Connecting with people day to day with an interest in life purpose brings one to exploring the concept of dying. My research attitude has opened some conversations with the most unexpected people. Young children through to the elderly. I have asked the profound questions to step people forward in sharing their perspectives on this 'taboo' subject. Yes, dying.
Casually interviewing sectors of society - it has been said that by talking about dying, perhaps it means that maybe it will happen sooner. It has been said that by writing a Will that it means one will die. Well we know the basic answer to this line of discussion - we are all going to die eventually.
The most interesting piece of this research in my opinion is how scared people are when death comes up in conversation. The next phase of discussion allows for the criticism of other people's funerals and the judgement of the industry that has been serving middle market western society events for hundreds of years. The next phase of expression turns to some anger and lots of disappointment...
So there is a secret overwhelm going on within the subject of death. The suggestion of discussing mortality and life purpose brings up this experience and the resistance is consistently present when this conversation arises.
Opening the gateway of this conversation to engage in a change of attitude has begun by creating an interview process. A conversation starter.
What happens at a Funeral that happens nowhere else?
In my search for tendencies in current western Funeral industry experiences, a series of interviews were carried out. I chose a range of folk across age groups from 8 years old through to 90+ years of age. The cultural definition of the target group was they were born and bred in Australia and met the criteria of a ‘western’ culture. Being educated in public or private Australian schools, not restricted by religion or belief system. A resident of middle market and high socio economic population. The inner circle of people affected by a person passing away reported consistent observations of a Funeral Experience. 137 people were interviewed.
The format of our interview was of a conversational nature. The goal of the interview was to find out a personal reflection regarding the experience of an event based on saying goodbye to a loved one. The questions were exploratory in nature – asking what was the experience from the inside of self, and the outside view – as in what was seen in others close by.
These comments were made:
* I avoid Funerals now because they bring me down
* I hate Funerals
* It is always so depressing
* My family aren’t even religious but the ceremony was all Christian
* We had to go to a church and I am not interested in that style of saying goodbye
* Everything always feels so grey and to be honest very boring
Reference points have been given about the indigenous cultures having more ‘heart’ or ‘spiritual connection’ or ‘soul’ to their processes of a Funeral.
* The Maori Tangi gives everyone space and a format to feel what they need to go through. The guidance from historical structures
* Traditional Indian ceremony proceedings offer the spiritual journey of watching a body burn in a public place.
**The following notes were made.**
* Something happens at a Funeral that doesn’t occur anywhere else – it just feels different.
* A crack in perception is opened – revealing an opportunity to review what is most important in life.
* Time has very little effect on people within the framework of a mourning period.
* Receptivity is raised in a spiritual contact sense. Sometimes people ‘feel’ others that have previously passed away & concepts such as ‘ghosts’ or unusual ‘vibrations’ are noted.
* Intuition is noted as being enhanced in general. People report telepathic type connection between each other – “I knew you would say that” or “are you the person whom…. – I thought it was you” or “I was just about to say that”.
* Wider views are accessed relating to other people & extrapolating the future. Talking about consequences of actions is a common thread of conversation.
* More compassion is in place in a more solid stable perspective at this time.
* Care for others is notably increased to a profound level.
* Emotional vulnerability is accepted & the opportunity to relax within personal feelings is available.
* People are forgiven. People stop blaming others.
* Secrets are told about each other. Confessions are sometimes expressed.
* Encourages a truthful nature.
* People are more respectful of each other.
* Personal insights can occur regarding one’s own life.
* Perspective shifts on quality of life & future self / life purpose naturally occurs in conversation.
* Has been referred to as an expansion of awareness.
* Deeper love is felt for family & friends during & after a Funeral process.
* What was previously believed was no longer believed.
This means people are open to change, they are aware of the space and there is space to inspire cultural discussion. Once the first bump is over regarding the subject, it seems people are willing to lean forward into the subject. The way to open this discussion up is to discuss other people's funerals. Heaven forbid mentioning your own!