Jill Bolte Taylor’s experience in My Stroke of Insight gives me a greater sense of peace about death, and the question of what happens to people when they die. Part of the pain of grief is the worry we have for the well-being of our loved ones who are gone from us. So many people have said to me, “I just hope she is at peace,” or “I just need to know that he is okay.” Perhaps we may feel that way about our own death too.
After her stroke, Taylor was left with a deep peace about death and an abiding sense of gratitude for the gift of life. She wrote,
“Although I may lose these cells and my ability to perceive this three-dimensional world, my energy will merely absorb back into the tranquil sea of euphoria. Knowing this leaves me grateful for the time I have here as well as enthusiastically committed to the well-being of the cells that constitute my life.”
Apple founder Steve Jobs died on October 5th, 2011. He was a man of many talents and many faults, but he found his spiritual center in Zen Buddhism. As his cancer advanced he had a lot of questions about death. In his final moments of being awake, as he lay dying, surrounded by his family, he looked at each of them, and then he looked over their shoulders, past them, and said “Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow!”
Within each of our minds is the gift of time and the gift of the eternal now. We can learn to awaken our consciousness to both of these dimensions, and participate in all aspects of the gift of life. When we welcome these gifts, we are better able to participate in the dance that is life, that is going on in every moment, and all of the time.