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  • Attistiba / Riga, Latvia
  • Why are you attracted by the theme? Death, especially in western culture, is not an issue to be widely discussed; people try not to talk about it. Why people are so afraid of death?
  • Namaste / Mallorca, Spain
  • Every moment life is sprouting as a newborn baby, a fresh spring leaf, the sun rising into a new day, the in-breath nourishing the body, a start of a new experience. Along with life, death is happening in many different forms to give space for life to unfold.
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A Sufi Approach to Death

People of all ages are attracted to this process which uses the focus of preparing for death as a way of becoming more open to life. We asked Komala what this course is about, and how it supports daily life.

(Osho Times, February 2008, www.osho.com/copyrights)

Osho Times: How is it that such a young vibrant person like you is working with death?

Komala:By going deeply into my aliveness – I feel very connected with my body and I enjoy dancing, singing, moving – I reach places of relaxation inside. When I’m very alive, seriousness cannot be there. The “problems” of life just don’t make much sense when I feel alive and present in my body.

When life stops being a problem and starts being an opportunity for experiencing and learning and I can enjoy the journey, the mystery of life starts unfolding. Suddenly I go behind appearances: I’m alive, I love life. Then what more is there, what is beyond it? It becomes an adventure. When I go deeply into the experience of being in the body with a friendly approach, it shows something to me which is beyond death. Another kind of experience reveals itself : “I’m not the body.” I’m something much more expansive that is not contained in this body. It’s very paradoxical. That’s just how it is.

Osho Times:The Sufi approach can be very energetic, with a lot of sounds and movements. Does this lead to this experience that you’re talking about?

Komala: We ask ourselves, “When I am on my way to the final let-go, when I am going to die, what is there still that I haven’t lived? What is still holding me from the past? When I’m here right now, and I’m going to die, what makes me feel that I’m not ready? It can be some resentment, some story from the past still holding on to me: “I am carrying something with me. In this moment I cannot totally let go because it is still there.” It could be a story with somebody, like a relationship that has finished in an unloving way, and there is still resentment. At some level something is there in the body or in the mind. We don’t try to clean the past. If there is something, we invite it to come and show itself. In the course we have 50 hours to live and to prepare for dying. So we say “Okay. We don’t have time to solve these problems. I cannot solve any situation with someone right now. But I can find a place – this place which we are creating in the heart – to embrace this in my individual journey.” And it really happens magically – old stories from the past are finally integrated and completed.

It might be that someone just needs to take the time to feel the pain of that inability to let go of something, or even to reveal again if there is something which makes them feel angry. We also use specific exercises to go into those emotions, and to make friends with them. The way to surpass the emotions is to celebrate them, to honor them. So we do lots of singing. When we want to meet the energy of anger – which is a human quality - we sing it, we go into it, we celebrate it. We go into the pain, we feel it, we connect it's vibration through sounds. When we connect the original vibration of an experience we can re-create it and find new ways to relate to it.

Osho Times: What do you do with the fear? That’s often the biggest issue people have in relation to death.

Komala: Fear is an energy that moves in a certain way. The way I work with it is to make it big, make it tremble. My own experience is that fear is an energy which is held in the body – I feel it in my belly or in the spine or kidneys – and when I open and allow it to be I tremble a lot. Then the energy moves through the body and can become bliss. An amazing amount of energy starts to flow. It’s the same with pain, anger and fear. I also understand that before moving into strong emotions it is important to connect first with resources, to be able to hold such energies. That is how the meditations and the group process are a great support: we practice awareness, self-love and the strength to be able to meet the energies of life.

It’s very beautiful to be meeting everything in existence as energy. When I’m expanding my consciousness I’m just pure energy. And when I’m energy I can meet and be one with everything. Because I am free I can fly in the sky with the birds. I can go into the ocean, I can be the water. I can be the energy of the fish, I can be people …. As energy we can be everything. Then we can have the experience of oneness. We are not confined in one body. We are this experience.

Osho Times: How does this work support you in your daily life?

Komala: I am doing this work to learn to live my life. Three years ago I was in full surrender in a relationship. I felt that man was my soul mate, my life. We had a very strong connection, very beautiful; we had some difficult times but I had the feeling I would be with this man forever. Then he was away for a week and when he came back from his trip he said that he met someone else. Though it was not easy for him to leave me, after five days he left. Suddenly my life made no sense and I was in deep pain.

