HEALING & DEATH — Strange Bedfellows

Healing and death.  Could there be more contradictory concepts?  After all death is the ultimate failure of healing.  Isn't it?

Healing implies a process by which suffering is relieved. A broken bone heals, yet it is not the same as before. There may be healing of a cut, yet a scar remains. So nothing returns to its previous state of being.  How could it?  Everything changes, nothing remains the same, even in healing.

And healing is not the same as curing.  As Ram Dass states, "healing is not the same as curing, after all; healing does not mean going back to the way things were before, but allowing what is now to move closer to God."

In a sense, healing means moving towards a state of peace, of serenity. It represents a cessation of suffering.  So in the Buddhist sense, healing recognizes an awakening to the nature of mind and its power to lead us into or out of suffering.

Consider how we suffer when we fear an unfavorable outcome to any of life's experiences. We may be afraid that we have failed an exam, messed-up a job interview, offended someone we care about.  We fear the loss of someone we love and who loves us.  We suffer in that state of mind–at the present moment.

Only in time do we come to realize that our suffering may have been totally unecessary.  We didn't fail the exam, we weren't fired, our loved-one understood why we said what we did.  At once the self-imposed prison of our minds releases us–healing occurs.

And if we did fail in any of those examples–then the suffering could be justified at that particular time. Any prior distress was wasted energy.  Furthermore, suffering when appropriate should be viewed as a source of motivation to correct the mistake.  It should not become a chronic state of mind.

Even in death, there is healing.  How so?  Because if it follows the deterioration, malfunctioning, discomfort or pain of a failing body, then, indeed, death ends physical suffering.  In this release, death becomes an ironic  source of healing .

But doesn't death leave suffering in its wake?  What about the loved ones left behind ?

Perhaps the recognition of metaphysical truth will help–to paraphrase, we are not human beings having a spiritual experience , but spiritual beings having a human experience.  

Such awareness may help us realize that  our own suffering is self-centered.  We mourn what we no longer have from that physical connection with the deceased. The power of this emotional loss may cloud our primary goal–to have our loved one at peace.  

Also we should be aware that despite emotional suffering, suicide does not produce healing.  On a spiritual level,after death the soul remains aware of its distorted thinking and has acquired the additional burden of observing the devastating effects of its actions on those who remain behind.

So the metaphysician within each of us should be mindful that healing and death are not always contradictory concepts.


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