Sunday, December 11, 2011

Beyond the person

The 91 year old mother of a friend of mine recently died, or left her body as we say. She had been born on the island of Corfu, where she learnt Italian, and grew up in Egypt where she learnt English, French and presumably Arabic. She then went to live in Israel where she and her partner spoke English (of a fashion) at home - their common language as her partner was from Poland. They came to Australia from Israel in the 1960s.

This woman had dementia, and as the dementia worsened, she reverted to speaking to everyone in Italian, (the later and more superficial layers of her being peeled away...? I have noticed this with my dad, who is reverting in some ways to his earlier identities, without the layer of religiosity which got added in his fifties.)

What is interesting is that my friend's mother went into hospital with pneumonia, had a horrible time of it, (as chronically ill people often do have in hospitals) and emerged far more lucid than she had been for years. She decided she did not wish to continue to live (in/with a body) and refused to eat or drink til she died.

This tale is similar to accounts of devotees of Ramana Maharshi, such as Major Chadwick and S. Cohen and Maurice Frydman, who had all become incoherent but suddenly "emerged" to make clear statements about the true nature of their being before the body died.

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