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Could you choose to die?

Posted Dec. 5, 2010 by Jchand in Open

commented on Dec. 27, 2010
by ewaweel

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I read a GREAT book about the mind and brain several years back called "The Natural History of The Mind", by a BBC guy named Gordon Rattray Taylor. The book is very comprehensive, and it WAS written in the 60's, so it's not of course totally up-to-date when it comes to brain and mind science. BUt there was one part (there were LOTS of amazing things in this books - I recommend it to anyone, even though it's from the 60's) that mentioned this man who was dying (I think it was cancer or something - I know it was from some disease. He knew he was dying, so he requested that his family visit him one last time, and, after saying his goodbyes, without any struggle or anxiety or ANYTHING bad, he just simply CHOOSE to die! I don't think most of us are really capable of such a thing. I hope that I die instantly, when the day comes - some horrible car accident or something in which I won't KNOW if I will die - something instant. I think that, for those of us who do end up dying slowly - say from something like cancer, in which it is a long process, and it which suffering happens, it will STILL be a fight to the end - there will be anxiety and dread the kind of which you, me, or anyone has never known (unless they died and experienced it). But wouldn't it be nice to just (if you knew for sure you were dying) say goodbye to your family and then, with NO anxiety or anything, just simply CHOOSE to die? I really don't know if I will ever be able to cultivate such an attitude, personally. For me, if I were to die in some way in which I KNEW it would happen, it would be THE worst dread imaginable. But I would love to be able to do such a thing - CHOOSE to die, if I had to. I think that, for most intelligent living things, death has to be unimaginably TERRIBLE! Personally I do NOT believe in a god - I used to, but I have since seen too many bad aspects of life to ever believe again - EVER! ANd I think that, were there a god, he would understand this and I would not be "judged" for it. I once read a Wikipedia article about near death experiences (NDE's), and one scientist menionted in the article had a rather interesting theory (and one that I believe), as to why these happen. Not all NDE's, of course, consist of a "life-flashing-before-your-eyes" incident, but quite a lot of them do. His theory (and this has to be the freakiest thing I have EVER read!) is that, when faced with the knowledge of impending death (in other words, dying and KNOWING you are dying), it is such a strange (or no doubt terryfing) paradox to a living thing (I don't know if he said person or living thing, but I wouldn't be surprised if the more intelligent animals have NDE's too), that the NDE is started, and a person can "see" their mind doing a "scan" of all episodic memory, right back to prenaitle times (this is when your memory is no doubt BEST!), becuase the mind (or brain or whatever you want to call it) is looking for a coping mechanism - or something similar to the input information of impending death - your mind is just looking for a freakin' WAY OUT! So this is why, according to this theory, that some people who get NDE's say that "my life flashed before my eyes". Doesn't that theory just SAY IT ALL, though? It has to be the freakiest thing I have EVER read, and I tend to like reading about freaky things, even stuff about people getting lobotomies and how it changed them (I just like freaky stuff - it's not just that though - I like PROFOUND stuff). I'll bet that the man who CHOSE to die, in the book I mentioned, didn't have an NDE. He just CHOSE TO DIE! Do you think you would be capable of something like that? I have doubts myself.


  • 16 Comments  
  • ewaweel Dec 27, 2010

    Good evening to all,

    Yes, one can choose to die consciously. This is done, unwillingly, during a NDE, but this can also be done, willingly, during a chamanic voyage using drugs. The shaman can, willingly, direct his mind where he wants to go, to change things. He must, at all times, remain in control not to loose his mind and his life.

    To choose consciously to die, we first have to slow down vital functions as yogis in India do. Everything starts so slowdown, even time itself starts to slow down, Then the heart stops beating and the mind is free.

    In a NDE, the heart being stopped, the mind starts to wander in parallel worlds. Some see their body lying lifeless, some hear people around them, alive or dead, flooded with emotion. Then some choose to direct their spirit in other worlds, consciouly knowing that their mind will be lost. When one looses his "fil d'Ariane", the body dies. Some choose to come back to life and talk about it.

    Personnally, when this happened to me, I choose not to die because it would not make sense at this moment. Choosing to die is choosing to live at the same time because life and death are both births. We fear death because we do not understand birth.

