The Journey’s End is the Only Cause of Death

And He said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed upon the ground, and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he knows not how. The earth produces of itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts the sickle, because the harvest has come”. The Gospel of Mark, Parables 4:26-29

Everything grows; a dream grows towards becoming a reality. A journey grows towards its destination. A project grows towards completion and a search grows towards the finding. Everything alive seeks to reach higher, a plant and a tree grow towards the sun, their source of life. The body grows towards the sun, its source of life. The ego grows towards the soul its source of life. The soul grows towards God, or The Source, its life.

It is that growth which pushes us. It is an aching, the aching of the seed, the aching of the plant, and the aching of every life on earth. We seek growth in everything that we do. We challenge our bodies through sports, and through weights. We challenge our minds through puzzles and through overcoming obstacles, finding a new way. We challenge our souls through the obstacles and sorrows that we place before ourselves in life.

What is the reason for growth? It is to unite with our Source, become one with it. Our dreams grow to unite with reality. Our ideas grow to unite with form. Once the light is reached the journey is over. The process is complete. When that is achieved, the seeker becomes that which was sought. The journey becomes the destination. The being becomes its purpose for being. Everything grows to reach its light because it is that light which gives it life. We exist to seek the light, the light enlightens our way, and the light is the force within us that motivates our journey.

The light is the beginning, and the end, the alpha and the omega. To reach the light is the culmination, the highest point that we can achieve, and yet, at the same time the light is the death. It is the end. It is where we begin, our purpose for the journey and the end of it. To die is not to end it is to finally become. The seed dies to become the tree, the caterpillar dies to become the butterfly, the idea dies to become the creation, the dream dies to become the reality. It is a never ending process of birth, death and resurrection. There is no end. We leave one life when it is done. We are born at the moment that God destines our journey to begin in this life, and we die when God destines that it is over. My birth might be called a fluke, my mother could not go into labor, she had already lost one child for that reason. My father stayed out all night, one of many all nighters that he pulled. This night, she decided that he would not spend the next day resting up in bed as was his habit after an all nighter. This night, she decided that he would suffer. So, the next day when he came home she told him that she was in labor and he had to take her to the hospital. To her surprise, the umbilical cord was strangling me and she had to have an immediate emergency C-Section.

The body of the baby dies to become the toddler. The body of the toddler dies to become the child. The body of the child dies to become the teenager. Look at pictures, each resembles the other but each does not share the same body of the other. We die most deaths without know it anymore than we notice the birth of the toddler, or of the adolescent or adult. At the end of each life, there is simply no more script to read, no more lines for our character, it doesn’t matter how old or how young we leave this incarnation, some souls choose to accomplish a great deal in a short time. If a baby survives for only a minute, that baby has still changed the life of the mother who carried it into the world and the family that waited for its arrival. A life touches others for as long as it is written into the play. God allows the soul to choose the length of its stay. And the purpose that it is here to accomplish. We arrive on time and leave on time. The way that we leave is the way our plot ends. It completes the story, the story we chose, and the one chosen for us. They are one in the same. No one causes the death of another as no one causes the birth of another.

The Bhagavad-Gita is a spiritual epic about life, death and our relationship with God in between. As is so very appropriate today, it is the story of Arjuna, a warrior at a time when each person had a role to fill, teacher, ruler, warrior, etc. It is a story of a great battle lasting between warring families and the kingdoms that are their allies. Because of his birth, Arjuna is forced to fight in this battle. Before the battle begins, he asks his charioteer, Krishna, to drive him into the center of the battlefield so that he can see clearly who he will be fighting. He sees that he will be fighting those closest to him, his family members, teachers, mentors, brothers and father-in-law. He is overcome with grief at the prospect of fighting those he loves dearly.

