The Alchemy of Loss and New Beginnings: Sarita’s Blog

Sarita examines the many ways we can experience loss: break-up of a relationship or friendship, death of friend or family member, loss of home or job – and reminds us that, “Each loss we experience, simultaneously plants seeds for the new.”

Birth of stars from Hubble telescope

Birth of stars from Hubble telescope

The human experience includes chaos, loss and change. Such a situation may come about through loss of a loved one due to a relationship ending or death, loss of a home due to changing circumstances, loss of a job due to societal changes, etc. The question is not how to avoid inevitable loss, but how to deal with it when it manifests in our life. Our tendency is to want to cling with all our might onto hard won security, with feelings of anger, fear or sorrow when change is upon us. We may wish to blame another, or God for the uncomfortable shift which is happening. In fact, upheaval and change is no one’s fault. It is simply part and parcel of the flow of life. In quantum physics, this is described as chaos—order/chaos—order. In order for evolutionary shifts to happen, the old has to be let go of, which happens during a chaos meltdown. The space that is created offers an invitation for a new and higher level of order to come into being. You can see these evolutionary waves having been part of the whole known history, whether that is civilizations rising and falling back to dust, or a plague which decimates a group of people, or whether it is on a vaster scale, suns being birthed and then dying. Out of each chaos and death cycle arises a new creation and birth cycle. In fact, the whole of creation is a vast recycling system! On a very personal level, each human being functions like a miniature version of the cosmos. We experience waves of chaos leading to higher levels of order periodically throughout our life. I have heard Osho say:

“Out of chaos, great stars are born.”

He was referring to the epoch we are now in, which is one of tremendous chaos and how this chaos offers the opportunity for many people to become enlightened.

Phoenix

Phoenix

Each human being has the possibility to experience the phoenix effect. The phoenix is a mythical bird that walks into fire and is burned to ash, but then rises up again, born anew to fly into a radiant new dawn. The symbolism of the phoenix is descended from the mystery school traditions, who teach us to walk consciously and willingly into chaos, allow the melt down of all that we know and rise again on wings of trust. Of course it is painful to embrace chaos, but the rewards are great. It is much more painful when we resist change and thus cannot move forwards and are stuck in a living hell from which we find no escape. Chaos, which is meant to be transitional and impermanent becomes fixed when we cling to the secure past. It is like trying to drive with the brakes on. When we let go into the chaos and ask the simple question, “what can I learn from this situation now?” we open ourselves to a higher level of order, a new evolutionary dynamic. Loss can have various forms and origins. I will discuss here how we can learn from it and continue evolving in the most positive way possible: 1 – Death of a Loved One There is a very beautiful story from the time of Buddha. A woman came to him with her dead child in her arms, begging him to bring her child back to life. Buddha looked at her with compassion and then said, “OK, I will bring your child back to life on one condition. You must go around the village and knock on every door. Ask the people living there if they have never suffered from loss of life in that house. Bring me a handful of mustard seeds from the home where no one has died and I can use these mustard seeds to bring your child back to life.” The distraught woman rushed to the village and knocked on each and every door asking her question. The householders were very kind to her, but they had to tell her the truth, “we are so sorry, but in this house we lost our father,” or in another house, “our mother has died recently,” or in another, “our revered grandmother has died,” and so on. The woman did not find a single house where no one had died. She came back to Buddha in the evening in a state of deep acceptance, realising that death is a part of life. She was able to let go of the body of her child for cremation and subsequently asked to be initiated by Buddha into Sannyas. The 5 Stages of Grief Elizabeth Kubler Ross, who was a well-known expert in the phenomenon of dying, has defined 5 stages inherent in the process of losing a loved one. It is important to experience these stages consciously and with totality and this offers us the possibility of moving through this turbulent time into greater peace and wisdom. The stages may be experienced in any order according to the psychological emotional make up of each individual.

