An Experiential Enquiry Into Death

Death cannot be denied by repeating that death does not exist.

Death will have to be known; it will have to be encountered.

It will have to be lived. You will have to become acquainted with it.

Osho: The Art of Living and Dying

If we know there is a journey that we must take, and we have some questions about it, it makes sense to address them beforehand and to look at what else we can do to make the way easier.

Comprising meditative methods and ‘devices,’ this workshop is a unique opportunity to explore our questions and feelings about dying while we are still able in body and mind. Surprisingly, perhaps, we discover that the same fears and concerns we have in everyday life are reflected in how we face dying. So the process positively affects how we are living as well as how we might die.

Just as is any work focused on inner growth, An Experiential Enquiry into Death is emotionally confronting and yet, through the milieu that is created by fellow participants and the facilitators, also meditative, tender and deeply supportive.

The 4-day-plus workshop is conducted as a retreat in a safely-held space, and an interview (generally by Skype) with either of the facilitators is a prerequisite.


How can you benefit?

Inevitably, fears and misunderstandings about dying are diminished. Not only that: in facing what dying means we come to know living on a far more profound level. This can create a renewed sense of gratitude for life, an awareness of its transitory nature and the inspiration to change our priorities so that we start living in a way that is more personally fulfilling. In addition, the experience of participants in facing their mortality provides the basis for their supporting others in their dying process – whether they are family or friends or we are working as professionals in the health or caring sector.

“When we…help other people, we will be more trusted if we are not just passing on advice but can speak from our own experience. But since everyone is different, no two people will have exactly the same experience. So the point is … not to come up with the correct understanding of death but to have the courage to look at how we deal with it personally.” (From ‘Mindfulness in Hospice Work,’ Anne Bruce & Betty Davies).

Doctor and author Michael Murphy suggests, ‘Since dying involves body, soul, and spirit… lectures or instruction manuals are inadequate since feelings are very much involved… [the support person’s] training needs to be very personal, helping him to imagine his own dying and the dying of those he loves. Only then will he be in a more comfortable position to help others, since he himself will be able to become more a witness and guide (The Wisdom of Dying: Practices for Living).

As you can see from the videos below and from the written testimonials of previous participants, people come to this workshop for many different reasons. They have recently lost someone close to them and would like to have been able to support them better or they see more clearly the benefits of being prepared for their own dying process; or they themselves or parents/partners are ageing or sick. Others may wish to explore in a meditative context perhaps their greatest fear. Still others may wish to be more effective in their professional or voluntary roles in medicine, palliative care and hospice work. Whatever the reason, everyone who joins this workshop is in search of and generally finds a greater understanding and acceptance of death and, through that a fresh and more joy-filled appreciation of life.

This workshop is open to those wishing to explore what it is to die consciously. It is a powerful process and may not be suitable for everyone. Please contact Maneesha if you would like to know more and to arrange an interview with her by Skype, telephone or in person.

Facilitated by

Maneesha James read bio here

Maneesha has been facilitating workshops and retreats focused on conscious living and conscious dying for the last 20 years. Drawing her inspiration from the many years she spent in the company of the Indian mystic Osho, she creates a safe space for exploring conscious dying using a wide range of meditative techniques and simple structures.

Maneesha has also worked with a number of individuals who were facing death and provided the psycho-spiritual support to help them through the transition of death – she sometimes calls herself a ‘transition midwife’. She is co-founder and co-director of OSHO Sammasati and is a published author. Originally from Australia, Maneesha now has a base in north London.

Sammasati H. Jensen read bio here

Based in Aarhus, Denmark, Sammasati is a trained psychologist, authorised and accredited as a specialist in clinical psychology and supervision. Her field of expertise is treatment of suffering following trauma. She also has extensive experience in psychological treatment for anxiety, depression, psychosis and other kinds of psychological distress.

Sammasati’s interest in death and meditation goes way back to her childhood. She sees that unresolved grief and fear of death diminishes lives and that, with help and understanding, our attitude to death can be transformed into the most potent incentive to live life at its fullest. Sammasati feels that such an attitude towards death is one of the most important awakening mechanisms and therefore one of the most important to address.

Upcoming workshops

7 Dec 2018 - 11 Dec 2018, at , Pune, India - Facilitated by Maneesha James, Sammasati H. Jensen

See Osho International Meditation Resort for more information.

