Craig’s Quest

An Experience of Overcoming Apparent Obstacles and Finding Meaning and Continuity

For ten years Janet and I were caregivers for her brother, Craig, who had serious mental problems, and for the last six years helping him fight terminal cancer, until he died on May 23, 2006 at age 58.

It was a difficult situation, requiring great dedication, especially from Janet. We were often uncertain about how to help him, how to apply our energy to be able to sustain the effort over a period of years, how to know which actions are valid in the complex situations that appeared. Our gratitude goes out to all who included Craig in their well-being ceremonies. This may well have helped him live years longer than doctors predicted, and especially the last seven months of his life when he kept coming back from the brink of death, giving him important additional time.

Craig was a lifelong seeker of wisdom and spiritual things, widely read and very knowledgeable in religion, philosophy, archaeology, and astronomy. He built a broad library related to his search, and participated in a great many religious expressions, especially Christian ones. At times over the years we introduced him to elements from Silo’s Message, but he chose not to make use of them, remaining dedicated to his search and Christian forms. But his searching did not bring him peace, and he remained very troubled and unreconciled about his terminal cancer.

For the last 18 months of his life Craig lived in a nursing home. Here many people are facing death, and with his knowledge of the Bible and related themes Craig was able to help people and have a sense of value. In his last year, he decided not to accept any further medical treatment that would require him to go to the hospital, and dedicated himself to using Christian study to try to overcome his cancer, consistently refusing all medical treatments offered. Craig still did not accept his death, but rather chose to fight it with faith rather than medicine. But his dedication to Christianity and using faith to cure himself still failed to bring him peace or reconciliation.

When he nearly died seven months before the end of his life we renewed efforts to help him advance in reconciliation and opening the future. During this seven month death watch we worked on faith that he might overcome the cancer, while also trying to find what is essential and valuable in his life and will continue on. We searched for uplifting scriptures he liked and read these to him, along with the Assistance ceremony from Silo’s Message, adapted for his Christian beliefs (appended), together with many informal conversations.

This process was very challenging. On occasion we were able to make strong connections and help him transform the heavy obstacles he encountered: Fear of death, demons, a persistent feeling he was bad, inner struggles, guilt, etc., all compounded by his mental problems. At times we were able to help him overcome the difficulties. For example, Craig could sometimes comprehend how Wisdom, which Proverbs 8:23 told him “was inaugurated and ordained from everlasting, from the beginning, before ever the earth existed” could then continue on without end, so that his lifelong dedication to Wisdom could in some way persist beyond death. At times I felt that Craig was on the threshold of a portal between two worlds, about to enter the light. These experiences strengthened us as well, with remarkable feelings of certainty of continuity, of light, of opening possibilities.

But more often, especially in later months, things seemed to go backwards. Craig was no longer receptive to readings of uplifting scriptures or the Assistance ceremony. It seemed that in his strong denial about his cancer he was choosing to turn away from meaning. We felt unable to help him find a way to reconcile or see a future. The apparent destiny seemed that he would not have a reconciled death or find faith that he would go on.

Toward the end he had a medical problem, changed his mind about refusing treatment, and went to the hospital one last time, giving him another month of life. But then the doctors said his cancer had progressed so far that, while they could keep him comfortable, there was nothing more they could do to overcome his illness, and recommended against more hospitalizations.

In the last few days of Craig’s life as he became more ill, we resumed reading him the Assistance ceremony. On the day he died we still thought he might bounce back as he had so many times before over the years. The conditions weren’t great. He was in a noisy nursing home with a roommate on each side separated only by a curtain, so I drew the chair very close to him to establish a connection that was intimate. I read the Assistance ceremony, then sat with him in silence for a time, then spoke of the best things in his life which would go on, and later on repeated the Assistance ceremony. After a couple of hours, I was in the middle of reading the Assistance ceremony to him, and began to notice that his labored breathing was slowly becoming further apart. Gradually it ceased.

Craig’s passage was very smooth, and felt as though he trusted us and chose to let go at this time — something completely unusual and unexpected for him, since he was always so unreconciled in life. In a way that was surprisingly matter-of-fact, he simply let go and peacefully slipped across to the other side.

As previously agreed, rather than return to the hospital with a lot of distracting activity, I just held his hand and continued repeating the Assistance ceremony for nearly an hour, along with working with the Asking to give him the Force, and speaking to him about aspects of his life that would continue — especially his dedication to wisdom and his generosity in sharing his knowledge. I found that I had to make a strong effort to bring the focus back to Craig rather than the many extraneous thoughts and strong emotions that periodically came up. Repeatedly using the brief Asking that I could recover the state of a good guide was essential in being able to assist Craig with kindness, wisdom, and strength. As the situation unfolded, this was a very special state, there was a strong sensation in my heart, and an awareness that this was important and it was important to help Craig.