I was so grateful for this work with death, because I could intensely live everything that I have been talking about in this course – going totally into my feelings. I would cry or feel resentment, and it really happened that going deeply into this space became bliss. I could not close my heart because I loved this person. The energy was such that if I closed my heart to him I would close my heart to life, and to myself.

The gift of it comes from all the meditation I’ve done, and this work, and my understanding from Osho, and my experiences. I could put it all into practice. This happens when I totally let go into the moment and honor the reality I am living.

I can really see that letting go takes practice. This is constantly happening in my life because I am traveling a lot. I may stay in one place for a week and then I move on and stay three weeks in a different place. Wherever I go, I fall in love with the situation – new people become friends. I get involved with the place; I get involved with the work that is happening there. And when it comes time to leave, it feels like death. I may not come back to that place again – So it’s a total goodbye.

I see that the more love I have for a place the easier it is to let go, because everything is complete: “I can go now”. And This is very much a result of this work, of these practices. A transformation happens and an understanding on all levels. The body/mind is able to adapt to new situations and to support change.

When I’m driving a scooter or a car, and it comes some challenging situation on the road, I have the tendency to hold the breath. That is a mechanism of protection, to keep me alert. Once the challenge have passed the holding is not necessary anymore. I can let the body relax and expand with a deep sigh of letting go and I can keep on driving and enjoying the way. This is a remembrance to let go of tensions, let go of holdings, and allow relaxation to happen. It is a practice to die and is also a practice to live life fully.

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Article Published in NAMASTE - (Mallorca, Spain, august 2004)

Every moment life is sprouting as a newborn baby, a fresh spring leaf, the sun rising into a new day, the in-breath nourishing the body, a start of a new experience. Along with life, death is happening in many different forms to give space for life to unfold.

Millions of people are dying every day, some die with their mind and hearts open, melting gracefully in the miracle of life, and many die in pain and confusion, regretting an unlived life and holding in fear to a death they cannot accept.

Death is the only certainty in life; everything else is a possibility. Death is one of the greatest taboos in our modern world, and that is one of the reasons most people fell confused and fearful at the face of death. Because the mind cannot comprehend it, it tries to avoid its reality, pretending it is just a fiction on movies and TV news. Normally as well as with death, we take life for granted and keep on missing the tremendous miracle of being alive.

Because of the denial of life and death, when the actual death of the body comes, finding us tight up in our rigid body-mind structure, it can be a very overwhelming experience. Usually we accumulate unfinished situations, with people and with ourselves, and keep on postponing, using our time rather to accumulate material things and to invest on building our personalities. When we realize that none of that we will take with us in death, it may be too late, and much pain and fear comes from a sense of an incomplete, unlived and unloved life.

When we are born, first we breathe in, and when we die the last thing is to breath out. A similar phenomenon happens each day with sleeping and waking up. Each day we wake up and are surrounded by colors, forms, sounds, and sensations - life is happening, and when we go to sleep there is a falling into the unknown, the formless, and death happens.

Death is present in every situation of life - In the falling of the leaves, when we separate from a loved one, when we move to a new place, when we change work, when someone close to us die, when we let go of some old ideas and opinions.

Moments of death are opportunities to wake up our emotions - when pain, anger, fear, resentments can come up. When we don't fight with our emotions and welcome the ways of life with awareness, allowing those energies to come out from the mind into the body, to be seeing with clarity, a great amount of life energy becomes available and can be directed into love, compassion and creativity. We start understanding that those moments of "death" are actually a process of renewal; they are moments of transformation and an opportunity to go deeper into the experience of life.

When we start facing death, and become conscious that death is inevitable, we start enquiring about life. We start to understand life as a precious opportunity and to recognize the uniqueness of each moment.

'Die Before You Die', is a workshop inspired in Sufism and Tibetan Buddhism. These are mystical traditions that understand life as an opportunity to prepare for death, and death as an opportunity to live life totally. In this work we create a space of love and acceptance, that support us to go deep into ourselves and enquiry about our relationship with life and death, to review our lives, to release and honor the past and allow our energy to flow in the present.

