The meaning of life.. & death!

I'm sure it has not escaped your attention that we now have a new king- King Charles 2nd. It's odd to think that the queen, always present on our money and in the background of our lives has died. I'm not going to dive into this as the media has already done a fantastic job of that. But I couldn't miss the opportunity to talk about death!
So scary- the unknown, the dark.

Being English
I am born English, and with that, I have inherited not just my family's ideas of life and death but also this culture, which when compared to others, might seem a little short-sighted.
Perhaps I'm being cruel, it is after all a result of thousands of years of conditioning, but then again, so is the Hindu belief in reincarnation, the Mexican view that life and death are indivisible and so forth.

Loss & what happens next
In my experience, when someone dies they physically disappear. -No longer an active part of my life, and although I may feel the loss of the company of that person and maybe shed a tear, and know I can't just give them a call, they have had an effect on me that somehow has shaped me into what I am.
I like to think of this as their energy that I have borrowed or integrated into my existence, (depending on how strongly I feel about it- not that I get much of a choice in the matter).

Like fallen trees, which become "food" or "fuel" for other ecosystems, their influence on their environment when they embodied a living tree still remains, but they are no longer producing their own fruits.
So to leave a legacy of positive influence surely is one of the meanings of life.

Most forms of Yoga originated from India. This is a predominantly Hindu country so it stands to reason that there will be psychological and mental adjustments to make for English students of Yoga to adapt or accustom themselves to.
The Buddhist deity Padmasambhava was said to have taught the wild female deities to dance on the charnel grounds (cremation areas) in order to overcome their fears and limitations over life and death. Can't help thinking this extreme might just blast us out of conditioned ideas...?

Padmasambhavana. -Unsplash.
The karana mudra (as in the pic) helps to dispel negativity, anxiety, fear and depression whilst enhancing feelings of happiness and contentment. It stimulates Fire and Ether elements within the body, represented by the thumb and middle finger respectively.
In most yoga practices you will experience this pose, usually at the end of a session. Translated as the "corpse pose" It is in fact, practising for death.
We (in the UK) don't really cover this in standard schooling so we don't really have a compass around the subject. However, if we see it as an extended relaxation we're not far off the point (I think).
In Asana Pranayama, Mudra, Bandha (Bihar) The benefits of this pose are;
This asana relaxes the whole psycho-physionological system. It should ideally be practised before sleep; before, during and after asana practice, particularly after dynamic exercises such as Surya namaskara; and when the practitioner feels physically and mentally tired. It develops body awareness. When the body is completely relaxed, awareness of the mind increases, developing pratyahara. ( Withdrawl of senses- big subject!)

Check this out, its an excerpt from an extremely intelligent book I managed to get my hands on; (it's not in print in the uk, so I don't have a link sorry)

The textbook of Yoga Psychology, Ramamurti. Mishra.MD

From the chapter on Kriya Yoga (Kriya being self-discipline and purification)

Life process is in constant continuation. Death never is discontinuation of life force. It is the summary of the previous chapter of the life process which becomes the central foundation for the next chapter of the life process. Death itself is a process of the life force; otherwise life would have no meaning... the total of universal energy is neither created nor destroyed... change of arrangement and location of molecules, atoms, tanmatras is called life and death""
Of course, this doesn't cover the emotional aspects of death, and when the text flows neatly on to suffering and craving it has its own interpretation of how to overcome these sensations;
"He wants to have pleasure and avoid pain. But he cannot accomplish this dual purpose since by taking one end of a thing he automatically receives the other end.
A Yogin and the world of living things surrounded by the eternal flow of pain, turn for refuge to "Right knowledge" which is the cause of destruction of all pain. A Yogin is undeceived by will-o'-the-wisp, which deludes others. "
Personally, with strong emotions, I like to bring to mind the "active listening" part of myself. So I don't deny or suppress a feeling but can objectively have awareness around this genuine feeling and the sensations it produces in my human body (crying etc). Also known as "genuine rest" this awareness practice can be c&p'd onto most situations. (Anger, resentment, fatigue, joy etc.)

Ps; This "Right Knowledge" mentioned above, is a subject for another blog as it is massive!
In the meanwhile, I hope you are sufficiently loaded with ponderations over the inevitable. Namaste.

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