3. Stop 2 – Real Death, Gateway to Authentic Living

Journal Questions

Journal Reflections represent an interior dialogue with your deepest essential reality. While your responses are for you alone, the relational practice of objectifying a response in written form can be helpful in achieving clarity and determining what may or may not have value to share with others.

  1. What objective realities stuck in my memory from the encounter with Real Death: images, pictures, objects, sounds, lines of text, etc.? (Quickly re-create a surface-level recall of the experience).

  2. Three elements that most captured my attention were?.

  3. When you hear the phrase ?death is death? what is it saying to you?

  4. ?.you are in exactly the same hands, in the hands of the same final reality, in life as in death. ?Joseph W. Mathews

    What might this mean? What gut reactions do you feel as you think about the above statement?

  5. How do the above statements conflict with the way we live our lives?

  6. How do you experience yourself living on the surface of life?

  7. What is the art form getting at when it says that life-on-the-surface is ?human-centered and time-centered??

  8. How might you practice a mystery-centered relationship to life? What difference would it make?

  9. What are your favorite ways to ?flee Reality??

  10. How have you experienced ?coming home to Reality?? What difference has that made? How has this healing occasioned authenticity in you?

  11. As a result of the encounter with Real Death life practices, postures, or next steps I am inclined to consider include:

  12. Other questions raised for me by the encounter with Real Death, and that I wish to explore more deeply, include:

*Please star your response to one or more of the questions above to write it in the “Comments” section at the end of the module. This contribution is your personal “seed” in nurturing a depth conversation with others.

Group Questions

  1. What images or pictures caught your attention in this Module? What sounds did you hear? What lines of text do you remember? What else connected with your awareness; what else do you remember? (Recreate a group verbal montage of the cinematic module without reflection on specific elements but simply bringing the material back to mind).

  2. When you hear the phrase ?death is death,? what is this saying to you? What are the implications of choosing to acknowledge ?This is it??

  3. ?.you are in exactly the same hands, in the hands of the same final reality, in life as in death. ?Joseph W. Mathews

    What might this mean? What gut reactions do you feel as you think about the above statement?

  4. How might you create an active awareness of your own mortality?

  5. How did you react to the song Still Gonna Die? How does this song conflict with the way our society lives? In other words, how does society deny the words of this song?

  6. How does society live on the surface of life?

  7. What is Real Death getting at when it communicates that, ?life on the surface is human-centered and time-centered??

  8. How might you practice a ?mystery-centered? relationship to life? What difference would it make?

  9. What are your favorite ways to ?flee Reality??

  10. How have you experienced ?coming home to Reality?? What difference has this made? How has this healing occasioned authenticity in you?

  11. How might your life be different moving forward as a result of engaging this art form? What new life practices or postures are you inclined to consider?

  12. What other questions are raised for you by this encounter with Real Death that you wish for the group to discuss?

7 thoughts on “3. Stop 2 – Real Death, Gateway to Authentic Living”

  1. Dee Burt says:

    After today’s Real Death-Gateway to Authentic Living experience, I feel much like I did after The Great Practice. I’m loving the now & cherishing the now…and…choosing not to waste the now! These moving lessons inspire me to practice my priorities and to enjoy my journey. Thank you.

  2. Isaiah Storywarrior says:

    “I hold nothing back from life
    Therefore I am ready for death
    As I am ready for sleep
    After a good day’s work”
    –Lao Tzu

  3. Authorlynnromaine@gmail.com says:

    I have always been faced with my own death as far back as I can remember. Perhaps it was the death of my grandfather when I was five, my grandmother at seven, my older sister at 15, my mother at 42 or my young nice when I was 68. For whatever reason, possibly just my automatic adaptation to trying to survive life, I mostly recall being constantly expecting death. As I head into my 70’s, the images are growing stronger of expecting unexpected or sudden death. This pattern has not stopped me from living a rather adventurous life; in fact, I have lived a rather daring life and I continue on that path, although I have known for some time it is an automatic response to the threat against my ego (identity). I found this excerpt about real death not particularly enlightening as I am considering death every day in many moments. I see one unexpected distinction – I have always come the notion (not a belief but more of an occurring way of life) that I am going to die at any moment but no one else is. It seems to be the opposite of most people’s perceptions that others may be going to die but they are not. It leaves me feeling embarrassed that I could die at any moment and leave everyone else to deal with that. I have never seen this way I see life before. I will continue to watch and see what else shows up. I am committed to inquiring in life and not finding answers. Thank you for another opportunity to complete my life powerful and fulfilled. Judi

