Sunday, 15 January 2012

Lessons from death: some observations & a short fable

Let this blog find you exploring, searching & fulfilling the purpose of your life!!

Here is my favourite line from ILLUSIONS, by Richard Bach:

“Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you're alive, it isn't.”

I remember 26 November 2008, where Tajmahal Hotel in Mumbai & some other places came under attack and lot of people were glued to the TV telecast. A friend of mine was staying in Oberoi Hotel for last few months as part of his India assignment & checked out the same morning. Another friend specially came from Singapore that evening and was trapped in the event. I am sure it was a life changing incident for everyone involved in the incident directly or indirectly.

That night I got many phone calls & sms from near & dear ones, especially those staying out of Mumbai. “Please confirm your well being”.  This reminded me that when our time is up, no one can stop us from going. Till then, no one can force us to leave this earth.

Last 3 months I attended two funerals. One was of a friend who was only 35 years old and was suddenly found ill & in next 6 days simply left the earth. Luckily I got a chance to meet him in this short time & we completed our circles with each other.

I learnt one crucial lesson: Our time here is limited & uncertain. So it’s better spent following my heart, instead of living someone else’s life & ideals. Also may be the time of others near & dear ones is also limited & unknown. So it is better to complete our circles with them ongoingly: acknowledging, apologizing, forgiving, resolving old misunderstandings etc.

Why is it that when someone near & dear departs from the earth, people cry & experience loss? I think the real loss is that for a long time, we wanted to do something for that person, say something to him/her or spend some time. Now that opportunity is forever gone and that leaves us incomplete.

One exercise we give to participants in our workshops is as follows:
“visualize a picture of a dear one who has departed this earth. Say the following to that image:
  • I thank you for _______.
  • (say all that you wanted to say when that person was alive & you did not)
  • I love you
  • I RELEASE YOU FROM MY ORBIT and wish you all the best for your next journey
  • So it is NOW”
In Hindu tradition “Shradh” ceremony was probably designed to release the departed soul for the next journey. When suggesting this exercise we came across many people who were still very attached to the departed soul of their dear ones (especially parents) and refuse to say “I release you from my orbit”. This statement simply allows the departed soul to proceed on its next journey while still being available to guide us when we really need it. It keeps them & us free to fly to the next destination.

Here is one of my favourite fables: narrated by Somerset Maugham
There was a merchant in Bagdad who sent his servant to market to buy provisions and in a little while the servant came back, white and trembling, and said, "Master, just now when I was in the marketplace I was jostled by a woman in the crowd and when I turned I saw it was Death that jostled me. She looked at me and made a threatening gesture, now, lend me your horse, and I will ride away from this city and avoid my fate. I will go to Samarra and there Death will not find me.

The merchant lent him his horse, and the servant mounted it, and he dug his spurs in its flanks and as fast as the horse could gallop he went. Then the merchant went down to the marketplace and he saw Death standing in the crowd. He went to Death and said, "Why did you make a threatening gesture to my servant when you saw him this morning?"

"That was not a threatening gesture,” Death said, “it was only a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him in Bagdad, for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra."
Think about the people in your life who have truly grown you & made you the person you are today: parents? Mentors? Friends? Colleagues? Bosses? This can be a long list. Maybe the time has come to complete each circle one by one…

Warm regards

Rohan Singal 

Link to our workshops

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