Updated: Nov 1
What do you think happens the moment we die? I think the stereotype is that once we close our eyes and are souls are lifted above our bodies, we then float up to a magnificent light that guides us to welcoming angels and loved ones on the other side. However, I’m told the process of transition is not always that simple. We can screw that up while we’re living by our beliefs, our fears and how prepared we are to exit.
I know when my son, Jon, passed – he didn’t just zip up there. Jon’s death was a total surprised to everyone, including him. So, once he’d passed, he was very confused because Jon’s death was an accident. He simply didn’t know what happened. Jon was confused, fearful and because he wasn’t prepared, he didn’t want to leave. In fact, just a few short hours after his passing, I heard him call out and saying that he didn’t know what had happened, how sorry he was (for the whole thing), how frightened and confused he was and asking if he could have a “do over”, his exact words. The short sentences came quickly within several hours of realizing he was no longer alive.
The proposition of death left Jon in shock and 36-hours later – in the morning - he came to me in my bedroom totally emotionless and stunned. We talked back and forth while I explained what was happening to him and how a “Mulligan” was not possible, his life was really over. Since I had a bit of experience transitioning spirits, I said many things correctly but you can imagine a mother’s conflict wanting her son to stay right where he was – sort of in sight – and yet trying desperately to help him move on. Anyway, making a long story short, that was the morning of the second day after his passing and I didn’t feel peace until that evening. So, it seemed to take about 2 ½ days for Jon’s journey to heaven. Jon told me later, the average is about 3 days.
Others zip right up there. For those who know they’re near death and are ready, transition is a snap. In contrast, Jon’s wasn’t hard, it was just not smooth and was a little lengthy. So, this begs the question, how can we, while we’re still living, ensure we have a quick and easy transition to the afterlife? There are five basic steps.
Avoid the fear death, itself. Fear can hold us back even when we may be in immeasurable physical or emotional pain. Such fear generally stems from the unknown.
To alleviate that possibility, read articles or books about the afterlife and somehow have a picture in your mind of what could await you when you pass. One such vision is being welcomed by relatives - naming them by name helps - so you can actually picture them. Peace and serenity, is another good scenario, especially if your life was chaotic and challenging. God, Jesus, saints and angels or other divine beings, in which you believe, also helps paint a feasible picture of a magnificent welcome.
Hold a belief system that doesn’t create barriers. Some belief systems can actually hold you back. The first, believing that nothing exists after death; there is no heaven, there is no God, there’s absolutely nothing. Now, that might work intellectually while life still lies ahead but the closer one gets to the finish line, simply dropping into nothingness is a tough pill to swallow. To neutralize that barrier, one doesn’t have to believe in a God but being open to the possibility of some type of afterlife - is helpful. A little wiggle-room is positive in this case.
Secondly, believing they don’t deserve to go to heaven. Humble, perhaps but this belief, when nearing the end, gives people only one other option – hell. Not a pretty picture. So, if you think fear might follow with the first belief, try the second. To remedy that, try seeking counsel from some form of clergy, a therapist, counselor or friend. Just talking it out might make a big difference and help a person form a more realistic perspective.
Next, release the bonds of earth. There are two primary culprits in over-attachment. First, being too attached to the material world. That one is a real detriment at the end of life. Some people just put too much stock in how physical possessions determine self-worth, that their legacy is inexorably tied to a home or property, or that hoarding of material possessions is their only sense of security. Any of those are damaging and make it too likely to want to cling to the earth plane instead of letting go. That’s why downsizing is a healthy exercise, it teaches us to let go of the “stuff” we accumulate, regardless of how much we might like it. Photos and memories can suffice when we reach a certain age.
Second, being too dependent within certain relationships. When we hold on to people in order to control them – or conversely, when we’ve totally abdicated all our power to another, we stick like glue. Not an ideal scenario when it’s time to leave. For those who have always been over-controlling in life it is sometimes a challenge to release that grip after death. Loved ones can help mitigate that hold by reminding the person passing how self-sufficient they are now and how they can “do fine” so letting go is possible. With those assurances, loved ones help release the shackles that bind one to another and could eventually hold a person back and keep a transition from being executed fully. Explaining that more specifically, some souls actually hang around in between heaven and earth trying to stay connected to the one left behind.
Finally, probably the toughest one – but one of the most common – is guilt. Many
hold on to this life in order to correct mistakes and errors they’ve made prior. What will help eliminate this is to take the time, while still living to 1) reach out to loved ones to say they are sorry or to remind them of how much they are loved. That simple conversation can make all the difference in the world. Leaving important messages unsaid and neglecting to make amends only exacerbates guilt once one passes. Instead, one can neutralize the guilt with a simple action. One example, offering that apology whether the apology is accepted or not.
The hardest thing, however, is 2) forgiving ourselves. We all need to work on that here and now. In doing so, simply remember that we are imperfect people trying to make it through life without doing too much damage to others around us. Even with the structure surrounding forgiveness common in some religions, I still find that although individuals may believe that they’re forgiven intellectually, they still hold on to personal guilt anyway. So, work on realizing that we’ve done the best we could and if we haven’t, we can still rectify it. If correcting the mistake is impossible, let it go.
These few simple tips may not seem like much but they truly are. Birth and death are the two most important events in the human experiment and perfecting the process of each should always be a goal. We do pretty well with the first one but with the second, we seem to be totally ignorant.
To paraphrase something my son said in my book, “HI MOMMA, IT’S ME”, it is really possible for all of us to take the express elevator directly to heaven. Other souls have said the same thing but not with as much personality. So, I’m happy to be the facilitator and deliver a few hints from souls who have actually made the trip - especially if those help you experience the most magnificent afterlife imaginable, quickly.