The subjects of when death actually occurs, near-death-experience etc. seem popular and have practical relevance as with jobun recently in the C&M Q&A thread recently. To avoid hogging that thread I've jotted down some follow-on thoughts about when and why death may come about. 1. old age - An individual has reached a stage where he has done all that was planned before his incarnation and reached the last of his exit points. Death is a natural outcome, his animating spirit deciding the time is right to allow or cause the silver cord to sever. 2. infirmity and old age - Someone has reached a stage where her body is failing, the effort needed from her animating spirit to keep things working either is outside her capability or the return is too small. At a suitable exit point her spirit allows or causes the parting of the silver cord. 3. infirmity alone - The body is affected by damage, disorders or disease to the extent that its spirit simply can not keep 'body and soul' together. The spirit allows or causes the silver cord connection to break. 4. severe injury - The body is so badly damaged that it simply can not continue to function. The spirit effectively has no chance of maintaining life in the body and brings about the severing of the silver cord. In certain, extreme situations there will be nothing left of the physical body to which the silver cord could be 'attached' anyway. An individual might find himself effectively cast out from the body he knew and wondering what has happened, perhaps even unaware that death had occurred. Examples would be explosions in war or the collapse of the towers of The World Trade Center in 2001 when few bodies were found. It's been argued, though, that individuals are counseled during sleep prior to such an event. Perhaps, then, it's less of a surprise/shock for some than we might suppose? 5. suicide - An individual takes a course of action intended to end their incarnate life or where death might be an expected outcome. In such a situation it's debatable how much the animating spirit allowed/caused the severing of the silver cord and/or whether death was inevitable, brought about by the severity of the injury to the body.