Writings

Meditating with death and loss


All we love we leave behind. Besides the title of a Converge song about death and loss, the previous sentence is also the most painful truth about human life, or any other life for that matter.
Meditating with death and loss
The rough side of impermanence, the Big Suffering. Enormous amount of energy are placed in futile attempts to intellectualise and cushion the impact that the law of impermanence has in our lives to no avail. To lose the people we love and eventually to face our own death is a brutal, devastating pain that we all must pass through. We don’t understand it and it makes us both sad and angry. Why did god create such a flawed design, we ask ourselves, why such injustice that Beautiful he or she has to go? Why do I have to go? Why must it all end?

The fact that we cannot come with any sort of convincing answer to these fundamental questions only adds to the pain we are already suffering when mourning or when facing a life threatening illness. Impermanence is permanent and all forms must trans-form, that’s law. And neither thought, nor youth, nor money, nor religion, nor yoga can revoke that law. If we cannot change it, we at least need to understand it, but even that is not fully possible. Our theories and believes about death fall short when faced by it’s inevitability and we feel lost, a confession that we might only admit to ourselves, but a confession we all know to be true. We create emotional or religious distance from death, we ignore it and often pretend it won’t happen to me and mine, but when confronted by it, its nature is so absolute, so groundbreaking that this illusionary shelter shatters to pieces.

So a question that we all will face at certain point appears: if i must face my own death or the death of a loved one, and I cannot rid myself from the pain, what other alternatives do I have? Numb myself and struggle forth, like a zombie? Accelerate the process to finally find rest? Remain angry and in pain until the end? What are my choices god? When death hits you in the face the pain is so strong and the bewilderment of the idea so intense that we momentarily lose sight of all that is still here. However, one important realisation is that pain can only be contained in an equally large receptacle of love and that if we give ourselves the time and space to feel the pain without running away from it, eventually we start connecting with the love that it was born from. The love we feel for the person who left, or the love we feel for those who we are leaving behind, soon reveal the love we feel for the life we are given. Short or long, easy or tricky, we love our life with ferocity, and if there is a time when we can fully acknowledge the extent of such love is now, when we must surrender without alternative to life’s impermanent nature.

Life is born out of love. In the transitions, in both birth and death, life shows it’s truth without filter, in its wondrous glory. Love and pain merge.
When a form becomes, when unlimited love is infused into a limited physical being, there is pain. We miss being boundless.
When a form lets go and its essence returns to the love that it came from, there is pain. We miss being bound.
There is a thin shell between worlds, but every time it cracks, it hurts… a lot.
 

Meditating with death and loss

Meditation cannot take us out of pain but it can take us out of illusion. It cannot help us feel better but it can help us feel more without breaking apart. Sitting alone in silence, feeling the life within, the love within, the pain within without taking sides, will not make us forget our loved ones, will put no end to the fear for our own death, but it will give us the chance to appreciate life and to cherish the privilege to experience it as me.

Sit and relax quietly, or lie down.
Feel the breath and the sensations in the body.
Prioritise breath awareness, specially off the sensations in the body are very uncomfortable or painful.

Feel the pain, the fear, or the desire to give up, but keep aware of your breath at all times.
After a little time, start to slow down the breath a bit, just a bit, softly inhaling, softly exhaling, without urgency, with care.
Keep aware of your slightly slowed down breath.

Simultaneously, remember these truths undeniable truths, letting them sink for a while:

- All must die.
- I, one day, must die.

- Energy doesn’t disappear, only transforms. Thus, death is not the end of life, it’s only the end of what I know.
- I don’t know what comes next and i desire to know.

- I feel love and a desire for more of.
- I feel pain and a desire for less of it.

- Love and pain are indivisible, I accept that.
- I surrender to pain, but I chose love.

- She/He is love.
- I am love.
 

In the video from Converge’s song a man is tied by the neck to a rock while singer Jacob Bannon growls these lines:

Nothing in this world
Could ever compare
To the hole in my heart
And the weight in the air
When you took to the sky
And I lost you to time
A final goodbye
All we love we leave behind

Such is the hopelessness that death confronts us with. However, something does compare, and it is everybody else’s hole in their hearts. If you are in pain for whatever reason, but specially for the biggest of all, death, reach out, we all share that burden. Beyond meditation, reach out and let yourself be loved. Reach out and love.

 

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