I have written this last program to be able to indulge in my idealistic philosophy of human potential and perfection. I hope and believe that many of these idealized concepts can be practically applied to our daily lives. It seems appropriate and synchronistic that I am beginning to write this program on Sunday, September 20, 1987, with these words in front of me:
This section is not a discussion of death and dying per se, although that is an important topic, especially in this day of artificially prolonged life and unnatural, difficult death. The way in which I view death, which is also how it is described by those who have died and returned, is that our spirit and body separate, our body remaining on the earth and our spirit moving toward "Heaven" with complete awareness of the spiritual world from whence it came, full of timeless consciousness and life.
- I AM A SPIRITUAL BEING, AGELESS AND ETERNAL. The idea that the older one gets, the more one slows down may be a widely accepted belief, but I do not accept it. I am a spiritual being, expressing the ageless, eternal life of God. I do not look upon sickness as something that is synonymous with accrued age. I erase from my mind every thought and belief that would age or idle me either physically or mentally. (from the Daily Word, a spiritual publication of the Unity Church).
This discussion of immortality and optimum life obviously cannot be easily separated from religion and spirituality. This program is, in fact, about the spiritual awareness, or the "essence of things," existing in human life. It addresses many aspects of optimum lifestyle and consciousness.
What is immortality? It is usually defined as eternal life or exemption from death. In our Western culture, it seems to have more to do with fame, with one’s actions in life being planted deeply in the memory of subsequent generations. Spiritual immortality arises from our ability to carry on life simply and to nourish ourselves, our family, and our world. Fame, however, may be more a matter of material immortality through monuments, books, and records. Movie and rock stars, writers, musicians, and political leaders seem to lead the lists of famous immortals. Although fame may catapult some people into mass immortality, we all are immortal insofar as our lives have touched others and are remembered through our family genealogies and our careers, as our work, children, and influences on others leave part of us with them. Our greatest sense of immortality may lie in our bonds with our children, grandchildren, and future generations. Many of these circumstances of notoriety, fame, or remembrance may last hundreds or even thousands of years; however, that does not make them truly eternal or immortal. "I dance for life, and death is something I am sure to live through," says Bethany ArgIsle, founder of The Moment Museum Corporation.
For most of us, immortality is the sense that "something," some essence of ourselves, lives on after our death. Many people believe that the spirit is eternal, that it never dies, while death of the body is inevitable; we accept death as natural, like birth. Native Americans believe in the awareness of the right time to die, which then opens the way for the new beings to populate Earth.
Many cultures also believe in the possibility of a future existence, when our spiritual being may again enter a physical form and carry on the evolution of consciousness. Some of us remember (experience "re-memories") previous lives that may influence us in our current life. Although science cannot easily prove or disprove this concept, this philosophy of reincarnation is prevalent in many religions and spiritual paths.
Our personal beliefs regarding death or eternal life may deeply affect our daily existence, attitudes, ideology, and activities. In regard to an "immortalist" philosophy, the question of whether we live forever in our physical body is not the issue here, but feeling as if we do allows us to live every day with a new attitude. We may be more relaxed, be less limited, overcome challenges more easily, feel more motivation and responsibility to our world, be more courageous and enthusiastic about learning new skills or trades (even in later years), forgive and let go of past experiences, and generally take life less seriously with a sense of being part of a greater universe.
Our ego seems attached to our physical form. Our spiritual nature or consciousness is what will live on eternally. Immortalists believe that awareness and consciousness, knowledge and wisdom, and harmonizing with the natural and universal laws, are all part of our eternal path. When we believe that life is a continuum of growth and evolution of our being, we become more responsible for our thoughts, actions, and health. We also believe in karmic patterns—that all of our actions create waves in the cosmic energy that affect the entire universe and ourselves again at some time. The "Golden Rule" is the essence here: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." In a sense, maybe even more appropriate for today is "do not do unto others as you would not have them do unto you."
Karma can also be seen as a balancing force in the universe. Even supposedly evil acts may be programmed through some karmic patterns. With ignorance and unconsciousness still part of the earth’s energy vibration, we attract both light and dark experiences and cycles.
Being immortalist in concept and action enhances our responsibility for life—our planet, our children, our own bodies, and each other. We must serve life and do the best we can to care for our human body, supporting and allowing it to be a clean, clear temple of the living Spirit. We want to live at the peak of our potential and express our purpose. Most of us begin with health, vitality, full life potential, and a clean temple and then interfere with it by our lifestyle (and environment), which affects our thoughts and actions and subsequently our outcome and experience, or that of our children’s, who must deal with our actions. When we are not in touch with or believe in a spiritual, "immortal" philosophy, we may then generate and perpetuate an acceptance of a more "deathist" philosophy where we treat our body with self-abusive habits, as if it matters very little, appearing as if we would just as soon destroy it and get out of here as fast as possible; this seems to correlate with a consciousness that also supports war or destructive relationships of any type—getting the most out of a situation rather than giving the most, or better yet, seeking balance and harmony.
