I consciously stopped looking at obituaries (page, photos et al) when my mother passed away 13 years back.
The word ‘death’ is unnerving. It is scary and stressful. Every time I hear the word, visions of a hitherto living one lying lifeless along with sombre, teary-eyed faces fill my senses.
We cannot escape the inherent sadness or the associated grief. But death can be interpreted in other ways to reduce its weight. To make us feel lighter. Feel a sense of progress. We can achieve this by associating ‘death’ with aspects of our changed lives, our enhanced ideals, our tempered resentments, our harmonious functioning with others, and our transformed to goodness personas.
Let us explore.
Have you been in a relationship that felt like your life was being snuffed out, slowly but surely? When pain became unbearable, your head filled with screams, and a big thought persisted – ‘I want out’. I experienced this pain after working for several years in an organisation. I quit and a part of me died with grace. It was fulfilling until bad times rolled in. I pulled the plug to preserve my mental well-being. I said goodbye to the toxic environment and said hello to a happier and healthier me.
Death also happens when we kill bad habits or behaviour patterns. A chronic drunkard who goes into rehabilitation to give up alcohol for good has embarked on a new life. As did Ratnakar the robber. When he was transformed to Sage Valmiki by Narada who inspired him to meditate on Shri Ram.
Karma and good samskaras play a role too. With the passage of time, age, or conscious thought, our personality changes. For me, parenting, leadership, and spirituality changed my mindset. I emote, listen and communicate better than before. My grudges, levels of compassion, and ways of living exist on a different, elevated plane. My self has died many times and evolved in one lifetime, which I cherish. I am open to dying more.
Are there similar instances in your life associated with ‘dying’ that epitomises a new life? What feelings do they evoke?