We looked into subcategories of anger such as impatience, aversion, and worry. And then a student at the retreat (who happened to be a medical doctor) asked a question whose answer became transformative for me. He said, “Khenpo, what about sadness? It's natural to feel sad, for example, when someone dies.” Khenpo thoughtfully said, “If you go out of the room and I can’t see you anymore, I still want the same things for you. I want you to be free from suffering, and I want you to have peace and happiness”. Khenpo made the point that when we leave the body, we continue.
Most spiritual traditions believe that when we die there is an afterlife. We think of the soul, spirit, or consciousness continuing along the journey. Khenpo explained that what is continuing is our thinking. He explained that just as it is helpful to skillfully assist someone in being born into this world, as nurses, doctors and midwives do, it is extremely beneficial to assist someone who is making the transition called death. It is helpful to speak lovingly to the person in transition and let them know that they are just changing, that what they are experiencing is natural, and that everything is ok. It is also helpful to know that we can assist someone we love after they have died. Khenpo has said that after someone departs, if we think about him or her every time we do something that is kind or loving, the energy of our intention supports our loved one along his or her journey. Regarding the suffering we experience at the prospect of being separated from someone we love, Khenpo reminds us, “You cannot really leave someone behind. If there is love, you will definitely see them again.”
While we have this precious human life, we can spend our time lovingly helping each other, not just as we are entering or departing, but all along the way.
Pati Kearns teaches Yoga and meditation at Dance Etc. Call 279-9523 for more information.
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