    E.W. Aweel

  • frequencytuner Dec 23, 2010

    Show me the exit and I will show you the entrance. Show me the entrance and I will show you the exit. Each step is a preparation for advancement to the next. We choose to die as equally as we choose to be born. When we are born it is to prepare to die. This is understood in great detail by the Ancient Egyptian and Tibetan Buddhists. To say that life is lived for the purpose of dying makes as much sense as Schrodinger's Cat. This is wonderful when taking into account the age old myths of a judging God and eternal damnation etc. Why? At the moment of death, the 'ego' dies and every misplaced emotion, sheltered memory and hid-away repressed desire or regret - everything you buried in this life becomes reborn with the death of the 'ego'. In this moment, you will be your own judge and face the most dreadful monster in the universe - yourself - with nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.

  • frequencytuner Dec 23, 2010

    I sense that the true nature of this post is the real question of - why do we die? Do we choose to die, absolutely. Do we understand how we made that choice - that is the better question to ask. Every event, every moment of your life has been predetermined...yes it has - by YOU. We are, at any given moment, living the consequences of past decisions. Consider it like driving on a highway at night and only being aware of the highway directly in front of you. Where you end up come sunrise will be determined by the exits you took along the way. This is why it is essential to have a map. Otherwise we live blindly and one day end up dead from one thing or another never know it was a choice we made somewhere along the way that set us on a course that lead directly to that particular end - until it becomes hindsight.

    For this reason we study and practice things like Science and Religion to help guide our paths. There are so many underlying pyschological, spiritual, mental and physical variables to include I am not even going to begin explaining them all.Just understand that our every experience on this earth is a direct result of our own creation and intention whether it be conscious or not.

    I would like to touch on the collective briefly. It is true that the only reason we age and die and get sick or disease is because of energy displacements in our bodies. The breakdown of proteins causes aging, disturbances in the energy pathway in a charka or gland causes physical ailments and disease etc. The biggest determining factor, above all else - regarding the collective - is the group consciousness: the paradigm of the whole. If the group believes we are all destined to get sick and die, we will. If the group fights cancer, we will have to fight cancer. The more individuals together, harmonized in a common vision or belief, the more power that vision or belief has.

    I believe I can fly, yet the vibrations around me from everybody else prevent me from defying gravity. The only limits that exist are the ones we place on ourselves. In this respect, the collective paradigm plays a major role in whatever it focuses it's energy on. If the collectives -------> this is dangerous <------- believes - because it has been fed to them through mass suggestion - that the world is going to end in violence, war, anarchy and chaos in 2012....it will.

  • RedDog Dec 22, 2010

    Thanks for sharing your heart warming story Purebliss. That is a much better perspective of the whole process, "entry and exit".
    Full circle really, and we in the western culture do indeed like to medicate and hide the exit process more than most.
    We are bascially all born in this world dying. We have a mere blink of an eye to exists here in this reality, so entry and exiting should
    really be celebrated. Good life story experience!

  • Anonymous Icon

    purebliss Dec 21, 2010

    Choosing death: part 2

    I will never fear death again. When Dad died (I was actually not present at the time he drew his last breath), I came home and kissed his forehead and said "Well done, Dad!". It took courage to go, to leave us, but he finally let go of physical life. The dying process was long, slow and (emotionally) painful at times to watch. He lost more and more physical energy, muscle strength. He slept more and longer. He was usually peaceful, just enjoying being with us (we moved his bed into the living room so he was always with us). The point where he 'chose' to die was when it was more comfortable for him not to drink, than to take fluids. The Daffodil Nurse (trained in terminal illness) said to let him decide. One day he said, "No more, please. No more. I don't want to drink that." After that toxins build up, coma comes within about 3 days, and death follows. In the months preceeding his death, he told us of seeing his (already deceased) brother waiting for him. Waiting patiently and supportively. My father was NOT afraid of death, but he was very sad at leaving us all.

    It is a pity that we are so phobic about death in our Western culture. We 'medicate' and 'manage' every powerful life transition. Not very enlightened if you ask me. My father gave me the gift of dignity and courage in death. It isn't frightening, just most of us don't want to part with life and loved ones. Life is precious and so it should be. Our distant ancestors venerated death and transition to the after life. We have a whole clan on 'the other side' - why not ask them to assist us in our current life? If we want to communicate with them we can - it is all a matter of mindset!

