The family have gathered and are speaking in hushed tones. The women have bought casseroles, home made biscuits and are dressed in somber colours, the men gathered in small groups. A loved one is dying. A sense of hopelessness and futility, what can we do to ease the passing? How can we help those who will live on? How do we throw them a life line as they flounder.We follow in the footsteps of those who have gone before and found solutions.
Practice the presence of peace. The more you do that, the more you will feel the presence of that Power in your life.
Paramahansa Yogananda. author of Autobiography of a Yogi http://www.yogananda-srf.org
Perhaps you are the carer and watch the process with a sense of unreality and pain. Know that as you calm your breathing you calm the atmosphere around you, helping your loved one, Like perfume,meditation infuses the wearer, the immediate atmosphere and all who pass by.
The body deteriorates and the mind and spirit often remain strong. With the stilling or inactivity of body, mind becomes restless, searching the past for regrets and reasons, old wounds often surface to wake as nightmares. Pain is real in body and mind.
While we have breath we are able to know the healing balm of stillness, the doorway to meditation.Below I have broken down the steps.
Meditation for the end of a life or for the process of grieving.
Step 1 . Preparing for the journey.
Creating the environment, a place of calm.
Even the time of day, can make the process more pleasant and therefor easier.
Early morning and in the evening ,dusk. Times of day when the world is quieter.The tyranny of thought has not fully intruded early in the morning.
Step 2 Relaxation
This is truly the key, learn the art and joy of a relaxed body. You may wish to purchase my Turquoise C.D. created to calm the body mind. I recorded this when my Mother got bowel cancer ,( she will celebrate her 90th Birthday February next.)
And on the request of my students who often asked could they take my “voice “home with them.
Step 3 Pranayama Breathing for a still mind.
The focus of the mind is now on breath, deepening it . Slowing breath.
Saying quietly in your mind “This breath is slower, this very next breath is slower.” As you do this the mind will slow, observe this, noticing if thoughts or feelings rise to distract. Then go back to breath. Don’t worry if the mind flows back to a worry or concern, guide it back to breath.Mind needs an anchor- it is breath.
Step 4. Mindful To no mind.
The process of breath deepens, slows and grace enters, we become the stillness we seek to be. A wellspring of silence is contacted within. When the chatter of thought ceases we experience Peace. Now the essence of stillness. Body and mind still.
Tips and tricks.
Remember practice for a few minutes until you form the habit.
When we lie down the mind often thinks “Oh good I have your attention now” and up come the painful memories. Remove all clutter from the bedroom,
Set the scene for sleep. Low soft lighting, lamps maybe candle light ( See previous Blog for Candle Gazing Technique.)
Herbal tea sometimes helps, drink that before sleeping. ( no coffee or tea as the tannins and caffine in both are stimulants.) When mum cannot sleep, she takes the advice given her in hospital, to drink a cup of warm milk or herbal tea, this takes the focus from the mind, by warming the stomach and the body is then busy with digestion.
Remove all clutter including Televisions and all electronic devises, these are not conducive to healing sleep.
Limit any visitors and surround your self only with positive people.
For those who grieve Kahil Gibran reminds us
“Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
and the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was often filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven.”
“The prophet” by Kahlil Gibran.