Savasana, Meditation and Dying

Take a deep breath, we are all going to die.

Creating a peaceful death is a realistic goal. Pain, fear and unfinished business are the primary blocks to getting there. The same limitations block the healing in savasana and the clarity - connection in meditation.

In Corpse Pose, we symbolically “die” to our old ways of thinking and doing. The normally perceived boundaries of body image and experience dissolve, and we enter a state of neutrality often experienced as bliss. In reply to the question “What does Corpse Pose feel like?” – the answer is “Nothing.”

In meditation, awareness is anchored in the body and to the Ground of Being. Neutrality, though always available, is not easy when struggle persists. Like a wall, it blocks what is on the other side. 

 

To practice Savasana, start by aligning the body. Make sure that your two sides are resting evenly on the floor and that your ears are equidistant from your shoulders. Physically relax the muscles and bones. Imagine that the mass of your body is sinking down into the floor, then spreading out like a puddle of oil. Next calm the senses. Soften the root of your tongue. Cradle your eyes in their sockets and turn them down to gaze at your heart. Release your inner ears to the back of your skull (yet keep them alert to the sound of the breath). Smooth the skin at the bridge of your nose and melt it toward your temples.

 

Medical science has evolved, though quietly, to embrace the awareness of Being beyond the physical body. Just as a human body universally grows hair, the human mind universally grows ideas and the human spirit universally grows intuition of what is beyond the body’s understanding.

 

Finally, surrender any and all psychological effort (or at least as much as you can). Even as you lie still on the floor, you’ll discover that you’re still trying, wondering what to “do” in this posture. Drop your brain to the back of your skull. Remember the words of the great sage Abhinavagupta: “Abandon nothing. Take up nothing. Rest, abide in yourself, just as you are.”

 

“Your body is likely to die with this disease.” “We have treatments for your body, to help it endure longer and without pain though it is likely that your dear body is on its final journey here.” "We are here to care for all of YOU, your body and your Being."

 

Meditators and yogis alike, we are in the same position as any scientist. We have to go on our experiential evidence. Sooner or later we have to trust our own experience (of awareness) because that’s all we have.

Thus you can throw yourself flat on the ground, stretched upon Mother Earth, with the certain conviction that you are one with her and she with you. As surely as she will engulf you tomorrow, so surely will she bring you forth anew. And not merely ‘someday’: but now, today, every day she is bringing you forth, not once, but thousands upon thousands of times, just as every day she engulfs you a thousand times over. For eternally and always there is only one now, one and the same now; the present is the only thing that has no end. 1.

1. p. 20. Ken Wilber, Grace and Grit. 2000.