• 23 Jun 2017 6:42 AM | Dale Presly (Administrator)

    Books like this don’t fall into the hands of the living every day. I was about to write one myself when I stumbled upon this edition.

    As you might expect, a variety of different death scenarios are covered. The book could have a subtitle, What You Encounter After Death. I’m going to focus on the chapters that speak of death from natural causes—the ones that fit with the Salish Sea Hospice Project. So— no suicides (assisted or otherwise), no homicides, no death by misadventure.

    The opening chapter is aptly called, You Are Dead. After just a few paragraphs, I see that the first surprise for deceased persons is the realization that they have actually died. It is normal for dead folks to wander amongst the living for a while. Not for too long. Otherwise they risk becoming ghosts and poltergeists. Eventually though, even the ghosts move on, usually with a little help from the living.

    Death brings release from the physical body, which is a huge relief. ‘Ecstatic’ is the word the book uses. Shortly after death, some of the dead try to comfort their loved ones. However, very few of the living respond to these efforts, which frustrates the newly dead. Even so, a few manage to connect with the living in the dream state. Others are weary of the human journey and just want to get away.

    Another chapter, Death After Long Illness, was an eye opener. The book points out that living with years of disease and medication blurs the line between life and death. When the person does die, they aren’t sure if they’ve crossed over or not. Some of them continue to play out the disease conditions they died of, which can include the effects of the drugs they were taking prior to death. No one is stuck in these states, though many need help to get out.

    The chapter on addictions underscored some spiritual physics. When a person dies in active addition, let’s say it’s with alcohol, they find a cosmic bar where other addicts hang out and the drinking games continue. Some of the other addictions, the darker ones, were hard to read through. Is it punishment? Not really—just the way it works. In death, as in life, we attract what we desire, spend a lot of time doing or thinking about.

    It is a little out of the ordinary for a living person to get their hands on a book like this. Several times I felt I had slipped into a waking dream state after I began reading. There was something else that was very strange—the book seemed to ‘know’ who was reading it.

    Handbook For The Recently Deceased is a challenging book to summarize for a living person. Most folks simply aren’t looking for titles like this. I’ll try to summarize the main points.

    First point, you meet yourself at death. Shortly after death, each of us drops into a landscape that contains everything we believed in, hoped for, feared or desired in life. It’s all there, nothing hidden or concealed. Not surprisingly, many dead folks find themselves in a landscape that resembles an overgrown, untended jungle. It’s easy for them to get lost and many do. The book has humor. One chapter begins with a quote, ‘Death washes a lot of stuff away but not before a good soak’.

    Second point. The after death realms are vast. Most dead folks end up in the near earth or astral realms, not that far away. We the living, visit these places in dream states, so they are quite familiar. The near earth realms are like a big city that has everything and anything one could imagine. In fact, what is imagined becomes real. Dead folks who belonged to organizations on Earth recreate the same thing after death. There is no destination called heaven or hell, other than what the dead person creates or is drawn to.

    Third point. Death is a not a big deal unless you hold on. In other words, letting go of the human story is the biggest challenge a deceased person faces. Great numbers of dead folks simply continue with the same story they played out in life. The result can appear in subsequent lives as mental imbalance or disease.

    The central message of the book is this: death with awareness, a conscious death, determines what happens next. The book alludes to something else, something close to my heart. If the dying person had someone at the deathbed, someone they could connect with as they were dying and after death, then the journey is off to a good start. 

    The missing chapter would be called Companioning.

  • 19 May 2017 9:57 AM | Dale Presly (Administrator)

    The five Mythic senses of awareness, imagination, focus, compassion and expression are familiar but take a back seat to the biological senses of vision, hearing, taste, touch and smell. 

    Mythic senses become active with use. They are an experience. Mythic senses do not involve thinking and logic. There are no five step programs or stages, no methods or manuals. It’s like learning to ride a bike. No amount of reading or positive affirmations will teach you how to ride. You have to get on, find the pedals and push. Riding a bike activates the ‘bike sense’. The essential experience of bike sense is balance.