For some hours after Craig passed on, his body remained in the room, but we no longer felt his presence there. Outside, it was a beautiful afternoon, with the bright sun shining. I began to carry his things from his room to the car, which took many trips. Each time I went outside I could feel Craig up above – free and realizing how much greater possibilities open up than we normally believe about “the other side.” Craig was learning, getting answers to all his questions, and sending back messages to us not to worry, things on the other side are very good — far better than you think. It is not just that death is not as bad as you fear, on the contrary, this passage opens possibilities far richer than you can imagine. As I walk outside I notice my body feels harmonious, unified. I have the certainty that existence continues beyond death. And of how much this changes everything…

To our great surprise, despite his unwavering denial of his approaching death and his apparent lack of reconciliation, in the end things were strongly transformed and turned out far better than we expected — we could feel with certainty that he was able to continue on, upward into the cosmos he was so fond of, discovering new possibilities, and leaving many gifts of rich lessons and messages that we continue to realize. Despite every appearance to the contrary, the human spirit was able to overcome all obstacles and find a way toward freedom, toward the future, toward the light.

From having been an almost overwhelming challenge for ten years, in this final experience Craig unexpectedly became converted into a helpful guide, and the entire experience into one of great value for which we are grateful. We had been concerned that the years-long difficulties of caregiving – guilt at not being able to help more, resentment at the great burden, etc. – might continue on unresolved. But instead, the dramatic transformation on the day of Craig’s death reconciled everything, not only for Craig but also for Janet and I, so that we felt free and strengthened by this unifying experience.

A few lessons we received from this experience:

• In this case, the process of passing on was unexpectedly matter-of-fact, everyday. Going to the other side is not something far away or scary. We felt how close the other side is, how the distance we normally give it is only an illusion. This experience helped us recognize how close the links are, and this realization brings harmony in life.

• We don’t have to believe in even apparently overwhelming obstacles. What seem impossible situations can be overcome. Craig’s difficult life and strong denial of his impending death appeared to definitively close off his possibilities — he seemed to turn away from meaning. Yet in the end as all of us worked together — Craig, Janet, Paul, medical staff, friends in the Message – everything was transformed to find meaning and continuity.

• The positive resolution of this apparently hopeless situation gave new meaning to the entire ten-year process of caring for Craig, which always seemed a heavy, incoherent burden without redeeming value. It required Janet’s remarkable dedication and skill in helping Craig through thousands of trips to care for him, and my work with him especially near the end using the adapted Assistance. And Craig did his part — his lifelong dedication to wisdom, while without obvious results or benefits during his troubled life, added up in the end. His sustained intention was able to go on.

• It is striking how completely opposite this experience is from what we have habitually believed about death: Instead of separation, sadness, a lack of meaning, and the end of things, what has actually been occurring is a feeling of continuing connection, a certainty that what is best in him is going on, and an awareness of unexpected possibilities.

Paul and Janet Tooby

Assistance
(adapted)

This is a ceremony of great affection. It requires the person performing it to give the best of him or herself. The ceremony maybe repeated at the request of the person receiving it or by those caring for him or her. The Officiant is alone with the person who is dying or reflecting on death. Regardless of the apparent state of lucidity or unconsciousness of the dying person, the Officiant comes close and speaks slowly in a voice that is soft and clear.

Calm yourself and think of the good in you that takes you toward Jesus and the kingdom of the spirit.The memories of your life are the judgment of your actions. You can, in a short time, recall much of what is best in you. Remember then, but without fear, and purify your memory. Gently remember, and calm your mind…

The Officiant remains silent for a few minutes, and then resumes reading in a voice of the same tone and intensity. As you remember your life, know that God and all that is good and glorious are with you. Reject startling fears and disheartenment…

Reject the desire to flee toward low and dark regions…

Reject the attachment to memories…

Remain in internal liberty, indifferent toward the dream of the landscape…

Resolve to begin the ascent…

The pure Light dawns in the summits of the great mountain chains, and the waters-of-a-thousand-colors flow amid unrecognizable melodies toward crystalline plateaus and prairies…

Jesus and all that is good and glorious are always with you and in you. Do not fear the pressure of the Light that pushes against you with increasing strength the closer you draw to its center. Absorb it as though it were a liquid or a wind, for certainly, in it is life…

Feel that God is with you. When you find the hidden city in the great mountain chain, you must know the entrance. And you will know it in the moment your life is transformed. Its enormous walls are written in figures, are written in colors, are “sensed.” In this city are kept the done and the yet-to-be-done…

The Officiant makes a brief pause in silence, and then resumes reading in a voice of the same tone and intensity. Now you are reconciled…

You are purified…

Prepare to enter the most beautiful City of Light, a city never seen by the eye, whose song has never been heard by human ears…

Feel the kingdom of the spirit, where God welcomes you…

Come, prepare to enter the most beautiful Light…

One Response to “Ceremonies of Assistance”

  1. isaias Says:

    Janet and Paul,
    Lo que ustedes han hecho es de una enorme bondad,de una gran belleza espiritual, con una clara y fuerte inspiraciòn impulsada por sagrada compasiòn.
    Les agradezco y los felicito.
    Un fuerte abrazo.
    Isaias


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