When my father died, he did so without much struggle. It was clearly time for letting go. For some hours I was breathing with him, then the breathing just stopped, leaving space and peace.
I will live a little longer and then die as well. How can I prepare for letting go the same way at the time of death? And how can I give space to the grief, the anger, and the relief which arises after a loved one’s death?
Sky gazing is one good method. It helps me to enjoy life and prepare for death, by connecting me with the vastness of my being. It might help you, too. All religious traditions have practitioners who experience this subtle level of mind. They might call it God, Brahma, Allah. It has many names. In the Tibetan Buddhist Tradition, it is called the Clear-Light Mind or Buddha Nature.
If you are like most folks, you fear death and struggle with life. These challenges arise because you identify with the body and the thoughts you have, with the things you possess and the relationships you live in. If you would identify with the stream of stillness instead, you would not cling to this life, this body, this house, this lover. You would enjoy it all the more by embracing what is, letting go in each moment. And, thus, also at the time of death.
The stream of stillness
If you find yourself preoccupied and stressed by the content of your mind, the ongoing inner dialogs, the never-ending stream of mental pictures and the bodily tensions, then you know how it feels to lose contact with the vastness of your own Being. But you also have moments of Awakening. Maybe you are not aware. But they are there; the moments where you don’t identify with the content of your mind. Where you are in the stream of stillness. It is always there, like the sky. You just have to learn to recognize and create the right conditions for resting in it.
Relax into the sky
During a retreat in Spain, I used the Tibetan practice of Sky Gazing to connect with the inner space. We looked toward the holy mountain of Montserrat and scanned the horizon, searching for places to rest and we lay down in the Catalan landscape and looked up into the blue, often cloudless sky. We all found relief in connecting with the stream of stillness. Sometimes instantly, sometimes slowly, for a shorter or longer time. Witnessing the vastness of our own Being. “We have to do this more often,” we said to each other. And so we do. You will find it in my meditation courses.
Softening the heart
My work is an entrance into the mystic experience, which is very close and always accessible to all of us. I can’t promise instant enlightenment. You still have to face the laundry, the messy feelings and the difficult talks with lovers, bosses, daughters, and sons. And your father will die. Just like mine. But your heart will be softer. That makes it all easier when it comes to letting go.
Take a break, look up into the sky and relax – into the spaciousness of your own being.