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Margaret Paul

Death and Dying: Tragedy or Opportunity?
by Margaret Paul, Ph.D.

Our response to any situation in our lives is a direct result of our beliefs concerning that situation. Our individual and societal beliefs concerning what dying is and what happens after death create many of the feelings that result when we are faced with a life-threatening illness or with losing a loved one. The fact that our experience, feelings and behavior follow directly from our beliefs is illustrated in the following examples describing divergent belief systems concerning death and dying.

Do I Have to Give Up Me to Be Loved By God? by Margaret Paul

David, Thomas and Richard were all young, homosexual men who died of AIDS.

David came from a Jewish humanistic/atheistic heritage and had adopted the same beliefs as his parents. His parents loved him dearly and had accepted his sexual orientation as part of their humanistic beliefs. Having no spiritual beliefs or experiences, they have no concept of anything beyond this life. To them, the soul is not separate from the body. Faced with the prospect of their son dying, they were devastated. To them, he would disappear forever into nothingness, a thought they could not bear. David, sharing their beliefs, was terrified of the thought of complete annihilation. Because death to him meant the end of his existence, he spent his last days fighting it, too terrified to give in, even though he was in great pain. When David finally died, his parents became depressed and somewhat bitter. Their son was gone forever. They felt helpless and hopeless and never quite recovered from their loss.

Thomas came from a Fundamentalist Christian background. Both he and his parents considered him to be flawed, less than perfect in the eyes of God. They believed that, because of his sexual orientation, he could not enter the gates of heaven. Thomas’s life had been a torture of self-recrimination over who he was, and during his illness both he and his parents believed he was being punished for being who he was. Death was terrifying to Thomas as he imagined himself locked forever in Hell. His parents, angry and bitter over the prospective loss of their son, took some of this out on him, blaming him for being gay. Thomas and his parents faced his death with fear and anger. After his death, his parents were stoic on the outside and deeply grief-stricken on the inside, with no way to heal the grief.

Richard was raised in a liberal Christian family with strong spiritual values, which were greatly influenced by Native American and Eastern philosophies. His family, close-knit and accepting, did not often attend church but brought their loving, compassionate God into their everyday lives. They accepted their son’s sexual orientation with equanimity, and he never stopped experiencing their unconditional love. Richard and his family believed that life on planet earth is part of an eternal journey of the soul as it evolves toward oneness with Spirit. They believe that our real home is in the spiritual realm, and that death is no more than a shedding of this temporary house of the soul as the soul returns home once again. They believe they will see each other again in the spirit realm, and that dying is not a punishment or a tragedy but just an indication that the lessons on schoolhouse earth are complete for this time around. They see the dying process as another opportunity for learning and growing in their lovingness, and they see death as a transition into new learning opportunities. They felt deep sorrow and grief at the thought of not being together in the flesh, but knowing they would always be together in spirit left them filled rather than empty. Richard approached his dying process as part of his life experience and was surrounded with love when he left his body. His family expressed their sorrow and grief freely, and also their joy that he was out of pain, that his transition was peaceful and that he is in a more beautiful place. They are sad for themselves because they miss him but they are happy for him that he has moved on to his real home. They hold and comfort each other lovingly each time their grief comes up, allowing healing to occur through their shared love and sorrow. They pray for him daily and connect with him in their dreams. His loss motivated them to help other families who have children dying of AIDS.

Losing someone we love or facing our own death is never easy. We all become attached to this earthly level, attached to our bodies as being part of who we are. But it is especially difficult and even tortuous when we believe in no God or in a punishing God.

Creating a new view of death and dying means changing our belief system. The question is, how can we do this? If, like David, we have had no spiritual beliefs, or like Thomas we believe in a punishing God, how can we change this? We cannot change our beliefs only on the level of our minds. Our beliefs change only when we have a new experience and in order to have this new experience we have to be willing to have it. If we want to stay with our old beliefs, then, of course, we will be unwilling to open to anything new. The first step, then, in changing our belief system is our willingness to have a new experience. Once we are willing, then we can open our heart to having a new experience by deciding that we are ready to learn about the truth--we are ready to question our cherished beliefs and receive an experience of our truth. Once we are open to learning, we can explore our present belief system and trace it back to its origins, connecting our fears regarding death and dying with our belief system. Fear comes from false beliefs:





After we understand the beliefs that create our fears of death and dying, we can then open our hearts to Higher Guidance, imagining a coach, a mentor, a teacher, or an angel—someone we imagine within us or outside of us who is filled with wisdom and love. As we imagine talking with and listening to this wise being, we will tap into our truth. Our truth is always available for us when we truly open to it with a deep desire to learn. Learning our truth may take time. We may hear it in our own imaginations through words, pictures, or feelings. We may hear it through the mouths of others, through reading, through dreams. Our truth comes to us in different ways, but we will recognize it only when we are looking for it.

Once we begin to hear our truth and bring it down to our feeling level--the wounded child within who has the false beliefs--we can then take action based upon our new truth. This means living our lives based on this truth. What would you be doing differently if you believed that your soul is not only eternal, but that you are eternally loved by an unconditionally loving God, which means that you are loved no matter what? What if punishment is something you do to yourself through your own false beliefs rather than something imposed upon you from God? What if all of life’s difficulties are challenges for you to move more and more into lovingness and the full manifestation of your Self? What if you are on a wonderful, creative, eternal journey to evolve the very fabric of love--of God--through evolving your own lovingness? What if becoming a more loving human being is your sacred purpose and your sacred privilege? How would you be living your life differently if you believed the above?

The way we know something is true for us is if it brings us peace and joy rather than fear. Darkness brings fear. Lies bring fear. Truth brings joy and peace. The more we open to truth and act on it, the more peaceful and joyful we feel, about life and about death and dying. Thus, taking action based upon new beliefs will lead to knowing what is true for us.

These six steps: Willingness, Opening to Learning, Exploring Beliefs with Wounded Self, Exploring Truth and Loving Action with Higher Self, Taking Loving Action, and Evaluating the Action can lead us to the healing of our false beliefs concerning who we are, what God is, what our purpose is, and anything else. Healing our false beliefs and living in our truth completely changes our experience of life and our experience of death.

©Copyright Margaret Paul, Ph.D.   All Rights Reserved. 

Inner Bonding by Margaret Paul Healing Your Aloneness by Margaret Paul

Healing Your Aloneness Workbook by Margaret Paul

Do I Have to Give Up Me to Be Loved by You, by Margaret Paul

Margaret Paul
Margaret Paul, Ph.D.
is the co-creator of Inner Bonding, a transformational six-step spiritual healing process. She is a best-selling author, noted public speaker, workshop leader, consultant and Inner Bonding facilitator. She has been leading groups, teaching classes and workshops, and working with individuals, couples, partnerships and businesses since 1973.

Margaret is the co-author of Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By You? (over 400,000 copies sold), Free to Love, Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By My Kids?, Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By You?...The Workbook, Healing Your Aloneness, The Healing Your Aloneness Workbook, and author of Inner Bonding and recently released, Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By God? Her books have been translated into ten languages: German, Italian, Danish, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Dutch and Hungarian. Healing Your Aloneness and The Healing Your Aloneness Workbook are best-sellers in Germany. In her spare time, she is an artist. She has three grown children.

Contact: 310-390-5993, 888-6INNERBOND (888-646-6372), Margaret@innerbonding.com, www.innerbonding.com, Inner Bonding® Educational Technologies, Inc., PMB #42, 2531 Sawtelle Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90064


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