Death Makes Life Possible: Revolutionary Insights on Living, Dying, and the Continuation of Consciousness

Marilyn Schlitz (Author) Deepak Chopra (Foreword by)

Product Details

Sounds True
Publish Date
May 01, 2015
5.9 X 0.9 X 8.9 inches | 0.7 pounds
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About the Author

Marilyn Schlitz
Marilyn Schlitz, PhD, is a social anthropologist, award-winning author, and charismatic speaker who has been a leader in the field of consciousness studies for more than three decades. She is the coauthor of Consciousness and Healing: Integral Approaches to Mind-Body Medicine and Living Deeply: The Art & Science of Transformation in Everyday Life. She serves as president emeritus and senior fellow at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, founder/CEO of Worldview Enterprises, senior scientist at the California Pacific Medical Center, and board member of the Pacifica Graduate Institute. For more information about her work and offerings, visit
Deepak Chopra
Deepak Chopra, MD, is an endocrinologist specializing in internal medicine, and the former chief of staff at the New England Memorial Hospital. Known best for his national best-selling books, Quantum Healing and Perfect Health, Dr. Chopra has appeared on many national radio and television programs. He also serves as the president of the American Association for Ayurvedic Medicine.


"This book will open our minds and hearts to the preciousness of life and help create a culture of possibility for a subject cloaked far too long in fear and avoidance. The purpose of this book is no less than to liberate you from the fear of death. Death Makes Life Possible will guide you on a journey to emotional healing, personal transformation, and spiritual awakening." --Hiroo and Masami Saionji, Goi Peace Foundation

"This book is an engaging affirmation of Albert Camus' edict: 'Come to terms with death. Thereafter anything is possible." --Sheldon Solomon, professor of psychology at Skidmore College

"Marilyn Schlitz's Death Makes Life Possible is a brilliant bricolage of interviews, observations, and insights about spiritual transformation, consciousness, and our inevitable reckoning with what Henry James once called 'the distinguished thing.' From a prodigious array of philosophers, psychologists, doctors, nurses, hospice workers, professors, rabbis, imams, evangelicals, qigong masters, shamans, killjoy skeptics, and moonstruck New Age prophets, Schlitz has marshaled a treasury of knowledge about our beliefs about death and our experiences of the immaterial world. She takes readers on a search for the great grail of all spiritual traditions--the idea that consciousness exists apart from the brain and that our lives have some larger meaning beyond what we find and assign for ourselves and that the dead aren't really dead. It's a hope-haunted undertaking full of profound insights and uncanny tales of life after life, and some momentous day each of us will know for sure whether any of it is true." --Chip Brown, author of Afterwards You're a Genius: Faith, Medicine, and the Metaphysics of Healing

"Marilyn Schiltz's book Death Makes Life Possible takes the reader on a fascinating journey along a road rarely traveled--one that explores a multiplicity of opportunities for personal and societal transformation by pondering death and understanding the implications of death's far-reaching web of fear. One of the key messages her book conveys is that death can teach us how to live a more conscious and enriched life when we can let go of that innate existential fear we all have. The sooner we start letting death teach us, the more fulfilling our lives can be. Compassionate volunteer caregivers who serve the dying learn this quickly, and their lives are forever transformed in ways they never thought possible. Compassion is the world's elixir for the fear of death." --Greg Schneider, founder and president of Hospice Volunteer Association

"Death Makes Life Possible is indeed revolutionary. In many ways, it demystifies and normalizes the process of dying by inviting readers to deeply explore timeless questions such as 'What is the thread of continuity in all of this me?' It also highlights the costs of not talking about death. The price we pay for not talking about death includes financial costs associated with dramatic and aggressive treatments that may also erode the quality of life at the end of life. There are also significant costs related to fear and a lack of healing and closure that occur when we are unable to process the experiences of living and dying personally as well as with those we love. This is a must-read for health professionals as well as the public." --Mary Jo Kreitzer PhD, RN, FAAN; director, Center for Spirituality & Healing; professor, University o

