Recently, a friend invited me to a Death Café. Yes, you read that correctly. Apparently, this is not a place, but rather a specific type of gathering that anyone can host, using that title as long as the international rules for a Death Café are followed. Yes, folks, it is international.
But then, so is death, so I guess it's no surprise that these meetings are growing in number.
Yesterday, I attended a Death Café. Given that I am a professional medium and am regularly in communication with the spirits of those who have left their earthly bodies, I thought I might bring something to the table.
The premise of the Death Café is simple: Guests sit in groups and discuss anything related to death and dying. I think it's a brilliant concept. And here are the reasons why:
- Reduce your fears of death. Generally speaking, Western culture shuns, fears and hides from death whenever possible. It is shrouded in mystery, and in fact, in secrecy to some extent. We don't like to discuss it at all, but when we must, we use euphemisms for it. We shield our children from it, we don't let them attend funerals, which further perpetuates the scary element of one of the most natural parts of life. Bringing it out into the open and sharing stories can help to relieve some of the fear around it.
- Accept your own mortality. Embracing death allows you to truly embrace life. It is empowering to understand that you are going to die someday because that acceptance will help you to make better choices about how you spend your time. This adds more depth and meaning to your life.
- Accept that your loved ones are also going to die. This will help to make sure you don't take them for granted. You'll be more inclined to say "I love you" or "I'm sorry" and you will stop putting off spending time with special people.
- Understand that Death is a powerfully intimate experience. It is as intimate as birth, or perhaps even more so. When we are facing leaving this world, we are presented with a most significant and honest opportunity for intensely personal reflection. To be invited into that emotional space is sacred, an honour and a privilege.
- Learn how other cultures handle Death. This is fascinating. In the West, we don't always even want to view a body in a casket, or have an open casket funeral. Yet in India, not only is the body carried in full view of colleagues, family, friends etc. but it is burned with family and friends present and witnessing this.
- It can help people who are facing life-threatening health issues. Family and friends might struggle to hear about your feelings about dying, your questions, your fears, even your hopes for a quick and easy Death. Often, they want you to be quiet, "Don't talk like that! You're going to be fine!" But you need to talk about it in a safe and non-judgemental environment.
- Death is The Great Equaliser. We are all going to get there someday. No one is immune. Death doesn't care how old you are, what you look like, what you believe, how wonderful or awful you are, how much you give to charity - or don't. It does not distinguish class or race or sexual orientation. You can't buy your way out of it. You can't have someone else do it for you. There might be times you have "cheated Death" or had a close call or a near miss or even a near death experience but there will come a time when it is your turn. Absolutely, undeniably, most assuredly. And when it comes, it is as though the Universe is saying, "There. See? At the end of the day, you are no better - and no worse - than anyone else." It is the great reminder that ultimately, we are truly equal.
Now if only everyone on the planet could remember this every day and treat each other as though we understood this at the deepest possible level...
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