    You don’t think about riding or you’ll fall. ‘Now I’m putting my feet on the pedals.’ ‘Now I’m pushing down.’ It doesn’t work. You have to let go to have the experience.

    Mythic senses are the same. They are experiential. Mythic senses have a dream-like quality quite unlike the linear, time and space orientation of mind thought—one reason why it’s hard to remember dreams. Language falls short, as it does here.

    Since Mythic senses aren’t grounded in biology, they are independent of the body and the mind. Near death experiences confirm this fact. However, you don’t have to die to experience the same phenomena. Dreamwalking activates the Mythic senses. Dreamwalking goes beyond the limited reality of the body and the thinking mind; which happens every night in dream time.

    Releasing the human story is the #1 challenge facing humans at death. The majority of people dying today are unpracticed in the skill of releasing or letting go. Witness the struggle to die, the pain, the angst and now, assisted death. It’s surprising given that fact that by middle age we’ve had over 20,000 opportunities to practice dreaming.

    Can you relax your hold on the carbon based, mind-driven, highly programmed reality? Can you disconnect from consensus reality, the grid, the matrix or whatever you know as the madding crowd? Can you unplug from external networks and allow yourself to experience another perspective?

    It’s beneficial to disconnect on a regular basis. Turn off the mobile devices. Go to a wild place. Go alone. That’s the hard part—being alone. Alone feels lonely at first. Alone feels a bit like dying and in a sense it is. Disconnecting from the human story is what death asks dying people to do. Imagine how hard that is without practice?

    Dying is a skill. We learn dying the same way we learn to ride a bike—by doing it. A Companion holds the bike steady while we find the pedals. Holding the bike or the death steady is Companioning.

  • 01 May 2017 9:53 AM | Dale Presly (Administrator)

    Dreams figure large in living and dying. Dreams reveal more than physical senses perceive. In dreams and in death, you meet yourself—all the longings, fears and beliefs. 

    Some years ago I gave a series of workshops that explored the attributes of the waking dream state called Dreamwalking. Dreamwalking is similar to day dreaming. You’re not asleep. You aren’t astral traveling. You are here and you are there—at the same time. 

    The 'there' is what Dreamwalking is all about. There are the imagined worlds as real as this one. There could be a past life. There could be the beginning of a bed time story you read to a child. Once upon a time a long time ago… you suggest where there could be to the child so the child can dream.

    Here is what took happened. I took them through a relaxation exercise. I suggested a scene, they filled in the details in individual and appropriate ways. I was the waiter in a cosmic restaurant. I set the scene and showed them to a table. They ordered (imagined) the rest. Some dined well. Others went hungry. They didn’t imagine anything. They were, in a sense, stuck.

    ‘Stuck’ describes where a lot of folks are at these days—especially the ones who are dying. Depression is an example of being stuck. Depression is a failure of the mythic imagination.

    The act of dreaming is inherently meaning making. If you didn’t dream, you wouldn’t be here. Before we could walk, we dreamed of walking. In the sleep of death what dreams may come. They always do.

    Dying folks can sense who the dreamers are at the deathbed. Ever wonder why they die when family members step out of the room? It’s easier to die in the presence of a dreamer. Dreamers don't get bogged down in the mind games of consensus reality.

    Dreamwalking is a skill, like riding a bike is. No one can teach you. You learn by doing. I can hold the bike steady, but you have to get on and find the pedals. As a Dreamwalker, I can hold dying steady. You can too. This is Companioning.

    Healing is a similar process. I once used Reconnective Healing in a hospice self-care clinic. Some visitors were grieving. A few had cancer. Most were in states of high anxiety.  All were open to what medication seldom delivers on—a break from the mind chatter and the sense that their experience had purpose and meaning.

    Healing is mediated through dream states or what are known as non-ordinary states of consciousness. You aren’t whole without your dreams. The task of a Companion is to create a space where the client can, if they choose, experiencewholeness through a dream state.

    Healing is not appropriate for the dying. Companioning is.

    Companioning is a model of death care that calls the Mythic imagination into conscious awareness. You dreamt your way into the Earth experience. You can dream your way out.

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