Death is, from our physical perspective, the final journey we make. Confronting the issues imposed by the final days of our lives is the greatest of all challenges.
Sadly, we do not live in a society that adequately prepares us for that last great leap into the unknown. Someone who is keenly aware of that fact is Patt Lind-Kyle; an author, teacher, therapist, speaker and consultant who’s book Heal Your Mind, Rewire Your Brain won the Independent Publishers Gold Medal Award and Best Book Award from USA Today News. In her nook Embracing the End of Life she tackles that same thorny issue of dying and offers some practical advice for those making the final steps into death.
Spiritual Process of Death
In the opening to her book the author discusses the act of dying - what it is and the human body’s part in the process. She then expands this into consideration of the spiritual and psychological aspects to death.
Lind-Kyle catalogs three specific steps in the psychological process we go through; whilst demonstrating at the same time how the psyche adjusts to the final period of physical existence. These are;
Step 1: Stages of Resistance. This includes denial, anger, bargaining, depression and despair.
Step 2: From Resistance to Letting Go. This includes transition from birth to death, the revelation, nine characteristics of letting go of death, dying preparation and religious traditions.
Step 3: Letting Go Into Transcendence. This includes nearing death, last moment of death, and suggested readings, music and religious prayers at death.
Step 4: After-Death Experience and Instructions. This includes near-death experiences, beyond death, ways to recognise you are dead and signs to verify the fact.
Preparations For Death
In the following section of her book Lind-Kyle explores the practicalities of preparing for death - issues that need to be addressed by both those who are about to pass-over as well as by any any carers directly involved in the process. This can be as basic as ensuring that all legal documents have been prepared or as complex as assigning power of attorney.
In the second part of Embracing the End of Life, Lind-Kyle investigates the psychospiritual elements to life as they pertain to death. She views life as forming an important role in the life-long journey towards our physical demise and looks at the process of ego limitation and the dissolving of the Personal Identity. Core aspects of this transformation includes the need to remove oneself from mental patterning and negative emotions before we can enter that final stage in which we separate from all that we believe we are and all that we have become.
Our Review of Embracing the End of Life by Patt Lind-Kyle
This is a books of many parts - though in a sense it is formed around the process of death at the end of life and ego death whilst still alive. These two factors indicate the level of complexity involved in what, at face-value, appears to be such an uncomplicated process.
In this regard I feel that, at times, the book feels a little more complex than it actually needs to be but, and it is a large caveat, until you actually need the information included in this book it is difficult to ascertain how much of it is relevant.
However you look at it Embracing the End of Life is a remarkable perspective on the dying process, and from all angles. Its spiritual perspective adds greatly to the sheer practicalities of the decaying of the physical body and its clear spiritual undercurrent whilst managing to avoid touching upon the thorny issue of religion. Having said that the writing in this work does lean towards Eastern philosophies at time but this is probably somewhat rather inevitable given their more mature and supportive perspective on death. This includes a strong emphasis on meditation as an important exercise throughout life and a brief look at the Enneagram.
Throughout its pages Embracing the End of Life offers a good balance between commentary, exercises, advice and guidance. It is a well-constructed publication and written with a sympathetic but non-condescending style. I would heartedly recommend it to anyone contemplating the final stages in their life but feel it will be of immense value to those who are trying to aid them through that transition.
Credit: Review copy kindly supplied by Llewellyn Publications, USA