Assisted Death

Posted to Subscribers on 8 November 2008


Dear Subscribers,

This is the third email about issues in the recent election that were dwarfed by the presidential votes.

This one is obviously much more controversial so I will approach it very, very carefully. 

Washington State, where I live, passed an assisted death initiative, making it the second state in the country to approve some sort of medically supported suicide.  Oregon enacted the Death with Dignity Act in 1997.  For more information, you can visit this web site:

Washington State's Initiative 1000 passed 59% to 41%.  It is actually quite interesting to compare the voting on this initiative with the rest of the voting in the state because while national opinion is practically evenly divided, the ratios shift according to demographics.

The wording of the measure is very thoughtful and quite clear:

Basically, it allows a terminally ill adult patient to request a prescription for fatal medication.  It protects the patient's family from losses due to insurance provisions and allows for cancellation of the request.  There are reasonable hoops:  confirmation of diagnosis, evaluation of the mental state of the patient, and waiting periods.  Essentially, the act legally differentiates suicide and assisted death.

As a health care practitioner, I have had a lot experience with tragic illnesses, suffering, as well as death and dying.  I have also had many discussions with patients whose have expressed very strong wishes and I have been consulted by lawyers, including one very prominent one, about law suits involving euthanasia, everything ranging from patients who made formal requests through the legal system to lawyers involved in the defense of family members who went against the prevailing laws and honored requests from those they love.  I think I understand all sides of the psychological and spiritual arguments.  Also, I have been asked at various times by patients to help them die when their situations become hopeless.  I have refused the sort of medical assistance that would make this possible, but have always freely offered whatever I can to make the spiritual transition between dimensions.  I want to underscore here that this has never involved any interventions that would act directly on the life force.  I have simply offered to support the patients in their desire to align with their souls.

I voted against the initiative and was, in this case, in a somewhat larger minority than with my lonely vote for Cynthia McKinney.  My reasons were so complex that I doubt many others made their decisions weighing the same set of pros and cons.

My first concern is that doctors would be put in the position of having to assist a death rather than save a life.  It's a really awkward position for health care practitioners and, for some of them, perhaps 40% of them, they would feel that they were violating their Hippocratic Oath or religious convictions.  No one should ever be put into a legal position in which they are forced to violate their spiritual beliefs.  Therefore, I see this as a potential pressure on doctors that has the cover of legality but is nevertheless not acceptable to all, obviously, it would be acceptable to some but not everyone.

Secondly, resourceful patients have always had the ability to terminate their own lives if they wanted.  Therefore, what the legalization confers that did not previously exist is the ability to obtain a prescription, and, of course, it spares the heirs the possible hassle of a contest with insurance providers because of the legal distinction made between suicide and assisted death.

So, while acknowledging the issues and replaying various tapes of conversations with patients, I made the contrary choice, largely because I believe the soul creates life and soul takes it away.  Our psyches have many parts, and these include fear of suffering or loss of dignity, concern for the financial welfare of surviving family members, and even a conviction that only productive individuals have a right to live.  It is entirely possible that a persuasive part of the psyche favors one argument whereas the chakras supporting the continuity of life in the physical body are functioning with a different view.  However, the real clincher for me was that all spontaneous remissions I have seen have occurred when the situation was deemed medically hopeless.  Moreover, I have been in situations in which the doctors were utterly certain of the imminent end, but there are miraculous events taking place at precisely this moment.

Playwrights going back to the Greeks and through Shakespeare and perhaps right up to modern times have nearly always shown that they understood this phenomenon, if not consciously, they knew it instinctively.  For instance, in the last act La Traviata, Violetta is so lucid that Alfredo thinks she is recovering from the illness.  Okay, this is theater and it is not necessarily the same as real life, but great works of art are inspired so what we actually know through countless testimonies of near death experiences and the recent voluminous works by thanatologists is that as the soul hovers between dimensions, it sees both worlds very clearly.  Under certain circumstances, not only can the soul decide to overcome the illness, but it can create instant healing.