  • Denial
  • Anger / rage
  • Bargaining
  • Depression / sadness
  • Acceptance

The time needed to move through these stages is dependent on various factors and what the unique situation is regarding the death of the loved one. The same stages are experienced if you yourself are told that you have a life threatening illness and do not have much time left. Whatever the situation is, recognise which phase you are in and live it with as much totality as possible. It is helpful to live these states by practicing active meditation methods. Below, are the Osho meditation methods I recommend for each phase: Denial: Dynamic Meditation or No-Mind Meditation Anger / Rage: Dynamic Meditation – Pillow Beating Meditation Bargaining: No Mind Meditation / Chakra Breathing Meditation Depression / Sadness: Mystic Rose 3 week process / Becoming the Emotions Meditation Acceptance: Mahamudra Meditation / Nadabrahma Meditation All meditations are accompanied by music. The CDs can be ordered online via www.tantrashop.co.uk Osho’s Approach towards Death

Maitreya's body is carried to burning ghats

Maitreya’s body is carried to burning ghats

I would also like to share a most beautiful way which Osho recommended to approach the death of a loved one. In Osho’s community, the person who has died is given a good send off with music, dance and celebration. In India the body of someone who has died is burned on an open-air funeral pyre. The body is covered with decorative cloth and flowers and carried through the streets to the burning ghat. Osho Sannyasins go a step further, by singing and dancing all the way to the burning ghat and then continuing these celebrations till the body has been completely burned. Normally, the favourite songs of the person who has died are sung during this transmutation of flesh to ash. In addition to this, Osho advised that the persons who are present during the burning should use this experience as a form of meditation, seeing the body burning to ashes and realising that one day their own body will be on the funeral pyre. This meditation on death helps us to discover that which is never born and never dies; our ultimate reality. The persons who have attended this “death celebration” are advised by Osho to go home afterwards and immediately wash all clothes, body, hair and even shoes, which were worn during the death celebration. Some people reading about this way of dealing with death may be full of questions as to why Osho introduced such a practice. If you have an understanding of the soul and reincarnation you will be able to comprehend the sense of it. When we burn the body, the soul of the person has nothing to cling onto or attach to and is forced to let go into the light of the beyond. As he or she receives a good send off with music and dance, it offers tremendous support for searching for a future incarnation based on joy. The essence of life is love and bliss. As we send these waves to the dearly departed, they take these qualities with them into the beyond and are thus encouraged to bypass all Bardo realms made of unconsciousness and suffering, moving onwards towards realms of bliss and light. This ensures that such a person will be guided into a higher consciousness rebirth. (Related article: Reincarnation and Unwinding Karma) What you Leave Behind

Osho's death celebration

Death celebration

I have noticed something interesting, having been to many death celebrations. Those persons who carry a lot of unfinished business, i.e. incomplete life issues, create a vibration in their energy field that makes those left behind want to weep and grieve. What we are grieving is actually the fact that this person has not lived their full potential for joy in this life. The ball of misery they carried within is transferred to those left behind and we feel like grieving that loss of potential. On the other hand, if a person dies who has done their homework, meaning they have cleared up unfinished life issues and are living in love and gratitude, such persons leave behind a desire to celebrate and to honour them with love, joy and gratitude. When Osho died, it was incredible to experience the huge outpouring of love and joy he left behind. The whole community dropped into a state of perfect harmony, lovingness and joyful communion, which lasted for several months. What Can We Do to Support the Soul of the Deceased? If someone close to you has died and there is no feeling of completion left behind, I highly recommend a practice I have discovered whereby you can accompany your loved one through the layers of the Bardo into higher consciousness realm. This method is offered in detail as a response to a question. (Read my Answer to a Question.) This also helps the person left behind to process and heal grieving states attached to this person. 2 – Loss of a Relationship

