I've had an unusual number of people I'm acquainted with die recently. Three were men in their fifties, one was a ten year old girl, and one was a woman in her eighties. And then this week Dr. Oz did an Oprah show 'on death', except it really was about living - one woman had lived with stage 4 - terminal - cancer for years, and one man has two months left to live.

We really have a lot of expectations on how long people should live, that a long life is a good thing and that dying is a bad thing.

This could be equally about the illusion of life, as it is about the illusion of death. Elsewhere on this blog is an article entitled Life After Death about my experience with my friend Ian after he was hit by a silver PT Cruiser while bicycling. It really shattered my beliefs about life after death. I'd imagined that people instantaneously return to Source Energy, so dying is like jumping into an ocean of Love. I'd assumed their personalities dissolved as they became pure Essence. Since I believe we're all One, I believed that when we die, we become One again.

Ian was very physically present with me for up to nine months after his death. Which led me to now believe we have a 'gestational period' - similar to when we are born. If you die suddenly, you hang around for some time afterwards. If you take a long time to die, you're doing your 'gestating' while you're still here. However I didn't always feel him and when I did it didn't seem in the same chronological order as I was experiencing time. I also got the sense of his traveling in cycles and that there were moments where the veils between our worlds were thinner than at other times.

Ian's still around, but now, several years later, his energy is more diffuse.

The other day I was teaching my beginning students a simple exercise to illustrate physical reality. I had them close their eyes, ground and center, and then imagine themselves to go from the center of their heads to just outside the classroom door, notice what it was like, and come back into their heads again. Then I had them open their eyes, get up and walk to outside the classroom door, notice what it was like, and return to their seats. Everyone reported being aware of light, of vibration, of energy, when they went there 'as spirit', and then everyone reported the air temperature, the sounds, what things looked like, when they took their bodies with them.

I flashed on one of my earliest connections with Ian after he died and he was complaining how he couldn't see clearly. At first I assumed it was because he was without his ever-present glasses, but then I realized that it was because he hadn't yet adjusted to seeing everything as energy. Without physical eyes, and in a dimension just beyond our own, how would you perceive things?

So when one passes from physical into non-physical reality, it's really a simple shift in perception. And the ethics we have about this shift all emanate from the physical; as I said in my Life After Death article 'our bodies take death *very* seriously as they're not making it out of this lifetime alive!' We have assumptions about time as well - short lifetimes are less desirable than long ones.

"The truest measure of a life is not its length, but the fullness in which it's lived." (Maria Housden, 'Hannah's Gift') "And that's all I have to say about that" (Forrest Gump).

If you imagine yourself as pure Energy, existing beyond time and space, with momentary jumps into physical form - imagine how delightful those trips would be! Like being on holiday from the Ocean of Source. Returning home would be just as fun, swimming around in all that love and ecstasy until another opportunity came about to jump into a body. Now imagine that it's really a thin veil separating both realities and you can only sense the other side (and perhaps the Other Side can only sense you, but maybe a little more clearly). No one is ever gone, we're just momentarily separated.

Grieving helps us clear the blocks to connecting with our past loved ones. It releases the body's attachment to form, and it lets go of the accumulated energy from the past. When we're clear, we can become more open to sensing their presence. Many people report 'visitation dreams' - and I believe this is because it's easier to connect on the astral level when we're at a higher vibration than when we're in our bodies.

Validating that they're still real increases our opportunities for communication. They're easier to talk to but harder to hear (like a bad cell phone connection). We're attached to communicating in words, but Spirit communicates in pictures or impressions, or symbolic appearances (I still see an abnormal amount of silver PT Cruisers and know it's Ian's way of saying hello).

If you're reading this, then there's a reason for it. Perhaps it's validating what you already know, maybe it's introducing some new things to ponder. If you've had someone pass, notice if you're ever reminded of them or if you sense their Presence. They'd be delighted if you said hello back!

©2008 Joan M Newcomb

Author's Bio: 

Joan has facilitated individuals and groups in personal growth and spiritual awareness for more than 25 years. She is a certified Matrix Energetics® practitioner, and a certified professional coach. Joan is also a Findhorn trained workshop focaliser and a 'Transformation Game® Facilitator. A self-described 'modern mystic', Joan has also given classes in meditation, spiritual healing, and clairvoyant development since the early 1980's.

Joan began her career working for a small, non-denominational Church. Ordained in 1983, she completed five years of seminary including certifications in spiritual counseling for women, couples and families and spent 10 years as a church minister before becoming an independent wedding officiant in 1994.

Her calling is to encourage others to fully manifest their true Self in all aspects of their lives.

Joan lives on Vashon Island with her husband and two sons, is active in the local community and is currently completing a trilogy of fiction.