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One of my yogini sisters has been duking it out with cancer for many years now… she’s young, and vital and yet… cancer kept up its slow inevitable march forward.

Being initiated into the same yogic lineage (and I don’t give a toss if you think it’s a load of crap) means energy connections between me and my fellow yogis (as well as family and some close friends) I feel more easily than others… and word came down the line today that she’d passed.

But not before I’d spent most of last night almost comatose on the couch from around 7.30pm, weirdly tired, and completely falling into a deep, deep sleep during the twilight hours…

And this morning before awaking, dreaming a strange dream:

You know those photos where someone’s arm or feet or another body part is in the shot, but that’s all you see of them? The main person who’s featured appears to have dismembered body parts floating in their general vicinity? In my dream I met a man, of Asian appearance, with incredible Photoshop skills and he was systematically removing the unattached limbs from several photos. They looked like they’d never been there. I was amazed he could do that so well…

Morning arrived, I was still exhausted, and inexplicably I felt unwell. So I stayed home from work and around 1.30pm local time, received the text message of her passing.

I knew it was coming; we’d received an email just a couple of days ago.

Those in our yogi school had been asked to send the energy of our practice and prayers to help her through this time… passing of life into death… through the bardos where images clung to as reality in the world we believe to be solid and permanent show up again… and where, if we so choose, we can reside ever after in a dream-like state… much as we do anyway… just another possible way of existing… Who says it’s all ‘like this’ or ‘like that’ anyway?

It’s the after-death state(s) that some yogis and yoginis practice for throughout their lives.

We practice not just to live here and now as humanly and humanely as possible, but to navigate the various stages of letting go – slowly unfurling and shrugging off corporeal shackles to grasp the wider view of what life is and how death actually, isn’t separate, but part of it… beyond the tangible with its rules both societal and physical.

In this world, we humans grieve for what has been, fixating on something that after this moment ‘right now’… no longer ‘is’.

My paternal grandfather’s passing a couple of years ago was like that. With my own father so angry at him for not calling the ambulance (or anyone) when grandpa had clearly felt heart pain for several days before he died alone in his home with the blinds still drawn and his bed not made.

There was a viewing before the service where I was to speak as a proxy for my father who’s voice was not reliable (neither was mine). I slipped in early, before anyone else arrived.

In an impossibly small coffin at the end of a narrow room lay his shrunken form, no longer my twinkly eyed grandpa, so gentle and sweet in his silent ways. He was no longer an inhabitant of this form, if he ever was. If any of us ever are…

Right there is a good philosophical argument for cremation, which is certainly my preference…

As I offered prayer and mantra, I knew I wasn’t praying to this lifeless inanimate flesh but to the surrounding environment… where I felt him to be more real and present than this frozen grandpa-like shape.

Do you start to wail and cry if a person goes to another room in the house? This death is inevitably connected with this life. In the sphere of Immortality, where is the question of death and loss? Nobody is lost to me.
~Sri Anandamayi Ma

Shanti, Shanti, Shanti!