  • Anonymous Icon

    purebliss Dec 21, 2010

    Thank you for posting this interesting question, Jchand.
    To answer your question as to whether an individual can choose to die, and simply extinguish their physical life..... well a lot depends on how we define the verb 'to choose'. Rick Hanson (Buddha's Brain and a Shift in Action audio), says to move understanding forward we need to define what we mean by certain words. In your example of the terminally ill man with cancer, did he actually choose (i.e. elect to die of his free will) death? In my view if he was terminally ill, he had no choice, death was inevitable. He just altered the timing. You indicate you would choose instantaneous death - your choice of course, but perhaps you would then miss out on the conscious experience of the close of life as we know it.

    I want to recount the death of my father, because it was death as we seldom are permitted to experience it in our world that is petrified by the death experience. My Dad died at home of old age. It was an amazing journey that he shared courageously with my mother, my husband, myself and our tiny baby. Following a stroke we knew that if we put him in a home, we would add to his whole trauma. What he wanted was to finish his time (about 14 months) within the arms of loving family. That is what we gave him: a home death.

    I was struck at the time between the similarities of birth (the start of physical life) and death, as my baby was 6 days old when my Dad had that debilitating stroke (made him bedbound). The moment of birth and death are powerful, real lines in the sand, definite and memorable. We give a lot of importance to those exit and entry points. However I realise that it is the whole process (winding down in old age / developing in a baby) that is relevant, and we miss that by getting caught up in our cultural emphasis on entry/exit points of life.

    Part 2 is in next comment - due to length constraints.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Jchand Dec 18, 2010

    I read this book "20 Minutes In Heaven", about a very religious man who had an NDE, and was convinced that it WAS real, though the very way he described it in the book sounds like a typical NDE, to me. He described like..increasing levels of meaning & beauty, which seemed to grow and grow. Sounds like an NDE to me. I can't get myself to believe in a God. I think that there perhaps might be a universal consciousness that we are all part of - probably a side-effect of consciousness, which I think is created by DNA as the perfect way to pass on DNA. The wierd stuff is just like..facets of consciousness. DNA is a very wickedly complex chemical that we still don't totally understand. If it created consciousness, that's something! Mostly I learned about NDE's from Wikipedia. And that phrase that really got to me, about specific life-flashing-before-my-eyes NDE's just being your mind's way of LOOKING FOR A WAY OUT. I just hope that I go QUICK, when I die. And, though it's messed up, I'd like to be part of some mass horrible event, like 9/11. If you died with lots of other, it's almost like you weren't alone. I would find solace in that. I recently saw the movie "Donnie Darko" (TOTALLY cool, by the way), and one part was about "dying alone". "We all die alone", said Grandma Death to Donnie Darko. I don't really think I would even WANT to have anyone around - family or not - if I was dying in some bad wat. No doubt, in many such times, there must be bad emotions. I think I would be increaidbly hateful and jealous towards ANYONE around me, becuase THEY were fine and I was dying. No doubt hospice nurses have to deal with that stuff. And no one wants to be around someone dying some horrible death, becuase such people don't make good company. And life just passes death up anyway all the time. i can't be alarmed by all the death I see in the world. It might suck to have a loved one die, but it doesn't phase me to think of others dying who I don't know. I might think it's messed up, but that's it. Life favors life. If you're healthy and happy, you want to be around others who are healthy and happy. No sorrow or anything. I had to see my pet cat die. He had some heart problem. I stayed with him til he died. He wasn't having much fun of it! His last sounds he made were the WORST, most pitiful sounds you have EVER heard, had you heard it. It broke my heart so damn bad! I think that if there WAS life after death, death would not be so scary to people. We would KNOW about it. EVERYEONE would, not just religious people. Deep down, I think, though, even religious people KNOW WHAT DEATH really is. They might have some cool religious NDE, but they know deep down that that's IT - your done! And yeah, there is wierd stuff no doubt - ghosts and whatnot. I've witnessed wierd stuff myself - some of it you could even say was kind of religiously based - which I find BIZZARE, becuase I just don't believe in God or anything like that.