"Marilyn Schlitz's new book, Death Makes Life Possible, is a rare and wonderful exploration of that area of our culture that is still 'the most repressed topic' death. From a variety of perspectives--personal, spiritual, indigenous, traditional, post-materialist scientific--Dr. Schlitz opens this area to a fascinating adventure, including dialogues with dozens and dozens of teachers, scientists, spiritual leaders . . . all in an attempt to 'de-repress' this area and make it a part of the tapestry of life that it in fact is. Bold, brave, wise, riveting, her account superbly helps to overcome this 'denial of death' our culture is still saturated with." --Ken Wilber, author of The Integral Vision

"Helpful as well as delightful. With brilliant intellect and warm heart, Dr. Schlitz beautifully makes the age-old case that confrontation and contemplation of death brings one more vibrantly to life! I heartily recommend it." --Robert "Tenzin" Thurman, Jey Tsong Khapa professor of Buddhist Studies, Columbia University; founder, Menla Mountain Retreat

"You hear people--many people--telling stories, all through the book. We see through others' eyes, to see as one, and it touches us deeply, as death does. And writing it down is profound. Readers will experience a transformation of thought and feeling about death as life." --Tom Janisse, MD, MBA, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The Permanente Journal

"There are many differences across cultures, traditions, and worldviews. And there is one thing we all share in common: death. In this powerful book, Dr. Schlitz offers an insightful guide to understanding our common humanity and how our deep appreciation of death connects us all, regardless of our specific faith tradition. The subject and her treatment of it are both fascinating and timeless, and show that Marilyn Schlitz is in the vanguard of thinkers in the interdisciplinary field that spans spirituality, psychology, and culture studies." --Maria Volkova, Women's Program Director, Women's Task Force, Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions

"Far beyond a self-help handbook, this book and film are a thoroughly researched combination of compass, map, log, and vessel for a deeper exploration into a most important journey: your life, now, as well as your death, sooner or later, on a not-too-distant shore. But what might be on that unknown shore? Death Makes Life Possible presents objective scientific information and subjective spiritual experiences along with new knowledge about our conscious relationships with living and dying. Using extensive interviews with experts and witnesses, Marilyn Schlitz takes us on a cross-cultural exploration into essence--up to the edge, over, beyond, and back. This book is for anyone looking for ways of living and dying with soul." --J. Paul De Vierville, professor of History and the Humanities at Alamo Colleges; director, Alamo Plaza Spa at the historic Menger Hotel

"We all will die. But we will die differently. Those differences, moreover, will not simply be biomedical or physical. They will be conceptual, cultural, and spiritual. This is where Marilyn Schlitz's new book comes in. Part handbook on how to rethink life and death; part comparative religion or anthropology primer; part Who's Who of the brave new worlds of neuroscience and brain research, the philosophy of mind, and near-death studies; part transformative practice manual, this is the book that does it all--a kind of American Book of the Dead, which is really an American Book of Life." --Jeffrey J. Kripal, J. Newton Rayzor Professor of Religion, Rice University

"A new view of consciousness is arising within science, in which it is seen as nonlocal or infinite in space and time, therefore immortal and eternal. This 'new' perspective is of course ancient, and reminds us that the concept of the soul is not obsolete but is alive and well. This is a crucial development, because the fear of death and total annihilation has caused more suffering in human history than all the physical diseases combined. Thus Marilyn Schlitz has performed an immensely valuable service in Death Makes Life Possible by reminding us of our eternal, immortal Self. She reminds us that immortality is not something that kicks in when we die. We are already immortal, eternal, and soul-like. Celebrate!" --Larry Dossey, MD, author of One Mind; and Barbara Montgomery Dossey, RN, PhD, HNC, FAAN, author of Florence Nightingale: Mystic, Visionary, Healer

"Marilyn Schlitz has manifested this timely and important book which presents a profound historical, scientific, and philosophical expertise in a brilliant synthesis that is accessible to everyone. It is beautifully written as it guides the readers through a journey of opening up our worldviews and perspectives on how to turn our fear about death into a source of living richer lives full of hope and compassion." --Katia Petersen, PhD, Executive Director of Education, Worldview Explorations Project, Institute of Noetic Sciences

"This is an important book. Schlitz shows us that the limits of human growth are not fixed and opens new windows on our capacities for self-transcendence. As both an anthropologist and consciousness researcher, she leads us through a panoramic vista of worldviews on death and the afterlife. Pulling together intimate personal experiences around dying with a careful review of the scientific evidence for post-mortem survival, Schlitz invites us to examine our deepest assumptions about human existence. She treats death awareness as a transformative practice that gives life meaning, both individually and for our shared human experience." --Michael Murphy, cofounder of the Esalen Institute

