by Anne Baring to
Miracle of Death" by Betty J. Kovács
I believe this is an exceptional, ground-breaking book that could
bring comfort and hope to thousands of bereaved people. I feel honoured
to have been invited to write a foreword to it and hope that it will
attract the attention not only of those who have sufffered the loss
of a loved one but also those who are attracted to the frontier where
human consciousness interacts with another dimension of reality.
There is a beautiful passage by an anonymous writer
of another age that is sometimes quoted at the end of a funeral service:
life is eternal and love is immortal
death is only an horizon,
an horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight."
The passionate longing of the human heart has always
been to press beyond the boundaries of the known, to break through
the limitations of our understanding. This is perhaps our most fundamental
and essential freedom. Now, more than ever, we need to honour that
longing and welcome those pioneers who can unveil new horizons, new
possibilities of understanding our nature, our potential and our destiny.
This moving, courageous
book, written with great sensitivity and intelligence and forged in
the fiery crucible of personal experience, bears witness to the fact
that there is only Life beyond death, that there is nothing but Life.
Its powerful and compelling story, rich in insight, wisdom and astonishing
revelation, offers us a new understanding of ourselves and our unacknowledged
needs that can carry us beyond the present limit of our sight.
of death has weighed like a stone on the human heart. So much fear,
grief, anger and emotional pain have been associated with it. The
greatest sorrow, the greatest fear we can experience in our lives
is the loss of a beloved parent, child or companion, believing that
he or she is lost to us forever. The Miracle of Death is a story that
can reach into our hearts and undo the spell of that sorrow, that
fear, that loss; its healing power can loosen the grip of our fear
of death. It can awaken us to awareness of something that was once
instinctively known and has long been forgotten - that we participate
in and are contained by the creative consciousness and loving intelligence
of the universe. Whatever name we give this consciousness - whether
God, or Universal Mind, or Energy, or Spirit - does not really matter.
What matters is that we recognize the existence of a dimension of
reality beyond the one we know and enter into a relationship with
it. This book offers us a template of how to increase our awareness
of our connection to that dimension.
extraordinary that, with all the vast amount of information we have
available to us, we still know so little about the two most numinous
experiences of our lives - our birth and our death. From what other
level of reality do we come at our birth? And to what other level
do we go when we die? Even more extraordinary is the fact that science,
until very recently, has not taken seriously the huge amount of material
gathered over the past hundred or so years by institutions devoted
to recording non-ordinary experiences (near-death experiences) as
well as communications to the living from the "dead." Nor has it accepted
as worthy of scientific attention the experience of visionaries and
mystics of all cultures and times that has testified to the existence
of that other dimension of reality and the possibility of a direct
relationship with it.
discoveries have been made about the nature of consciousness by such
outstanding individuals as C.G. Jung and Stanislav Grof; many individuals
have communicated their out-of-the-body and near-death experiences;
but the implications of all this material have not been given serious
consideration. Christopher Bache comments on this in his book Dark
Night, Early Dawn: "Western thought has committed itself to a vision
of reality that is based almost entirely on the daylight world of
ordinary states of consciousness while systematically ignoring the
knowledge that can be gained from the nighttime sky of nonordinary
states…Trapped within the horizon of the near-at-hand, our culture
creates myths about the unreliability and irrelevance of nonordinary
states. Meanwhile, our social fragmentation continues to deepen, reflecting
in part our inability to answer the most basic existential questions."
neglect of a vitally significant field of human experience has meant
that the experiences and discoveries related to this field are considered
to be irrelevant or worse, symptoms of deluded minds. However, the
growing pressure of current experiential evidence, most importantly
in the field of transpersonal psychology and psychedelic research
but also in the work of scientists at the cutting edge of physics
and cosmology, suggests that we are poised at the threshold of a breakthrough
- a revelation in our understanding of the nature of reality.