  • RedDog Dec 12, 2010

    "and also what would be the platform which everyone could agree on to fully harness the idea of collective conciouness?"
    I think the platform is obvious for us HERE in this Reality. It is our current forms in lineal time. Whereas collective conscioiusness
    is unbounded by time.
    I recently had an experience with the collective consciousness which made several points clearer for me.
    I was in a quite and darkened room, and I was slowing my conscious thoughts (the ones in my own voice) down to the
    point where I could hear between the word/thoughts. This form of silence mades a few things clear to me.
    1.) it was not silent
    2.) the sounds were not in lineal time (that one is harder to explain)

    It also made something very clear to me. If you told someone that you heard voices, other than your own, in your head
    that immediately puts you into a false box. It also is a risky thing to do, as once you become aware of these extra voices
    in the spaces in between, it is a lot like becoming aware of the music playing overhead in a mall. Normally, we tune that
    out, but once you start humming a tune you've heard, you now become aware of that background noise as something
    which is coherent! If you cannot ignore or tune it out, you run the risk of others defining you as "crazy"

    The disconnect from lineal time, became clear for me when I could hear, or pick out voices or information from the
    spaces in between, and noted something happening in my waking environment which paralleled this information to a
    tee. This made me think, that when one sleeps, that one is actually tapping into this same collective and the physical
    brain attempts to make some sense of this information by assigning it names, people, places and things. A dreamscape.
    This is one reason we tend to see some of our dreams as pre-cognative. They are, in a rough from, filtered through our
    dreaming brain.

    So the platform is simply our physical minds, quited enough to recognize the background noise for what it really is.

  • KnowEthics Dec 10, 2010

    birth, old age, disease and death. our bodies change constantly, some people claim that we have a totally new bunch of cells every seven years, so does mean even while concious of this life we actually have a different body than when we were three. sure our opinions and ideas change but we don't don't change. so as we disregard old clothes and buy new ones with the money we worked for, don't we just leave this body when it is no longer useful to us and receive a new one with the mindset we developed in the previous body. birth, old age disease and death are certainly unavoidable, although everyone, we all try to get around these problems yet we are forced to go through it. how do we solve this dilema, could this science of noetics be a useful tool? and also what would be the platform which everyone could agree on to fully harness the idea of collective conciouness?

  • Marlene Dec 10, 2010

    As I'm bedbound for over 2 years due to a chronic illness, all I can say is that life is not only about doing. It is also about Being. You learn so much about life and death, more than you can even imagine. There is no cure for my illness at this moment. My mind often wants to give up and still there's a little flame that doesn't. It is called Hope.

    I've seen things I would have never believed before. Even yesterday, I witnessed life after death again. The first time was in January this year. There was an old man in my room, three times in a week time. It was an appearance. The third time he spoke to me. I thought it was Grim Reaper lol. Then there was this OBE at full daylight. I left my body while being fully awake. A lady took me to the future and I experienced incredible colours and sensations.

    Yesterday I was reading an article about spirits in the newspaper when my body "shaked" uncontrollably for a moment. Without any reason. I immediately thought about my special experiences this year. There was no coincidence. Somebody is there and reminded me of his or her presence.

  • RedDog Dec 07, 2010

    I believe we have been so conditioned to choose life every waking day, that we have become blinded to the other choice.
    Death.
    Since you are posing the arguement as a question of choice, "Can we choose Death"?
    The opposite must also be just as true, "Can we choose Life?"
    Or do we simply exist until our battery naturally drains down to zero?
    If it is a matter of energy in our physical bodies, much like a battery, then obviously, there are things we can do
    which would speed the rate of power drainage.
    For example; If I have extremely high blood pressure, and weaken leaky arteries in the brain. I could take my
    battery down to zero simply by doing a few jumping jacks. POP! I'm dead. Does that qualify as a choice?

  • Anonymous Icon

    Jchand Dec 07, 2010

    That's funny - the comment that I put in about the title being messed up was actually refering to the fact that I had messed up the original title of the thread and it was accidentally named with a parentheis. I wrote an email to IONS explaining that, but I guess they didn't take the reply to the post I made, about messing up the title.