“Arjuna said: My dear Krishna, seeing my friends and relatives present before me in such a fighting spirit, I feel the limbs of my body quivering and my mouth drying up.” “I am now unable to stand here any longer. I am forgetting myself, and my mind is reeling. I see only causes of misfortune, O Krishna, killer of the Keshi demon.” “I do not see how any good can come from killing my own kinsmen in this battle, nor can I, my dear Krishna, desire any subsequent victory, kingdom, or happiness.” “O Govinda, of what avail to us are a kingdom, happiness or even life itself when all those for whom we may desire them are now arrayed on this battlefield? O Madhusudana, when teachers, fathers, sons, grandfathers, maternal uncles, fathers-in-law, grandsons, brothers-in-law and other relatives are ready to give up their lives and properties and are standing before me, why should I wish to kill them, even though they might otherwise kill me? O maintainer of all living entities, I am not prepared to fight with them even in exchange for the three worlds, let alone this earth. What pleasure will we derive from killing the sons of Dhritarashtra?”… “Better for me if the sons of Dhritarashtra, weapons in hand, were to kill me unarmed and unresisting on the battlefield.” “It would be better to live in this world by begging than to live at the cost of the lives of great souls who are my teachers. Even though desiring worldly gain, they are superiors. If they are killed, everything we enjoy will be tainted with blood.”

I didn’t know, when I read this years ago, why it felt so important to me. It was not only the message, but the context of war and the inner conflict that any good hearted man or woman must struggle with that stayed with me. Arjuna is a warrior, battle is not his conflict but with whom he must fight. In his argument laments the fact that although the perpetrators of the war are only fighting out of greed, why must he kill, knowing that it is wrong. He cannot understand how in killing those he loves, knowing it is wrong, he is not equally as sinful as those who do not care who they who kill.

The soldiers know that we support them, but not the war that they are fighting. We have learned from Vietnam not to fault the soldiers, but to love them, pray for them and support them. Yet, it does not matter to the soldiers that we support them, because we are supporting them without really knowing what they are doing that we are supporting. If you tell me that you believe in me, but I cannot tell you what I am really doing, or that I cannot believe in myself for doing it – I gain no comfort from your support. Most Americans do not really know, or really want to know what our soldiers must do and must see. There is no way to erase images that are emotionally or traumatically imprinted on the mind. But what can be done to in some way help those who are suffering loss, or are struggling with the guilt and or shame of feeling responsible for causing the death of another is to help them open up to the possibility of accepting that what we see as death, is a transition, and not one that man, regardless of his actions is capable of causing. The moment of our birth and the moment of our departure from the body are two moments more fated than any other in our lives. As Krishna told Arjuna:

“As the embodied soul continuously passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. A sober person is not bewildered by such a change.”… “That which pervades the entire body you should know to be indestructible. No one is able to destroy that imperishable soul.”…“ One man believes he is the slayer, another believes he is the slain. Both are ignorant; there is neither slayer nor slain. You were never born; you will never die. You have never changed; you can never change. Unborn, eternal, immutable, immemorial, you do not die when the body dies. Realizing that which is indestructible, eternal, unborn, and unchanging, how can you slay or cause another to be slain?
As a man abandons his worn-out clothes and acquires new ones, so when the body is worn out a new one is acquired by the Self, who lives within. The Self cannot be pierced with weapons or burned with fire; water cannot wet it, nor can the wind dry it. The Self cannot be pierced or burned, made wet or dry. It is everlasting and infinite, standing on the motionless foundation of eternity. The Self is unmanifested, beyond all thought, beyond all change. Knowing this, you should not grieve.”
( Bhagavad Gita 2.19-25)

When all of the pieces come together we become complete. To become is to die as we were. We die as that which seeks fullness, and are reborn as that which is full. We die as the question and are reborn as the answer. We change into the form that we seek.

Death is not the end of life; it is the end of a form, the end of an experience. It is the completion of a quest, our search for the Pearl. We each go out into the world for a reason, and when we have found what we were looking for or done what we went out to do, we all return home. We wear the garments appropriate for our journey. When we return home, we remove them. This is as it should be. It is when we return home that we are truly together.

Our lives that were once so connected with each other will die. We each go on to build new lives in new places and regardless of how much we loved each other while we were together; the time comes to move on. This is death. It is not the ending of a life; it is the ending of an experience. The act of dying is simply the ceremony, the ritual attached to that moving on, to that removal of our outerwear. Death comes much more peacefully than birth. There are many old souls who would rather die a thousand deaths than be born once more.

