For the last few years, I've been in a relationship with death.
I'm not dying, it's nothing like that, but my lessons and my path are intertwined with it anyway. I suppose that's a whole other story on it's own...
Most importantly what I have learned from this dance with death is to recognize what is of real value to me. I've taken up asking myself daily, "If this was to be my last day, my last moment, would I be satisfied with my life?" In any way that answer comes back a no, I realign my life and my priorities.
But the walk with death can also be full of fear. I've had some experiences the last couple of years that left me absolutely terrified, frozen with the realization that death will come, and it will not ask my permission. To understand in a very deep way the utter ridiculousness that is our idea of control is quite unnerving.
My 11-year-old daughter just recently had to deal with similar. Her school teacher's daughter is dying of cancer and has been talking to the children about it occasionally. My daughter started to process that a child could die, that she could die. She was so terrified she ended up missing over a month of school because of panic attacks, spinal misalignment and stomach pain that would not go away.
While the process was very difficult for her, it gave me an opportunity to share with her the tools I've learned in my yoga practice. We practiced pranayama to calm her during the panic attacks, we used self-healing techniques to help her stomach feel better and we did mantra.
In the past, my daughter has been very resistant to anything yoga, but she was suddenly open. I asked her if she would do some mantra with me, and told her my powerful experiences with it. She agreed and so we started practicing the Kal Akal mantra together. Every night before bed we sat and held hands while we chanted this mantra. At first, she was skeptical, but she quickly fell into it and it became such a sweet time between us.
The mantra Kal Akal is said to remove even the very shadow of death.
We chanted to Sirgun Kaur's version for 7 minutes and then sat for a few moments in silence. She even started to ask me to do it!
And guess what? It worked. After over a month of such severe stress that the sweet girl couldn't go to school for more than a few hours, it only took a week of mantra to turn it around! She rapidly started to relax, the stomach ache faded, her neck straightened out and the grip of fear released. She was back in school shortly after.
I feel so blessed that I got to share that time with my daughter, for the lessons death has given me and once again for the incredible power of mantra.
Right now I sit in the living room of my father's sister. She is a beautiful woman, loved by many, and nearing her time to go. I'm not sure anyone here would be too open to a mantra, but I'm chanting Kal Akal quietly on my breath as I hold her hand because I know it's strength and I hope that perhaps it will help to soothe her transition.
To be here now and witness the love that surrounds my aunt as she goes is precious. I am struck by the openness of the family that is present to this process. I am touched by their care for her, their presence, and honored that I am able to offer that as well. I am in awe of her immense grace in facing what is happening. It's a fine death, surrounded by her loved ones, in her home, in her own time.
My love goes out to those that hold her dear.
Mantra: Kal Akal
Kal Akal Siri Kal, Maha Akal, Akal Moorat, Wahe Guru
Kaal means death. Akaal means undying. Akaal Moorat is our pattern that exists beyond death. Wahe Guru is the mantra of ecstasy.
This protective mantra wraps around animosity and seals it closed. It can remove the very shadow of death.
*Mantra info via Spirit Voyage
Listen to the Mantra
The undying soul meditation