Grief, Death, and the Afterlife

"I give you process, and you have to discover the answers. I am a guide, not a teacher. I may suggest some things that don't work for you, but that's ok. Consultant, not manager.

"And let go. All you have to do is seek with who and what you are. Just like a body must heal itself, even with the best drugs, you must heal yourself, even with the best guidance. You think you want a simple answer, but you know you must find your own. That will be $100, please." (10/15/95 - G#1)



"In times of joy, a person needs to have an awareness of the pains of life. The balance of the two makes life whole. So, too, with grief. If one lives only in grief, she is not really living. Living is a balancing act; life is in the middle. So you seek balance to be truly alive. The spirit heals by living, not by thinking. Try one new thing and see how it feels.

"The future is beyond your veil of tears, and you have to risk the tears to move through them and live again. So try living more expansively, and see if the answers don't come. But, more likely, the questions will fade in the face of life." (10/16/95 - G#2)



"Let's just be thankful for life, memories, love, entity, the persistence of reality. Hold onto the permanent and mourn the transient and find a balance. There is nothing unilateral about life. At its best it is a rich mixture, and that has its own dimension. Learn to weave and see the tapestry, not the threads." (11/22/95 - G#3)



"I am glad I went the way I did... POOF. In your sleep is best. Dreams become your new reality without seams. People who die like that, arrive here not
dazed and confused. I got out before the bad parts, but remember how tired I was. People who die in their sleep often can go dancing or bowling or whatever the first night." (12/28/95 - G#4)



"We have our own losses here, in a way. When people move on, we miss them and grieve. They don't die, they live. And we know we can keep track of them, but some forget about us and stop being aware, so it feels like they are really gone. Saying hello and goodbye will be eternal until all souls tune into their immortality and continuity.

"People often picture afterlife as a time and place of continuity. But it can't be, unless life is seen as whole. You change your venue, but not your being. The being changes in all states; you can change while alive and dead. Death is not a fulfillment, just another setting for being. Think about that." (12/28/95 - G#5)



"We sort of like grieve, but only when we lose touch. One moment you are talking with a spirit, and the next they are a person who won't admit we all exist... pisser. That's the story of the afterlife. People learn and die, and seem to know. But when they go back, they often show they had not learned, only adapted--outward show, not inner knowledge. It takes many times for most people to get it. So, what we feel is loss and disappointment.

"When someone moves on with knowledge, we rejoice because we know we are now connected forever." (12/30/95 - G#6)



"I was female last time around, but I am not female or male. The point of this is to get beyond those identifications. To be able to move into a larger entity, we need to find unities, not differentiations. And to get where one needs to be, one needs to know both sides completely. Women who deny or subjugate or ignore their reality need to keep working on it. " (1/19/96 - G#7)



"Letting go is hard, but you have to do it if you want to progress and be whole. And if we talk about a relationship, it must be two-sided. Bonds must be loosened if I am to fulfill my future. We can't find our common future held together too tightly from the past." (2/2/96 - G#8)



"Memory serves both well and ill. When it contains life it is good, but when it restrains life it is not. Keep me alive in you, but don't let that keep you from living. You don't have to choose one or the other, but can have both. So think of things as part of a whole, not as separate elements that compete for your allegiance and love." (2/6/96 - G#9)



"Why should treasures of the moment tarnish delights of the past. Some people spend their lives waiting for the future, and others spend their lives mourning for the past. But all we've got right now is right now, and focusing elsewhere diminishes now." (2/29/96 - G#10)



"Do you realize that I look different to different people from different lives. You see me as you knew me, but all of that is an illusion. I look like a former Ethopian slave, and a French gentlewoman, and a man, and so much more, but it's me! People see the being they knew. As you get in touch with past lives, you know more me's. But really, it's just me!

"We have some options. They can see me, so to speak, in a spiritual way, or they can see one of my manifestations at a time, or I can choose to appear as just one. But those who choose just one, except for parties, are considered in poor taste. Hey, let it all hang out." (3/15/96 - G#11)



"Your life is different, and different in ways you would not choose, but it is now your reality, and so you have to come to terms with it. You struggle with accepting it and, if that is true for you and me, then everything else is up for reassessment. Troubling thought. But hey, just because one thing changes doesn't mean the rest do. Trust me on this. You still control your life.

"You're feeling out of control and what's next? Waiting for the other shoes to drop, but they won't unless you focus on them. Let go of a lot, don't worry about tomorrow, read the
Zorba quote, and trust that all will be well in the fullness of time.