    Yeah, I guess I do have quite a fear of death. I've had a few brushes with death over my life, and it wasn't much fun. One time I almost fell off a cliff - that sucked!
    I still remain a skeptic about life after death. I did read one interesting book, called "20 Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation" - I think the author's name was something like Ian Richardson, or something, and it mentioned very specific cases in which people remembered a very exact past life, and it turned out that they had most all of the details right - I think some people had ALL of them right, or atleast LOTS. Interestingly enough, most of the examples from this book took place in places where people really had beliefs of reincarnation (India was one, and I think Alaska was another - the Inuits from Alaska - they have reincarnation beliefs - that's what I read, atleast). I'm not so sure I believe in any kind of life after death. I would LIKE to. it's wierd - there are all these beliefs people have (ghosts, god, reincarnation, etc),and even though I'm a skeptic, I've read lots of stuff (and experienced some things) that kind of proves ALL of these things to be true. I've seen a UFO before, my own self. Typical flying saucer - litterally - it was this silver flying saucer in the sky. Anyway, really I still remain a skeptic of most things - even things I have experienced. It would be NICE if there is life after death. I'm 33 years old now. All I know is that I hope that I'm only one third of the way through my own life right now (I would like to live to be 100 or so). ANyway, nice to hear what you all had to say.

  • fishingstars Dec 07, 2010

    Ewaweel...I had a NDE a few years back...and before that when I was 7 years old I awoke to find a very tall Native Alaskan man standing at the foot of my bed...I myself am Native Alaskan...and since then Ive had sort of a strange obsession with death....can you ellaborate on what you know on the subject?--
    Christina

  • ewaweel Dec 07, 2010

    Hi to both of you,

    First of all, I think that you didn’t messed up your title. It is far more challenging the way it is because then, the question of death becomes personal.

    You hope to die instantly, with no anxiety, suffering, fears and regrets. Most of us think this way with good reasons, but there is another way. In NDE, as research shows, the brain goes back in memories of live, even to prenatal times, desperately looking for a « copying mechanism » to cope with the reality of impending death.

    Being faced with the knowledge of impending death is the path chosen by shamanism. By choosing to die, the fear of death does not diminish, it is replaced with a respect of death as one recalls, deeply buried in his subconscious, that he has indeed memories of a similar experience. That memory goes back to his birth. Death is the best advisor to understand life and birth was a death.

    « Could you choose to die », was then the right question to ask. The real motivation behind your question could then be understood as : « Could I, conciously, choose to die and could I, then, find the meaning of life ?

    E.W. Aweel

  • Anonymous Icon

    daebwae Dec 07, 2010

    Hi Jchand,

    thanks so much for sharing this!

    Personally, I'd expand your question "Could we choose to die?" to two seperate threads. First, there's question whether human beings have the capacity to end their lifes instantly by the power of their minds. I remember having read tales of these incidences in Native American literature (sorry, I can't recall the titles... so take this with a grain of skepticism) and Tibetan sources ('The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying'). Thanks for adding to this "The Natural History of the Mind." But other than that, I've no personal belief, intuition or knowledge about the theme. I'm sorry that I can't add to the discussion.

    But I think there's second aspect to the question. Aussuming that human beings have such a capacity, are they able to actually commit to it? Maybe as long as we are afraid of death, we simply couldn't choose to die because even taking one more breath is worth it. Even if we don't have a fear of death, we may find life - even one filled with pain - too precious to give it up. There may be englightened beings that are confident enough to make that choice, but personally I don't think that I could choose to die.

    If I read your post correctly, your motivation for this question is that if you could choose to die, the fear of death would diminish. Or did I misinterprete your comment? There may be other ways to reduce this fear. A few weeks ago, I've had to undergo an MRT scan because my doctors feared that I've a brain tumor. Luckily, I'm fine but now I have feel acute fear of death that previously was deeply burried in my subconciouss. In the last weeks, I've done two things to deal with this fear:

    1) Researched the evidence for life after death (see for example http://www.noetic.org/library/audio-lectures/dean-radin-and-julie-beischel-survival-1/ or David Fontana's book "Is there an afterlife? A comprehensive overview of the evidence)
    2) Meditation

    The evidence opened my mind for the possibility for life after death and meditation helps me to find within my haert the confidence that there's life after death beyond the evidence. Now sometimes for brief moments my fear of death is transforming into a respect for death. Respect means that I love my life and value it ... and I want to appreciate it for as long as possible but I don't see death as the end of everything that I am.

    This is just my story, but maybe you can find your personal ways to reduce the fear of death or transform it? Maybe I misunderstood you and the fear of death isn't your main concern... do you or other readers have ways to build greater confidence in a life after death? I'd truly appreciate your answers.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Jchand Dec 05, 2010

    Damnit, I didn't mean for the title of that to be what it was - I guess I just messed up the title part. I MEANT to put "Choosing to die", or something. Well, I hope this still gets read even though it has no title!

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