Often when death comes knocking we tend to get a little forgetful. We can forget details, appointments, and things that need doing. We can also forget that we, and our loved one facing death is a whole person – they are in life and they ought to be in death too. We are a magical combination of mind, body, emotions, spirit, and yes finances.
Jack Kornfield, a bestselling American author and teacher in the Vipassana movement in American Theravada Buddhism, taught in his book a Path with Heart that we do not have separate lives. Meaning, a financial life, separate from an emotional life, separate from a spiritual life is an illusion– we have but one whole, inclusive life. So that would suggest then that we are but one whole, inclusive being with many aspects to us.
This being the case it would be disrespectful to leave any facet of the ‘whole’ being out when death does come knocking and yet we typically do. We try so hard to be spiritually correct and spiritually respectful we often leave some key aspects of the ‘whole person’ out. Sometimes, we drop out humor, joy or happiness the lighter emotions. Sometimes, we drop out noticing their body and focus only on their spirit. Sometimes, we drop out engaging them in conversations.
One aspect we tend to drop out most often is the financial aspect of the one dying. I recently taught an online program for death midwives – my module was all about being financially ready for the end of life. Most learners were not at all looking forward to it – the money thing you know! Most do not associate money and spirituality and to be honest years ago nor did I!
By dropping out end of life finances that cover the dying process, the death, and then the funeral or cremation process we energetically drop our loved one out too. You see finances ARE a spiritual practice – money IS spiritual. To the degree we mindfully handle end of life finances is the degree to which we take care of the ‘whole person’- our dying loved one.
In our practices of living and dying lets do our best to remember the entire person – mind, body, emotions, spirit, and yes finances too!
Stephen Garrett, MA