The Dream - Osho Zen Tarot - by Padma

The Dream – Osho Zen Tarot – by Padma

We all know the ending of the fairytales, “and then they got married and lived happily ever after.” We dream of this scenario and wonder why relationships don’t last like promised in those childhood stories we heard. The purpose of this article is not to explore why relationships end, (that can be the subject of another blog) but how we can live through this transition in a way, which will be positive rather than destructive. Basically, people change in many varied ways, and those changes do not always gel with the chosen partner. If these changes become too problematic and the pain of being together is greater than the pleasure, then the couple may wish to dissolve their sexual relationship and transition into a new way of interaction. Friendships also go through changes and may dissolve or evolve in new ways. And family ties go through radical metamorphosis as well. All of these changes have the potential to be lived positively or negatively depending on how we approach the transition. If we cling to the past, it will be a very painful road we have chosen. If we can learn to express deep gratitude for what has been experienced with this person, and then let go, we are paving the way for new relationships based on a higher level of order. I offer below, a ritual of completion which I have developed for couples who are getting divorced or are separating. Completion Ceremony This ceremony offers a clean way of letting go of a relationship and moving on from a place of gratefulness. If there is unfinished business when a couple finds that their life path is moving apart, then those incomplete issues will be carried into the next relationship and make learning the lessons posed by relating more difficult and more sticky. This ceremony is a Tantric way of bringing love and awareness to the transition, thus planting seeds of love and awareness for whatever comes next. The couple can hold the ceremony in privacy, or the couple may choose to invite their friends and make a public celebration with it. Either way is good. The basic elements are as follows: – Each of you make a list of everything you can remember you have shared together which has brought you joy and love. Include in this list the beautiful qualities of your partner and how much you have appreciated those qualities. Include also, how you have been benefited by the relationship and what lessons you have learned for your continuing life path. If you like, you can also include a poem of appreciation. – Both together create a statement of why you are separating. The statement should not carry any blame, but just be a simple statement of fact. For example, “we are separating because we have different soul callings and can no longer travel the same path together.” – If there are children involved, a clear written affirmation as to how you will each continue to nurture the children while each following your individual life path is good. It is also good to affirm that while the child or children were born out of your union, you recognise that they have come through you, and yet are individuals, each one following his or her own soul calling. They are not dependent on your continuing sexual union in order to grow and be nurtured by love. – You may like to prepare the above aspects before the actual ceremony. – For the ceremony itself; wear ceremonial clothes, and create a sacred space with decorations of your choice. Kneel or sit in front of each other, with some space between you. Each take turns reading out all the reasons why you are grateful for what you have shared together, the joys, the lessons and the beautiful qualities you have appreciated in the other. Then thank the other from the bottom of your heart for all those beautiful shared moments together. Bow down and touch his or her feet with a grateful heart, saying, “And now I let go.” After each one has done this read out the mutual statement as to why you can no longer continue as a couple. And then read out the affirmation about the nurturing of the kids. – Take something you have owned together which you both feel can function as a symbol of your relationship. Burn it. As it burns, dance around it, (using music if you like) and celebrate the transition from this relationship into the new step in life. If there are friends with you, they can form a circle around you during the ceremony, and dance around the fire with you as you celebrate the transition. You may also like to include more dancing, feasting or other ways of celebrating the transition. Freedom Is In addition to the completion ceremony, it is helpful to do a practice offered to the world by Brandon Bays in her book, Freedom Is. This practice helps us to face the pain of separation and move beyond it into soul communion. We then bring the vastness of pure being back into the painful knots we carry, thus dissolving these knots. It is a deeply insightful and effective process. The fact is, relationships have an addictive component. Sexual, love relationships in particular, are physically addictive and our body chemistry is affected when the partner we are attached to is no longer there. It is important to be very patient as we go through withdrawal symptoms, just like we would be if going through detox and withdrawal from a drug. As the saying goes, ‘time is a great healer.’ If you meditate with the technique described above, the time of healing will be speeded up. Transforming Grief into Gratitude If someone feels debilitated by the withdrawal from a loved one and wants revenge more than anything else, it will be very helpful to go and receive healing sessions. Colour Light Therapy and forgiveness work is particularly helpful in such a scenario. I recommend my friend Soham for this (soham@lovingtouchnow.com). I have recently gone through a strong shock when an intimate relationship ended unexpectedly. I was very much helped in my healing from this shock through forgiveness work and cranial sacral healing sessions. When a person disappears from our life, all we are truly left with when all is said and done is the gratitude for all the marvellous gifts we have experienced through our connection with that person. These gifts do not disappear when the person goes, they have become an integral part of us and we are enriched through having known this person. Loss of Home

