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Ask Chief Joseph

from the December 2003 Star Beacon

When Bad Things Happen

by Chief Joseph and John Cali

John Cali
     One morning this past week, I awoke to the sounds of howling winds. Thatís not unusual here in Wyoming this time of year. Outside my bedroom window heavy snow was falling - sort of. The wind was so powerful, the snow was "falling" horizontally. It was a wild morning.

     A bit later, as I was working in my home office, I heard a low-flying airplane. I live near the small airport outside my little mountain town. But even though the airport was close, as a former commercial pilot, I realized this plane was flying too low. Especially given the early winter storm engulfing us at that moment.

     I put the incident out of my mind as I went about my dayís work. Later that afternoon I learned a Federal Express plane had gone down that morning, just a few feet short of the runway, killing the pilot.

     Today, as I sit here writing this, itís another gray, wild, and windy winter day. Earlier this morning, I drove over to the crash site. Many investigators were milling about a tall crane pulling pieces of the downed plane out of the little lake it had fallen into.

     As I slowed to watch the eerily quiet scene, I spotted a piece of the wreckage by the roadside. I could see the words "world on time" clearly visible on that surviving piece.

     Suddenly a huge wave of incredible sadness swept over me, and I felt like crying. I could almost feel what that pilot must have been feeling those last few seconds of his life. My heart went out to him.

     He was a young pilot, as Iíd been once. Iíd had more than a few close brushes with death in my early flying days. I really knew what this man was feeling in those, his final, moments as he plunged into the dark depths of those icy waters.

     As I drove back home through the swirling, wind-whipped snow, the slate gray sky hung over the whole place like a dark shroud. I couldnít help wondering, "Why, oh why, do these bad things happen?"

     Of course, I know there are no "accidents." No "coincidences." And nothing "bad" ever happens. But at that emotional moment, I was filled with such deep feelings of sadness and compassion for that young pilot - who could have been me in an earlier time.

     Hereís Joseph.

Chief Joseph
     Itís important for all of you to realize life is really just a game. And to realize itís not a game of chance, but a game of certainty. The certainty is that you will not get out of life alive. By that we mean "life" as you define it in your human minds and societies - that is, physical life.

     You are not going to "ascend" (whatever that means to you) with your physical bodies. We cannot imagine why youíd want to do that anyway.Your bodies are simply convenient vehicles you have chosen to navigate through the sea of life. But they are only temporary vessels for you. You, at your soul level, did not intend to hang on to those vessels forever.

     The bottom line here, dear ones, is you must leave your bodies sooner or later, one way or another. The time and manner of that leaving are up to you. At some level of your consciousness, you all choose the time and manner. All of you - no exceptions.

     You donít always do it with full conscious awareness, though that is entirely possible if you set your intention. But thatís another subject for another day.

     Now we realize, from your human perspectives, physical death is, more often than not, a tragedy. Or, at the least, a cause for grief and sadness. And we understand that. We have the greatest love and compassion for you at all times, but especially when you are experiencing grief, sadness, or any other difficult human emotion.

     We are simply asking you, at least for the time you are reading this, to do your best to see death in a different light. To see it for what it truly is - a transition to your next exciting life adventure.

     That is how you, as your soul, view physical death. Itís as much a cause for celebration in these realms of spirit as birth is in your realms of the physical.

     Death is not "bad." In fact, "death" is not death. It is only your human minds which perceive death as an end, as the final event of your lives.

     Our point here today is this: It would behoove you to enjoy - take JOY in - every moment of your lives. Live your lives to the fullest. Find pleasure and passion in all you do. Love yourselves more. Love others more. Laugh more. Play more. Have fun! And then have more fun!

     You all take life (and death) far too seriously. Life is good. Death is good. Itís ALL good!

The Book of Joy: How to Live Every Day of Your Life Happily Ever After

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