"The tears most of us will shed about death could create a wall against life--or a ladder to the heavens. Marilyn Schlitz's brilliant book beautifully presents dozens of worldviews about death, drawing from various cultures, cosmologies, scientific research, and philosophers. As I closed the last page, I felt a metamorphosis, like the 'rip in the fabric' that is death really is only a shift in awareness, an awakening to expansion. The journey she takes us on is a pilgrimage." --Cyndi Dale, author of The Journey After Life and Illuminating the Afterlife

"We live in an exciting and edgy time when post-materialist scientists are incorporating some of the wisdom of ancient spiritual teachings while healthy spirituality eagerly interacts with science and together new and ancient questions are being explored freshly. This book, while incorporating science, art, dreams, and deep ecumenism, focuses on death and questions of life and/or consciousness after death. The author offers a fine contribution to a lively discussion around a topic that all humans engage willingly or unwillingly, today or tomorrow." --Matthew Fox, author of One River, Many Wells; Original Blessing; and The Physics of Angels (with Rupert Sheldrake)

"In this groundbreaking work, anthropologist Marilyn Schlitz offers a much-needed guidebook for understanding the profound and transformative potentials of experiences such as near-death, out-of-body, and reincarnation. While the current medical model has largely ignored these widespread phenomena, arguing that consciousness is nothing more than the byproduct of our brains, the evidence for an expanded view of human potential can no longer be neglected, as is also clearly shown in the post-materialist approach in science. This important and accessible book, in which she describes how our ideas about death define the way we live our life, is the wonderful and inspiring outcome of her personal quest. It is a highly recommended read for everyone who ever wondered about the mystery of life and what may lie beyond." --Pim van Lommel, MD, cardiologist and author of Consciousness Beyond Life

"Far from depressing or morbid, this book offers profound serenity for the dying and celebratory comfort for the living. Dr. Schlitz's multicultural work is not about dying. It is rather a path to embrace our noble end and to enjoy a life of gratitude for being here." --Dr. Mario Martinez, founder of Biocognitive Science and author of the bestselling book The MindBody Code: How to Change the Beliefs that Limit Your Health, Longevity, and Success

"Marilyn takes us on a journey opening the possibility, with documented living examples, of coming into an expanded and heretofore unrecognized way of living. This shift aligns us with our ability to live to our inherent potential and to be aware of both the individuality and--simultaneously--the universality of each person. Paradoxically, as her title states, death is the doorway to this expansion." --Sue Steele, co-editor of Exploring Issues of Care, Dying, and the End of Life

"In her book, Death Makes Life Possible, Marilyn Schlitz, PhD, offers important insights and tools for transforming fear-based perspectives on death into awareness-based views that support our inner growth and enhance our overall experience of life." --Michael A. Singer, author of The Untethered Soul

"St. Augustine advised, 'Let death be thy teacher' because at the time he wasn't able to refer his disciples to Marilyn Schlitz's magnificent compilation of insight and wisdom on the topic. Had he, they would have not only been able to benefit from their own introspection but from the way life and death have been understood across many cultures and time periods, all framed within contemporary scientific understanding. In short, you have access, in Death Makes Life Possible, to a treasure that was not available back then." --David Feinstein, PhD, co-author of Rituals for Living and Dying

"What a courageous move by Marilyn Schlitz--to bring the topic of death out into the open to be contemplated, discussed, wrestled with, and embraced as a natural part of life. Every healthcare leader, nurse, and care provider should read this book and use it as a springboard for rethinking and refining how we in healthcare approach death, support it, educate about it, staff for it, and experience it with our patients and within ourselves." --Kathy Douglas, RN, MPH-HA; director of the film Nurses: If Florence Could See Us Now

"This book courageously deals with the passage of death in both scientific and spiritual terms. Marilyn Schlitz is a superb teacher and scientist who has dedicated her life to compassionately enlightening people and stretching the bounds of limited scientific thinking to encompass the spiritual and intuitive. Highly recommended!" --Judith Orloff, MD, author of Second Sight