Discovering ‘OSHO Bardo: Right-Mindfulness in Living and Dying Meditation’ filled me with joy! I feel I have found the perfect meditation, for this present moment, for the remainder of this Bardo (transitory phase), and for the next. Maneesha James and Sudheer Niet’s stated purpose of the OSHO Bardo is: “to support you in living and dying with the awareness of who you are at your deepest level and knowing the joy that it brings.”
I have read Osho on death in many of his books and I sense in OSHO Bardo a meditation that goes to the essence behind the words. The amazing thing is how OSHO Bardo supports living and dying, and does so in a practical, direct, yet gentle way, thoroughly suffused with the fragrance of Osho’s love.
My recent interest in death (perhaps related to my almost being 70?) led me to several sources on dying with awareness. I had listened to Richard Gere read the Bardo Thödol: Liberation Through Hearing During the Intermediate State and found the free PDF of Sogyal Rinpoche’s The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying.
I read Andrew Holecek’s Preparing to Die: Practical Advice and Spiritual Wisdom from the Tibetan Buddhist Tradition and attended the 30-part online course on conscious dying Andrew gave, along with Ken Wilber, entitled: ‘Okay I’m Dead… Now What? : Practices for Living, Dying, and Living Again.’
At the same time of my investigation into death and dying, I was planning a vacation to Colombia’s “coffee triangle.” In 1990, while working as a librarian in Medellin, I’d been kidnapped near that area by Colombian guerrillas of the National Liberation Army. I wanted to return to Colombia as a tourist and see Armenia and Manizales and the “Coffee Cultural Landscape of Colombia,” which was inscribed on the World Heritage List by UNESCO in 2011.
Synchronicitously I discovered that at the same time I planned to be there, Manizales is going to host the First Colombian International Congress on Palliative Care. Could this be a way to meet and introduce Colombians concerned with dying to the wonderful OSHO Bardo meditation? I asked myself. How could I participate in the congress? I decided to apply to submit a proposal for a poster session at the Congress: “A Bibliographic Review: Meditation in Palliative Care.”
By searching 12 databases I found about 80 articles and selected 13 that related to meditation (or mindfulness) in palliative care. Since the Congress is “academic” the proposal had to be in the form of Objective-Method-Results-Conclusions. What I discovered is that a lot of research has been done on “Mindfulness” and MBSR (“mindfulness-based stress reduction”). Basically Vipassana, insight meditation, MBSR is seen as secular (it is), and seemed the most acceptable way to approach an academic congress. They will let me know if the proposal is accepted on July 30, 2017. These are the results and conclusions of my bibliographic review of meditation in palliative care:
The literature examined shows that meditation contributes positively to pain management; is effective in reducing depression and anxiety; addresses burnout of professionals working in palliative care; benefits the companions and relatives in terms of reducing depression, anxiety and stress by improving their quality of life; reduces the psychological stress and depression of the dying; enhances compassion and reduces aversion to the suffering of others.
According to research done meditation benefits everyone: the dying, the professional team, caregivers, companions and family. It helps them to be more objective, more relaxed and serene, living fully every moment, including the moment of death.
Meditation, like death, can be seen as something mysterious. At the same time, I learned from Osho, in its essence meditation is to be aware, relaxed and non-judgemental; alert and without identifying with the body or the mind. Knowing oneself as other-than-the body-mind – that is, as the watching consciousness – and finding a pleasant inner silence, the fear of death disappears. Thus meditation facilitates a more peaceful entry into death.
“You exist in time, but you belong to eternity. You are a penetration of eternity into the world of time. You are deathless, living in a body of death. Your consciousness knows no death, no birth. It is only your body that is born and dies. But you are not aware of your consciousness; you are not conscious of your consciousness. And that is the whole art of meditation: becoming conscious of consciousness itself.”