"Try some intentional dreaming. Picture us as separate but spiritually united. How many different ways can you dream of? Find the new connection so you can let go of the old." (3/25/96 - G#12)



"Ghosts are just more substantial spirits--connected to energy sources in your world, like an unresolved love or a continuing hatred. If the spirit continues to draw energy from your world, it is more substantially there. At times when there is a greater exchange of energy, we appear, like at emotional moments.

"There is a subtle correlation between lives and ghostliness. But it doesn't have to do with lives, but the fact that if you've been around awhile you know more, but you have a greater chance to have things left unresolved. Greater ability to resolve things is matched by a greater number of relationships, so it's a wash. And what were
Casper's issues? Are ghosts in pain? Bah." (4/1/96 - G#13)



"You can't and shouldn't live without a past. If you give up things you'd rather forget, you also give up what you should remember.

"Just as it is not good to live only in the present, it is not good to be obsessed with the past. Balance. Live today, remembering yesterday, and dreaming of tomorrow. But don't live by yesterday's losses or tomorrow's promises. How can you learn and remember if you live like you forget. If your memories are just painful, you have not yet learned. Do you want to throw out the past. No. Ok, then integrate it into life. Don't measure everything by what was, but also value what was. Ponder this." (4/14/96 - G#14)



"What do you think all those past lives are for. To learn and remember. When we move on in synthesis with our true entity, we carry all the past with us. The future can't be the future without a past. The present contains the future and the past. It is the living interface with past and future. It is momentary; it is instantaneous; it has no substance of its own. By the time you speak of the present, it is already passed.

"If you were to truly live in the now, in the moment, you would have nothing to say, do, or feel. It would be like trying to stand at the border between two countries. Can you do that and not hang out into one or both. And if you could, you would be like Dana's
Man Without a Country--all dressed up and nowhere to be. So learn to balance.

"Grief is the recognition that we have to surrender to the past something we wish were in the present and future. When we find balance, we can stop grieving because then we will lose no more. We keep grieving until we can do that.

"Let go of what belongs in the past, and take on what will inform the future. For example, in my life with you there is a lot that belongs in memory and some that belongs in presence and some that belongs in visions. Getting them straight is the challenge. Then you can remember fondly, but not sadly, all those cute things I did, and you will keep alive the things of substance I was about, and you can share the dreams of the future I had. That's all.

"You still have those things if you put them in perspective. In fact, if you don't, you don't have them, they have you, and you are stopped on your own journey. So get with the program." (4/15/96 - G#15)



"Would I choose this, no. But it chose me, and you either accept and grow, or fight and stop growing. But I do look back and wish.

"So, let's shop. But I've got everything... great prices. You, or one, can have anything one wants and will use. But you have to truly want it, and you vill use it if you get it. One learns quickly not to have idle wants. You get it and you have to use it--even dumb shoes. 'But they looked great in the catalogs.' And if a waiter asks 'What would you like,' be truthful. You know how I would order all sorts of stuff, and get full or fed up. Here we just keep eating until it is done. It won't spoil. I did that once. No more. You can go dancing if you want to, but you have to dance. You learn to be very very very honest about yourself.

"Now picture first-timers with this: long meals. If they talk during movies, as they are wont to do, then the movie just keeps going. It becomes longer until they quietly sit through the running time. Some are stuck there eternally. And people who cough at concerts...
Mahler can be very long for them." (4/22/96 - G#16)



"Sometimes we choose the eternal ache rather than endure the wrenching pain. We don't know our capacity for endurance, so we choose a lower level of pain that lasts longer
--allowing ourselves only so much, because we fear dealing with more. It can be scary. That's why it is called the pit... The Pit of Despair." (4/28/96 - G#17)



"Not everyone ends up here. Those who did not allow for this possibility may just spend a time between, and then appear again as someone new, and they don't get the benefit of memories or this transition. You only get what you have faith in. We don't see many Hindus; they just like to
reincarnate. And as for scientific atheists, well... zippo, zilch, nada, the big fat void. In other words, not many surprises, except for first-timers. They believe everything." (5/12/96 - G#18)



"The way we get your messages here is not memos. We just know. The information becomes part of our reality. Like when you live guys say 'O, I just knew you had called.' Remember, before answering machines, you would call someone and they would think you were returning their call because they tried you earlier. It just is." (6/3/96 - G#19)



"You saw two of my friends. They were physical. It's called materialization--getting one's shit together. They do that whenever they want. They're called emissaries or something. They go out to help people, or do pranks." (6/24/96 - G#20)



"I guide the quick and the dead. You are one of the quick. I thought I was dealing only with the dead, but it slowly dawned on me otherwise. From where I sit... or stand... or whatever, I can't always differentiate at first, except for the tea lady.