I was sitting with a friend of mine at the New Jersey shore, when she told me about a man who had been standing in the bay fishing when a helicopter fell out of the sky and landed on him. Needless to say, he died. She then remarked that there was no doubt that it was his time. We all have our time it is that moment when we have completed all that we came here to do. It does not matter where we are when our time comes because when it comes we will leave. The means of our departure is part of our journey but not the cause of its end.

We establish, before we incarnate all of the things that we are going to accomplish while here. In some lives there are many major events that we need in order to complete our mission, and our lessons. For others the lessons are very few, sometimes everything we experience in our lives is only to support one lesson. Sometimes we just come in to help another soul that we are close to, as in the case of many children who die very young. It is not for themselves that they come; it is to help their families with a lesson and sometimes to effect the whole society as in the case of Ryan White. The length of years that we spend here is not the issue. There are times when in order to connect with all of the souls that we have agreed to connect with we must spend many years on the earth. There are times when it is but a few hours.

Often the time of death is chosen in order to fit in with lessons of those close to us. Perhaps the experience of our dying is a group experience. Or perhaps it is a part of a lesson for those closest to us. So the time when this can best be accomplished will be our time, that time when we graduate to the next level or need to move to another life for our next set of lessons.
When it is our time there is no reason for our soul to stay incarnate. This has nothing to do with our ego attachment to being here, the ego does not rule the lesson, and it is only one of the tests. Often we will place other points in our lives where we may or may not die and although these points do not mark the end of our lesson here in this life, they still mark points where we may end our time here if our souls are ready. We are given the choice. These are times when things like prayer are very important. These are times when we are able to build our faith. We are brought to the edge and allowed a miracle to bring us back. We are able to make a permanent connection with our spirit and see it manifest in our lives. This is a gift to us.

Sometimes we need to come close to death in order to prepare for the next step in our lives. In other cases we need to be brought to the point of choice so that we can make a conscious decision to be here. Once in a while a soul just cannot appreciate being here because he or she may feel that it was not their choice. If that person has a near death experience and makes a choice to return, life then has a different value. When we die it is always our time, it is a time that has been predetermined and agreed upon by all of our soul family. It is a time appointed by God. It is the right time. It happens in the right way, and we are grateful for what it brings to our souls through the experience. It is a completion, a graduation. When someone we love departs from the physical body, we can always feel their presence if we open ourselves to it.

It is important to understand that when someone leaves his or her body, the connection that they had with the souls left behind does not end. The work that we came together to do must be completed. We have to accept that everything in the physical world has a beginning and an end. Yet the end is in effect a merging with a new beginning. Any guilt or regret should be redirected to positive changes for future situations. Nothing is left unfinished, we may not like the conclusion, but death is the period at the end of our sentence on earth, but by no means the end of our story.

When we leave this earth plane and look back on our time here, it is neither the pain nor the joy that we remember, it is the fullness, the richness of all of both pain and joy combined. It is the roller coaster ride that is life that we long to return to. Birth, death, and the time in-between are all points on the circle, which is life. There is really no beginning and no end, those are just illusions. There is just life, continuous, changing and yet always remaining the same, Life.

Would Jesus Call A Dead Child Collateral Damage?

I just finished reading a story about a little six-year-old girl, Sara, living in Baghdad, who was sitting in her living room singing and playing with her baby brother while her mother listened lovingly from the kitchen as she prepared lunch. Suddenly a bomb blast ripped through the apartment where they lived and killed both children. We are told that we entered Iraq to make a difference and givea better life to the Iraqis, but to Sara it won’t make a difference. It was Sara’s freedom we went there to ensure, but we killed her.

Her mother doesn’t see her child as a worthy price to pay for freedom; her child was the only reason freedom would have mattered.

