Psycho- Spiritual Support and Guidance for the Dying
-Transforming the Fear of Death-

Interview Liberation Times, Italy

Veetman, please answer a few questions:Why do you offer this training
"Spiritual Support and Care for the dying" ?

The issue of death and dying is the last taboo in our society, and slowly comes into the awareness of people everywhere, and more people become aware that the preparation ,the care for the dying have been neglected, and that preparations for a dignified conscious death are part of a beautiful human life, because each dying person deserves a loving and compassionate care in the end of a lifetime.

And secondly, the mystery of life and death awakens much more interest in the human consciousness, while the collective consciousness expands and recognizes the spiritual dimensions of human life. The old values and the growing comfort become more and more disappointing for our societies. The awakening consciousness of people everywhere opens up for making death and dying again a significant part of human life, as it has always been in the great cultures of the past.In all highly developed cultures death was treated as an important part of the journey of the soul from one life into the other, and people prepared for it while they were still alive. Death was not seen as an enemy but as natural , and people lived with it their whole life, they could see it happening, they were not afraid but lived in deep respect of old age,of death.

Osho makes it clear again that death is a natural part of human life, and that we cannot afford to neglect the significance of preparing ourselves for our dying, whenever it may happen.

The quality of our death determines the quality of our further evolution, and equally important is the fact that the quality of our life now depends on how much we are free from the fear of death. Only a person who is free from fear can be fully conscious and live a life of signifcance and fulfillment.

We all recognize more and more that our life is full of fear, misery, anxiety, because we donīt know anymore how to live a natural life in joy and with reverence for life. And this makes us fear death even more, because we know that our lives are empty, when we die. This knowing, even though unconscious in most of us, creates deep fear in us. The only intelligent way is to look into the face of our mortality,and to prepare for it as fully as we can. Then our fears disappear in the fullness and intensity of our life, through meditation and inner growth towards love and consciousness.

Why is the training sometimes called: Training for guidance into a healing death? This seems to be a contradiction in itself?

In the training we experience that it is possible to die with a feeling of fulfillment, of deep acceptance,of oneness- if we have completed our life, if we have been able to forgive and have arranged our affairs with others, and have found peace in our spiritual heart, peace with our life, peace with others, peace that arises when our life has been an expression of beauty, of sharing, of deep love, when we have made this world a bit more beautiful. When we have found an acceptance and even a celebration of our death, which is only possible if we have realized our eternal being, throuigh love and meditation. In such a state somebody can die a healing death, because there will be no fear left, but just love and gratitude. Then we can say that somebody dies a healing death, even if the body dies; we can say that the essence of that person has been healed, has found his original nature, and dies in harmony with heart and soul. Many people have died in this way- in wholeness and deep gratitude in their heart- because they had prepared for it, they had lived with compassion and given all that they could, and they had found something eternal in their heart while they still had the time and energy for it.

Why do you offer spiritual support and guidance for the dying and their families?

If the dying is a little open to face the fact of his death, and to look at his life before death, he can recognize his eternal being, which is not the body and the personality, more easily than at any other time in life, because there is no future anymore, no hopes or illusions. There is only the moment to moment reality, and the urgency to realize something that is not mortal. The dying are often very open to heal their psychological pain, to finish their business, because in the face of death LOVE becomes the most important quality. The dying person can feel it in humself that without the experience of deep love our whole life remains meaningless. Our work of being with the dying is only to be unconditionally present, with love, honesty and compassion. Thatīs what the dying needs the most- courage and support to go into his heart, and to release the identification with the body. In that state it is possible to die a healing death- because the consciousness, the essential being, knows this reality. Our work is to recognize `that which never diesī in our heart, in our being. When someone dies in sucha peace, it is a great gift for all present. We can easily be aware of our own immortal being when being present with someone dying in deep acceptance and trust.

What is the difference between the first and the second part of the training?

The first part is more about our own death, the preparation for it, with meditation, compassion for ourselves and others, and the resulting courage to heal all aspects of our being and to live in the inner fulfillment of knowing who we really are. We recognize that love and awareness are the most important qualities in life, because they are the only things that remain when the body dies. Also we learn to guide others into their heart, to forgivenss and towards completing their lives, and into meditation and deep relaxation. We experience and understand the stages of dying and learn how to help another to move from the initial shock of being confronted with the message of impending death, through denial, bargaining, resignation, towards accceptance and even celebration of death. Of course we first have to understand and dissolve our own fears and illusions about death, before we can help someone else to face their death, their pain and aloneness.