This is a Sufi work, which means, love and acceptance are the guidance for the journey. The work is an invitation to go deep into the miracle of being alive as a human being, an invitation to come closer to oneself as body, mind and emotions. Sufis are lovers of life, so they don't choose which aspects to celebrate, whatever life presents is a reason to celebrate. A Sufi live each moment as the last, in this way the moment is unique and absolute. Each experience of life becomes a great mystery and a great adventure. We allow the experiences to come and let them go, and learn from everything that life offers.

We use Sufi techniques, Zikrs (which means 'remembrance') that combines breath, sounds and movements and works on the body and mind, waking up our vital energy. Those exercises are done in a circular form, and has a playful and ecstatic quality, and at the same time works deeply in the body and the mind, flushing and energizing the whole system, opening the body for relaxation and bringing out from the unconscious what is needed to be seem. Once the body is energized and alive, we use techniques from different traditions, Osho meditations and deep relaxation to practice awareness and let go.

When the relaxation of surrender starts to happen, much energy is liberated, and we bring back this energy to our center, trough singing, poetry, whirling - the Sufi dance, and play. Celebrating the beauty and the mystery of life and death.

"Wholeness is not seen as the duration one has lived but rather the fullness with which one enters each complete moment". (American Indian Wisdom)



Interview Published by ATTISTIBA (Riga, Latvia, August 2007)

Lidja: You are in Latvia for the first time, therefore may be we can start our conversation with presentation of your visit card. How long is the way to become a therapist, and what did you study, where did you work, what courses of therapy you offer?

Komala: My whole life has been a training to be able to facilitate people to rediscover their potential. By having my own challenges in life and being able to go with and through them, when I work with people there is trust, they know I can understand them.

I have a continuos meditation practice of self-inquiry, where I bring my awareness to my body sensations, my feelings and my mind. This practice brings me to the greatest teacher, a space of stillness and inner aliveness from where all the messages and guidance comes naturally.

On my way, I have had a great teacher, the Indian mystic Osho and the school he created, the Osho Multiversity in India. Parallel to the daily meditations the most important training's have been Hara Awareness Massage, Primal and Sex De-conditioning Therapy Training, Awareness Intensive, Tai-Chi/CHi-Kung, Sufi Practices, Voicing, and among all, the space I had to start teaching, from where I learned the most and still do. Each group and each session I give I learn something new, about myself and about human beings.

I have been working at different countries in Asia, Europe and South America, where I offer courses and training's on Hara Awareness Massage; Die Before You Die; Tantra, Energy and Awareness; Opening to Intimacy; Voice and Movement; Who is in? (Awareness Intensive); Communication and Creativity.

Lidja: In Latvia you are offering seminary 'Die Before You Die'. Why are you attracted by the theme? Death, specially in western culture, is not an issue to be widely discussed; people try not to talk about it. Why people are so afraid of death?

Komala: I have deep love and respect for life, and the more I inquiry into death the more I become alive and touched by the mystery of life. My own experience and of so many people going through the process of 'Die Before You Die', is that by meeting the reality of death we uncover the real meaning of life.

Death reveals the way we are living our lives, which most of the time is dull and unconscious. We usually experience very little of our potential, or nothing at all, we just go on functioning and pushing our years along. Basically the fear of death is directly related to the fear of being really alive.

Death is such mysterious, vast phenomenon. When we live our lives in constant control, holding on to small things, never experiencing the vastness inside ourselves while we are alive, it is natural to be afraid of such an unknown experience as death.

Lidja: Social work professionals have to meet cases of death in families, in hospitals and on the street. What would be important to acquire and understand in order for a social worker to be better prepared for the job?

Komala: Sometimes it happens that people who deal daily with death, like doctors, nurses and social workers, become insensitive to death, as an strategy to be able to handle such strong experience that they don't understand.

When a social worker realizes from his own experience the depth of the phenomenon of death, he will be able, by being present with his understanding, to make out of an event who can be devastating a transformational experience for himself and for all the people involved, including certainly the person who is dying.

Usually, because of the conditionings and taboos around it, death brings much weight and confusion to the people involved. When the social worker is able to expand his awareness and hold a space of lightness and easiness (meditative space), this is a great support he can give along with the practicalities he must deal with. In that spaciousness, clarity comes and one knows what to do, what to say and instead of becoming warned out by the heaviness and confusion, his work becomes a ground for practicing his meditation, which he can bring back into his own private life.

Lidja: Why therapeutic activities you offer are significantly targeted at meditation? In our society people implementing meditation are not widely met, besides, many are afraid of it and do not understand it.