We must remember that there is no such thing as victory in war. The only valid response to war, regardless of the outcome, – is mourning. There are no victors, only victims to a greater or lesser degree. Life, for many Iraqis, may not have been a life that we would consider good, but the choice of death should have been left up to them. Yet, many supported this war and the reasons we have been given for it. We must not fight against those who believe in war. Einstein said that we cannot find a solution at the level of the problem. We cannot fight aggression with aggression. The people of India had no weapons to rid their country of British occupation.

They did not have the arms to fight, but Gandhi realized they had the power. Peace is power. Love is power. Aggression will win some battles, but peace, when firmly believed in and held to fast, will always win the war. So we must stand for peace.

Women are gifted with a natural talent for peacemaking. That is what we must do: we must reach other woman. Because we can, we must reach the love within each woman, the mother, the daughter and the sister within each woman. It is easy to kill children when we do not see their faces; it is easy to say it is worth the cost, when we do not have to know the cost. This is what we can do. We can march — not against war, but in mourning for the children killed in the name of freedom. We must mourn, not fight. We must mourn, not demonstrate. We must feel our hearts and show our hearts to the world and to our children. We must teach the next generation that life has value. No one can teach these lessons except women. We as women must put an end to mass graves. We must use love to put an end to the only real weapon of mass destruction: hate.

The Sale of America, Piece by Piece

There was a time when this was a nation – not of states, but of tribes. The nation had a rich history that was known well by its proud Natives. I don’t even know what the nation was called because immigrants, some armed with guns, some armed with liquor, some armed with guns, destroyed the nation. They weakened the natives, robbed them of their food supplies, their livelihood and finally their homes.

The invading immigrants built a new nation, not out of tribes but out of states. Generations found the old nation vanishing along with its inhabitants. The remaining descendents of that nation and its tribes were relegated to small pockets across the land called reservations.

The new Nation, called the United States of America, then built itself into a powerful nation, inhabited by its own generations of proud natives. Until one day, immigrants, armed some with drugs and some with investment capital came along and weakened the natives, robbed them of their food supplies, their livelihood and finally their homes. Generations are finding this nation vanishing along with its once proud inhabitants. The new Nation, called the United Investment Holdings of the World, will build itself into a powerful fund for wealthy corporations around the globe. Its inhabitants, loyalists only to their home nations will also remain proud – but will never be natives.

If you think that it couldn’t happen to us – so did the original Native Americans. Perhaps it is the revenge of the Great Spirit, or the result of greed – or maybe just a cycle returning to its beginning point. Whatever it is, this country is losing itself. My father came to this country in 1918, like thousands of other immigrants, to leave behind old roots, old nationalities and become a part of the American Dream. He and countless others came here to plant the seeds of their dreams in new soil and to build a life as an American from the land that was America. They came here to melt into the melting pot – leave their old identities behind – to speak American, to dream American and to become American. They came, not only to pledge allegiance to the flag, but to pledge allegiance to fulfilling the promise of Democracy and of the Constitution of the United States. They came to be a part of that becoming.

Americans lost sight of their nation and its meaning, they lost sight of history. They saw only the gold. To Americans, the land did not represent its original principals, its original spirit, it represented booms, and rushes. There were gold rushes, silver rushes, oil rushes, and real estate booms. Immigrants began to come from other countries, not to become Americans, but only to off of America while remaining true to their homelands. Some, found that they could remain in their own countries and export their drugs to America – living better than most Americans, off of the weakness of Americans. They began killing Americans with their drugs, while buying American and Americans with their money – all the while never even crossing the border. Their effect on this nation is no different than the effect of the immigrants who came with small pox to give to the Native Americans. Others, have come armed with capital to invest, robbing the people of their incomes, their ability to feed themselves – while keeping all of the profits safe within their own native lands.

Perhaps this is what happens when you build a dream instead of a nation. When you build on what it has to sell rather than the people who make it a nation. I once thought that what was great about this country was that it was the only country founded on dreams and ideals. I realize that what made this country beautiful – the dreams – the ideals – were never planted into the soil of the nation which is its people. The funny thing is, that we miss this country, we know that it is slipping through our fingers, but we still don’t get why. We still don’t see, that like the American Indians, back when they were Indians and not Native Americans, our identity as a nation is intrinsically connected with the land that our nation inhabits. Our identity as a nation is intrinsically connected with the businesses that it builds and the people – the Americans – that they feed.

