Exactly 5 years ago my grandmother passed away. She was the MOST positive woman I have ever known. She was the BRAVEST person I have ever known. She was my mother’s best friend. She was my second mother. I’ll NEVER, in all my life, EVER, forget how she looked at me. She and I saw deep within each other, communicated without words. She had this intense and undisturbed faith. She knew things about death that I did not, or could not understand…until now.
My grandmother was born in 1925. Individuals of her generation relied heavily on prayer and faith to get through difficult situations. Many times when I had a question concerning death and dying, particularly her death, she would offer a very comforting answer that was clearly rooted in her strong faith. If I pressed the issue and wondered why she believed such a way, she would dismiss me with a matter of fact, “because that is what I know; that is what I believe.” I respected her answer and held a great reverence for it. She was confident. I wanted to be like her.
The practice of Chinese Medicine truly explores the concept of the mind and of the spirit, two ideas that in my opinion bridge the gap between the physical and the spiritual/emotional aspects of a person. And death, again in my opinion, is about the same thing.
In some of these texts, the “mind” indicates the activity of thinking, consciousness, insight, and memory.
The “spirit” in some classical texts states that it is comprised of five physiological aspects that are each housed in a yin organ system:
My grandmother’s mind was extremely strong and was in complete harmony with her Ethereal Soul seen through her calm vision, insight, and wisdom. The Ethereal Soul (Hun) is thought to be the link between the individual mind and that of the universal mind (our dreams/ideas/spiritual life). Interestingly, it is not attached to the body and leaves the body during death. Alternatively, the Corporeal Soul (Po) is attached to the body and goes down to the earth with it at death. It is experienced in our sensations of touch, hearing, and sight. Our breath is closely linked to our Corporeal Soul as well, hence residing in the Lungs. It is stated that meditation quiets the Corporeal Soul, in turn opening the Ethereal Soul with the Universal Mind. I was a witness to the strength of my grandmother’s Corporeal Soul – amazingly strong, to her last breath.
After she passed, I knew that I witnessed something special and was given a gift. I knew that her strong convictions in life (Mind) lead to the completely balanced passing of her Corporeal Soul (Po) to earth and her Ethereal Soul (Hun) to the universe. I already can feel her presence within me, in my somatic self, in my Corporeal Soul. I know that she will visit my Ethereal Soul often and that her legacy now lives on throughout me. Her peace is now mine. Her death is now my life.
Blog postings by Natalie Maddox Rougie, AP, DACM owner of Palm Wellness in Tampa, FL.