The second part is more about the stages of dying, working with fear, loss and grief, the letting go of attachments and unfulfilled desires, and the clear recognition of the ego-structures, and our disidentification from it. Consciously recognizing death as a natural part of life, as a transition into another dimension of existence, and a beginning of a new life.

We move deeply into the quality of authentic compassion, the transformation of fear and pain through our heart chakra, we learn autohypnosis, pain control, and how we guide the dying respectfully and lovingly, how we help the other to experience and understand what meditation and disidentification is. We work with grief, counseling for the bereaved, and how to create the atmosphere around the dying as to be helpful for conscious departure from this body. Which meditations are helpful when our beloved has died, and how to move through grief and to come back to an even deeper understanding of life, so that Life can go on.

For which persons is the training relevant?

It is useful for everyone who is open to use the awareness of our mortality as a powerful reminder to live life now, loving and consciously, and to bring meditation as a quality into daily life. Nothing can make the urgency clearer to realize our eternal being while we still have the energy and the time for it. Of course the training is relevant for all who are working with the dying and their families- doctors, nurses, social workers; in short for all who work with grief and loss and life crises, or those who are personally concerned with death, who have lost or will lose their parents, friends, children or partners, and for those who want to accompany their partners or family when their time comes. There is no greater gift for those who we love than supporting them, accompanying them and encourage them with our love and letting go when they face the end of their life, especially if they have to face great pain or fear. The dying needs a friend who is not afraid of pain and fear, who can authentically help them to understand that it is possible to let go of life with love and real understanding of a new beginning. When being with dying we need to understand that people will die the way they have lived, and that a compassionate presence can be more helpful than comfort or religious ceremonies without any real value.

Nothing can help our inner growth more than to be with the dying, because it constantly reminds us to live our life now, with love and awareness, it helps us to open our heart and to live for the really significant things in life.

This spiritual work with the dying is relatively new in our society, which just now slowly recognizes that the dying need help and support, because we all want to die with dignity and with the awareness that we have been able to love ourselves and others, that we have given and received . That makes life meaningful! Everyone can do this work, because it is not restricted by laws to certain persons with a certain education, as long as we donīt call it healing. It is not ahealing in the medical sense, but a spiritual healing, which of course can also help people to get better after releasing their fear and pain. I myself have experienced people getting well again after they had deeply accepted the fact of their death,and who miraculously got well through deep meditation and living their remaining time with totality and love from an open heart. The great demand shows that more and more people recognize the end of their life as a very significant time, and they need people who can help them with compassion and understanding, who have the courage to face their own mortality and so help others to die with an open heart and with gratitude for their life that has flowered in love, even it has happened in the last weeks or months of their life.

Through our work we want to challenge the total denial of death which is prevelant in our society. This society has a deep investment in pretending that death does not exist. In this way people live with closed eyes pretending that we are here forever, or that only others will die. Becuase we donīt want to change our unconscious lifestyle. But death makes us aware that this superficial life will be taken away, that everything will be taken away after we have fought and worked for it, without ever asking if there is more to life than our pleasure,possesions, comfort and desires. All these will not help us when we have to face our death, and looking back at an empty or loveless life makes death very painful, beyond everything we can imagine.

An intelligent human being will ask for the significance of our life, our death, will ask these questions: who am I? where do I come from? where am I going to? Is this short life all there is? is there a greater intelligence ? am I really separate from life?

Our society depends on our denial of death; who will continue to struggle and live only for superficial values when we realize that we are going to lose all that we have accomplished ?

And only someone who lives with this awareness can be free- because he will no longer be controlled by the values of a society that wants only obedience, no rebellious individuals. A rebel will stand up for himself against all that limits his individuality and his birhtright to be responsible and mature. This is the ground on which authentic spiritual life can grow, and on which we can approach the essential issue of death with a new vision.

OSHO is the only one in our times who says that even death can be a celebration. This challenges all old religious conditionings which say that death has to be mourned, and that have used our fear of death to keep us in obedience through guilt and fear. The first step is to free ourselves from them, so that we can again see the beauty of life and existence, and we will be able to accept even our ageing, our death.

`People will die just as they have livedī. The significance of meditation, which includes the awareness of death, is in helping us to realize the potential that we all carry inside: to be conscious and loving human beings, in harmony with nature and in deep reverence for life.

Death reminds us that we have the choice and the responsibility either to live in fear, suffering and unconsciousness, or to live in consciousness, love and gratitude for our existence.

We are facing a global crisis. politically, socially and ecologically, the issue of death, and human suffering , because they all influence each one of us in some way or other. Life means impermanence and change, and there is no lasting outer security for anyone here. Living with this truth challenges us to realize the eternity of life in ourselves. Meditation and deep reverence for life are the only answers for this situation. 

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