Believing in death as an ominous presence and an end, as many people do, allows other feelings, such as fear, helplessness, apathy, limitation, and self-deception, to enter, as described in Rebirthing: The Science of Enjoying All of Your Life, by Jim Leonard and Phil Laut. We then have no choice in life and live as if it will be over sooner or later, so why try to be our best or create optimum health. The "death" that is hidden in each of our cells then affects our health, life, and consciousness. Accepting death (or illness or aging) is like accepting the concept that three meals a day is right or that consuming animal meats is necessary for health. That has been most people’s experience and beliefs, yet if we do not allow other possibilities, we can never know for sure or may limit potential new experiences. Those with a deathist philosophy may actually develop an urge to die, become judgmental, and resist change. Many deathists struggle inwardly with life and its issues and challenges. Others live more through their children, whom they may see as life, than through their own capabilities, purpose, and potentials.
With this deathist philosophy, we can more easily accept destructive health- and life-destroying habits, eat dead foods, and take dangerous devitalizing drugs—because we are going to die anyway. In the Bible and other religious and spiritual writings, disease represents sin and the presence of Satan in the body. The Essene Gospel of Peace, as translated by Edmond Szekely, suggests that fasting can clear Satan (representing negative thinking, disease, and death) and sin from our body and shine new light on our life. After three days of fasting, Satan starves, and we start to feel more alive and positive (although we may meet our own shadow and darkness during those days). And then we can begin to live fully every day beyond fear of death or "the end." We realize that there is no end—life is eternal, consciousness is a forever-moving force of which we are its key vehicle. We are of it, and it is of us. Feeling more immortal than mortal can actually help us be even more involved with and grateful for life and enjoy it with greater abundance, grace, and success because we can look beyond the shortcomings and problems, handle stress, and be positive and motivated toward our future.
Much that I have written in this book is supportive of optimum life, vitality, and longevity. How we feed ourselves influences all of these by-products and also may provide the basis for our attitudes and activities in life. Remember, good foods, good thoughts, good actions—and in that order. And feeling good about ourselves, loving ourselves, will generate the desire for good foods.
Breathing provides our primary nutrition, oxygen, and is at the center of life experience, attitude, and feeling immortal, eternal, and connected to Spirit. Some breathing techniques may help us better deal with life and move away from degenerative and death activities. Rebirthing (or conscious breathing) is one such technique. It is said to help us open up to memories, both of this life and possibly of other lifetimes, to experience total recall. Some body therapies or certain therapists or healers may also help us release memory patterns stored in our body tissues. There may even be, as some advanced therapists suggest, specific acupuncture points connected to these energies.
Many teachers believe that unpleasant memories are what create disease. Past negative or painful experiences that still live inside us and generate emotions of anger, frustration, fear, isolation, and hate must be handled. Forgiveness and integration of the past is essential to living totally and healthfully in the present.
Remembering and processing these past experiences in a loving, supportive way helps us to heal aspects of our life that may have been painful and generated some "deathist" attitudes. Until we can become aware of previous experiences, we cannot really deal with them. As we release these patterns, the emotions that have been blocked can be integrated more easily and clearly. The process of moving from disease to healing requires bridging the subconscious-conscious separations through reacquiring self-knowledge. Re-memory that comes from breathing, therapy, and meditation allows us to listen and learn and helps us to gain access to our subconscious while conscious. Very deeply, we already know everything we need to know to heal and guide us through our life.
Although immortalists may do all they can to carry on life, support health, and bring about healing in and around them, paradoxically they may have little or no attachment to the physical form. So they care and they do not care—that is, they care about spiritual values more than about the body—and these values actually motivate deeper concern for the physical condition; the body is a vehicle to carry out their purpose and expression. Their beliefs may allow them to lay their life on the line and be capable of going all the way to serve their "divine mission," and this state of being usually follows a feeling of being tapped for a special purpose. Truly, we each have a special purpose, yet usually this becomes more significant when it goes beyond the self. The bigger Self is humanity and the spiritual realm, or God. St. Francis of Assisi attempted to bring unity to his followers and those around him. He wanted people to come together toward a greater vision, to stay connected, and build together—a church, a community, a spiritually bonded life. He found this difficult, as most were involved in their own "path" or reality. This message is likewise important today, in this "Aquarian Age"—where larger families might merge together for greater vision, grander feats, and greater service. Yet most of us are too busy to take the time to join with others to create new models for our future that might go beyond our "self" world.