Contributed by Anna Gosling, USA
As an 11th-hour hospice volunteer, it’s my job to ensure hospice patients die with as much peace as possible. I use Reiki, Shamanic journeying, meditation, prayer, readings, and guided visualizations to do so. But most important of all, I use music – not just any music. I choose music that helps the soul free itself from the body, music that helps move a dying person from a state of anxiety or fear of death to acceptance, music that helps relax a dying person so that she can release herself to death in a state of serenity. And one of the CDs I use is Neil Wakeling’s Transcendence.
I found Transcendence a couple of years ago, when a coworker nudged me toward Neil’s Web site. I had heard of sound healing before, but had never had a session with a sound healer, nor used sound healing in my own Reiki or Shamanic practices. I read Neil’s Web site, asked him a few questions about his CDs, listened to the Transcendence sample on his site, then ordered a copy. Within hour of receiving my copy, I was mesmerized. I’ve written comments on Neil’s Web site about how Transcendence makes me feel just using it for my own meditations or self-healings, and how I’ve used it with my Reiki and Shamanic clients. But in the past year, I started using it during my 11th-hour hospice vigils. And it has made all the difference in helping create a peaceful, sacred space for dying.
The goal of an 11th-hour vigil is to help the dying within the last few hours of their lives. During the last hours of life, dying patients can experience terrible emotions: grief over what they are leaving behind, guilt about what they have done or not done during their lives, and fear of death, to name a few. My job is to create a sacred space for them in which to die with dignity and peace. I brought Transcendence for the first time on a vigil for a woman who was dying in a hospice house. Her daughters had been sitting with her for hours, and needed a break. I brought my Bible for any prayers for her (she was Christian), other sacred and inspirational readings, and Transcendence. The woman was unresponsive, but I knew she could hear me. I turned on Transcendence, which quickly filled the room with a tremendous peace and made the room seem lighter. I sat silently, praying for the woman, doing Reiki on her, which helped slow her breathing down, helped her become more restful. The on-duty nurse came in and told me it was the most beautiful music she had heard in the house. I smiled and continued my praying. Then about an hour into the vigil, I decided to pray aloud for her. I prayed over Transcendence, asking that the music help carry my prayers for her, and help transform her soul, help release her from her body. I finished my prayers and the woman took her last breath. And Transcendence was still sending its beautiful energy. I continued to let the CD play after the woman died, to help maintain the sacred space before I got up to tell the nurse the woman had just died. I wanted the few minutes after the woman’s death to remain as sacred as possible, before anyone came to check on her body. To me, the minutes just after death are just as important as the minutes preceding it. I sat in absolute peace with the dead woman, Transcendence singing its sacred song.
I’ve also experienced situations where family members have been in the same room with me during a vigil, and Transcendence has been playing. It’s almost as if, when there’s complete silence in a room, family members aren’t sure what to do. But as soon as I turn on Transcendence and ask that everyone sit silently in prayer, the room changes, the family members become completely still, aware, and attentive, and the gentleness of the music helps them become calmer. I’ve turned on Transcendence with a family member who was so upset, she couldn’t stop crying over her dying mother’s body. I turned on the CD and asked her to hold my hand, while we prayed aloud for her mother. I then asked her to silently send up any other prayers she had. And during that silence, the woman was able to become calmer, less upset. And I know it was because Transcendence helped her focus, helped her release some of her grief, and helped her realize that her dying mother was going to be perfectly fine.
It is said that certain music lowers your blood pressure, slows down your heart rate, and provides other positive benefits. I can certainly see why sound healing can be used to affect such changes. To me, it is amazing that Neil has been able to create what I call a perfect healing CD. I’ve not heard anything like it before or since. It continues to be part of my vigil kit, and I’ve recently committed to ordering extra copies for the other 11th-hour volunteers. Some of them have been with me while I’ve played Transcendence. I had one volunteer with me, and she had to stop what she was doing just to listen to the music. She couldn’t stop focusing on the music. She called it ethereal, and bought a copy from me. Maybe she needed that time just to listen to Transcendence and experience its benefits herself.
I have recently added Breathe, a new CD from Neil, to my volunteer kit. I find that Breathe helps me center myself before beginning a vigil, helping me focus on my breathing, and calming me down before I walk into a room to begin a vigil. I have used Breathe briefly during one vigil, and it seemed to me that the patient’s breathing actually began to shift, so that she was breathing in time to the rhythm of the CD. I have only used this CD once, though. Time will tell what kind of success I have with it. Since I’m so partial to Transcendence, I’m reluctant to play anything else right now.
I am grateful to Neil for his work and his music. I believe it was very wise guidance that led me to his site and prompted me to order Transcendence. I find my own soul flies with joy when I listen to it during meditations. There is something so expansive about this CD, that I completely understand how it helps the dying release themselves to death. It is truly a CD that is “bigger than us, – certainly bigger than me or what I do individually during a vigil. It helps me remember how connected we all are, and how the dying are truly leaving this planet to enter a sacred space of great joy. To me, Transcendence is a glimpse of eternal joy, light, and love. And I am grateful I can bring that to help others truly experience transcendent dying.