Peace in the Valley: Reflections on Life and Death by John Cali

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John Cali

Last Sunday afternoon I was feeling restless. So I jumped in my car and drove west up into the mountains, to one of my most favorite places on the planet. It’s a big, broad valley many miles long and surrounded by some of the most ruggedly beautiful mountains in the northern Rockies. The broad Shoshone River flows through the valley’s entire length, from the towering mountains to the west into my little mountain town many miles east.

The day was a perfect vision of autumn’s golden beauty. The air was cool, the sky blue, the river sparkling, and a gentle wind was caressing this idyllic, peaceful scene. The sun shone brightly on the fragrant silvery sage carpeting the valley floor. The aspen were amber and their golden light cast the entire valley in an otherworldly light.

As I rode west into the valley, my restlessness faded and I felt a deep and growing sense of peace. I hadn’t been to this valley in ten years, and now I was coming home again.

Almost 40 miles west into the valley there’s a little cemetery with several dozen graves. It’s on a high hill overlooking a broad panorama of river, mountains, and valley. As I approached it, the sun was setting over the western mountains, and the valley glowed even more brightly with a rich golden aura.

I walked slowly among the graves, my thoughts drifting back to three friends I’d known for many years. All are buried here.

Two had lived relatively short, unhappy lives and died ten years ago under mysterious circumstances.

The third lived a long, happy life spanning two centuries. (She was old enough to have personally known the legendary frontiersman, Buffalo Bill Cody.) Two years ago she died as she had lived, easily and peacefully.

Those eternal questions we all ponder were much on my mind that golden autumn day. What is life all about? Why do some lead sadly miserable lives, and others gloriously joyful ones? What, really, is death? What’s it all about?


You talk endlessly about life and death, life and death, life and death. And where does that get you? Often it gets you into a place of even greater confusion than where you started from.

You speak and think of life and death as if they were mutually exclusive opposites. And yet they are merely different points on the spectrum of what we call life.

You see, there is no such thing as death. At least not in the way your human minds conceive of death. Your minds’ vision of death is a false illusion–it does not exist. It CANNOT exist, given the way the Universe is constructed.

For, you see, the Universe is built on the premise and the truth that life is eternal. Life is never-ending. And what you view as death is but merely another aspect of life. Just as physical birth is a new beginning of life in physical form, physical death is a new beginning of life in nonphysical form.

It’s all one and the same. You are merely experiencing, in life or “death,” different points on the grand spectrum of eternal life.

Life is eternal. Death does not exist. You, at your soul level, know this. And you, at your soul level, choose–time and time again over the eons–to experience physical life on Planet Earth, or in other physical dimensions. Each time you experience physical life you must, by definition, experience physical death. Your bodies are not eternal, but YOU are.

Do you see that “death” is no different from birth, in physical terms? They are one and the same. They are merely portals you move through in the eternal evolution and growth of your soul.

You are never static–you are eternally growing. You are constantly evolving into new and more exciting adventures. That is your soul’s intent. And when you, in your human form, resist the intent of your soul, you get yourselves into what, in your crude vernacular, you might call “deep shit.”

Your soul’s intent is that you experience growth–you cannot avoid growing. But you can, at least for a time, resist growing. And when you do resist, you often experience what you might describe as a sad or tragic life.

But when you go with the flow of your soul, you will experience, while still in human form, a bliss–a joy–a peacefulness that will allow you to flow easily and gently through whatever experiences you are having.

Life is supposed to be fun. It’s supposed to be joyful. And if you don’t get that in this lifetime, it’s okay. You WILL get it sooner or later. There are no deadlines, no schedules. You cannot permanently screw it up. You ultimately get it right–all of it!

All is well. All is as it should be. Trust that! Trust yourself and your own inner wisdom and power. You are eternal. You are forever. And you are perfect.

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