As a culture, we shy away from death. We don't talk about it, fortunately we don't see it very much and we certainly grieve differently to other cultures. Compared to "sorry business" that I've seen in Indigenous Australian and African cultures, some of us tend to stuff grief and sadness down don't we? Down down down into the pits of our heart, and we try to kid ourselves that this is the best thing to do. Perhaps, it is? Or perhaps our unhealthy relationship to negative emotions such as these can lead to more pain and even physical illness?
Recently I've been confronted by death twice over. After the shock subsided, and in amongst the grief, I can now see rich blessings that lie in these painful experiences.
My friend Jo Mall was a beautiful shining light in the world. She died from stomach cancer at a time in her life where most women her age start planning a family. It didn't seem fair that someone who was so committed to serving others and devoted to her spiritual path should experience this illness and die. And her being so young adds an extra something, be it anger ? sadness ? disbelief ? to the pain.
In fact, it made me question - why be on a spiritual path? If terrible things like this still happen to you, why?
Doesn't being on the spiritual path make you immune to things like this?
Drum roll please...
No it doesn't.
Even when we are on the spiritual path, it doesn't mean we will be given what we want in life. It doesn't guarantee living to 100, or that new job that we've been praying for. Even when we finally "surrender" to life, to the universe, to the unconditional loving energy within all, it doesn't mean we then get what we asked for.
I've only just recognised that all these years I've still been practicing "conditional surrender" - that is, I'll surrender to you universe if you still give me what I want. Crazy ego! How I love you and your clever ways!
Being on the spiritual path does however give you the strength, the resilience, and hope to deal with what life gives you. It helps you progress forward into love rather than backwards into separation and blame. Edo, Jo's husband, is a true example of how spirituality gives one the courage, the steadfastness, and tenacity to fall into love rather than darkness. In these difficult weeks, it seems Edo has been comforting and soothing us, sharing with us his unwavering trust of a love bigger than we can imagine.
Being witness to the outpouring of love from everyone who Jo had touched in some way has been a special experience. It's shown me how a brief encounter with someone can be so profound. It's shown me how loss can help people in so many ways. Like many others, I've certainly been living each day since Jo's passing with gratitude, and now am more keen then ever to "find my bliss" as Jo would say.
This is just a bit of what Jo taught me.
I'd love to share with you the gift that Jo has left the world. Please check out her and Edo's work http://www.edoandjo.com/ They are the most amazing Kirtan artists and if you are interested in music or sound healing then this is for you. I play Edo and Jo every day, as do thousands of others around the world. Enjoy!
May you take these words and live each day with gratitude for the gift of life! And may your spiritual path be your pillar of strength along the way.
From my heart to yours,
Om Namo Narayani