Nâm Care for the Dying

We are transcendental beings. As human beings, although we live in separate bodies, we are part of a whole. Our life here on earth has a beginning and an end; it is preceded by we know not what and followed by something that we also have no knowledge of.

We are generally programmed in such a way that we want to hold on to what we know and what we have. However when we are dying, we can take nothing that we know or have with us. On the contrary these things will hold us back and make our passing over into death less easy.

When, during the dying process, we are in the company of someone who is in attunement with the whole that life is, such a person can help us to let go of the things and people that attach us to life. He or she will endeavour to attune us to that part of ourselves that will not die, the part that is going on to something new. This can take away much of the fear and put us in a state of trust in what is happening.

The Wake

A crucial phase for letting go, for the deceased as well as for those left behind, starts as soon as the person has died. The energies of both body and mind fall away and the deceased enters a state which can be compared to the ‘dreamstate’ . In this state he still has an energetic connection with the world. It is important that this connection be broken so that he can go on.

An age-old worldwide tradition, used to serve the deceased as well as the living, is the wake.

The wake is a powerful shamanistic ritual that takes place within 24 hours after death. It is executed by four experienced healers who have received a training for this.

The ritual takes place in a room suitable for this purpose. For the ritual the healers position themselves on the four sides of the (covered) body, from where they guide the deceased, by means of rattling, chanting, singing and the reading aloud of special texts, in his or her transformation.

Family and friends who wish to be present during the ritual sit in a circle around the healers and share in the soft yet powerful energy which is freed. Strong emotions like grief and loss can transform in the totality of this energy. This is often experienced as a comfort.

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