Death Meditation

Friday, October 14, 2016

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Death Meditation

As part of my 300hr certification training for yoga, we were required to follow the guided reading of a “Death Meditation” created by Ana Forest, one of the most prominent figures in the world-wide yoga community.

Through this meditation, we are supposed to psychologically and emotionally take ourselves through the last twelve hours of our life. By contemplating our death and our life lived so far, this meditation is supposed to awaken in us a new appreciation for life as well as launch us toward our true purpose we most likely have been sabotaging or denying in some way.

Ana Forest created this meditation after attempting suicide by throwing herself off a cliff. Though she faced several injuries, she walked away from the attempt relatively unscathed, but having faced death right in the face, and accepting it, she realized her true purpose, and has been able to live a life worth living and remembering ever since.  

About a year ago, I had a similar experience.

After watching my grandfather die, I decided I didn’t want to live anymore either. I was deep in a hole of grief from losing him, yes, but through the process of losing him I realized I had lost myself too. I didn’t know who I was anymore, nor who I wanted to be. I was utterly lost in a pit of darkness without knowing how to even begin to find my way out.

During this time, the only thing that brought me any shred of relief was the contemplation of my death. I’d research all the ways I could end my life, and imagine what it would be like to experience. I’d read the trials and errors, the pros and cons of each method. It sounds morbid, but this contemplation is what eventually saved my life. Because with each method I considered, there was a nagging question in the back of my mind: 

what if it doesn’t work?

Which brought up the follow-up question: 

what makes you think it won’t?

Which forced me to find my lingering light of hope as I answered: 

Because I believe I was put here for a reason.

I have a purpose I haven’t fulfilled.

I can’t leave until I’m finished.

It took a while for me to accept this revelation, but once I did, it saved my life. I was finally able to relinquish the illusion of control I had been clinging to for years, and start embracing each day as if it were my last. And ever since I’ve been living a life of joy and gratitude and purpose.

I still don’t know exactly what my purpose is, but I don’t need to know. As long as I continue to live with my heart wide open to the possibilities, I know I’m exactly where and who I’m supposed to be. 

So as I practiced the death meditation recently as part of my training, I wasn’t shaken to my core. I was able to accept my “death”, and say “Yes, I have lived as best I can. I have accomplished all I was meant to. My life has had meaning. I’m ready.”

And when I opened my eyes, I was given the beautiful gift of another day.

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