Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Emptiness of Death

Susan shares a deeply personal experience about death.

I remember waking up that morning and realizing that something was different. The dream earlier that night of her walking out of the hospital should have been enough of a sign. My cell phone was still turned off. I didn’t want to turn it on, but knew I needed to at some point. Instead, I proceeded with my morning ritual of meditation and getting ready for work. As I stepped out the door, I finally turned on my phone. I could already feel what the message was on the voicemail. She was no longer living in her present body. My mother had passed away into the unknown. I felt relieved that she didn’t have to suffer anymore. Afterall, I don’t remember a time in my childhood where she wasn’t sick. I felt sadness and anger. What scared me the most was that I even felt her pain. It was thick and dark as molasses. Her spirit was still very much alive on this Earth, kicking and screaming, not willing to let go.

I always had this fear of death as a child and into my adulthood. I remember having mini anxiety attacks. My heart would palpitate at the thought of non-existing. Would I have any memories? Was there really a heaven “up there” where everything was perfect? Wouldn’t I eventually get bored being able to do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted in this place called heaven? There must be a point where you can enjoy only so many tootsie rolls. However, it was the lack of pure existence in this life that scared me the most. I was afraid of being confronted with an empty and void space at the end of my life.

Death still feels empty to me, but it feels different now that I look at it from a new perspective. The emptiness of death is majestic and gorgeous, similar to a galaxy of stars. It gives space for life because it is a part of life. The two, life and death, are equal. One isn't more important than the other. I had a great opportunity to start looking more deeply into the depths of my own fear when I travelled back home after hearing the unfortunate news.

The fear that I experienced felt exactly the same. I felt it as soon as I stepped into the house. Her spirit was there, angry as hell. I was immediatlely brought back to similar memories as a child, how I felt small and unworthy. Yet I pushed through in order to do the work I was sent to do. I remember standing in her bedroom in front of her recliner chair still reaking of fresh cigarrette smoke. My hands were trembling, trying to keep the bowl of sage in one hand and the lighter in the other, preparing for clearing space. Then my spirit guides came to help. I looked into the fear and saw it for what it was, for the first time. As I walked throughout the bedroom, my hands continued to shake and sweat, but I allowed the fear to flow through me. There was some point when the fear transformed into strength and empowerment. The energy of the room began to shift and cleanse. I knew I couldn’t do anything wrong during the space clearing. My intentions were pure, and I knew God would guide me to do the right thing. A few days later I felt fear return as I was about to perform a ceremony alongside a creek. Once again, I allowed the fear to come through me instead of resisting it. After doing so, I was given the space for freedom.

One interesting thing about death is that it always gives an opportunity to transform relationships with one’s self and with others. It was fascinating to see how my relationship with my father changed. The role of parent and child seemed to be completely reversed. I found myself being an educator. It was unfamiliar and strange territory, yet liberating. For the first time we honestly spoke from a place of love and support rather than from a place of fear grounded in repetitive conditioned habits of society. I found that death allows us to not only accept the fear in ourselves, but the fears we share together. By looking deeply into the darkness that inhibited the growth of our relationship, we found a space allowing us to open up into a freedom that was never embraced before in my family. My mother’s spirit was ever present as my father and I talked on a park bench in this healing way. I sensed that she began to understand. For the first time our family karma was beginning to lift. We were all beginning to let go of our individual pain and family karmic pain as well.

I have been dedicating myself to the Kirtan Kriya from the Kundalini Yoga tradition for the past month. During the meditation one chants Saa Taa Naa Maa. Saa means infinity, cosmos, begininng. Taa means life or existence. Naa means death, change, transformation. Maa means rebirth. (http://www.spiritvoyage.com/meditation/Kirtan-Kriya/MED-000035.aspx) It has opened up so much for me regarding how I view death. In my experience I’ve found that death is only one part of the life we experience. It needs to occur in order for Creation to exist. I’ve also come to know that even though something may die physically, it’s spirit will always exist. The energy that exists within it is never destroyed, only transformed into something different. I always thought I knew what this meant, but did I truly Know it? After all, who hasn’t seen the Lion King movie, right? However, my intellectual mind knew what it meant, but my heart and body did not.

I was sitting on a beach chanting the Kirtan Kriya. I noticed how each breaking wave coincided each time I spoke Saa Taa Naa Maa. One wave after another continued to be created, cap at the top, then cascaded and broke onto the beach in an effortless way. The waves didn’t hesitate to break at the bottom because they know that is the change that needs to occur. Everything is constantly changing. Life is a precious gift, but it can only be truly appreciated when we see the beauty in the emptiness of death. It just IS.

Susan started to cultivate a deeper relationship with the Creator four years ago when she was introduced to the works of Eckhart Tolle's, "The Power of Now" by Jim Tolles. Her life has been transformed in countless ways since then.
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