Friday, February 24, 2017

Spiders are Not Your Biggest Fear

Exactly two years ago, my sister gave birth to twins in the middle of the night. They arrived a couple of weeks early. When I got to the ICU ward in the hospital, my sister’s vital signs were high and she asked me to lead a meditation to help her calm down. I stood in corner of the tiny space, partitioned by a curtain, and gave my brother-in-law the only chair while my sister lay in bed. Five minutes into the meditation, I suggested rising above the hospital and imagining looking down to give all the souls in the hospital  who are suffering the light of peace. That’s the last thing I remember standing. The next scene was a lot of doctors surrounding me, checking to see if my neck was broken. I was put on a stretcher and the cut eyelid was stitched up in the emergency room. I had a broken sternum, which the doctor could not much about expect recommending rest till it healed. Apparently I fainted and fell upright, like a tree chopped from the bottom, with the chest landing on the floor and my head on the bottom of the IV stand. My brother-in-law, bless his heart, was now running between the newborns in the nursery, the ICU and the emergency room.

You might be feeling pain reading this. But I had a strange epiphany. I felt nothing, no pain of landing unbraced, the broken chest, the cut eyelid or the agony of my brother-in-law tending to four people in the hospital.

I had never passed out before. And, it was the closest I had come to experience what passing might feel like. A couple of years later, when sharing this experience with a group of men, we came to an agreement that this may one of the best ways to leave the body. Once consciousness passes the rest does not matter.

The biggest fear we humans have, whether one acknowledges it or not, is the fear of dying. It is an unconscious fear for most of us as we go through life. Because dying is letting go of every form of identity and security we know.

During my annual retreat in Mt Abu a 
couple of months ago, I had a profound conversation with a wise elder on a bus. He asked me to meditate on a few questions:

  • Would I be OK if this is my last moment?
  • Someone may cause hurt and you blame them for how you feel right now. But do you realize to carry the hurt forward to the next day is your choice?
  • Soul carries a body of light which determines its features and future in the afterlife. What does your body of light consist of right now?
  • In your daily meditation, are you letting go of all the baggage including the body without regrets?

I have been pondering on these ideas since that bus ride. I came to realize that meditation is like a death, practiced everyday in a comfort of your space, at-will.

One who has mastered death:
  • Has no desire for accumulating
  • Can be still in front of a bear (recall, the Revenant is left for dead by the bear)
  • Will be calm and allow your body to float when the boat capsizes
  • Will allow self to the doctor before a surgery
  • Is calm and patient in chaos

Try this in your next meditation and let me know how it goes. 


Unknown said...

In this perspective, everything makes sense. It portraits our true reality. Calm, peaceful and content. Thank for reminding me all that!

Jay said...

Thanks. Glad it resonated!

Minal said...

Thank you for sharing, makes a lot of sense the identities we carry!

Jay Chodagam said...

Appreciate it, Minal