs about life and death have been passed down from generation to generation. They are culturally accepted or assumed by our faith. In this book, I make a case to broaden our ideas and look at life and death from a different perspective. Most of the information I present herein is based on research and observations made through out-of-body experiences (OBEs), also referred to as "lucid" or "conscious" projections outside the body and near-death experiences (NDEs), which are both covered in Chapter 2. In addition to noteworthy studies and evidence, I provide some practical exercises that will have a positive effect in anyone's life, regardless of whether they believe in life after death or not.

Table of Contents & Introduction 

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