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Tony Grist

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It Comes To Us All [Sep. 12th, 2007|10:29 am]
Tony Grist
I think about death all the time. 

Not in a morbid way. At least I don't find it morbid.

I think it's healthy to use a  skull as a paperweight. Or to have your own funeral effigy designed in advance so you can keep a picture of it in your bedroom the way John Donne did.

But then I'm not afraid of death.  I believe in the immortality of the soul.  And this isn't a clinging to the ledge by the fingertips kind of a belief, but more like a conviction.

The soul is immortal. The personality isn't.  The personality goes on the scrapheap. I think the personality I've developed in this life is interesting enough and I suppose I'm quite fond of it, but I won't mind letting it go. 

The whole art of growing old is knowing how and when to let things go. 

It feels like I've already lived several different lives in the course of my 56 years. For instance there's this guy I used to be who  worked for the church. I've let him go and I don't regret him in the least. 

When I'm reading about some famous dead person I always make a point of checking the age at which they died. Yesterday I was reading about Lee Miller. She died at 70. Which means she was only 14 years older than I am now. At 56 I'm in the killing zone. Anita Roddick just died in her early 60s. Look, really, it could happen to me any time now...
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-09-12 01:22 pm (UTC)
My father-in-law has had two brothers die within a year- which makes him the last member of that generation in his family. It's hit him hard and he's been showing signs of not wanting to stay around much longer. Mind you, his next birthday, if he makes it, will be his 80th.
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[User Picture]From: pondhopper
2007-09-12 01:42 pm (UTC)
My mother in law is 92 and is the last surviving family member of her generation. I´m not sure she´s aware of that fact because her mind isn´t what it used to be. But we of the following generation are *very* aware of it.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-09-12 03:40 pm (UTC)
That last of the generation thing is awesome. I think we're down now to a single surviving combatant of the First World War- and he's something like 111. When he goes the western front will pass out of living memory.
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From: manfalling
2007-09-12 02:33 pm (UTC)
Then you better get writing some more stories about Immortals, isn't that right?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-09-12 03:40 pm (UTC)
I've tried. I'm afraid that well has run dry.
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[User Picture]From: zoe_1418
2007-09-12 03:48 pm (UTC)
"The soul is immortal. The personality isn't."

What an interesting thought to ponder! Thanks.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-09-12 05:07 pm (UTC)
It's an idea Ive found expressed- in varying forms- in a range of different sources.
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[User Picture]From: zoe_1418
2007-09-12 05:10 pm (UTC)
Could you cite a few of the sources? I might like to read more about the idea...
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-09-12 06:27 pm (UTC)
I was afraid you'd ask that.

I've read an awful lot of stuff over the years- occult, spiritualist, pagan, Hindu, Buddhist, theosophical. I've spent my life dabbling in fringe spiritualities. I absorb the ideas and forget the titles.

But there's one book that's had a huge influence recently on my beliefs about life after death etc. It's called Journey of Souls by Michael Newton. and you can get a taste of it here- http://www.spiritualregression.org/journeyreview.html
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[User Picture]From: glassgirl7
2007-09-12 05:34 pm (UTC)
Zoe_1418 sent me to your journal because of this post. My mom died a year ago this month, and our relationship was quite complex, although much healing took place in the last couple years of her life. However, in this grief period I'm haunted by the idea that she will torment me in some future lifetime if I discuss (for the purpose of healing from) her imperfections with regards to me. This is, obviously, getting in my way! Its comforting to think that her personality will NOT go on. Thanks for posting this. Anything else you can share about this idea would be very helpful to me. My convictions re: reincarnation or something like it are getting in my way here, but convictions aren't so easy to shake. Maybe re-framing would meet with more success!

...and do you mind if I add you to my friends list?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-09-12 06:56 pm (UTC)
I believe in reincarnation too. But I don't think we carry resentments over from one lifetime to the next. What we may carry over are particular relationship issues that we still need to work at.

But the aim will always be to achieve resolution. Anything you can do now to further that resolution will be helpful- and will have your mother's blessing. She's beyond petty considerations of ego now- and is almost certainly sorry for the harm she did you.

I think life on earth is a kind of glorified role play. We come here to learn. In between lives we rest and reflect on what we've achieved and- once we're feeling strong enough- we reincarnate and give things another shot.

Next time round you might be the parent and she the child- or it could be that the relationship has run its course and the two of you won't reincarnate together again. Whatever happens will, I believe, be arranged for your benefit and with your consent.

The book I've recommended to Zoe may be of interest. http://www.spiritualregression.org/journeyreview.html

Of course you can add me. And I'll be adding you back.
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[User Picture]From: glassgirl7
2007-09-13 03:04 am (UTC)
Your perspective is very peaceful, and your response to my issue is very kind. Thank you so much for this; there's something so comforting about support from strangers!
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[User Picture]From: red_girl_42
2007-09-13 01:42 am (UTC)

Curious

You say the soul is immortal, but the personality isn't. How do you then define the soul? Does it have consciousness? Does it remember this mortal life or is it more just a form of energy? Or something else entirely? Does it remain individual, discrete, or does it merge with other souls?

I have heard many different views on what a soul is, so I'm curious how you see it.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-09-13 09:05 am (UTC)

Re: Curious

I believe the soul is individual, immortal and discrete, but is linked throughout eternity to other souls in a primary group or cluster. These linked souls repeatedly incarnate together. The soul is certainly conscious and takes a colouring from its earthly lives- or what would be the point of incarnation? I believe it has the capacity to remember everything it has been through but probably enjoys the luxury of forgetting what it no longer needs.

Of course, this could all be wishful thinking....

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From: (Anonymous)
2007-09-13 10:01 am (UTC)

yo again

At work and recieved a message from virgin if you could text me ailz account and email i can send her some money through pay pal for next week when i get paid love ya loads joe
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-09-13 12:51 pm (UTC)

Re: yo again

Wilco!

Love you, too...

Dad
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[User Picture]From: karenkay
2007-09-13 12:17 pm (UTC)
Thanks for this post. I know exactly how you feel. Interesting that we're the same age--I've always thought of you as slightly older, maybe because you don't work, which is something I associate with retirement (which is only a dream for me).

Anyway, I appreciate your being able to capture my feelings so nicely.:)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-09-13 12:55 pm (UTC)
Do you think we're in a minority? Our culture certainly doesn't encourage us to have a cheery and accepting attitude to death.
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[User Picture]From: karenkay
2007-09-13 02:08 pm (UTC)
Good question. I don't know the answer. It's a youth culture, so I suppose that they don't think about death.

I don't know that I'm *quite* as cheery about death as you are, but how can one not be accepting? It's going to happen whether you resist or not. And I know from watching my mother's death how *hard* it is to die, even when you want to.
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2007-09-21 01:54 pm (UTC)
I'm losing my religion, Tony. I mean that I am not even sure any longer that we have souls.

It's awful, not having anything left.

At least when I die I won't know I'm dead.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-09-21 02:31 pm (UTC)
My beliefs are changing all the time. I went through a phase where I believed in nothing, but now I certainly believe in souls and maybe even believe in God.

I don't think it matters what we believe. Beliefs are only opinions. And the reality of the universe is almost certainly beyond our comprehension.
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