I have archived some fascinating accounts of this type, starting with the Well Springs Technique developed by Kay Ortmans.  Her first patient was in a full body brace and had been in this state for seven years.  When she healed, it was instant.  I have seen cancer in the very last stages, as in supposedly hours from the end, healed completely in literally the blink of an eye.  I have also seen people recover from strokes after saying one prayer or performing a single sincere meditation; and I have heard from Hawaiian kahunas that they could even bring the soul back when it had been gone as long as three days.  If the silver cord has not snapped, the route back and the possibility of healing is there.

Perhaps it is my incurable optimism or my terrible stubbornness, but I would not want anyone to forfeit the opportunity to be healed while still in the body that looks impossible to heal.  I don't believe in "impossible" but maybe it's because my grandfather taught me that if it's difficult it can be done, if it's impossible, it will take a little longer.  I was with him when he died.  It was an absolutely incredible experience.  He was 90 and had broken a hip.  He was eagerly asking what would happen when he died, traveling back and forth between dimensions, giving me reports of what he saw and giving me more instructions about how to handle his affairs, but he was asking questions about his soul and reincarnation and what to expect.  He had been a sort of intellectual agnostic, too intelligent to pretend to know what could not be known by a human mind.  He was a bit apprehensive at the end, but the last book he read before his death was the Dalai Lama's Autobiography and he wanted to know whether or not he could believe what he read.  This process of voyaging back and forth was incredibly beautiful but it frightened the doctors in the rural Swedish hospital so they ran out of the room asking how I could stand to watch.  I was steady, totally steady, because I accepted that the laws of the Universe were at work.

Later, years later, I listened to something a psychic had told one of my students.  Her mother had had a stroke and she was not sure her mother even recognized her when she went to visit.  The psychic said that the problem of our material culture is that we fight so hard for life that the symbols that would help us to move more freely between what we call life and death are either missing or even terrifying.  For instance, if you bring a harp into the hospital room of a patient, the patient may think this is because the consensus is that he is dying, not that something to assist alignment with the soul has been offered.  The soul knows what to choose but the personality may cling to a specific point of view that is incomplete in that it does not embrace all realities. 

Obviously, there are conditions that really do result in death, but there are ways to let go that do not involve medications so complex as this issue is, I could not give it my vote.

Many blessings,


15 November 2008

If the initiative had limited itself to a legal definition of "assisted death" that allowed those in dire medical conditions to take matters into their own hands without their heirs losing insurance or other benefits as could happen when someone commits suicide, I probably would have voted for the initiative even though I think it could open up an avalanche of debate over whether suicides that occur as a reaction to pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines might also require redefining.

There was language in the initiative that troubled me a little.  For example, patients were to acknowledge that they realized that the prescriptions might not work quickly and easily and could take three hours to work.  For me, this statement raised two flags.  The first was that with all we know about euthanasia, the proposal to legalize pharmaceutically induced death was so primitive that someone could suffer so much that they might prefer the disease over the chosen means of death.  This brings me to the second point which is that I believe it matters immensely how we die . . . because I believe in reincarnation and in the inability of the passive parts of our existence to modify reality, meaning that when we create new bodies for our future births, we bring with us the traumas of the previous births.  Over 90% of the deep work I do entails conscious modification of the emotional and instinctual parts of ourselves by using active imagination and new experiences.  I could and should probably write an entire book on this.

Lastly, I believe the importance of separation of church and state has been amply demonstrated throughout history.  Life and death are, for me, spiritual issues whereas hairsplitting definitions of what is suicide and what is assisted death are perhaps legal or monetary decisions.  I know there are those who disagree with me, but I would urge everyone to respectfully disagree because we live in very challenging times in which polarization can have dire consequences.  My way is not necessarily the right way for everyone and I acknowledge this, but I would also like to see our government and the governments of other countries taking into account the diversity on this Planet.

Copyright by Ingrid Naiman 2008






Seventh Ray Press
Copyright by Ingrid Naiman 2010

Home || Contact Us

No content on any of the pages of this web site may be reproduced without written permission of
Ingrid Naiman and Seventh Ray Press, publisher of this site.


Design by Damien Francoeur