What’s Happened With My “Death” Meditation
Since November 5, I have been waking up each morning and for one hour, doing a guided meditation on death.
I wasn’t sure what to expect.
I can tell you this: I did not expect it to be relaxing and beautiful.
I expected to face some real fears.
This journey has been full of unexpected surprises: I’ve found unimaginable beauty in my mind, I’ve watched myself “die” and while I can’t say it’s been groundbreaking and utterly life changing (those sorts of experiences are rare, I think), it’s definitely put me on a path to even more gratitude and life-evaluation.
While I still have a good week and a half to go of listening to this guided meditation, I felt that it would be appropriate to use this post to let you know of my progress now that we’re almost at the end of the month. Next week, I’ll begin the December version of the LIFE Project.
As I’ve reflected over this past month, I didn’t want to just “tell you” about my experiences. That can only go so far.
I thought I’d relate this undertaking in story form. As I would wake up and do this meditation each day, it was much like going on an adventure.
Obviously, I won’t be able to relate every detail – the meditation itself is an hour long.
Experiences Within This Meditation
Before going into details of my morning adventures, I thought I’d relate some of the challenges and interesting findings I’ve witnessed.
Waking up only to go into my meditation space and assume “corpse pose” meant lying back down and potentially not staying awake for the entire hour. While I may have not always stayed in a waking state, I do know that I would get fairly deep into this meditation practice quite frequently.
In addition, that familiar feeling of not quite getting into as deep meditation as I’d like while listening to music/guided meditation was palpable. As with my binaural beats experiment, I love the idea of doing this for a short amount of time, but then it makes me welcome my regular meditation sessions sans music, noise or technology.
Death Meditation: Not As Scary As You’d Think
Death meditation is not nearly as frightening as it sounds. For the first couple of days, I will say that it did seem a little bizarre to be imagining myself looking at my corpse. It’s just not something we do as a regular part of Western society.
After getting through that part though, I came to really look forward to the journey. It was almost as if I couldn’t wait to get past watching myself as I died to experience the glorious existence that awaited me after the fact.
Can I also say that it’s a bit surreal to be talking about how I died and couldn’t wait for the adventure?
The story that follows may be graphic – too graphic – for those sensitive souls among us. Please proceed with caution if this topic makes you uncomfortable.
In any case, let me tell you the story of my death (as it parallels the guided meditation)….
I Died on the Blue Ridge Parkway
On the last day of my life, I didn’t feel too sickly or weak. I drove up to my favorite trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
I walked until I came to a clearing. This clearing was not too big: large enough to soak up the sunshine, but small enough to lay down and have a little room for wiggling my body. To my right was a large rock with an old pine growing on top of it. To my left were more pine trees that enclosed me and sheltered me as I lay down.
With the sun on my face, I closed my eyes. Slowly I felt my life force leaving my body. I felt my breathing get more shallow until I took one more heaving breath and ceased to exist – at least physically.
My spirit emerged from my body at that moment. My consciousness and soul looked back at my still-warm figure and hovered over it.
For days, months, maybe a year, my spirit drifted over my corpse as it passed through the various stages of decomposition. I watched as my body became rigid, my skin mottled and marbled, and critters came to pick apart my flesh.
At first, I wanted to stop all this from occurring. But I realized that I could no longer feel anything that was happening to my physical body, so what did it matter?
As time passed by, I could only see my skull, a few broken vertebrae, parts of my ribcage and pelvic bones. But after the cold snaps of winter nights, my brittle frame finally disintegrated into the earth with one final storm.
All physical evidence of my body was gone. While I momentarily mourned this loss because I still felt attached to the physical likeness that was once me, I realized now that I was completely free.
I rose above the forested lands effortlessly. I saw the trees and rocks from an aerial point of view and began to glide across the terrain. Soon I passed over the jeweled ocean and over Africa. I turned north and crossed another sea and headed to eastern Europe. I passed over the north pole and came down near the international date line and hovered over Australia and New Zealand for a time. I headed back toward North America and came back down through South America.
I whispered blessings to friends and family as I passed these places. Upon leaving the tip of South America, I set my sights toward the sky. I sailed toward the sun so I could witness its bright solar flares and touched its surface. I had no feeling – at least not where I had a physical presence that would be harmed by the light or the heat. I dove into the orange-yellow star only to emerge on the other side feeling empowered to go deeper into the Milky Way.
Time was relative. I wasn’t sure if it took seconds or eons, but I reached the center of the galaxy. Like a kickball, I bounced effortlessly out of center the Milky Way and flew until I spotted the Andromeda Galaxy. I sailed closer toward it. I realized then that I could see an infinitude of galaxies in every direction.
As I took in the sights, I became aware of how everything seemed connected. This connection was the life force that had been in my physical body. It existed everywhere in the universe.
Every galaxy and star system, every planet, every organism on those distant orbs was part of this energy system. I could see pink skies and orange mountains, red oceans and purple trees. I could see humanoid creatures on different planets, living in different cultures, existing next to exotic trees, and complex rock formations.
It all had a life force.
I could see it all distinctly and yet all at once.
This was when I understood that this energy was also a form of consciousness. I felt present to every living thing, from single celled organisms to creatures great and small. I felt the mist of clouds, sparkling star dust, and the vibration of everything around me.
In fact, there was a constant humming sound that I could hear. It felt like it came from the center of the universe. A ubiquitous “Ommmm” sound that at once allowed me to see ancient earth people who operated more out of instinct than logic, but who understood that consciousness was sacred.
I understood that I was connected to everything. Connected to Source. I could simultaneously feel incredible power, infinite light. I had total creative authority – that what I thought would magically come into existence. I could see never-ending green balanced forests, nations on endless planets existing in peace, animals communicating with different life forms through touch, sound, taste, and feeling.
As I reveled in this vast, boundless existence, I knew that my death was only the beginning of a new plane of existence.
Eventually, I thought back to my “spirit body” and pulled away from the collective existence of Everything. I headed back toward the Milky Way, toward Earth and contemplated why I chose to exist when I did – at that moment in the time continuum, at that moment in history (or herstory or ourstory).
All the while, I felt an intoxicating, overpowering and yet welcome sense of love: love for life (my life, all lives, lives near and far), flowers, light, people, animals, trees, even my former enemies, creepy crawlies and love of the connectedness to Oneness.
I am all these things and I am none of them. I exist in infinity and once existed physically. I can tap into Source and to its incredible power to experience different lives and different moments – at any given time.
That is the story of my death: one that I have relived each day since November 5. This whole meditative experience has changed my perception of death and the possibilities of what can happen in its wake.
I am fascinated (while still wanting to live out my life fully and presently).