Komala: Meditation is the main ingredient of all my activities.

Meditation is awareness, the ability to inquiry into what is happening inside, what I am thinking, what I am feeling, and how my thoughts and feelings brings in certain body sensations, and how what is happening in my body affects my mind and my emotions. Its a process of self study. As we go deep into this self-inquiry, expansion happens in a mental and energetic levels, which will touch our physiological and psychological functions.

That sounds simple, but is not easy, because we have no education in this area. The modern man have been trained to use his mind to look outside, to gather material things and knowledge, and he has been disconnected from his body, he cannot feel what is going on inside himself. Therefore, the importance of techniques like breathing and body expression, to come back to the body, reconnect the feelings and clear the mind, as a way to prepare for meditation.

Meditation brings relaxation, and as it has been scientifically proven, increases intelligence and creativity, boosts immune-system therefore mental and physical health, supporting people to function well in the world, not as a slave, but as a real participant in life.

Lidja: I know that your seminaries in different countries are highly demanded. Different histories, religions and political systems of countries - how does it influence the contents, structure, results of your seminaries? What could you say of the group of 50 people from latvia?

Komala: The possibility to get in contact with different cultures is a beautiful school for spontaneity. I never know whom I gonna meet, and that is very exciting, keeping me very awake and alert. When I meet a new group, in a new country, new language, new ways of thinking, I must listen to them, feel them, go inside their being, in order to allow the right language to come to me to be able to communicate effectively what wants to be communicated. And that is one of the things I want to share in the seminaries: clarity, spontaneity and relaxation.

I have a basic structure to work, a theme, and the group I meet gives me the idea moment to moment how to move on. In this way each place is a new experience for me. It's a constant re-creation where each person that comes for the seminary, in their uniqueness, participate in that creation. In this way there is always a new learning which I take with me to the next country. We create together a web of consciousness and light through the whole world.

My experience in latvia with those 50 people, mainly social workers, gave me lots of new informations about how to work more specifically with them. Using the life situations they present, which is related to their work, I can support them to get in closer contact with their own reality as an individual in their private life, and to bring that understanding into their social work in a more effective way for the people they work with and for themselves.

Lidja: Are you ready to return in our higher school? And could you characterize your other seminaries in order to create a better insight in the essence of meditative therapy for our reader?

Komala: Yes, I love to come back and I want to present a seminar called "Communication and Creativity". I decided to bring this work inspired in the Higher School for social workers, because it's a theme we can develop in a very practical way and the students can apply directly in their work with people. This seminar is also target to anyone who feel the need for more clarity in their communication, in relationship with friends, husband/wife, children, coworkers, and the most important, with themselves.

The first step for clear communication is to look at what is going on inside myself; I must listen in, let what is moving inside move, and allow this movement to be expressed. The second step is communication with the other, resonance; We learn the ability to be present and to find the right words, the right expression that makes sense to the other.

Clear communication is directly related to creativity. When I start reconnecting with what is inside and bring myself out clear, through my words, actions and presence, I am no longer enslaved by my conditionings and the events in my life, I take responsibility and start recreating my reality.

Lidja: Why the theme of death has always fascinated artists? Carla Gottlieb says: "Along with birth and marriage, death marks a definite peak in an individual's existence. Death may arrive for us as a deliverer of a ravisher; it may be courted or feared. Each artist in making his choice there by reveals his attitudes towards life and death and hence permits certain insights into his character". What do you think of the cognition?

Komala: Life is the basic material for artists, and when we go deep into life we naturally meet death, which is the base for life to exist. The way one takes death will certainly reveal how deep one is taking life. In the case of the artist, it will reveal how sincerely he is taking his work, if he is diving into it or is just playing on the surface.

Lidja: Goethe once said: "If we take people as they are, we make them worse. If treat them as if they were what they ought to be we help them to become what they are capable of becoming". "More good deaths are spoiled because the physician tries to jolly the patient and neglect him as a sentient being - Gerald Aronson says it. What would you say?

Komala: When we rediscover the immense mysterious universe that we are, contained in our body-mind, life becomes a playful challenge, and each moment an opportunity to prepare for death, one of the greatest adventure of life.

Lidja: To my opinion the comments of participants of seminary is the best prize for your job. Therefore I would like to thank you, my teacher, from all my heart and I'll wait for you in Latvia in autumn again.