Even in death, Muhammed Ali will remain for a while a star human being in this our corner of the world, the earth. I advisedly separate the earth from the world because the earth is like a grain of sand in the world, which comprises not only seven gigantic Universes but also a more huge immaterial portion which we called the beyond.  Muhammed Ali (born ‎Cassius Marcellus Clay ) died of stroke two weeks ago after suffering for many years from Parkinson’s disease, a degenerative condition of the nervous system which causes the sufferer to tremble or shake. His death, in the United States, was followed soon after in Nigeria by that of Stephen Keshi, a former football star and coach of the Nigeria’s National Soccer Team, the Green Eagles. Keshi reportedly died of a heart attack which is still the Stephen-Keshi1subject of a demand for autopsy by the family. A stroke and a heart attack are related in many ways, belonging, as they do, to a family of heart and blood vessels disorders called cardiovascular diseases or Disaster (CVD).

Cardio stands for heart, and vascular for blood vessels. CVD is linked to elevated total blood cholesterol, a higher ratio of bad cholesterol fraction (Low Density Lipoprotein or very Low Density Lipoprotein), lower than normal blood levels of the good cholesterol (Higher Density Lipoprotein or HDL), a deficiency of antioxidants in the blood which promotes the risk of LDL oxidation or decay in the blood vessels, resultant damage of blood vessels, formation of fatty plaques or obstruction to blood flow in the blood vessels, blockage of blood and oxygen flow to the heart,  chest pains in the heart region as a result of this (Angina Pectoris), thickening of the blood and the formation of blood clots which may cause the heart to stop working (heart attack or heart stroke) or impede/halt blood circulation in the brain and cause partial or permanent damage (death) of brain cells (partial or permanent stroke).

The passages of Muhammed Ali and Stephen Keshi remind me all over of that portion of the non-physical world that is now beyond the capacity of many people to experience as they do the physical world. By this, I mean the capacity to simultaneously live here and there. Yet this is possible and is the design of Creation. We think that man or woman or child is abnormal who tells us that, as he or she is enjoying a day- time nap or sleeping at night, his or her body suddenly slips out of his or her body as if he or she is getting out of his or her clothes and, floating away, suddenly beholds his or her body lying in bed! What of the child who tells the parents of his or her “little friends,” the elementary or Nature beings, or of seeing relations long gone over. The parents in this corner of the earth, Nigeria, will immediately send for the Voodo man who would make incisions with a knife or razor blade on the face of the child and rob a powdery native medicine potion into the cut to disable the child from seeing such sights in the future.  When I tell my friends I frequently see in my dreams many of our journalist friends or colleagues who have gone over, or that I have beautiful encounters with some of relations on the other side, they are alarmed. I try to re-assure them I may not be packing bag and baggage, as they say. For many people who have this sort of experience, it may simply mean that their blood chemistry has become so sensitive to impressions from the other side that they can easily pick them up. From the report of many scientific studies on this subject today, their limitations notwithstanding, it is coming to light that there are many people on the other side who anxiously wish to re-link with earth-men, possibly to pass some cherished messages over.

I made a serious effort in my twenties about forty years ago, to understand this phenomenon. At that time, the science of dying was just taking root. It was, and I believe is still called, thanatology. One of the first books on it I read was titled SPIRIT IN WANDERLAND. I was later exposed to Dr. Raymond Moody’s LIFE AFTER LIFE this was the book Chief Obafemi Awolowo announced during his last birthday party on earth that he would like to have from anyone who had a copy, promising N5, 000 as reward. N5, 000 was a lot of money in those days. I had two copies in my library. So, early the following day, my wife and I traveled to Ikene, his home town, to give him the book. Chief Awolowo and his wife were preparing to go to church when we arrived at their home. His wife was in the car on the grounds of their home, waiting for him. We were in the sitting room. He was descending the stairs to the sitting room. He exclaimed in joy when he sighted the book, and wished to return upstairs for the cash but I objected. The reason I came so early, I said, was that I didn’t want any-one to take the N5, 000. The book gift was my own way of saying a modest “thank you for the gift from him of free primary school education in 1956. It was like the case of “one good turn deserving another” for in those days, my father was a poor colonel police man who may not have been able to send me to school!

