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Special Portuguese Spanish    

Year 4 - N° 201 – March 20, 2011


Taguatinga, Distrito Federal (Brasil)

Renata Rinaldini - renatarinaldini@hotmail.com


An essay about death

 Part one

You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.
For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.
In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;
And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.
Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.
Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king?

Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?
For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?
Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

(Gibran Khalil Gibran.)

There comes a certain moment of the human being’s existence when it seems there is no longer psychological pressure from the heart and from the mind.
Dreams are left aside. New hopes are obscured by mature age. Life seems to become stationary...the children are already more or less guided, one does not have the natural challenges of family life any longer, the time, weeks, months and years go on indifferent and steady. This set of apathy is common in many of us who have not yet learned to cultivate the precious time in labour of the collective and individual good.  And in the valuable achievements of the Spirit.

Reading the work entitled Worker of Eternal Life, written by Andre Luiz, dictated to the much missed Chico Xavier, we find: “Our friends from the flesh sphere are still very ignorant in how they deal with death.(..)It is for this reason, for while, that the dead who deliver casts to the lonely morges of destitution are much happier”. (page 224)

Such assertive provoked great impact in us and made us to reflect. Are we educated enough for death?

The important question unsettled us day after day.  We concluded that, despite the valuable spiritist teachings, we are not.

That is why we have decided to modestly contribute to the Christian spiritist thought through this simple essay.

The day will inexorably come, in which we will leave the planetary nest. To reflect upon this natural transition is of upmost importance.

Thus, we went through some works of Spiritism and brief commentaries about the theme, which are inexhaustible. To the contrary, they promote fraternal debate based upon the systemised studies of the spiritist philosophy. It is necessary that the reader understands that a list of vain guidelines with the presumption of teaching a phenomenon which will be unique to each one of us is not found. It is important to know that which is richly described in the spiritist literature so that in the moment of the crisis of death we do not despair. But, all the nuances of the moment will depend on our modus vivendi while still incarnated...Death is not a messenger of transformations. Each one dies according to how they live.  

What is death? 

During a broad period of terrestrial history, death was considered a cessation of the cardiac and respiratory functioning.

In fact, the brain suffers irreversible damages if it is deprived of oxygen for longer than four minutes. Thus, in olden times, the used criterion was only to analyse this function (respiration) to find death of a person.

With the scientific-technologic coming, particularly the apparatus of mechanical ventilation, it was possible to reverse a state of respiratory arrest. In such way that the people who previously were considered dead, thanks to drugs and apparatus, return to organic life.

From the 1960’s it became still more important to establish the moment of death, as that moment was deemed feasible for organs transplants.

From then on the medical authorities of the world established that organic death occurs when “there is complete or irreversible loss of the brainstem”. That is, when the cerebral organ no longer presents activity (which is detectable through specific apparatus) death ensues, even if other organs are fully functioning. 

Fear of Death 

The illustrious Codifier of the Spiritist Philosophy, Allan Kardec, in the work Heaven and Hell, had the opportunity to reflect and write aboutthe fear of death. He begins his explanation by asserting to us that the certainty of the immortality of the soul is intuitive in all human beings, independent of the cultural context in which one lives. From the savage to the human being considered more civilised, the belief in life after molecular breakdown is an incontestable certainty.

With regards to this inner sentinel singing immortality in our minds and soul, the feeling of fear of the phenomenon of death still persists. Why does this occur?

Let’s see what the egregious Codifier tells us in the mentioned work:

1. Effect of divine wisdom.

There is in every creature, notably in the human being, an instinct of conservation. This instinct is an effect of divine wisdom, because it has as its objective that we avoid withdrawing ourselves prematurely from material existence. The din of daily struggles, survival, the “whims” of life, work, family and hope in the future, amongst other factors, give psychological sense to the terrestrial existence and ensure that we do not abandon life.

2. Inadequate Concept of the Hereafter.

To reflect upon and to try to understand the future is of fundamental importance to those who dedicate themselves to spiritist studies. Many times we carry out a superficial reading about the phenomena of discarnation in the literature without paying attention to “in between the lines”. In unaccountable times we are not able to train our minds to the incontestable truth of the immortal Spirit, because we value more the things that affect in us the sensorial impressions.  To give more value to the spirit is the goal of the modern human.

