Breathing into Death – A Meditation

As with all of the art of living experiments, it’s relatively easy to understand them.  It’s far more difficult to live them.  You might read this blog in one moment and say to yourself, “That’s a really interesting idea.”  And then in the next, be back to your habitual ways of thinking and acting.  That’s [...]

As with all of the art of living experiments, it’s relatively easy to understand them.  It’s far more difficult to live them.  You might read this blog in one moment and say to yourself, “That’s a really interesting idea.”  And then in the next, be back to your habitual ways of thinking and acting.  That’s certainly been my experience.

To deepen your lived experience of death, I recommend a powerful meditation that the Indian Philosopher Osho talks about in The Book of Secrets.   Osho points out that our experience of birth and death corresponds to our experience of the breath.

When you are born, he says, you cannot exhale because there is no air in your chest.  The infant’s first breath must be an inhale.  Likewise, when you die, you cannot inhale.  As he says, “the last act will be an exhalation.”

This leads him to the following practice for becoming more comfortable with death:

“Try this experiment.  The whole day, whenever you remember, exhale deeply and don’t inhale.  Allow the body to inhale; you simply exhale deeply.  And you will feel a deep peace, death is silence…This emphasis on exhalation will help you very much to do this experiment, because you will be ready to die…Exhale deeply and you will have a taste of it.  It is beautiful.”

I’ll be exploring this practice and look forward to hearing how it goes for you. Does Osho’s technique of emphasizing the exhales shift your relationship to death?

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