Photo Credit: ArtofLiving

Life & Death in One Breath

Girish Borkar

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The greatest calamity of the human mind is that it is against death because the moment we reject death, we also reject life. Every moment of living here, we can either refer to this process that we are going through as life, or we can refer to it as death. Death is not something that is going to happen to us. Death is not in the future. The moment we are born, one half of death has occurred. Our inhalation is life, our exhalation is death. When a child is born, the first thing the child does is one gasp of an inhalation. And if we look at our life, the last thing we will do is an exhalation.

It is strange we celebrate the day we are born as birthdays instead of death days, because with each passing year we are approaching death. In fact, we live with each inhalation and die with each exhalation — if we do not inhale after the exhalation, it is the end of the story, chapter closed!

Between life and death — life needs a certain tension; otherwise, we cannot keep it going. Death is utter relaxation. Right now, we can experiment and see, if we take one big exhalation and one big inhalation and see how our body and our mind is, we will find the exhalation to be more relaxing. In fact, whenever we get tense, when things build up too much in us, the natural mechanism in the body wants to exhale. This is what we call as a sigh. It relaxes we a little bit. If in the very process of life, we know the relaxation of death, then life is an utterly effortless process.

This is how it would have naturally been if human beings’ minds had not banished death as evil. If traditions and cultures had not taught us that death is evil — that it should be avoided — we would breathe in a completely different way. If we observe, for almost 99% of people, because their mind has rejected death, they will inhale, but exhalation does not happen totally. This is one of the reasons why, over a period of time, we build up so much tension within the system that mentally and physiologically, it reaches a point of snapping.

The best way to practice this knowing of death is through yoga nidra or death meditation as Osho says. Lie down your back on the ground, shut your eyes, keep your legs and hands loose at the side. Take your chitta to the sahastrar chakra and tweak the fingers of your feet and then lie still, sense that your feet, knees, thighs, stomach, back, chest, neck face are becoming numb and cold. Feel the energy concentrate on the crown of the head. We sense that we are in the Himalayas, feel that energy.

We stop hearing the sounds which are happening around us as we find ourselves in the divine Himalayan, energy-filled environment. Suddenly, we sense that we are non-existence and only energy is present. Nothing else.

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Girish Borkar

Spirituality ... meditation ... insights ... inner peace ... the journey continues... love and gratitude