“Even death is not to be feared by one who has lived wisely.” – Buddhist saying.
At some point in our lives, we all experience a loved one’s passing. This is the story of my extraordinary experience of witnessing the peaceful transition of my father in the beginning of June 2017. In an understanding of the dignity of a soul through death, I wish to share my spiritual experience with you for my father, following the 49th day of his passing. This is considered the end of the transition from physical to spiritual, according to Buddhist teachings.
The 7 x 7 (49) rituals practiced in Zen, Tibetan Buddhism, and other traditions aim to usher a soul painlessly from one life to another. I wished to perform my own rituals for my father so that he might pass more peacefully. This is how his particular transition played out.
Since my mother’s passing 4 years ago, my father showed multiple signs that indicated his physical and mental health were deteriorating. From this past March, his condition deteriorated rapidly, and I knew he would not last long.
- Sending Healing Light, Love, and Compassion & Chanting a Mantra
Throughout this process, I received four spiritual messages/instructions intuitively through meditation for how to help my father pass in peace.
The first instruction that I received was to send the energy of love, compassion, and pure light to my father every day. This was not considered as healing as such, which I offered later on, but a gentle insight to simply send healing light, love, and compassion which would benefit him without judgment. I did the same for my mother when she was passing.
Additionally, I was instructed to chant a Kundalini mantra, “SA TA NA MA”, a powerful tool that I’ve used many times in years past. This mantra contains significant teaching about life and life transformation. It is though to transmit non-verbally, and simply through the vibration of sound. The mantra transcends misery, and the vagaries of life into pure consciousness.
SA TA NA MA transmits an understanding of the life cycle, but also teaches us to move beyond the cycle, so that we can empower our souls beyond physical existence. It is the belief of many ancient cultures that this life is temporary, but that our souls or etheric bodies live on after a physical death. Chanting this mantra with dedication helped me ground energetically and prepare myself to assist in my father’s passing. It also allowed me to send the vibration of spiritual transformation to my father.
- Honoring the Dignity of his Soul
The second message I received was a simple word – “dignity.” I did not know how to apply this message to my father when I first received it.
When I arrived in Japan at the end of May, his doctor confirmed that he had developed severe pneumonia, which caused inflammation in two thirds of his lungs. He was in a terminal stage when I was able to make it to my home country. Due to dysphagia, which began only 2 weeks before, he was no longer able to eat, drink or swallow, including medications.
To alleviate his pneumonia and dehydration, his doctor administered high doses of fluids and antibiotics intravenously. For several reasons, this treatment was making his last days unbearable both physically and mentally. He wanted to be free from the needle stuck in his arm, and not be held captive in a hospital bed for 24 hours of each day. He asked to discontinue the IV treatment.
We recognized that he was prepared to go without additional life sustaining treatment. We honored his dignity and we decided to take him back to the nursing home where he resided for the former 10 years, attended to by a loving and caring staff. Soon after, the IV treatment was discontinued.
Interestingly, after the IV was discontinued, his suffering was diminished immensely. He was able to breathe better and there was less congestion in his lungs. Most importantly, he began to look more peaceful even though his days as a physical being were numbered.
- Emotional Clearing and Purification
When he entered into a stable state following the removal of the IV, I received the third spiritual message. I was instructed to offer him emotional clearing and energy purification as soon as possible. I offered a Reiki session at his bedside, at which time several crucial, unresolved emotional issues arose. These issues were related to his late mother who raised him. He was adopted, which was very common in Japan before WWII. Since he was not able to communicate his own emotions easily with others or even within himself, I recognized he held significant emotional stagnation and complexes at the subconscious level that he could not resolve or process when his mother was alive. I witnessed the anger and frustration that he could not express, and an accompanying regret and guilt that he could not be kind and compassionate when she was passing.
My teachers Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche and Khenpo Twewant Dongyal Rinpoche state the following, in their book, The Buddhist Path:
“In general, your state of mind right before you die is very important. At the moment just before death, even the smallest thought can change the direction of your rebirth. It is good to remember this when you are with people who are dying. It is important to let them die in peace, without stirring up their emotions. It definitely helps people if they die with peaceful thoughts. Further, if you can create thoughts of love and compassion in a person’s heart just before the death, it will change their future life”.
As a side note, I gave him Reiki healing with great caution and protection for myself, as it is not energetically easy to offer to someone preparing to pass. The giver must conduct in great integrity with stamina physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. The giver must know how far s/he could go on and when to stop. The giver should have extensive experience and knowledge of energy healing and soul journey.
- Preparation to the Transition
The fourth and the last message was the timing of his transition. I was informed spiritually when he would begin preparing for and complete his transition. I prepared myself for the moment at all levels and made myself available toward the date. I kept the message to myself.
When the day arrived, he still looked sound and stable without much signs of suffering. The care staff and nurses assumed that he would keep going for another week.
Nonetheless, the final stage arrived in the time as informed. I was well prepared. It was time for me to talk to him. By then, his soul was in and out, often leaving his body. I believe that he was partially conscious, but mostly unconscious physically. Because the soul was no longer attached to the physical body, he was probably not suffering physically any more.
I told him at his bedside that I fully understood how much he suffered from his unresolved feelings about his mother, but at the discretion of his daughter, I was helping to release the emotions energetically, so that he did not have to worry any more. I communicated that he should feel lighter and in peace. His mother (my grandmother) and his wife (my mother) would be waiting for him with a smile. My message was short and precise and did not go into details. He was listening and tears began to form in his eyes. It was such a powerful moment and I was so glad that he heard my message at his heart.
A few hours later, in the final moment, his breathing became irregular. All of a sudden he opened his eyes widely, as if someone was standing in front of him, and he looked surprised. I had never seen such beautiful and warm eyes in my father. He looked uplifted, pure, and energized. He no longer could hear our voices or see our faces. After this incredible moment, he passed the physical plane, completely in peace.
His face turned gracious as a Buddha, sound and peaceful, without any sign of struggle. It was a beautiful face.
Later, I shared my observations with an experienced nurse. She told me that opening the eyes before passing was often the sign of someone from the spiritual world coming to escort the person to pass into the spiritual dimension.
This was my story of assisting my father to pass in peace with dignity physically, mentally and emotionally. I hope my experience will help anyone who needs to prepare to assist those they love to move from this experience of life, to a peaceful existence on the other side.
Every death is different, but ancient teachings confirm that our soul’s growth continues after this life. If we can help someone we love transition with grace and joy, their next experience through the transition can only be elevated to a grander state of spiritual realization. I wish this for you and all who you love.
Love & Compassion,
Mika Ichihara, M.S., L.Ac. B.Phar. LLM
Love & Compassion Integrative Healing Center
This article “Peaceful Transition” was originally created and published by LoveandCompassion.com under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Mika Ichihara, M.S., L.Ac., LL.M., B.Phar., Founder Owner and Grand Master in Eastern Medicine and Energy Soul Medicine. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution and author bio. For more information about her and her practice, please visit www.loveandcompassion.com.