What does it look like to remember we are mortal and still live joyfully? When we say yes to life and reach for our fullest potential in any moment, how do we let it all go at the end, easily? When we allow Life its full expression through us, how does this Life eventually wish to greet Death? How shall we die consciously?
These are central questions to play around with while reading Sadhguru’s book Death: An Inside Story. He likes to say that this book is only for those who shall die. Then he laughs at his own joke. Today (3/31/2020), during his live YouTube talk, he mentioned that this is a book one should read alone and in one sitting. Then the reader can slowly digest this inside story so the consciousness may learn to be with all the dimensions of the reality of mortality. Reading this book, I felt like I was sitting on a park bench next to a wise grandfather and listening to him ruminate about death.
Read Death Alone
I read this book, not in one sitting as I am a slow reader. Also, because my children and the family dog must be nearby while we shelter from this pandemic, I took the advice from the book and held my connection to my current environment very loosely around me. Sure, I am alert to my family’s needs and provide all necessary care and attention; but it does feel good to hold my connection to this life loosely. Sadhguru says this is one reason to wear loose-fitting clothes–it’s a way to feel the elements interact with the skin. But also, wear loose clothes as a reminder to wear Life loosely, like a loose-fitting garment that is easy to discard. Allow lots of room in these flowing clothes. If and when it is my time, I’d like to gently dissolve away. I’d like to turn myself into air and leave on the breeze.
Be Aware Through Transitions
In my humble opinion, the best advice this book gives is to practice being aware—when dozing off to sleep—of the moment that consciousness shifts from being awake to being asleep. To take it a step further, humbly attempt to be aware of shifting from being asleep to dreaming. Be aware of shifting from dreaming to deep sleep. The teachings say that if we can remain in a state of awareness during these shifts in consciousness, this will be helpful for us to remain conscious during the death process. This awareness is the Ultimate Witness to every state of consciousness, and the yogis call this state Turiya. This blog posts explores awareness during various kinds of shifts. And once we become aware of transitions, the Hathors encourage us to appreciate those transitions.
See This Page Blank
Sadhguru’s Death book does not offer much detail as to techniques used for remaining awake while sleeping and remaining asleep while awake, but he gives assurance that if we have a daily meditation practice, we can refine this witnessing consciousness. The way I have been remembering this observation is to just tell myself: Stay awake while falling asleep. Be totally aware when the shift happens. Awake and asleep are just another set of polarities that a yogi learns to bring into total balance and total unity inside. Why not enjoy merging opposites that can continue throughout the day and night, now and then, here and there, before and after, within and without. Eventually, there is little to no distinction between opposites. It’s funny being infinity and being finite at once. There are words on this page, and the page is also blank. There is this inhale at the top that changes into an exhale but before it changes it is neither inhale nor exhale. That’s where I can be. Listen to music. Listen with each note when it is not yet the next note. Be aware in that space.
Inside this body, I lovingly wrap awareness around the central subtle nerve channel of the spine, the Sushmana Nadi. I focus on the energy moving there until I sense its up and down flow. Then I gently coax its upward flow to touch the Brahmarandara and blow it out to merge with the Infinite. Easy! I have made a promise to myself to live this life as a yogi because I want to die consciously. See, I am complete. All future and past turns around and through all cycles cease when I hold my awareness in any space in between and whisper Shambho. For lifetimes already, my personal imagination has rolled around joyous feats of creating internal parties for mystics, lawyers, novelists, poets, sages, green grocers, trash collectors, criminals, failures, judges, sex offenders, bus drivers, doctors, and musicians. My inner world is an artists’ retreat with all of these beings running around in total freedom, joyous abandon, and naked wonder. So, what more is there? Goodbye Life and Hello again. Each time I take leave, I joyfully whisper: Shambho!
Are You Going to Scarborough Fair?
As I write this, my daughter is working hard to learn the song “Scarborough Fair” on the piano. She slowly works through each note. She will practice and practice until she receives a sticker to indicate she has completed her time with this song. Then, with dispassion, she will turn the page and move on to learn a new song. I will witness her turning the page and be sure to offer my awareness to the moment when the page is mid-turn; again, I will internally utter Shambho!