My maternal grandmother passed away a couple days ago. I had written about her in a previous blog.
I got a phone call from my mom at 5:18 AM on Friday shortly before dawn. Normally, I would have been asleep, but I happened to be awake due to having worked a late shift that night. I immediately drove to my grandmother's house, where my mom had been taking care of her ever since she suffered a stroke several years ago that rendered her unable to speak or even swallow.
I went to the bedroom where her body lay, and I sat for a while. Though her body was lifeless and not moving, there was nevertheless a pulsing energy around her figure. It was like her aura was still breathing, though her lungs were not. Odd as it may sound, her presence seemed more alive than I had perceived in quite some time, but again, that aliveness was showing in a subtle way, less concrete and not as obvious as the physical frame.
My mom walked into the room, and I said: "It seems like she's still here." My mom immediately replied: "She always will be." I silently nodded in affirmation.
To some extent, it might seem like life is playing a cruel joke on us with the inevitable expiration of this fleshy bag of bones, blood, and tissue that we inhabit for a lifespan. But I'm more inclined to resonate with Walt Whitman's observation on the matter, in which he proclaimed: "The smallest sprout shows there is really no death, and if ever there was, it led forward life, and does not wait at the end to arrest it, and ceased the moment life appeared. All goes onward and outward; nothing collapses. And to die is different from what anyone supposed, and luckier."
Furthermore, I think what is most often disconcerting is not death itself, but the circumstances surrounding death. HOW we die is very important. In the scope of humanity, we've witnessed countless deaths from violence, or disease, or the kind of slow, disfiguring decline that my grandmother experienced. In fact, one of my uncles said, in reference to my grandmother's poor condition: "Don't dare let me die that way."
The good news is that as our consciousness evolves on the Earth plane, I believe we will begin to see more yogic dying. The more we are saturated in pure bliss consciousness, the smoother the transition will be. Fortunately, we have accounts of masters that have left their bodies in great style—even "kicking the frame" while in a seated, meditative posture (see Chapter 27 in Autobiography of a Yogi).
More importantly, as Yogani writes:
"So, if there is a secret dying technique, it is to cultivate human spiritual transformation as far in advance as possible, and gradually open to the subject of death when it arises. If we become abiding inner silence, ecstatic bliss, and outpouring divine love, the rest will take care of itself. It is always we who choose, now and later. Now is obviously paramount, because later does not exist, except as a result of now—a future now. This is why each day we engage in practices like deep meditation, spinal breathing pranayama, etc. It boils down to what we are doing about our spiritual condition today and every day, right up to the end of our life. "Graceful and conscious" is as useful in life as it is at death. It is the same thing."
My paternal grandmother, who is still alive, told me yesterday that I will probably experience a reemergence of memories of my grandmother as time passes. She said that the good memories will become more lucid, and more present. I look forward to that resurrection, and I eagerly await the coming and going of meaningful scenery, in stillness. When my mind is receptive and ready, I will most likely write a blog paying more homage to Granny's priceless contributions to my life, which are worth more than any dollar could ever account for.
In fact, even now, I recall being a young teenager and fumbling through her literature collection and finding a book on yoga. I wasn't ready then, but the seeds planted long ago often pay off when given enough time to germinate. Nothing is wasted.
In Memoriam...Mary Ruth Ellis (1927-2016)