Dr. Judith Orloff on Inviting Death In

Ray: You write that often when a patient is dying, physicians start removing themselves. I learned this firsthand in the days just before my mother died of cancer. The oncologist who had been treating her suddenly made himself very scarce. We could not get him to come and see her.

Dr. Judith Orloff

Judith: It’s really horrible. They start talking in technical language. They start inching away from the bed. Their eyes don’t look at you anymore. I’ve been around hospitals and watched it happen for years, and it’s a travesty.

When someone dies, that’s the most special moment of their life. We need to be around them, giving light and love and a good send-off to get to the other side. When I die, I don’t want someone fearful looking at me. That would be terrifying.

The way to get over fear of death is to invite death in, so you can feel it in your body. This can terrify people. They’re afraid that if they ask death in they’re going to die. But you die when it’s your time to go — period!

Through meditation, you invite death in, you see what it really is, and you are fearless. You see how familiar it is, how it’s like going home, how it’s beautiful and light and expansive, and that there’s nothing to be afraid of. You don’t know that until you’ve experienced it intuitively, because it’s impossible for the mind to understand that.

Ray: Less fearful belief systems about death are prevalent in Eastern cultures.

Judith: Yes, it’s just our culture that is so death-phobic. Look at el Día de los Muertos — the Day of the Dead. People actually bring televisions and all the favorite foods of the relatives who have passed on to their grave sites in an attempt to lure them back so they can be celebrated.

We just have this death phobia, which is so antithetical to healing, in our culture. I think about death every day. I have since I was little, and it’s not at all a morbid thought. It gives me a deep sense of solace about the cycle of life and death.

We need to know the spirit lives on. We deserve to know that. It shouldn’t be a question mark, and the only way to know it is through intuition.

*Read more about Dr. Judith Orloff at www.drjudithorloff.com, and read more of my work at Hemachandra.com. I did this interview for New Age Retailer magazine.

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