Letter to a Friend Who is Dying


For many years I taught a course called The Yoga of Death and Dying. It was always a very popular and well attended course. Years ago in Connecticut when I was at The Woodbury Yoga Center, a woman called to inquire about the course. She said, “Is this course just for dying people or can anyone take it?” I paused for a few moments and then said, “I hate to tell you, but we are all dying…”

So one of the things I always did in the course was hypnotize a student and regress them to a “past-life” ( in hypnosis, when you regress a person to the cause of their problem, about one in ten spontaneously go back to what appears to be a “past life” — even people who don’t believe in or have any idea about past lives tend to do this. It seems the “sub-conscious mind” accepts past lives whether we do or not).

The past lives were interesting enough to all the students, but then I would take the subject to the last moments in the life as they died (sometimes that was quite intense) and then they would die and be between lives. I then asked them two things. 1) Is it safe to die? 2) Would you rather be where you are now or back in your life?

The answer to 1) was always YES! It is safe to die!; and 2) It is so wonderful, free, painless here. No, I don’t want to go back. Sometimes they said they had to return to the body for some karmic fulfillment. They felt “pulled” to return.

Often they saw beings of light (angels?), saw the timelessness and beauty of it all and had very powerful psychic experiences while in this in-between state. They saw the “big picture”, so to speak.

The impact on the class was always a profound sense of relief. People’s fear and concern about death and dying dropped right through the floor. One person who was fear-based and terrified of D+D is now a zen teacher. I guess that is step forward?!

Anyway, D+D is as natural as being born. The difference is that when we are born, there is no ego so there is no one  worrying about what the hell is happening ( which is you are being folded up way too small and being shoved down a very tight tunnel in which you obviously do not fit. Head, neck, shoulders, legs and arms often yanked out of alignment.) And then you come out into a cold, bright room and someone smacks you on the butt (in the old days to get you breathing) and start sucking stuff out of your nostrils and mouth, measuring you and weighing you. If there was an ego around when we are born, we’d all be freaked out and traumatized!!! We go from comfort and freedom into contraction, limitation and the world of human beings! Yikes! Stan Groff and Leonard Orr have both done a lot of work around birth trauma. It is a common theme in hypnotherapy.

Death is just the opposite. One teacher said it is like taking off a shoe that fits too tightly. We go from pain, contraction and limitation into freedom and light. It is Maha- Samadhi, the great liberation. It is metamorphosis. We fear it because we have an ego and it happens whether we like it or not, so we feel out of control. Which we are always anyway. The ego just likes to “believe” it is running the show when clearly it is not… But D+D is natural and many beings recommend it over being born!

Buddha called death Para-Nirvana. The sages it call it Maha-Samadhi. It is Moksha, liberation from the cycle of birth and death.

When the time comes, go with it and you will be free and fine! It is safe. There is nothing to fear.

I am here for you.