Humbled

A few years ago I undertook a conscious journey, one of trying out something new, out of the norm.  It was my way of breaking away from my complacent self.  It gave me a push, a reason to strive for something beyond who I was.  Such a journey began for me with meditation.  I have, what one can perfectly define as the “Monkey brain” – I know how to effortlessly jump from one topic to another in my head with no external input.  My brain would concoct scenarios that didn’t exist, but could potentially exist.  I have even been called a hypochondriac! Much to my own dismay, I have lived up to that reputation several times.  However, when I undertook that journey of commitment to silence, I started out with “Oh Gosh,  What a failure I am?  My body hurts. I need to stretch.  Did I pay that bill? What is that annoying noise I am hearing? This isn’t meant for me.”  You could name a lot more and I fit every single of those categories. 

However, I stayed committed to it.  I insisted on going to conferences and I connected with people from far and wide.   I noticed a change in me.  I went from being unable to sit for 5 mins at a stretch, to being lost in that world of nothing for an hour and a half.  Needless to say, my outer world began reflecting my inner stability.  The more I persevered, the less resistance I felt and the more peace I experienced.  I have been living more and more in the present moment for a short while now.  My emotional energy levels have been skyrocketing and I have been doing things I am not known to do.   Every focussed effort hasn’t been just about my own upliftment, but a contribution to greater communal good.

About a year and a half ago, In Seattle, at one meditation conference, I happened to meet a stranger, who seemed to connect with me at a core level.   His simplicity, his modesty, his honesty and simply his being who he was, truly amazed me.  We became very good friends.  Every single conversation of our revolved around our spiritual growth.  We lived in two different cities and met only once, since our first meeting in Seattle.  Our telephone conversations revolved around how to reach deeper levels of meditations and what worked and what didn’t.  While on the one hand I was so grounded, on the other hand, a part of me craved very different experience in life – ones that I don’t often get to experience. I craved experiences that I haven’t had before and of course, I started manifesting them.  I am the living proof of the biblical saying, “Ask and it shall be granted”. 

Three and half months ago he called me to say how his abdominal pain was diagnosed with advanced stage pancreatic cancer that has spread to lungs and liver.  I was overcome by shock but for some bizarre reason not sadness.  Over the weeks, I learned that the prognosis wasn’t good.  And I decided to do something I have never done before  – to visit a dying friend – not to tell him all will be good, but to tell him to give up on his disease-ridden body and move into another realm.  It was the first time that I was facing the death of someone I deeply care about, without an emotion of pain or angst or questions for the divine and its choice to inflict this upon my friend.  It was a total surrender moment.  As I walked into the hospice, I had no clue if he was still dead or alive.  And the nurses told me, “Oh, you are the one he has been waiting for. He is ready for you. He woke up and freshened up knowing you are coming.”

When I met him, words flowed.  I had no clue I was capable of speaking with such calmness.  I told him how his body wasn’t capable of handling his beautiful energy and hence his soul wishes to find another home.  I sat by his bedside, holding his hand with a smile on my face.  My smile truly reflected my inner peace with what was happening to him and me.  To my own surprise, I had no angst, no sadness, no fear. On the other hand, I was humbled by the experience.  When I asked him what he wanted most, he said, “I want to see the light” and without a thought, I responded, “You ARE the light, Tim”.  He smiled and managed to whisper, “That was really profound. Thank you” and retreated into his world of oblivion.

Now in real life, I would celebrate a friend moving from one home to another. I would lend a helping hand in the move, depending on what the need of the hour is.  And that is exactly what I did. My message to him is one of absolute clarity,  His compassion, his love and his commitment to the work of being a better being had to continue in a new body, a new time and in a new life. 

Tim passed away two days after I visited him, exactly seven weeks from his diagnosis.  “Welcome Tim, welcome back soon.” 

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Discussing the undiscussable

Yeah, I know… Gramatically “undiscussable” is incorrect.  Just couldn’t come up with the right term for it.  Plus it just sounds exactly what it is supposed to mean.  For all I know, it will find its way into the dictionary in a few years from now.

I have toiled with the concept of death for a while. Hailing from the east, I have read and pretended to comprehend the concept of body and soul – body dies, soul is eternal.  Conceptually this sounded fine, but I just couldn’t come to terms when some unexpected passing happened within the family.  It got me thinking a few years ago when I listened to a living eulogy on the radio.  The concept fascinated me.  This is no living eulogy.  But, this thought process began from that moment.  This blog has more to do with genuine affection for people that will live to see my death.  You may not remember me for long, however, when you do remember me, this is what I would like you to remember of me.  (It is also my way of saying, here is a list of things to do and not do, in order not to be haunted by me :D)

Flowers : If you have known me long enough, you will know that I believe flowers are meant to embellish the plant/shrub, not die decorating the corners of a funeral home.  Please do not bring  flowers, for there will be no viewing.  Should my family want, they will have a memorial service and you are welcome to come by and offer words of comfort.

Education : The money you would put towards a bouquet of flowers could go towards education projects either in your own neighbourhood or in a neighbourhood that needs the money.  Support education.  Education empowers children.  Children are the future of this world and that is the best thing you can do in my memory. Donate wisely – not to some large organization.  If you have known me I believe in supporting people at grassroot level.  Every penny you donate needs to count.  That will only happen if you reach people directly, not through an organization. You will also see the impact you make on them and that joy will multiply in your own lives.

Colours : If you do choose to come for my memorial service, please dress in vibrant colours of yellow, pink, red, burgundy, blue, purple and the like.  Do not dress in black and white.  My memorial service has to be one where you remember me joyfully and the times we have giggled and been up to nonsense. Black and white are serious colours.  They don’t go with me or our memory together.

Dance party : As you walk into the memorial service, you are likely to meet some familiar faces.  Please organize a bollywood themed dance party or a zumba party on my name and dance it off. Dance off the grief.  The first person to host the event with the loudest music ever, will be least haunted by me.  😀

Random act of kindness : If you cannot make it to the memorial service, because you have got a life, and the fact is everyone does, don’t feel bad about it.  However close we have been, your life is the most important thing at any point in time.  Just think of me and perform a random act of kindness.  You would be honouring my life much more by such acts, than having to cancel something important to show up at my memorial service.

Last, but not the least, Food : People, food! Really good food!!  Go eat at a favourite restaurant of yours or order take out from a really good joint.  Put your feet up, watch Netflix and eat away guilt free, while you reminisce.  Bring food to the people that have outlived me and make sure its spicy and fresh and home-cooked.

And for all those of you that are wondering why I am writing this now, the answer is – no apparent reason.  I am hale and healthy and happy and rambunctious and crazy as ever. All of the above, I shall be doing for myself while I am still living. I have no intentions of leaving this body anytime soon by my own will.  You shall all have the pleasure of my pain for years to come.