"First-timers are always dead, but with long-timers, life and death are not so definite. A spirit reaches out, remembering one of 10 or 20 lives, and who knows if it is lively. Who cares. What does it matter. So, I guide as needed and wanted." (8/23/96 - G#21)



"If you focus on could-have-beens, that dishonors what I did do. If we count the losses, we will miss out on all the opportunities for life. That's why I keep wanting to minimize details about my death. Every moment dealing with that shit is one moment less spent on what was valuable in my life. I just wish people would stop asking about the collision and start asking how I made so many friends in so many ethnic groups. Ask about how this nigger got to
Yale. Find out how a UU without cash becomes infamous in Roslyn High School. And discover the secrets for getting free drinks. Just send $4.99 to: EBB, Judgment City, 00000.

"But seriously, here's a message for everybody: Focus on life. Death will take care of itself. You see, JC wasn't talking about salvation; he was talking about living without focusing on death. He was saying, 'If you live like I tell you, you will and can stop worrying about death.' Not because he could beat death or make death ok, but because living like that makes life the focus. Whew, enough." (9/13/96 - G#22)



"Spiritualists have a
dogma, too. To them it's about getting beyond this realm, or your realm. Clarence wants to get his wings so he can move on, but sometimes we move on by staying around. If we ultimately move on through complex connection, then why be so fixated on disconnection.

"Some of it is the basic human problem with ambiguity: is it real or
Memorex; is she alive or dead. Life after death is not connected to life, they say. They say we bring people and spirits back from the dead. Ha.You gotta be gone to come back." (3/10/97 - G#23)



"I am much more than any physical image of me. The me of your vision and memory are not the me of me now. Look, I've given up much of the physical world. I will, sooner or later, be back, looking much different. I am moving towards that existence. I am not physical any longer... or not yet.
In the chrysalis, do you see worm or butterfly. Neither. Learn and remember.

"You see, this is the problem. If you think life is one go-around, then everybody stays as they were. But at what age? And if we go around a lot (as we do), who are we physically--then, now, or later. The constantly changing and evolving constant in our lives is spiritual, not physical. So try to see me in your heart and soul, not your mind and eyes." (4/18/97 - G#24)



"People who believe in Heaven, find this is like Heaven. But as we shed physical reality for spiritual, we stop seeing it as like anything. And those who are more filled and filed, milled and molded, full and fulfilled, see this as like Earth and not like Earth. If you were hung up on similarities, there'd be plenty. If you gave that up, there wouldn't be any because that would not be the way of your perception. The old Eskimo story: Eskimos, not having visual training, could not see movies. But they had hundreds of
names for snow. It's all perception. At first it seems more familiar, but then you stop looking for familiar.

"When I say dance, I mean I experience the same psychic feelings I did when I danced. It's a metaphor of huge proportions. Here's an image: Go into a dark, quiet room, and try to picture a great sunset or hear the birds sing. The best you will get is a feeling of sunset and birds." (4/24/97 - G#25)



"So now you will learn what is important about a life. Going through what is left behind, helps identify what abides. When you have thrown 40% away, you'll know 40%, etc., until at last you'll need nothing kept to have it all. Ponder that. The only person who truly cherishes money is one without any. A sick person knows health. But no, stupid people don't know wisdom.

"They are just things, but you don't feel that. So someday you won't need or want them, and the feeling will still remain. Just a little big thought for the evening. Another of the tough lessons." (4/24/97 - G#26)



"Even if you do forget, you don't lose me. You'll keep the essence, even if you forget the details. I'm not in the details, never was. Look,
Commandment 1 and 2: 'Thou shalt have no one before me,' and 'Thou shalt not try to contain me in any physical form.' Not about Yahweh; about all of us. I'm not anyone else, and I'm not my stuff and stuffies. You may feel me there, and over time those feelings may fade, but I don't. You can't have all of the present, if you are stuck in the past." (5/3/97 - G#27)



"It's time to trade realities for memories. Closure is good; without it there will be no new openings. But if you can see through the tears and pain, and to let go of the past as detail, then the future becomes possible.

"I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I'm complete. I can't get where I need to go stopping in places past; never was one to do so. Keep in touch with those I love as they are becoming, not as they were. Anything less keeps me and them from learning. What we need now is the future us's, and not the old ones... except as symbols of continuity.