Again, it could just be karma. The nation was built on stolen land, perhaps that destines it to having the land stolen from it. Karma is only balance. The nation has a karma – not in deed – but in intention. Balancing karma does not require the impossible; it does not require undoing what cannot be undone. We can balance karma by realizing the error of what we have done and making a commitment never to do it again. Instead, what we did was commit to becoming a nation united in strength and action rather than tribes, divided and weak. And, as a nation united, we will not do what we did to obtain our land. However, rather than dividing into tribes, we have divided into mega-corporations, competing with each other for profits, just as the tribes competed with each other for land. The corporations have enough autonomous power to have aided in the weakening of the nation – no longer united as one people, but divided by the competing interests of different corporations. A corporation has not heart, no home, no loyalty other than to itself. Its home is where its profits are. Capitalism has reached the point where corporations not only control the goods and services of the nation, but they control the flow of information. Whosoever controls the flow of information controls the nation.

“Freedom of the press, or, to be more precise, the benefit of freedom of the press, belongs to everyone – to the citizen as well as the publisher… The crux is not the publisher’s ‘freedom to print’; it is, rather, the citizen’s ‘right to know.’ ” Arthur Sulzburger
1990 American newspaper publisher

The mainstream Media providing the most widely available information is privately owned. It is free under the first amendment to provide whatever information it chooses, even if that information is ultimately in its own best interest. It can choose, and often does, to serve the government which it was designed to censure. There is no branch of government that is not in some way indebted to one if not many major corporations. Capitalism has circumvented the Democracy that our forefathers attempted so desperately to ensure the people. We spend so much money and energy in an attempt to protect our shores from a foreign military invasion, that we have completely lost sight of the fact that there would be no need for any nation to spend money and lives attacking us when all they have to do is buy us, business by business, loan by loan, building by building. It may be a hostile takeover – but we invented them. However we look at it, we are being killed by our own poison.

Unlike the Native Americans of the past, we understand the value of union. We are in a position to take back our nation as a people and to put the rights and the freedom of the people before those of any entity be it the government, a corporation or a religious group. No organization should not have the rights of individuals, it should not under any circumstances have rights greater than those of an individual and it should never be allowed the freedom to act in any way that is contrary to the rights of each individual as defined in the constitution. The only organization granted rights in the bill of rights is the press. Not the press as a corporation but, the press as the bringers of information to the people. We can still save our country from being no more than a piece of valuable real estate, but to do this, we must remember what it meant to be an American before it was equated with being a capitalist. Capitalism is the monster that flourished from the seeds of Democracy, just as Communism was the monster that flourished from the seeds of socialism. When what is good for the whole, becomes less important than what is good for the few, the whole is destined to deteriorate regardless of the label given to the system that caused it.

We are in a bad state. And, as the one stock that most of the world’s investments are tied into, we will not go down alone. But we can change, even if the change is a slow one. Electing Barack Obama as the Democratic nominee tells the world that we are seeking change. Electing Obama President, will place us on the path of change. But only by becoming the United People of America, only by pulling in and giving back to this country and all of its people, all of its diversity, only by reinvesting our hearts into the spirit of the Constitution, can we hope to become the change that we seek. We may have financial problems, but as Americans we are rich in spirit. We have to stop this fire sale mentality that keeps the Carpetbaggers coming in. We must value ‘made in America’ above all else. Any entity that does not give more to the people of this country than it takes for itself is the meaning of un-American. This country needs every to build itself up from within, the educational system, employment, and healthcare must be repaired. It is time for those who have gained so much from this country to give as much back. We need a government that demands it, we need a government that puts the individual above all else. The whole that sees its parts as expendable will eventually expend itself. This country is being divided up and sold off. But we can stop the sale, we can reclaim what is ours, but only through union. So long as the parts are abandoning the whole, the whole has no chance. We need to come together as a nation and worry about our own soil, stop worrying about some terrorist group attacking us, we are selling ourselves off at way below cost.