An interview with Maneesha or Sammasati is a pre-requisite

an Info talk will be available on 03-06 Dec 2018 with a Taster on 4th December.

Recent workshop feedback

I managed to survive ‘The Experiential Enquiry into Death' and I am heartfully revived, refreshed and so happy to be alive again!!

It was an intense process. We were encouraged to dive deep inside ourselves to confront what it would be like to die. We had the opportunity to bring to life our hidden fears, attitudes, beliefs and hitherto unknown responses to leaving the body. Via deep reflection, various meditations and scenarios, we were carried on a journey of experiencing and expressing the hidden truths behind the shallow walls of personality.

I watched these walls made of ego crumble in myself and other participants from all over the world. There is something so incredibly humbling about sharing such an intimate experience of letting go with others also facing death. Amongst the grief, fear, denial, anger, sadness and resistance there was love, letting go, laughter and tears. There was the freshness of an emerging human spirit connected in the sameness of the heart. The lightness of being that arises out of awareness when we remember that we are not the body or the mind. We are not our thoughts or our feelings ...we are so much more. We are also love and light.

This process was about discovering and experiencing our most precious inner resources of self love and compassion for the self and all others. This and awareness is the only resource we will carry to the grave when life as we know it disappears. Imagine not having that when you are imprisoned in a dying body with no autonomy at all. Imagine saying goodbye to everyone and everything forever, without that.

To know and experience that which never dies inside the self is to me the ultimate freedom. Remembering it and carrying that into lifes every moment is so important. I am so grateful to Osho and Maneesha James and crew for making this opportunity available. (Sadhana)

Beloved Maneesha, I'm very grateful for the group! I have not yet fully understood or experienced how deep it went or will go. It seems to have created a big momentum that will continue, and I’m looking forward to continue to explore.

I feel extra open and have been extra eager to show my love to friends, or let them know in an sms. Suddenly I wrote to my half-brother in Sweden. We didn't meet for 15 years – all kind of excuses from both sides. And suddenly I was sooo welcome – a good important meeting/ "Take action in life where needed, don't let it float out in the sand somewhere, letting time just pass and then dying."

We had a big taste of how death might be and can be now, too, in the small deaths every day. Some of the deep meditations that I used to fear a bit or feel partly uncomfortable in, this time I could receive them and be much more relaxed than before.

I'm happy about the balance there was in the workshop between love – sharing-hugging-singing-holding hands-eye-contact – and aloneness : relaxation-meditations-meeting a bit of fear for death. and some loneliness in the Darkness Meditation and OSHO Bardo.

Love and being together created so much trust, happiness and relaxation. And then I also mean your love and openness – your eyes, sweet smiles and warm hugs! – and also the warmth shared with [helpers] Ritama, Ojas and Satmarga.

So death, as Osho says, nearly disappeared, or the fear of it, because love was pumped into us and left no space for tension and fear.

Thank you sooo much!!!
With much love
Dr Maud Christensen

(Dr Maud Christensen)

I would very much recommend this workshop for anyone who would like to explore their thoughts and feelings about the most relevant and taboo subject of all, in a safe and loving group context. The workshop introduces many wonderful meditation techniques and practices which enable participants to go deeply into this subject in a very personal and powerful way. I loved the periods of silence, and also the dancing and celebration of life.
I gained a very ‘visceral’ knowing that I am not my body (if this is possible!). It is hard to describe but there was a sense of myself as awareness. There was also a softening and opening around fears of death/the unknown and a deep compassion for my own and others’ attempts to find happiness in life experiences.
In my work in a hospice I feel more sensitive to how being in the hospice environment might impact on a patient’s feeling of control over their lives, and the need to respect their fluctuating needs for independence and assistance. I also have more empathy with people who are frail and unable to take care of themselves and are struggling with this. There is now a greater understanding of and ability to open up to my own and other people’s fears and feelings about death. I feel more able to initiate conversations about death and dying with friends, colleagues and patients.
I am less afraid of death being with me each day, as a tangible reality which has mystery and also intrigue. I’m more interested and curious about it. There’s an understanding that really knowing myself as awareness offers freedom from much of the suffering of life and fears around death. I feel deep compassion for friends and patients who are struggling with fear and anxiety about death, and have a wish to be able to comfort them and feel more open and available to patients who are dying. I am also less afraid of the grief I might experience when caring for them; using the heart-centred breathing has been very helpful with this.
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 and feeling more connected to the ‘witness,’ that watching aspect within me.

