We have noted elsewhere the benefits of talking about death to those who are actively dying. Here we look at death in relation to the rest of us: that is, you and me!
Paradoxically, we start dying as soon as life itself starts. Our tendency is to focus exclusively on being alive, with never a thought as to the day our bodies will finally say, ‘Enough!’ Of course we notice others dying and it’s hard to avoid the inference that that means we too will die – but avoid it most of us do!
Is there any advantage to facing the reality of our mortality? Consider this…
1) Life is livelier
Some people say that ‘living is the best preparation for dying” and so see no need to do a training. Or say “I’m too busy living to give energy to the subject of death”
Let’s look at the first statement: Yes, living is the best preparation for dying AND I would add that just living in itself is not as significant as how we live.
Ask yourself: Am I living in such a way that if death tapped me on my shoulder right now, I’d be willing and able to accept it? Would I be ready to say goodbye to my life with gratitude and a sense of fulfillment and completion??
One of the side-benefits of attending workshops on death and dying is that participants agree that they are living with greater appreciation of life. They are much more present to their everyday life, relationships are deeper. There’s a sense of not wanting to waste time, not to procrastinate. To be more real; to go for what you really want in life.
I recall very early on one of our workshop participants saying, “This is just as much a training in living as it is in dying!” – and that’s exactly right. Because the issues we will confront in dying are those we confront now: the same fears, the same areas where we are unconscious, stuck and resistant. The meditative methods that we can use in life to avoid getting stressed, to de-stress, to stay centred, open and in contact with our hearts, are equally needed when we are dying.
And if you feel you’re ‘too busy living to give energy to death’, then I would ask: And is there no instance, in that busy life, when friends or family members have become very sick or died? No time when you’ve had a ‘health scare’? Those are times when we are pulled up short. When our life can be thrown open, as we see a bigger picture, one that is beyond the minutiae of routine living, one which can thrust us into emotions that are primal and profound.
Aren’t sickness and dying, and all the feelings we have about losing someone we love, an unavoidable part of your life experience? Aren’t those times when a love relationship ends, when a certain phase of your life finishes, when you lose a job, a taste of death?
2) The fears can be acknowledged and addressed before we are on our deathbed
Those who participate in the OSHO Sammasati workshops generally, and particularly in An Experiential Enquiry into Death, reinforce the same understanding: consciously facing death makes one live more passionately and can trigger unexpected transformation. Watch this short video from Priya.
I am less afraid of death being with me each day and more interested and curious about it. After the workshop I felt a renewed joy at being alive. Life feels more precious, and it feels less important that things go my way. I have a sense of welcoming all experiences. (Maggie Armour; UK; hospice nurse)
When you squeeze your whole life into four days [the duration of An Experiential Enquiry into Death], you encounter the juiciness of life itself… and life is wisdom. Did I touch death or life? I am left with light and love, beauty and joy. (Limin Han; UK/China; Statistician/Mathematician)
The Crescendo of Life: Celebrating Death
This video clip shows a Death Celebration at the Osho International Meditation Resort in Pune, India with some commentary by Osho on the value of being able to celebrate death.