A Sufi Approach to Death
People of all ages are attracted to this process which uses the focus of preparing for death as a way of becoming more open to life. We asked Komala what this course is about, and how it supports daily life. (O.T, February 2008, www.osho.com/copyrights)
OT: How is it that such a young vibrant person like you is working with death?
Komala: By going deeply into my aliveness – when I am connected with my body and can enjoy dancing, singing, moving – I reach places of relaxation inside. When I feel alive and present in my body I have more resources to deal with the challenges of life.
When life stops being a problem and starts being an opportunity for experiencing and learning and I can enjoy the journey, the mystery of life starts unfolding. Suddenly I go behind appearances: I’m alive, I love life. Then what more is there, what is beyond it? It becomes an adventure. When I go deeper into the experience of being in the body with a friendly approach, it shows something to me which is beyond death. Another kind of experience reveals itself: “I’m not the body.” I’m something much more expansive that is not contained in this body. It’s very paradoxical. That’s just how it is.
OT: The Sufi approach can be very energetic, with a lot of sounds and movements. Does this lead to this experience that you’re talking about?
Komala: We ask ourselves, “When I am on my way to the final let-go when I am going to die, what is there still that I haven’t lived? What is still holding me from the past? When I’m here right now, and I’m going to die, what makes me feel that I’m not ready? It can be some resentment, some story from the past still holding on to me: “I am carrying something with me. At this moment I cannot totally let go because it is still there.” It could be a story with somebody, like a relationship that has finished in an unloving way, and there is still resentment. At some level, these “past stories are still active in the body-mind system. We don’t try to clean the past. If there is something, we invite it to come up and show itself. In the course, we have 50 hours to live and to prepare for dying. So we say “Okay. We don’t have time to solve these problems. I cannot solve any situation with someone right now. But I can find a place – this place which we are creating in the heart – to embrace this situation in my individual journey.” And it really happens magically – old stories from the past are finally integrated and completed.
It might be that someone just needs to take the time to feel the pain of that inability to let go of something, or even to reveal again if there is something which makes them feel angry. We also use specific exercises to go into those emotions and to make friends with them. The way to surpass the emotions is to celebrate them, to honor them. So we do lots of singing. When we want to meet the energy of anger – which is a human quality – we sing it, we go into it, we celebrate it. We go into the pain, we feel it, we connect its vibration through sounds. When we connect the original vibration of an experience we can reconnect and find new ways to relate to it.
OT: What do you do with the fear? That’s often the biggest issue people have in relation to death.
Komala: Fear is an energy that moves in a certain way. The way I work with it is to bring more awareness into it. My own experience is that fear is an energy which is held in the body – I feel it in my belly or in the spine or kidneys – and when I open and allow it to be I may tremble a lot. Then the energy moves through the body and we can experience it as life energy that becomes available. An amazing amount of energy can start flowing. It’s the same with pain, anger, and fear. I also understand that before moving into strong emotions it is important to connect first with resources, to be able to hold such energies. That is how the meditations and the group process are a great support: we practice awareness, self-love and the strength to be able to meet the energies of life.
It’s very beautiful to be meeting everything in existence as energy. When I’m expanding my consciousness I’m just pure energy. And when I’m energy I can meet and be one with everything. Because I am free I can fly in the sky with the birds. I can go into the ocean, I can be the water. I can be the energy of the fish, I can be people …. As energy, we can be everything. Then we can have the experience of oneness. We are not confined to one body. We are this experience.
OT: How does this work support you in your daily life?
Komala: I am doing this work to learn to live my life. Three years ago I was in full surrender in a relationship. I felt that man was my soul mate, my life. We had a very strong connection, very beautiful; we had some difficult times but I had the feeling I would be with this man forever. Then he was away for a week and when he came back from his trip he said that he met someone else. Though it was not easy for him to leave me, after five days he left. Suddenly my life made no sense and I was in deep pain.
I was so grateful for this work with death because I could intensely live everything that I have been talking about in this course – going totally into my feelings. I would cry or feel resentment, and it really happened that going deeply into the feelings that came up kept my heart open. The energy was such that if I closed my heart to him I would close my heart to life, and to me.
The gift of it comes from the meditations I’ve been practicing, from the work with death, and my personal experiences. I could put it all into practice. This happens when I totally let go into the moment and honor the reality I am living.
I can really see that letting go takes practice. This is constantly happening in my life because I am traveling a lot. I may stay in one place for a week and then I move on and stay three weeks in a different place. Wherever I go, I fall in love with the situation – new people become friends. I get involved with the place; I get involved with the work that is happening there. And when it comes time to leave, it feels like death. I may not come back to that place again – So it’s a total goodbye.
I see that the more love I have for a place the easier it is to let go because everything is complete: “I can go now”. And This is very much a result of this work, of these practices. A transformation happens and an understanding on all levels. The body-mind is able to adapt to new situations and to support change.
When I’m driving my scooter or a car, and it comes some challenging situation on the road, I have the tendency to hold the breath. That is a mechanism of protection, to keep me alert. Once the challenge have passed the holding is not necessary anymore. I can let the body relax and expand with a deep sigh of letting go and I can keep on driving and enjoying the way. This is a remembrance to let go of tensions, let go of holdings, and allow relaxation to happen. It is a practice to die and is also a practice to live life fully.