“The Perfect Death”
So yesterday in a yoga class I take with one of the most beautifully spiritual teachers I have ever experienced, I misheard her during a guided meditation. The meditation is one I have done with her guidance before, so I was familiar, but she, as most people, don’t read from a script, so it is a little different each time. This particular meditation is about planting a seed, a seed of something that you would like to manifest in your life: more fruitful relationships, a loving partner, ability to cultivate creativity, stability, abundance, freedom, love, or even something more tangible like a new home. That seed can take on anything you can imagine, but usually she suggests that you focus on something that you want to manifest in the next 6 months or so. She guides her students to plant this seed in the most fertile ground, in your heart, in your womb (or reproductive center for males), the third eye, throat, etc. (if you know anything about chakra centers, you can probably imagine placing that seed in any of those 7 areas, but whatever your mind wants to visualize as your most fertile ground for planting the seed). An area free of weeds and rocks, but that doesn’t necessarily mean these areas were always free of trauma or other distractions; it just means that you have cleared the way for a seed to grow. Then she asks you to dig the ground and then place the seed, nurture, tend to the area, care for and watch it grow. In her guidance, she is usually very literal with the planting process, digging the hole to the perfect depth, covering the seed with the soil, and so forth. This time, I didn’t hear her say “the perfect depth,” I heard her say to dig the hole for “the perfect death.” I became confused at the analogy that veered from the usual literal planting of the seed, yet surprisingly delighted. I figured out my mistake pretty quickly, but my visualization was already in a tailspin, imagining the seed going into the ground as one witnesses a burial. Sure there aren’t tears and sadness as we watch the seed be lowered in the ground as when we watch our loved ones who have gone from us. But when we watch a funeral, we are saddened by the loss and sometimes more than sad when they are taken away tragically or too soon. But why the differences in the similarities? It is because we are not attached to the seed; we have no history, no memories, nothing to ground sorrow in, but isn’t the burial of the seed, a dying in a way?
So what can burying seeds help teach us about burying our loved ones? The death of a seed brings life to the fruit, just as the death of the caterpillar brings life to the butterfly. With this in mind, can we see the death of our mothers, fathers, children, grandparents, friends as a chance to bring life to some beauty that couldn’t have come without the seeds of their bodies and souls being buried? With seeds, we plant, take care and let go. It should be the same when we bury our family; be sad, but let go and watch what grows. It is “the perfect death” when we practice non-attachment, because we are able to see the life that it produces.