(Maggie Armour, UK, Hospice Nurse)

Every day was so full; every session, every exercise was so rich for me, and so much happened inside provoking insights in an exciting way. Maneesha and Sudheer were sensitively supporting, guiding and caring for us and seeing each one as an individual. Now out of the workshop and being back in my usual surroundings I realize even more how nourished and enriched I feel, how much my inner thirst was quenched.
Thanks a million times: thanks!

(Gandhraj, Germany)

In a way the [first module of the Sammasati Support-Person] training has been an exercise in sobering me, in grounding me more, in bringing my understanding closer to basics facts in life about this body, this life, this human nature. While I would have thought that abandoning so many old dreams, fantasies and beliefs would create a sort of desperation and vacuum, interestingly enough, this process has not made me sad. Quite the opposite; in practical terms in my daily life it is making me bolder in that I am asking for what I want/need, very well knowing that this is the time (and no other in a future to come), that there might not be other chances, that there is no space for stupid fears or polite limitations. I ask more, I care less, I move faster or more decisively.
I think this training is coming to my life in the right moment. Many other processes converge in this moment. It seems the time is ripe for this training to create a big breakthrough for me and in my understanding of life. This workshop has switched on a light in my awareness. I cannot see things as before. I am more conscious that everything has a beginning and an end, for instance.
A window has been opened where I can be more real. I no longer need to close my eyes to my imperfections in order to defend myself, and at the same time to pretend I am special. I can be me. There is a new acceptance of the little me. A new wave of health is coming up in my psyche. I am a human being. I am vulnerable. I am finite. And despite all that, I still can be. Life happens. I am myself. I, as a human being granted with awareness, am also a miracle. Things can be fascinating without needing to be anything in particular. I do not need to be special. I can be human, simple, weak, vulnerable, and still worthy.

(Priya Alvarez, Spain)

My whole life style and priorities have changed much in the last year and further since our group. Living a life where each moment I am preparing for my own death is very different from living with the focus on being right, getting a date, making money, avoiding pain, etc. Long story short, I sit quietly for many hours a day with a level of peace I have never known before. I move when I am ready, and before long, look forward to sitting again. I have found a child-like interest in my sitting, a vitality unknown to me in the past.

(Nityanando, USA)

I have done many groups and courses in my life; this was the best ever. I had a sense of waking up, of greater connection with my body, and seeing life as a dream. There was such loving energy throughout, in the workshop, and for me personally a great amount of learning, and golden keys to work on myself in my everyday living.

(Cristina Grassl, Italy)

[Since the workshop] fear of death and dying has given way to a huge curiosity, and excitement and a desire to go and experience this journey; I am present to the fact that I may die at any moment. I can't feel dying as a big problem any more, I see it as a logistical incompletion (wills, power of attorney, decisions etc), and opportunity, another lap of a journey. I feel as if I have died and been reborn into my own daily life; so it has a different feel, there is a slightly different edge to everything, as if I am a stranger in town seeing all that is going on impartially, dispassionately, and I am also here enjoying it all the more, at the same time.

(Gabrielle Paras Richards, UK)

I have done many meditations, workshops and group processes: in them I never felt I could go into tears as easily as laughter. Even during any cathartic session or long 'flushing' sessions I could never touch that emotion in me.
This workshop was unique in that I could connect with my emotions very easily, and that felt like the ultimate luxury. Why this group experience worked, compared with other ways, is because of the element of love in it.
I had thought before the workshop, that I need to 'live my life' before contemplating on death. In fact I can and will contemplate on death in life, in parallel with the enjoyment of life. I feel the seeds of enquiry on life, death and love have been planted inside me. I am going to nurture them for the rest of my life.

(Dr S Nagaraju, India)

[Since the workshop]I have realised how many more challenges I have to face. The comfort and ease of my leaving this life is up to me to a great degree. Some of the discomfort of death, be it known of or sudden, can be dealt with now. Other parts can be worked on from now. But I also have learnt to open my eyes wider to what is my life now...not to analyse it but to live it more consciously...not try to solve the puzzle, as I have struggled with in the past, but just to go with it, moving towards what we all know is inevitable with a smile...embracing it all.