James's carefully chosen words, written a hundred years ago, seem
more relevant than ever today: "Our normal waking consciousness, rational
consciousness as we call it, is but one special type of consciousness,
whilst all about it, parted from it by the filmiest of screens, there
lie potential forms of consciousness entirely different. We may go
through life without suspecting their existence; but apply the requisite
stimulus, and at a touch they are there in all their completeness,
definite types of mentality which probably somewhere have their field
of application and adaptation. No account of the universe in its totality
can be final which leaves these other forms of consciousness quite
no longer have access to other levels or modes of consciousness because
our "rational" mind has, over the last four centuries, increasingly
ridiculed, disparaged and repressed what it has been unable, so far,
to accept, prove or comprehend. It has therefore cut us off from those
deeper aspects of our nature that have the power to connect us with
other dimensions of reality. Our understanding of life and the interconnectedness
of all aspects of it is tragically deficient. As Betty Kovács says,
"Our major cultural myth has been one of disconnection, loss, purposelessness,
and insignificance. Is it any wonder that we hurt ourselves, each
other, our children, and our planet? All life is in danger when we
hold a worldview that is not inclusive. We know this, yet we fear
change and transformation. We fear losing the only reality we know
when, truly, only the limitation of that reality is threatened."
denial has left an aching void in many people's lives that neither
religious belief, nor scientific progress nor improving the material
circumstances of our lives can fill although they are presented as
offering all that is necessary to alleviate the suffering of the human
condition. What is missing is a sense of our intimate and joyous interaction
with an invisible dimension, knowledge of how the relationship with
this dimension can be cultivated and how fear can ultimately be replaced
by trust. There have been many great teachers, astronauts of the soul,
who have pointed the way to a direct experience of reality but their
message and their teaching have, for the most part, been misinterpreted
or ignored. Belief and its dark companion, fanaticism, have become
a substitute for that mysterious relationship.
told in this book is so instructive and inspirational because it shows
how difficult it is for the academically trained mind to accept the
idea of life beyond death and, how it repeatedly denies us access
to those deeper-dwelling faculties in us that have been repressed
and neglected for centuries and have therefore atrophied for want
of use. From the denial and repression of these intuitive, creative
and imaginative aspects of ourselves has come our materialist belief
system and the culture of escalating violence which now threatens
us with the disintegration of civilization and, ultimately, with the
possible extinction of our species.
have become increasingly cut off from these faculties, so, in our
relationships with others, we have become increasingly gripped by
fear and the need for control, responding to difficult situations
with a paranoid defense against our "enemies", ascribing all "good"
to ourselves and all "evil" to them. Setting out to eliminate evil
by force, we create violence and invite violence in retaliation, creating
unbearable suffering and despair for millions. Yet the root of all
this lies in our own fragmented psyche and our abysmal ignorance of
the oneness and sacredness of life.
Kovács tells us in clear, vivid imagery is how the deep ground of
spirit speaks; how it attracts us to itself and tries to gain our
attention; the language and imagery and methods of communication it
uses. She shows the importance of paying close attention to dreams,
visions, synchronicities and to those often subliminal images that
appear fleetingly on the screen of consciousness. She tells how, out
of a sustained meditative attention, there was born in her not only
a deeper capacity for insight but the opening of her awareness to
"a dimension so vast that I was stunned to realize how excruciatingly
small a space I had been trained to live in and call reality." What
she experienced as her awareness of this dimension expanded was the
shattering of the myth of materialism which condemns so many to a
meaningless life of "mediocrity, addiction, violence, indifference
our amnesia," she writes, '"we have "'forgotten' ourselves into a
'terrible dream' where neither mother nor child is nurtured. How had
we fallen into this amnesia? How had we lost our self-esteem? How
had we lost the understanding that our ego was to be the mirror of
our inner uniqueness flowing out of universal Mind? How had we turned
this ego 'wrong-side out' so that it had to go snatching and grabbing
from the outer world anything that would make us feel good about ourselves?
And how had we been able to forget the creative power in every thought
and feeling and longing?"
message is one of hope and trust that, working together, we will be
able to open ourselves to the experience of the mysteries of the universe
and weave these mysteries into our daily lives, so healing the deep
fragmentation in our nature. On the last page of her book she writes,
"As we reconnect, full circle, to the roots of our existence in the
Mind of the universe,… we experience the deep unity of birth and death
and we experience the radical creativity of both. We understand that
'Death is as Divine as Life,' because it is Life - because there is
nothing but Life.'"
1. Christopher Bache, Dark Night, Early Dawn: Steps
to a Deep Ecology of Mind, p. 5 . Suny Press,
Albany, New York, 2000.
2. William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience, p.
388. Longmans Green & Co., New York, 1929.
The Miracle of Death has been published (April
2003) by the Kamlak Center, Claremont, California. ISBN 0-9721005-3-9