  4. David Lawler says:

    I admit to some conflict about the meaning of this module. One of the most powerful memories of my childhood was, at around the age of 5, sitting on the floor playing with some toys and announcing to my mother and grandmother that ?I can?t die.? I have no idea what brought about this realization or what caused me to say it, but I clearly remember the certainty with which I said it. Of course, both my mother and grandmother were quick to correct me, apparently concerned that I would run in front of a car to test my conviction.

    I never thought much about death after that until my beloved grandfather was put into his grave, and for next twenty years of my life, my fear of death was so strong that I could not let my mind think of it. At around the age of 35 I had a mystical experience that remains the most powerful event in my 69 years. Some time after this experience I was visiting my grandfather?s gravesite and found myself laughing and crying at the same time, with the realization that my grandfather wasn?t what was in the ground. After this experience I noticed that I could contemplate my death with no fear of any kind. Fear of physical pain leading to death, yes, but death itself, no fear.

    So for this module to work for me, I have to take the concept of death as it relates to old concepts or identities that no longer work for me because my childhood certainty remains.

  5. Michael D. May says:


    Thanks for sharing these reflections and personal illustrations on this potent, taboo, and little discussed subject.

    Yes, death is only real in a time-bound consciousness; a consciousness within which most of us spend most of our ?time? dwelling. Yet the domain of the mystics is a consciousness well practiced in its connection, exploration and entanglement with Timelessness. Your grandfather, now a Messenger of the Deep, assisted in delivering your consciousness into that state of being. It is true that the things of time remain in time (bodies, personalities, egos, individual consciousness, self-well, etc.); these die! The consciousness of ?impermanence? or ?death? is the eye of the needle through which our depth consciousness must pass. However, that which resides in Timelessness never dies.

    Or as two Great Teachers have shared:

    For wherever your treasure is, you may be certain that your heart will be
    there too! ?Jesus

    ?.the greatest relief can only be obtained when we are capable of touching the ultimate dimension???.God is our true nature, the true nature of no birth, no death. ?Thich Nhat Hanh

  6. amybburrell@gmail.com says:

    this is a short video I made while living in Brazil in 2012.
    Last weeks topic reminded me of it and I thought I would share it with the group.
    It had to do with a death and rebirth process that I was sensing in my life and this is how I explored it through video.
    Hope you enjoy it.
    Amy Burrell

    go to youtube and put this title in

    Cem metros de vermelho (100 meters of red)

  7. pck23@hotmail.com says:

    My home was in an apartment over a funeral home until the end of my 3rd year. My sister and I were allowed to play there? we fished gladiolas out of the garbage, knelt on the kneelers etc. My grandpa lived with us for a while?. we arranged him, flowers and all.. while he napped. I’m not so uncomfortable with the subject. I have been with a number of souls moving on while working in assisted living.
    So, when my best friend was killed in the random shootings in Kalamazoo Mi, a couple weeks ago? I was indeed shocked and heartsick. But, my thoughts in reflection comforted me.
    I was with Judy Brown while her mother was dying in what seemed a lot of pain. Since that time Judy and I often discussed death. She always said she was not afraid to die but of the journey leading up to death. She feared lingering pain. As I tried to put her death into perspective.. this video was helpful. Judy Brown’s angel of death arrived via bullet(s).. fast. and hopefully painless. Although perhaps more violent than she might have asked for, still the peace was swift. Thank you for the kindness in this dear Spirit. Life is Life. Death is Death. Glory Be.

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