Walking the Path of Death by John Cali

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John Cali

Last week I was watching wonderful documentary on Ram Dass. What a magnificent man, a gift to us all! A true spiritual pioneer.

In part of the film, he was counseling a young woman whose boyfriend had just been brutally murdered. He mostly listened, and she talked.

When she was nearly done, he said, simply, “The death of a lover is a path.” (Meaning a spiritual path that will ultimately bring much good to the person on that path.)

Several days after I watched the Ram Dass documentary, a dear friend wrote me about her beloved cousin who’d just been savagely slaughtered by her own son, stabbed 111 times.

I talked with my friend today for a long while. We talked of life and death, and what it all means.

All this reminded me of Richard Bach’s wonderful book, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah, from many years ago.

Those of you as old as I am will likely remember that best-selling book. For those of you who are younger, there’s a powerfully poignant scene at the end of the book.

Donald Shimoda, a modern-day messiah, and friend of Richard’s, has just been blown to pieces by the shotgun blast of a stranger who apparently hated him.

Richard, stunned and shocked, walked up to Don as he lay dying. “I didn’t think you had enemies,” was all Richard could say.

Don responded, “I don’t. That was . . . a friend.” Then he died.


As you walk the path of life each and every day, you also walk the path of death. Death is part of life. Life is part of death.

It’s an eternal cycle. And you cannot escape from it. Nor would you want to if you really understood what life and death are all about.

The way you understand what life and death are all about is by remembering who you really are.

Most of you have forgotten who you are. And so you identify your being with this physical body you happen to have at the moment.

But that is not who you are. Yes, it is a part of who you are, but it is not the whole of who you are.

Because you believe your body is you, you fear what you call death. From your soul’s perspective, your fear of death is ludicrous.

First of all, friends, physical death is no more an end to you than physical birth is. Both are simply new beginnings.

Death — and birth — are simply steps on your eternal journey of joy. That’s what death — and life — are all about: Your eternal journey of joy.

Your soul views your birth as joyful. Your soul views your death as joyful.

Birth and death — birth and death — birth and death. It’s an endless cycle. An eternal cycle of growth and joy.

Your modern world has so drastically distorted death. Why, you even have the “death penalty” — as if you could hurt anyone by killing them.

And so your world has made death into some monstrous, evil enemy that will always get you in the end.

You have died a thousand times — a thousand thousand times. You have been born a thousand times — a thousand thousand times.

It never ends.

Your soul knows that. Your soul knows the means of your death are just as significant as the means of your birth.

Or, put another way, the mother who gave birth to you is no more precious than the person who brings death to you. Both are precious. And both are friends, lovers, angels. Both are eternal companions you have known forever.

Ultimately, of course, it is you — the human you and the soul you — who decide your death, and your birth, and your re-birth.

You are all walking the path of death. But all it is is the path of life. Eternal life. Eternal you.

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