Allan Kardec

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7. The moment when the body heaves the last sigh is, consequently, not the most painful, because in general, the soul is then in a state of unconsciousness; the suffering attendant on dying is undergone either before, or after the moment of dissolution. The suffering that precedes death is due to the convulsions that accompany the desegregation of the physical body; that which follows death results from the distress occasioned by the state of confusion. Let us hasten to say, however, that this suffering is not usual. As we have already remarked, the intensity and duration of the suffering that may accompany death is in exact proportion to the affinity which exists between the body and the perispirit; the closer is this affinity, the longer and the more painful will be the spirit’s efforts to free himself from the links by which it is held to the body; but there are persons in whose case the cohesion is so slight that the disengagement of the perispirit is effected spontaneously and naturally, and without any conscious effort on the part of the spirit. In such cases, the fleshly body drops away from the spirit as gently and easily as the ripe fruit drops from the tree; and a serene awakening follows this peaceful death.

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