Dying into Life
How can getting curious about dying help you commit to living?
This morning I sat down to meditate and noticed right away that my heart was feeling jumpy and afraid so I comforted myself for a sec, acknowledging that I was feeling overwhelmed and nervous about my week. This comforting of myself is something I learned from Ram Dass, becoming a compassionate witness to my own ridiculous and amazing human experience, by recognizing and gently tending to my fears and hurt places instead of ignoring them.
This compassionate witnessing is also how we can work with our feelings around death and dying. Instead of ignoring our fears and heavy emotions around death, we can get curious about these feelings and learn how to become the loving witness to our own journey through life, right up to the end.
When we cultivate the ability to be the compassionate witness, we start to be able to sit with really powerful feelings and remain calm. What happens when we contemplate death and dying? As the compassionate witness, we allow ourselves to examine the emotions we feel from different angles, and really start to understand why we feel the way we do. What motivates our hopes and what drives our fears? Are my fears the same as your fears? Is there a way to find peace, knowing that one day I will die? When we attend to these feelings we get perspective on our collective human dilemma and in doing so, we begin to see ourselves as fully human- strong, vulnerable, gentle, brave, curious, afraid, loving.
Meditating on death helps us get real about the fact that we're going to die. It's the way nature is designed. All living things are born, grown, age and die. You'll die one day, along with everyone you know. As I write those words I worry that you'll think I'm being intentionally provocative to try to make you upset. Of course, that's not my intention at all. I'm only stating the obvious. And if we know we're going to die, that this life is actually fleeting, why are so many of us so cautious about living fully and authentically? Why are so many of us waiting for some future time to really be ourselves and move toward our dreams? If we were to die tomorrow (and we might!) would we feel regret? If the answer is yes, can practicing contemplating dying give us the courage and clarity to commit to truly living?
Transforming Grief - February Workshop
If you’re curious about learning how to work with your feelings around death and dying, please join me and Rebecca Thieneman for Dying into Living, a workshop where we’ll create a safe space to practice softening into compassionately witnessing our feelings about dying, and noticing how this can help us commit to living.
We’ll begin with yoga to get grounded in our bodies, then move into a guided meditation where we’ll contemplate the nine truths of dying, followed by a sound bath, journaling and a closing circle where those who would like to share may do so. We hope to see you there!