Death: the doorway to knowledge, understanding and peace
By Shokti Lovestar, who facilitated the first LGBT Death Cafe We are approaching the dark time of the year, when the veils are thin and the spirit is close bringing with it much that is waiting to be revealed. Samhain is the time to remember the dead, honour death and rebirth in ourselves, and is an opportunity to face our fear of death, move beyond that fear and know our deepest nature as eternal soul. When we let go of our attachment to life's dramas and fascinations we can surrender into the arms of the greater being. Our individual consciousness is revealed as a wondrous manifestation of the spirit that gives rise to all life and all existence. We have nothing to fear, nothing to hide, nothing to feel ashamed about and nothing to lose. Life is a miraculous gift we have been given in order to explore our desires and dreams. We are always eternal children at play whatever story we are telling ourselves about our lives. I recently met the partner of a long time friend now living in the south of France, a gentle caring man who in his early 20s faced death in the face when he feared he had become infected with hiv. This was in the early 1990s. The test came back negative, but while waiting for the result this man offered his prayers sincerely to the god whose presence he had felt back in his childhood, accepted the mortal fate and prepared himself to die. He calmly let go of everything, all attachments and all fears, surrendering himself to what would be. In that place of emptiness he felt the loving grace of Jesus, he knew the compassionate light of the Buddha. He felt himself to be one with all life, and was filled with deep eternal peace. This is the feeling of death. For Jean Paul a six month journey began into the magic and awe of mystical connection. The feeling of connection and amazement does fade, life takes over and draws us in its various directions, but at times the energies align and the grace and peace return. Many of us have had experiences along similar lines, and any life challenging illness can be the gateway... for gay men HIV was a massive opportunity to make a huge shift in consciousness. I went through a parallel story to Jean Paul, also in the 90s before effective treatments came along, but in my case the result was positive. As I prepared myself to die, I became increasingly open to other dimensions of existence. I came to see us humans as souls who began a journey on this planet a very very long time ago, so long that we have forgotten we are on a journey. The time of remembrance is coming. The gates will open and our travels will be seen and our sufferings understood. We are spirit as well as flesh. During the Samhain season we have a chance to explore and remember the spirit part. By remembering people who have left their bodies, communing with them through the heart, emptying the mind of its doubts and questions, and instead opening it to hear the words and songs of spirit, we can transform much that is afraid or uncertain in ourselves.