"In an ultimate sense, when we look back to what was, we move our spiritual evolution backwards; too much, and you've disassembled yourself... ugh. Hey guys, onward and forward." (5/24/97 - G#28)



"It isn't about time or dates. Planets aren't where they were. No two
August 20ths are ever the same. So go with the flow and feel the heal. But it's not about a time or place. Feeling can be anywhere, anytime. But if you let the hurt continue to rob you of life, death comes over and over." (8/18/97 - G#29)



"Sadness like the living feel has to do with a sense of disconnection, so it is painful. Sadness that is spiritual is about loss of potential, but not disconnection. We don't feel disconnected, but mourn the infinite possibilities that are suddenly reduced to one. We connect more and more, in infinitely tiny degrees, to the universal and infinite. But we are sad because--even as we move toward inclusion and connection--we see that many fewer alternate paths and fewer other realities. We grow that much closer to the great grand being of All, but we move away from fantasy and dream and hope. We don't need them as much, but it feels strange to have them gone a little bit.

"Once you had many horizons, each of small scope. Later you have fewer horizons of greater scope. And sometime, away down the road, just one horizon that is infinite, and then you and it meld and there is no horizon but just being. And it's ok, it's great, it's what it's all about--so connected that there is no difference between self and all others. Fewer possibilities, but what a stunning one.

"I think this is what it is. We are still so far away, we only hear rumors and glimpse it in rainbows and laughs and large cats and fires and lovers' eyes and deep silence and the roar of the universe." (9/11/97 - G#30)



"Fear becomes sadness when change is threatened because you begin to grieve for the part of you that you feel is going. But nothing is ever a vacuum, except for.... So there will always be something to take its place. If we thwart the changes that will happen despite us, we begin to die a little spiritually. What we hold onto in fear keeps us from achieving what will take its place. We are never led to a place where we lose but do not also gain.

"We call a child who does not grow beyond a certain physical point stunted, we call a person who does not grow beyond a certain point intellectually retarded, we call a person who does not grow beyond a certain point socially arrested. What about those who do not grow beyond a certain point spiritually.

"So feel the sadness, but know it has to do with you, not with anything or anyone else. It is the sadness of loss and grief portrayed through the vision of fear, without the hope of promise that is always attendant.

"Now, don't forget that some will enter by doors unbidden, and some will scale the walls and others will drop in, so to speak, and that's not assailing your castle, it's visiting as friends. We all seem to accept gifts if we can feel they are on our terms. And that's a perfect prescription for loneliness and fear and sadness and anger. If you only accepted the mail and calls you want, you'd always get what you wanted, but you'd only get a little of what you could. It takes the risk of opening to the painful and the trivial and the whatever, to also get the serendipitous and the spiritual and the redemptive.

"So ponder all this, and remember anger only begets anger, and sadness and fear only begets sadness and fear. Live in your own little worlds and definitions if you want, but there's a universe out here awaiting your choice to change and flower and grow. The truly wise never feel they have achieved wisdom. They never would have the arrogance to say they know themselves or they don't need to know or consider anything. The truly wise are always on the road, not staying at the inn.

"In the face of great change, it is appealing to journey that sad road only until a better vista is reached, and then to sit there and say 'I've dealt with change, and I know I have because I see beauty and hope again,' as if that first vista out of the valley is meant to be a final resting place. Greater vistas await, and yes, also deep and dark valleys. But the road invites. So give up the fears, or at least find courage in their face. And give up the sheltering walls and closed doors, and get out there. As long as you stay stopped in anger and fear, you will feel like you have nothing. Like the bard, '
Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road.'

"And don't mistake friendship for companionship. You will meet many at the inns, but few will be willing to endure the long tramps of day, and even fewer those of dark and desolate night. So, chat around the merry fire at the inns, but notice who is there on the road. Even in silence the companion is there." (9/27/97 - G#31)



"We all move on, but only if we move on do we have things called memories. If we don't move on, we have only grief and regrets. And life, each time, is too short for that." (10/9/97 - G#32)



"So often people turn life into death at the inkling of death. What a rob job. When you are alive, live. Then die." (9/6/98 - G#33)



"And hey, will that guy get a surprise when he dies, if he thinks death is just not being alive, tee hee. If he doesn't allow for the possibility, then he won't experience this... but he'll be back and back and back until he does.

"I think that many of them rationally think that cognitively they will experience the end of their cognition. They will know, or think, when they die, 'O, I'm dead,' then oblivion. Ha. They will go before that thought even, because that thought is part of death, not life--instantaneous, but after life. They say, 'I will know when I'm dead, but there is nothing after life.' Sure,
that's the ticket... and the portal to subsequent learning. Ok, enough for today." (9/29/98 - G#34)

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Collected Points to Ponder Menu


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Last Update: 11/16/2016
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the Rev Dr Randolph and Elissa Bishop Becker, M.Ed., LPC
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