- by guest blogger, Susan Grimes, aka "yogi Suzi".
No, I did not have a near death experience and I know very little about death, however, on May 26th, 2012 I had the privilege of attending an Easy Death talk presented by Angelo Druda. I chose to attend this seminar because of a line in Angelo’s book, The Tao of Rejuvenation that resonated with me deeply last summer. “Dying is not the end — it is simply a matter of moving on — of leaving this form of existence and taking up another”. He continues on about accepting death and concludes by saying “we should learn death while we are still alive”.
I am 48 years young and have very little interaction with any Western medical practitioners. If fate dictates, I may remain in my body for many years to come — no obvious signs of death in my near future. But I went to hear Angelo speak about Easy Death because I wanted to hear more about Death and Dying since death, I realize, is inevitable.
“Death”, said Angelo, “we all feel is the fundamental problem with life — it frightens us to our very core”. Turns out in a group of fifty, fear was present for most who spoke up — fear — a deeply rooted emotion that most people feel in relation to facing their own death. Many of us have a fear of pain, fear of paying off karmic debt, fear of not being ready — affairs not in order, final goodbyes said — and fear of facing the unknown as well as not knowing how, or when, we will die.
In this audience of almost fifty, very few people came up with a concise definition of the word ‘fear’. Webster’s dictionary defines fear as: “A feeling of anxiety and agitation caused by the presence or nearness of danger evil, pain, etc.” In defining fear, my mind brought up images of worrying — all the times I’ve worried — yet all worked out perfectly in the end. A feeling of relief has washed over me since the Easy Death talk — a deep knowing that there is nothing to fear or worry about in relation to my own death — a death that, if I practice peacefulness and happiness now, while living, stands a good chance of being a peaceful and happy death.
Death of course is no stranger to any of us — and for me, in addition to the passing of my grandparents, I witnessed the passing of my only child, my sixteen-year-old baby. Part of my first healing when my son died was coming to this very understanding — we can knock on every door in our small town or large city and we’ll be hard pressed to find a home that has not known death and dying — a parent, a grandparent, aunts, uncles, siblings, and even children, most of us have lost a family member or close friend.
In fact, what Angelo reminded his audience of, is that death is a natural and benign process — very much like birth. And, furthermore, just as when a woman is pregnant she prepares for the birth of her child, yeah, it’s also wise to prepare for the death of our loved ones and also prepare our very own passing. “You wouldn’t take a trip to South America without a map or a travel guide”, said Angelo. “And just the same when preparing for the journey that comes at the end of your life, this beautiful passage, of course you want to be prepared, study the terrain a bit, learn the territory.”
Turns out the very best way to prepare for death, again, our own passing and the transition of others, is to serve people who are in the process of dying. This service might be listening to and talking with them, playing music or singing for them, anointing them with damp washcloths or lavender oil, asking them what they need and then taking action and assisting to fulfill that need.
In contemplating my feelings about the death process, I realized that, just like I prepared for the birth of my son, the opening of my first business, and have studied nutrition and yoga, I must study the death process. Having recently read the section on death in The Tao of Rejuvenation, I can highly recommend this book as not only a book that teaches us how to live well, but also, interestingly, how to die well. Dying well, in my opinion, means being at peace with the reality called death, knowing it is simply a transition, and releasing fears and doubts. Studying the death process may relieve the bulk of our fears as well as help us to better serve our loved ones and community members when their time comes to die.
What struck me as magical was the feeling ease and comfort around the topic of dying that Angelo showered upon us — it was like he took a dark gray subject matter and flipped it into a beautiful white mist — the audience was then engulfed in this mist. Maybe some walked in with fear or anxiety around death, but my guess is everyone left feeling at ease.
In our culture, dying is something that is often tucked away, spoken of as little as possible, something many people are just not comfortable talking at length about. Many people die with very few people around them, and, most often, in medical institutions. To die at home is not common unless it’s a sudden death, and then, after such, the body is often rushed away by an ambulance. What may not always be possible but would likely be optimal is to die with friends and family around us, in a quiet and sacred space, and then, upon dying, for our bodies to remain in sacredness, near loved ones, for three full days. During those three days, especially in the first few hours, if someone talked to us aloud and told us, that yes, we had died, and now it was time to move up, exit the body out the top of the head, then we would naturally be more free to do so.
When my son left his body, it was five hours after his car accident — after surgery that he didn’t pull through — and I did not have the option of being with him for three days. In fact, the hospital didn’t even give me three hours, but more like one or two, but at that time I didn’t know that it was ideal to be with the body of the loved one for three days. I did know, through yogic teachings, that the soul leaves the body through the top of the head and as I wandered around my son’s body — a body that was only damaged internally — still quite perfect on the outside — I touched him all over but found myself mostly gravitating towards the top of his head.
I spoke to him aloud and told him that he was now more evolved than all of us on this earth plane. I reminded him of ancient yogic teachings that tell us we are not the mind, the physical body, the aura, the subtle body — and — through what is called The Tenth Gate, The Seat of the Soul, at the top of his head, I breathed the pure sweet essence of my son right into my own heart and soul. In other words, I actually could feel and taste the life force at the top of his head — my breathing was effortless and deep — and — strangely — that time of saying goodbye was an extremely rich and precious moment.
I didn’t call him back and beg him not to go. And it turns out, from the Easy Death talk, that when someone we love is making their transition, it is imperative that we allow them to go without getting caught up in our own sense of loss. Let them go without hearing us beg and cry for them to come back — let them soar up and out of their body and refrain from confusing them and calling them back. Let them go.
A step further — when it comes to the time of our own passing, the simple words to remember: Let Go. Let it go, let it all go, just like when falling asleep, let your death be as easy as falling into a deep sleep. Angelo read to us from a book, The Transition Called Death, by Charles Hampton, these words: “Slowly, one falls asleep, and when he is asleep, he is dead. There is certainly nothing to fear in any part of the process of dying”.
The seminar was based on the book Easy Death by Adi Da Samraj: “Death is a necessary, purposeful, and ultimately benign psycho-physical process which is intended to refresh “the conscious being”.
In his book, The Tao of Rejuvenation, Angelo explains how the conscious being grows and regenerates at the time of death — grows and regenerates just like the physical body rejuvenates when we sleep. “This “conscious being” is our existence at a level deeper than the physical, the subtlest etheric aspect and beyond. This deep being sustains our appearance here, and it continues on after death. Death might be the end of this appearance, but it is also a time of regeneration and growth for the being itself.”
Resting during a hot spell in the summer of 2011, letting the body go limp, I read The Tao of Rejuvenation for the first time. This summer, 2012, I will absolutely read The Tao of Rejuvenation again — a book on how to live, eat, sleep, and die, a book that I found to be full of profound easy to incorporate wisdom.
Blessings to you!