For a long time, I have been scared of death. The death of a loved one, myself, even the death of a dream. It should be said, besides my Grandfather and a few pets, I have yet to experience deep loss like that of a parent or close friend. I count my blessings for that daily and because I haven’t experienced that type of suffering I cannot fully understand it. I have feelings of fear for what might happen once I do and in addition to not knowing that type of pain, I have also been taught not to think about it. Death in American culture is very hush-hush. We think positively, we don’t talk of death freely unless at a funeral and even in that setting we are somber, we mumble a few “I’m so sorry” statements and we leave.
I’ve found that even in nature we skip over death. In the Chinese culture, fall is a time to mourn death, the death of a season, the loss of the long summer sunlight, the death of certain rituals and routines. You honor past cycles to make room for future rebirth (after winter’s rest). In Western culture we are hyper focused on prosperity and are always looking toward the next success. In fall we celebrate the leaves changing colors but we don’t take time to reflect on the life cycle that the natural world around us is going through.
If we take time to honor death in nature, we are one step closer to accepting death not as something to fear but as a natural part of life’s cycle.
Honoring the Cycle
Our meditation practice offers an excellent outlet to honor the season’s change and the metaphor that fall represents; a time of inner reflection and respect for all that has finished its cycle.
Sit in a comfortable seated position. Picture yourself underneath a beautiful tree. The sun hits your face and warms your body. The tree’s leaves are filled with gorgeous colors of yellow and orange and red and you start to notice the leaves peacefully falling off the tree. As the tree becomes bare you bow your head in recognition for the beauty that was the tree and the natural process it has completed.
Next, still with a smile on your face and the image of you now under the bare tree surrounded by its fallen leaves, think of a cycle you have recently finished. Maybe it’s a relationship that has ended, a habit you have broken or are starting to break, a story that has come to an end. Hold that situation in your heart. Thank it for what it has taught you, honor it and let it pass.
You have now created room for the next situation to grow.