Making The Transition
We make plans throughout our lives and even plan our funeral, but seldom do we plan our own death. This is not the case with Tibetan lamas. who place great store on the abandonment of grasping, yearning and attachment. They give everything away before death, if possible of course, so there will be no argument over the distribution of the physical possessions, which could negatively influence the next incarnation.
Some, at what they consider the right time, simply close their eyes and release the spirit. in other cultures, especially nomadic ones, old people choose to be left behind if they are having difficulty keeping up, and starve to death. However, most of us do not embrace or accept death in this way; we fight it tooth and nail and think that by planning for it we're giving in.
The more usual scenario is that we experience some-one else dying, and find ourselves making plans for the funeral, if not death itself. Flowers are an essential part of most funeral practices, perhaps because their fragrance brings a special atmosphere to the event. When Mother Teresa died in 1997, flowers that looked like tuberose surrounded the coffin, ad I wondered if this was her favourite flower, and whether they had been in the room as she made her transition.
Certainly, this very aromatic flower would have filled the room with its heady perfume; as essential oil of tuberose equally would have done.
Aromas are so personal, its impossible to suggest essential oils to use at this most important time. This is the time to use fragrances we have loved, that induce in us peace and joy. If we are too weak to organize it ourselves, friends and family can be asked to get the essential oils diffuser, so that the enveloping etheric clouds of fragrance can accompany us on the journey 'home'.
Make sure you use pure, natural essential oils, rather than the man-made synthetics which, to the untrained eye and inexperienced nose, can be disguised to look like the real thing. If ever there was a time we returned to nature, it is this - our true nature. We all have an image perhaps of what the afterlife will be like, but one thing is almost certain, there are no man-made chemicals in Heaven.
People who have died and been resuscitated, and had near-death experiences, notice delightful aromas: we will breathe in the fragrant heavens as we pass over. But when we are lying there, waiting for this to happen, what do we smell? Let us hope it is not the urine of a patient in the next hospital bed, or a nurse with body odour. Even in the comfort of our own home, we may not appreciate the smell of frying coming from the kitchen. Unpleasant odours will make it harder to find any beauty there may be in death.
This is the one time in life to embrace the beautiful: thinking of the wonderful things we have done in our life, and of the special people we have known; and, hopefully, being in the company of people who shower us with their unconditional love. Sweet-smelling aromas, well-chosen and sensitively used, contribute the beauty of nature to the dying experience. And in a hospital ward, it attracts people to the area, making it less lonely.
- Sogyal Rinpoche, author of Tibetan Book Of The Living And Dying, has said:
What counts at the moment of death is whatever we have done in our lives. Help the dying person not to face-death empty-handed, help him or her to mind meaning in his or her life, even if he or she has many regrets now he can make the end of his life meaningful.
Our state of mind at the moment, a change of heart at the time of death, can influence our future and powerfully transform our karma. Our last thoughts and emotions before death have a powerful and determining effect on our immediate future. The quality of the atmosphere when we die is important. When someone is dying we should do all we can to inspire positive emotions, sacred feelings like love and compassion....
If love and emotion can be expressed, the tears allowed to fall, before the actual moment of death, the spirit can be released undistracted. This brings us to a very important point. If preparing essential oils for someone who is dying, don't think of it as a portion to draw them back to the living. No earthly fragrance can bring them back. Think of it as simply providing a pleasant atmosphere in which they can pass over, or as a cloud of delicious fragrance to waft them on their inevitable way; our last, parting gift.
Reference:The Fragrant Heavens: Valerie Ann Worwood.