(K. Rudder, UK)

I have to bow down to The Sammasati Project and its facilitators. The workshop brought up so many realizations in me, surprises all the way through, which culminated in the understandings that there is no death and that I am ready to leave at any time. Now I carry all my beloveds in my heart so that I can feel them in every breath of my life, can feel this non-separation, and ‘use’ them as a door to open my love to the whole humanity. I feel a more loving involvement with everything and, at same time, there is no entanglement. There is the freedom and liberation.
Just as you can dilute apple juice and take 70 years to drink it, or you can drink the densest juice in one gulp – the workshop is just like this. When you squeeze your whole life into four days you encounter the juiciness of life itself… and life is wisdom. Did I touch death or life? There is light and love, beauty and joy.
I know that everything is available in this very moment throughout the whole universe. I am so grateful that I am a human being so that I can exercise my own choice, to choose what I want to be.

(Limin Han, UK/China, Statistician/Mathematician)

This is actually a workshop that teaches you not only how to die consciously but also how to live totally and consciously I know that that this experience will affect the way I live from now on inasmuch as I will not postpone anything for the future, but keep the remembrance that life is here now. Thank you, beloved Maneesha and Sudheer, for sharing. It is a gift!
The workshop was a very profound experience, bringing me back to the essential in me, my original face. I am carrying this fragrance and remembrance with me – even more than before, nourished and stronger and deeper in me.

(Sindhu Arora, UK/India, Meditation Facilitator & Healing Therapist)

It's great that you are bringing this work to a wide and diverse audience. I feel very privileged to have been a participant. I can feel that there has been a real shift in me and that I am already living my life differently now.
It is interesting to me how the process is unfolding and how the breakthroughs I made are beginning to ripple through my life in many new and interesting ways. Somehow I was living in fear, lacking the honesty to really ask life what I wanted and the courage to let go of the things that were no longer serving me. I am re-discovering a greater sense of resolve to really 'milk' every moment for all the joy it can bring to myself and others. Thank you for the opportunity to attend this unique experience.

(Andrew Bradford, UK, GP (doctor) & Rehabilitation Physician)

I experienced a lot of intensive, penetrating stuff in the first module of The Sammasati Support-Person Training last month, but it is not just about ‘feeling good’, ‘intensive emotion’ ,’ insight’, ‘bliss’ or a ‘sense of expansion,' etc. Yes, they are so beautiful, but those experiences come and go. The most important thing for me is that, in this workshop, I got the taste of ‘the changeless,’ the witness, the vast sky holding everything, holding this such-ness…. The structure Maneesha and Sudheer facilitate really helps to make meditation and breaking through easier and I feel immensely grateful ….
Death is like a mirror that reflects honestly what really works and what doesn't. The intellectual ideas (especially the ‘spiritual’ stuff) – no matter how beautiful they are, if they are not really experiential, if they are not embodied, won't be much help and can even be harmful. I have seen many people on their death bed, seen the suffering and all kinds of defence mechanisms of avoidance. And yes, I have those mechanisms too. Some of them are so subtle that they really need a lot of awareness and clarity to work through. I am so happy that I have this training to support me. The whole process is so transformative, so organic and so powerful. I feel so alive, so joyful, so full of wonder and enjoying the peace of mind at the same time. And so much more is still cooking.

(Anusha; Taiwan; Doctor)

A truly exquisite experience, beautifully choreographed from beginning to end, to give maximum benefit for living and dying. We were held and cared for so tenderly, allowing us to explore right to our limits and beyond.
The dying process is a time of heightened awareness, which enabled all the exercises and meditations to be highly potent in their transformative capacity. This is a really important workshop for anyone on the spiritual path and highly effective as a tool for transformation. This workshop is as much about living more fully as it is about dying more fully! What a gift.

(Gwen Atwood, UK, Midwife)

This workshop was a profoundly moving and transformative experience, which I feel will help me to live and honour myself more fully, joyfully and gratefully. I feel less fear and loss; and more confidence and courage to make the most of what I have.
Thank you for all your inspiration, care and work in creating such an amazing experience.

(Janine McKerron, UK, Acupuncturist)
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