Dr. Richard Stanpach was to come up with HOW IS IT THAT WE LIVE AFTER DEATH… AND THE MEANING OF LIFE. It gives insights into Moody’s work, and offers Spiritual explanations to the findings of the study. Dr.  Moody spoke with hundreds of people of different eyes, social backgrounds, income brackets and nationalities who had been certified brain dead by their doctors and sent to the mortuary for the burial of their earthly remains. For whatever reason, they came round or woke up before their funeral and rite of where they found themselves between when they were certified brain dead and when they woke up or returned to their bodies and to this earth. In all cases, their experiences tallied. And they became different people from whom they were before they “died”, or before they were “born again”. This phenomenon may help many rigid Christians to understand, better, the concept of “it is appointed unto man to die but once” as not relating to physical death but spiritual death in the FINAL JUDGEMENT. The concept of re-incarnation which Stephen Lampe ably addresses in his THE CHRISTIAN and RE-INCARNATION supports this view as well. If you have read Red field’s CELESTINE DESTINY or is it PROPHECY?, or a new book that is my companion now, STEP BY STEP, you would be ever grateful for the various keys offered for unlocking several doors to the halls of the knowledge of LIFE.

Muhammed Ali galvanized my generation into loving boxing. He was eight years older than I was when he won the Olympic gold medal. But these keys detached me from boxing. It is a brutal sport. At the time I could think fairly deep, I began to wonder: is it for the purpose of destroying this beautiful tool or vehicle for the earthly existence of the soul, may the spirit, that God, in His infinite Grace, Wisdom and Goodness gave it to man as a gift? I discovered that couldn’t be the reason. I discovered even more… everyone who partakes in the enjoyment of such sport and promotes it is linked by the Law of Karma or the Law of Sowing and Reaping to the consequence or resultants of events in the boxing ring. Thus, if the floating butterfly and the stinging bee caused harm to many human bodies, for the sake of eking out a living, and would himself become physically impaired by Parkinson’s, what stands in stock for each of us his followers to reap or harvest. Did we enjoy the punch which tore the nose of an opponent or caused the eye to bleed or harmed the brain in one way or another? Beyond this, I see Mohammed Ali as a fighter for the good. If you kindly permit that I see him from the prism of re-incarnation, I would suggest that, being a warrior against the iniquities of white America, he may have been a white over lord who terrorized former African Slaves. Maybe to redeem this guilt, he had to return to this earth to experience a system he helped set up and nurtured. Now, as an Africa American, he found himself deprived and tortured. He rose to confront the iniquity.  His inner stirring and longing to fight may have found physical release or expression in the boxing ring, re-in forcing his volition. He would not crawled, cringe or cry before the throne of the white master. He would rather fight it to demolish it. He would change his name and his region and refuse to do the bidding of white America to fight in the Vietnam War. White America would derobe Mohammed Ali of the world Heavy weight boxing championship in this regard, to deflate his ego and destroy him. But he would not succumb. Well beyond his prime for optimal ring performance, he would return nevertheless to the ring, not necessarily for the money, but to vanquish that seemingly mighty and impregnable over Lord, and he would win his battles. But he became powerless before the Law of Nature quieter departure. How I wish he had a quieter departure! After all, the French respected the Will of Charles de Graule.

