Monday Morning Musings on Whatever Is Next

“Well, I guess we won’t see Grandpa anymore,” my little nephew said a few days after my Dad died on January 25th

Dear living, breathing, reading humans,

As my nephew so aptly put it, once someone dies we no longer see them in the physical world… but I am still hoping to “see” my Dad with my spiritual eyes, to somehow feel the presence of his spirit… And this desire (as described in my previous post “Be With Me”) has me searching for the truth about what happens after we die… Thus I am writing these musings from the bird’s nest in my treehouse temple on this rainy morning…

No one really knows what happens after we die… And yet, many have made claims to know! Do you have a sense, strong or subtle, about the afterlife?

At different times in my life, I thought that I knew what happens after we die, but now I’m sitting in the “don’t know mind” exploring what others believe and watching myself for thoughts or feelings of resonance… For example, recently I shared with an older woman that my Dad had been showing signs of mental decline; he was having a hard time tracking things. I wondered if perhaps he was developing Alzheimer’s, which his mother had died from. Her answer: some people say that the soul decides when to go, so if my Dad was developing Alzheimer’s, then on some level he may have decided to spare himself and his family of that very painful way to die, and so that’s why he died the way he died, unable to recover from double bypass surgery.

Perhaps. But I’m not so sure we humans have that much power over fate or destiny… But then I muse, what is fate? What is destiny? What the *bleep* is this whole experience on planet Earth really about? Why are we here???

I tend to resonate the most with what Swami Muktananda wrote in his book, Does Death Really Exist? Maybe this seems like truth because it brings the most comfort: “It does not come early and it does not come late. The moment of departure is set at the time of birth, and it does not change by even a minute. Death is the one thing in this world that is always on time.”

I used to wholeheartedly believe those words, and I still find them to be very calming. If those words are true, then my Dad had to die exactly when he died, because that moment was already set when he was born. On this musing, I enjoy a Star Wars image that brings me peace: my Dad had to die when he died because it was time for him to join the Force!

And then there are the teachings of the Zen Buddhist Master Thich Nhat Hanh, who says that there is “no birth, no death.” In his book, Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm, he writes, “When you lose a loved one, you suffer. But if you know how to look deeply, you have a chance to realize that his or her nature is truly the nature of no-birth, no-death…. You have to be alert to recognize the new manifestations of one person. But with practice and effort, you can do it. Pay attention to the world around you, to the leaves and the flowers, to the birds and the rain. If you can stop and look deeply, you will recognize your beloved manifesting again and again in many forms. You will release your fear and pain and again embrace the joy of life.”

Well, that sounds nice, but honestly, I’m not feeling it. In some ways and in some moments, I have to admit that I can be more of a realist like my Dad. The reality is, my Dad was born of a human mother, and now he is no longer here in the physical realm. So, there was birth and death!! And even if I can figure out how to train myself to see his essence in the birds and rain, that does not take away the pain of never being able to talk to him again here in the physical realm.

My last musing for this post is about near-death experiences (NDEs). The majority of stories from people who have almost died are so similar. Most see a tunnel or a light and feel a presence that they are drawn to, but then they “decide” to come back and live longer on Earth. And, after their NDEs, they claim to live more peacefully, with no fear of death. Years ago, when I first read those accounts, I felt so peaceful about Whatever Is Next…

But, I recently read how science explains the NDEs: As the physical body is dying, the brain secretes chemicals that create pleasant hallucinations… If that is true, then those stories don’t really offer us beautiful spiritual information about the afterlife, but rather they show us a phenomenal capacity of the human brain.

What do you think of all these musings? What do you believe? What resonates as truth for you?

With curiosity and high vibes,
StarFire Teja


Photo by Kaz (Karen Arnold) on Pixabay.


A Tool for Chronic Pain and Anxiety: Focus On Your Feet

Are you dealing with chronic pain or anxiety? If you experience pain on any level (physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual), or if you struggle with anxiety, you can try this simple tool and see if it helps:

Focus on your feet.

The feet are the farthest away from the brain, and the brain is what perceives pain and creates anxiety… So, bringing your awareness down to your feet can really calm your mind and soothe your nerves.

Anytime you feel pain or anxiety increasing, think to yourself (or say out loud), “Focus on my feet.” Bring your full awareness down to your feet and notice how your feet feel… Imagine breathing in and out of your feet… Imagine that your feet are becoming very warm and very heavy… Feel the soles of your feet and imagine that they are glowing in a bright golden light… Notice any changing sensations in your feet as you focus on them…

The nice thing about this tool is you can use it anytime, anywhere. You can focus on your feet during a stressful business meeting, or while standing in the grocery line, or while driving. Anytime you feel hyped up, during the day or the night, you can simply focus on your feet.

I hope this tool is helpful to you or to someone you love. Please share your experiences in the comments below.

Please note: If you have pain in your feet, then you will probably wish to focus on your hands or belly instead of your feet.

May All Beings Be Free of Suffering.
May All Beings Be Happy!


Photo* of Teja’s feet taken on a barefoot hike last Easter Sunday in Audubon Woods, Henderson, Kentucky. It was my first barefoot hike of the year, and unfortunately the last… I did go barefoot in the yard for another month or so, but before I could get out on another hike, the season turned to muggy and buggy, so now I have to wait on barefoot hiking until the Fall!

* If you are viewing this post in an email, I am so sorry that WordPress doesn’t share the featured photos with the email posts… But, you can click on the title of the article above, and you will be taken to the StarFire Teja Blog where you can see my happy bare feet!