3. Education

Historically, the human being has been receiving an education which is not very consoling with regards to the future. An idle and tedious paradise has been presented to humanity, based on a contemplative beatitude; an eternal hell which is full of terrible tortures; a punitive and vindictive god.., amongst other facts. Allan Kardec asserts further: “Centuries succeed other centuries and there is no solace of hope for such disgraced souls and, for that which is most atrocious, repentance avails them nothing. On the other hand, the battered and distressed souls in purgatory wait for intercession from the living who will pray or make prayer for them, without making any effort to develop.” (page 23)

The exterior practices, such as baptism to be saved, the “buying” of inductions which serve as intermediaries for eternal enjoyment etc. correspond to what has been historically passed on to us.It is to do with ignorant education that castrates reasoning within us. And the least reasoning lead us to believe that they are no more than futile questions of the inferior morality of the human being. They are not consistent with the practice of charity towards the individual, with his moral transformation, with his contribution for the edification of a better world...

4. Attachment to material goods

Attachment to material goods is a reflex of the mistaken historic education that we have received. It is more attractive to have things than to be better people. We incessantly seek fortune, sensory pleasures, the fat from heavy food, alcohol etc. We give value to such insignificant things that, under our erroneous view, it is difficult to delimitate the frontier between the superfluous and the necessary.

We would like to open a bracket in order to reproduce a poem from Fernando Correia Pina which reflects this situation that we live in the world.

Let’s see: 

Negative Balance 

It much more painful to pull a strand of hair from a European than to amputate a leg, without any type of painkiller, of an African. A Frenchman feels much more hunger with three meals per day than a Sudanese with one rat per week.

A German with flu is more sick than an Indian leper. An American woman suffers much more with dandruff than an Iraq woman without milk for her children.

It is more perverse to cancel the credit card of a Belgian than to steal the bread from the mouth of a Thai person. It is much more serious to throw paper on the floor in Switzerland than to burn whole forests in Brazil.

The chador of a Muslim woman is much more intolerable than the drama of thousands of unemployed people in Spain. The lack of toilet tissue in a Swedish home is more obscene than the lack of drinkable water in ten villages in Sudan.

 Scarcity of petrol in Holland is more inconceivable than that of insulin in Honduras. A Portuguese person without mobile phone is more revolting that a Mozambique person without books to study.

 A dried orange tree in a Jewish kibbutz is sadder than the demolition of a home in Palestine. An English girl losing a Barbie Doll is more traumatising than a Ugandan boy seeing his parents killed and these are not verses; these are debits in an account without provision in the West. 

The chant of the Portuguese poet reflects the chaotic world in which we live and the inversion of values we cultivate. Attachment to material goods is in such form that we are incapable (with rare and honourable exceptions) of sensitising ourselves with our other unfortunate brothers. As long as the situation does not reach us, then everything is alright. The reification of terrestrial life is an obstacle to a better comprehension of future life.

The phenomenon of death is faced more negatively than with hope. The ceremonies around it are full of sad scenes that in certain ways cause more dread.  The idea of loss surround us at every moment, however, it is imperative that this dreary idea disappears. Loss does not exist. But only a brief longing which will end as soon as the moment of the reunion occasioned by death, arrives. 

Training for death 

The chapter “Training for death” available in the work Letter and Chronicles”, psychographed by Francisco Cândido Xavier and of the authorship of Spirit Brother X, is a synthesis of our behaviour before our great travel.

Firstly, the illustrious commentator from the Beyond finds himself incapacitated by the task of bringing some important information to our behaviour before discarnation. However due to his innumerable texts of uncommon beauty, we are inclined to follow his safe guidelines which are presented below.

In the mentioned text, Brother X aims to suggest changes which are still ingrained in us and which, in certain ways, are difficult obstacles when we are still in the spiritual world.

He tells us: “Start the renovation of your habits with every day’s plate of food. A cemetery inside the stomach is a torment, after the great transition (death). The pork loin or the veal steak, seasoned with salt and pepper, does not place us far from our ancestors, the Tamoios or Kayapos (South American Indian tribes), who devoured each other. Rich foods  which are ingested in a gluttonous manner constitute another dangerous obsession”. (page 22)

The issue of whether to eat meat or not is already an old one for those who are dedicated to spiritualist studie (1). All our idiosyncrasies are taken with us to the spiritual world. To reflect upon our eating habits and to try to modify them, making them better, is a task that we cannot postpone any longer.

Brother X asserts with much authority that we must modify our eating habits gradually. When we highlight our meat eating habits in our studies and published articles, we receive criticisms from our spiritist colleagues saying that the most important point is moral transformation. It is obvious that moral values have priority! We are not even discussing such a point, but we cannot ignore the teachings and recommendations widely disseminated by the benefactors Spirits who make such assertions for our own evolution and improvement. (This article will continue in the next edition.)


(1) Should the reader be interested, we had the opportunity to publish a  short article about the above written theme  in the International Magazine of Spiritism, in October 2005, as well as in the 174th and 175th of this  magazine, available at: http://www.oconsolador.com.br/ano4/174/especial.html



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