Cardiovascular disease

As stated earlier Muhammed Ali’s stroke and Stephen Keshi’s heart attack belong to a wide variety of heart and blood vessel problems. The start off is the formation of plaque on the walls of arteries which narrow blood flow through them. If a clot from the plaque blocks blood flow in the heart, those muscles of the heart denied blood and oxygen supply thereby may begin to die gradually or instalmentally, leading to a break-down in heart capacity or a heart attack i.e. an attack on the flow of blood. A heart attack is different from heart failure. In heart failure, the functioning or capacity of the heart to pump blood to all parts of the body is reduced. Seriousness of heart failure depends on the degree to which pump capacity or action has been reduced. It is the cause of Congestive Heart Failure in which, for example, the heart pumps blood to the lungs for oxygenation, but cannot pump it out after oxygenation, leading to congestion of blood in the lungs. A sign of this in troubled old people is persistent cough which fails to respond to simple cough medications as the lungs try to expel the irritating excess blood supply. Another popular member of the family of cardiovascular disease is arrhythmia. Arrthmia is abnormal rhythm of the heart. There are different types of it. The heart may beat too slowly (below 60 beats a minute), too fast (up to 100 beats a minute) or irregularly. I experience slow beats (Bradycardia) sometimes. Tathycardia posts more than 100 beats a minute. Arrthmia may affects the efficiency of the heart and this, in turn, may, affect the body’s functioning. A slow heart may cause blurry vision or eye floaters or pain in the ankles. Remember my father saying on the way to hospital the day he died of congestive heart failure, after a heavy bout of cough, that his legs were so heavy he couldn’t carry them. I hear many people complain these days of similar problems. The heart may also suffer Stenosis. This occurs when heart valves do not open well enough to make blood flow well enough. Regurgitation arise when heart valves do not close tightly enough and thereby let prolapse. Mitral valve develops when it bulges into the upper chamber. This permits blood to flow backwards through them from the upper chamber(s). As for a stroke, atheroma’s are also at work. These are the fatty plaque matter which narrows or blocks arteries. According to www.bhf.org.uk I heart health: “Cardiovascular disease (CVD) includes all diseases of the heart and circulation, including coronary heart disease, angina heart attack, congenital heart diseases and stroke. This is when your arteries become narrow by a gradual fatty material called atheroma within their walls. When a blood clot blocks an artery that carries blood to your brain, it can cut off the blood supply to parts of your brain which is called stroke.”

A stroke may be slow in coming, giving signals. These may include brain fogginess or haziness, forgetfulness, headaches and so on. In such a condition, some brain cells may have become gradually starved of nurture and oxygen have begun and may deteriorate in their functions. I have an acquaintance who was surprised one day over a meal, when the spoon suddenly fell from his hand on the way to his mouth. When he tried to pick it but couldn’t control his arm and hand, he screamed for help. He was taken to church where he recovered one week after, his being a case of partial stroke. Another acquaintance went straight to hospital after speaking with me. He wanted to sign a cheque, but his fingers would not abbey his command. His doctor confirmed our fears of a partial stroke. Some people are not so lucky. They experience a serious degree stroke such as hemorrhagic stroke. In this condition, which often results from many years of uncontrolled hypertension, a blood vessel breaks in the brain, spilling blood on surround brain cells. Many doctors say this case cannot be treated with aggressive blood thinning as is likely to be the case where a blood clot or atheroma blockage is involved. For in hemorrhagic stroke, the body’s healing process may be trying to seal the leakage. Blood thinning at this time may dissolve the seal(s) and compound the problem. As the spillage is cleaned up by the immune system and the healing process, brain cells knocked out of action by the spillage may regain their balance gradually. This is why loss of activity in the areas of the body they control (speech, limb motion for example) gradually return to normal.

The passage of such people as Muhammed Ali and Stephen Keshi afford us the opportunity to bestir ourselves about our health. All that many people care about their blood pressure are the upper and lower readings, not the pulse rate (the number of heart beats per minute). They live in homes entombed by electricity generator smoke and inhale a great deal of smoke in highway traffic or in their offices but do not check the oxygen potential of their bloodstream and brain. That suppress headaches with pain killers and go for energy drinks when they feel on the “low” because their heart is not pumping enough blood round the body. They believe in iron-loaded blood tonics as magic bullets. They do not understand that high blood sugar and high cholesterol levels are linked to high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack and stroke. They do not understand that high blood sugar is converted to cholesterol and that, for cholesterol to be kept within bounds, the liver has to be given minerals and multivitamins to make enzymes for this purpose. Even enzymes are protein-based, which means all full spectrum amino acids, building blocks of proteins, must be present in diet.

Last week, I was informed of a gentleman who has a foot sore his doctor’s suspect to be gangrenous and is the subject of a debate on whether to ampulate it. It was after this suspicion that his blood sugar was checked and found to have gone over the roof that he realized he was diabetic. So, ladies and gentlemen, to our doctors we should hurry right away and let us not forget to wish that, where ever they are, Mohammed Ali and Stephen Keshi awaken to joyful lives in the beyond.