Rajneesh Mandir

Rajneesh Mandir

The most dramatic loss of home I ever had was when Rajneeshpuram, the city Osho’s devotees had created in Oregon, USA dissolved almost overnight. We had spent 5 years creating an oasis in the desert scrublands. We had built an entire town, had a huge organic farm, 2 lakes, and had created so much vegetation in this parched area that deer were coming from miles around to take part in the bounty. They sensed that we were vegetarians and so came close enough to pet. Internal and external pressures led to the demise of this amazing community based on love and meditation. After 13 years of having lived only within Osho’s Communities in India and Oregon, I found myself in the normal society having to earn money and survive. This was a testing time where I was able to discover my capacity to stay afloat in the world. Such situations as this are certainly not easy. However, they bring out our strengths in many varied ways. I can never forget the realisation I had as I cleaned the homes of multi-millionaires in Aspen Colorado, “It is strange,” I thought, “but it seems I am the queen and they are the beggars!” This thought came to me because I had what money cannot buy, happiness! And I saw many of these persons in their luxury houses living very miserable lives. When we lose a home, it is an invitation to find the inner home. What is that place where we go to rest and recharge in our deep aloneness? There is a saying I love, “Home is where the heart is.” This is so true. As long as we are able to tune into the heart, and listen to the still small voice of our heart’s wisdom, we can find our way in the wilderness of the unknown and unexpected. Loss of Job I remember the day when I lost a job I was very attached to. I had been cleaning Osho’s house for 8 years when suddenly I was asked to let go of it and move in an entirely new direction within his community. I was given one month to learn how to be a tour guide, press office representative and public speaker. This change was utterly shocking to me, especially since I was generally very shy and prone to self-reflection. In the beginning, I would come back and have a vomiting attack after having given a tour to a group of 40 people from neighbouring towns that came to gawk at our Osho city in the desert. Finally, I spoke to my boss and confessed that I could not possibly do this job because I was unable to communicate with these non-meditating people and, on top of it, they smelled of meat and this made me very ill. My boss asked me, “In what situation do you feel comfortable speaking and sharing?” I thought for a moment and then replied, “Only with my lover!” She beamed at me and said in her lovely lilting Chilean accent, “So that is your gift! When you give tours, offer public talks, or speak to the press, just imagine that they are all your lovers. And allow this way of speaking to become your style of presentation.” This became a revelation for me. I opened to my new job and way of expression like a flower opening to the sun. To this day, whenever I hold a conference or speak publically on camera, I sense all of those listening and watching to be my intimate friends and lovers. This helps to anchor me within the heart as I speak. Letting Go Into The New When we are able to let go of the old, no matter how attached we are to it, the new which then has space to come in, brings with it more of our potential. We all have different soul attributes that we bring with us from previous lives. When we allow our life to wind like a river into new and unpredictable terrain, we will often discover marvellous gifts we are carrying which we never suspected were there. The loss of job brings with it insecurity about money and survival. I find that centring on the fact that if I am here, it means existence wishes me to be here. This helps me to feel at ease in this vast world. And if I am here, it also means that I must have something of value to offer to the world. I believe that this capacity of discovering our innate gift to the world on a soul level helps tremendously in finding our way to the work we can love and be passionate about. And if we are passionate about our work, we are bound to be a success. The Angel of Rio I am reminded of a story about the “Angel of Rio”. He was a young orphan boy of about 6 years old living on the streets of Rio. He and a gang of other kids used to roam the streets looking for food to survive. During his forays he noticed that there were old people who had been abandoned by their families who were too infirm to look after themselves and were in deep suffering. The boy managed to gather the help and support of the gang of children to begin caring for the old people. They scavenged for food for them and found ways to bathe and clothe them, keeping them alive in dire circumstances. Gradually people came to realise the public service he and his gang were doing and donations began coming towards them. Finally, with some help from foreigners, his gesture of love became a registered charity. As he grew, so did his passion to help all those bereft and downtrodden by circumstance. This inspiring true story was described in the publication, Positive News. It brought tears to my eyes to imagine that little boy reaching beyond his troubles, finding his resources of unconditional love and how this passion to help finally became a profession. Deepest Fulfilment Each human can find ways and means of expressing their innate talents, no matter what the outward circumstances may be. As Osho used to say, “It is not what you do but how you do it that is important.” By digging our well of meditation deep enough, we will discover a pure source of water and inspiration bubbling up from within. This ever-bubbling spring offers endless varieties of expression. Our deepest fulfilment will come by remaining in tune with our soul calling and moving steadily in the direction that brings us joy. Seeds of Change Each loss we experience, simultaneously plants seeds for the new. Just as a flower detaches from the plant and releases its seeds on the earth to grow into new flowers, so each loss and transition in life offers potential for new beginnings. We can learn to melt with the ending and transition phases, remaining open and trusting the new beginning.

One response to “The Alchemy of Loss and New Beginnings: Sarita’s Blog”

  1. pathika says:

    Thankyou Sarita,
    Very touching and inspiring…

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