I have a fear of death.
It is the ultimate unknown. It seems the norm is to act somewhat in denial of our own “impending doom” and to live life, in a way, based on that denial.
But we all know we could die at any moment.
And we all know someone who did pass away at a moment none of us were expecting. Too young. Too soon. Too heartbreaking.
What if life was viewed as a celebration? And what if we lived life more conscious of the reality of our impermanence? What would a life like that look like?
Life would be fuller, juicer & richer if we lived more in the now.
And what would celebrating death look like? Well, I got to find out last week when one of the Sanyasas (in brief, someone who has committed to live their life as one long meditation) at the Osho Meditation Resort left his body.
We danced around his dead body in the meditation hall.
I freaked out.
All classes, cafes and offices were closed so that everyone could celebrate. But I wasn’t sure if I was going to go. Dance around a dead body? That’s insane! I thought.
I was in my room – shaking, heart racing & mildly terrified. That’s when I realized I have a fear of death. A few long minutes & a few tears later I heard my wiser voice whisper:
“Fear no longer makes my decisions.”
“But really, even when it comes to a death dance in India?” the scared part of me wanted to reply.
I am fully committed to not letting fear rule my life anymore.
So I grabbed my silence button, dried my tears & headed out to the meditation hall for the death celebration. And as the Universe would have it I got there at the exact time as they were carrying the body in. Lucky me.
Still transforming my fear into courage I decided to confront my unease & kept my eyes on the body. I must be insane. His head rolled over & was now 5 feet away & facing me as they carried him up the stairs. OMG. (Insert many deep breaths…)
Full on facing my fears. This always seems to happen, the Universe supporting my growth in the oddest ways. I looked up and thought;
“God you have a wild sense of humor!”
But why is death so scary in the first place? It’s normal to die. It’s inevitable. And none of this has anything to do with me. I never even met him.
“Everybody is afraid of death for the simple reason that we have not tasted of life yet. The man who knows what life is, is never afraid of death; he welcomes death. Whenever death comes he hugs death, he embraces death, he receives death as a guest. To the man who has not known what life is, death is an enemy; and to the man who knows what life is, death is the ultimate crescendo of life.” ~ Osho
A few minutes later the body was in the center of the meditation hall. The band was playing, drums were beat & meditators were dancing.
I was on a roller coaster of emotions; fear to courage to joy to feeling God. An indescribable energetic gust of sweetness & sacredness swirled around the meditation hall. We were celebrating death. Honoring his life. Sending him off with our positive energy.
What a blessing.
After ten minutes of dancing the body was carried out of the meditation hall and we all met a few blocks down the street at the outdoor crematorium. The dancing continued as the body burned.
My fear of death is certainly not gone. But what I know for sure about fear is that:
Each time I face fear – its grip on me relaxes.
Leaving me, of course, more able to celebrate life.