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‘Darest thou now O Soul,
Walk out with me toward
the unknown region
Where neither ground is for
The feet nor any path to follow.’
Death is the last great mystery. It is also an integral part of life. In our Western 21st century culture we fear death and avoid talking about it. Death, the Grim Reaper, is seen as the enemy, standing in the shadows and a stranger to us. We are not taught about death and how to die, though this was not always so, nor indeed is it the case in other cultures. So when confronted with death, either directly or indirectly, we are at a loss to know how to best handle it.
Underlying our fear and evasion of the subject is the fear of change. We want everything to remain the same. Nothing ever does of course, and we are in as much a state of flux as the universe itself. Death is not the end according to all the great spiritual traditions of the world, and it is important that we understand this for it affects our attitude towards the life we live. In surrendering to the inevitability of death, and learning not to be afraid of it, we are paradoxically more able to live our lives to the full. We no longer take life for granted, we appreciate how precious it is, and we also live less selfishly.
This anthology is not only valuable for those confronting death or bereavement, but also for those who question life’s meaning.