Get out feeling good. (The wise grieve neither for the living nor for the dead).

Via on Jul 14, 2011
Jacques-Louis David, The Death of Marat, oil on canvas, 1793 (Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Brussels)

You probably think you are “(insert your name)”. You’re not – you can legally change your name, but you won’t have changed what you are – your name is just a handle with which the world is able to pick you up and examine you.

You probably think of yourself as either a man or a woman. You’re not. That is just a gender association that you make based upon the genetic choices that your cells made when your body was being formed biologically. You are only an association as long as you are not being the genuine article.

You probably think of yourself primarily as your body. Most people do.

You’re not your body anymore than you are your car!

When you sit in your car, you don’t say: “I am a Ford / Honda / Daewoo”! (At least, I hope you don’t). You probably say: “I’m driving my Daewoo”.

Your car is just a vehicle that transports you from A to B.

Your body is just a vehicle that transports you from A to B. A very beautiful, wonderful, miraculous vehicle, but a vehicle nonetheless.

You are not your body. This may sound strange to you until you consider the following: if you have an accident one day and the doctor has to amputate a leg or two, (let’s say for the sake of argument – all your limbs)… will you be any less you? No, you’ll be the same you, just without arms and legs.

You probably think of yourself as American (or Slovene, English… whatever nationality passport you carry). You are not. That is just a label that you were given. Labels limit you  – you are much more than a label.

You are not American any more than you are Christian, or Buddhist, or Jewish, or Muslim, or … insert any other religious / spiritual belief system. These are just labels that you identify with. The real you is beyond labels, beyond identification.

You are pure light (bear with me here if you’re allergic to new-age-isms – I am too! But this is truth…) You are all colors and no color. You are pure light.

You are pure light. You are pure consciousness. You are pure love.

What is pure light, consciousness, love? Are these just nice words; nice new-age concepts that are devoid of real meaning?

No! They seem that way sometimes because their meaning is so subtle… but love, light, and consciousness are the fundamental properties of existence!

‘In the beginning was the word’: Consciousness.

And God said, ‘let there be light’: Consciousness.

Pure consciousness is what you really are.

Pure consciousness is your essence.

Your body, emotions, and thoughts are simply waves of consciousness. All that you think you are – just waves of consciousness.

What you really are is pure consciousness.

Swami Vishnu Devananda used to say something every morning when he taught the Sivananda Yoga teacher training course. He used to ask the question:

“What is today?”

When I was asked this same question (by his disciple Swami Mahadevananda), I replied ‘Monday’.

He said ‘No’. And waited.

5th February?

No’. Long pause.

Your birthday?!

Smile. ‘No. It’s another day closer to death’.

Today is another day closer to death.

Death is coming. Sooner or later it will catch up with you… how will you feel in that moment?

Will you be afraid? Sad? Regretful?

Will you be joyful? Excited? Will you celebrate?!

What dies is only the body. We do not die. Just as it is written in the Bhagavad Gita:

“The wise grieve neither for the living nor for the dead.

Nor at any time indeed was I not, nor these rulers of men, nor verily shall we ever cease to be hereafter.

Just as in this body the embodied (soul) passes into childhood, youth and old age, so also does he pass into another body; the firm man does not grieve thereat…

…The unreal hath no being; there is no non-being of the Real; the truth about both has been seen by the knowers of the Truth.

Know That to be indestructible, by whom all this is pervaded. None can cause the destruction of That, the Imperishable.

Weapons cut It not, fire burns It not, water wets It not, wind dries It not.

This Self cannot be cut, burnt, wetted nor dried up. It is eternal, all-pervading, stable, ancient and immovable.”

So, the job, the house, the ‘stuff’. All the places we direct our attention: how important are they? You can’t take any of it with you.

At that final moment, when you are about to leave this body, the only thing that will matter is how you feel. That is important. You won’t be thinking about your bank balance, or your mortgage, or the news, or any of the other things that take up so much of our time these days.

You will be aware only of how you feel.

My advice: get out feeling good (without regret; without sadness; without fear).

Because perhaps death is just the first step of the next part of your journey, and the first step of any journey is a big one.

Get out feeling good.

‘Like ‘ it, share it, spread the love!

About Ben Ralston

Ben Ralston is a therapist, healer, advanced Sivananda Yoga teacher, and writer. His writings have been read by millions of people and can be found on Elephant Journal, Rebelle Society, and various other portals online. He has been teaching Yoga for 16 years in hotels, ashrams, beaches, gyms and rooftops worldwide. And he runs a busy international therapeutic practice from his home in rural Croatia. Offering sessions in person or via Skype, his therapeutic work is based on healing trauma, and the tools he uses for this are varied – mainly RPT, Shamanism, and energy work. He has also developed some of his own methods, particularly in the area of abuse trauma; ‘resource state’ awareness; and boundary reconstruction. He regularly runs retreats combining Yoga and other energetic exercises with his therapy. He would love nothing more than to see you on one of these retreats, since he believes that this approach to personal development is really the only effective way of bringing love and peace to global human society. Connect with Ben on Facebook. Read more of his writing on his new website with integrated blog! Yes, he's excited about that :)

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Comments

29 Responses to “Get out feeling good. (The wise grieve neither for the living nor for the dead).”

  1. Ben Ralston Ben_Ralston says:

    Leave a comment. Comments are good :)

  2. Wow. This is not only a well written piece, but also takes away that generally esoteric feeling I get when thinking of death and how that fits into this life. Keeping in mind that today, being Thursday, being the evening I teach, being a day in which I'll probably have some pasta, is also one day closer to death really does change the vibe. Thank you for writing this, for sharing your vision, and for reminding me that I am much, much more than my body. Kindly, ~Temple

  3. Laura says:

    Great article! This is a good point especially for a society with high expectations. I tend to forget these important things as I get stuck in the rat race, or fear. Having witnessed a close family member die from brain cancer, it really put things in perspective. During her illness and fight, she was a true hero who gracefully accepted life, death and everything in between.

  4. Iwona Borawska-Cebra says:

    Ohhhh… so that is why I refuse to attach myself to this life so consistently for a long time! short and wise explanation – thank you Ben! XOXO
    Iwona

  5. Tracy says:

    Thank you for putting into words exactly how I feel!

  6. iloveginger says:

    I want to live fearless!! feeling comfort after ready this piece Ben, it has changed my day..this morning..one day closer to death.

  7. Nadine McNeil Nadine says:

    Awesome! Love it!

  8. Tanya Lee Markul tanya lee markul says:

    Great article! Very inspiring!

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Assoc. Yoga Editor
    Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook
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  9. Lezlee says:

    A wonderful article, thank you Ben.

    I have no conscious fear of death and hope to pass over with a smile on my face. Although I am in no hurry to leave this time, this visit to earth, I look forward to the day I am released from this body with excitement!

    As you say, this body is just a vehicle to carry our true selves around while we are here. We come to be a part of something; to learn, to grow and, possibly the most important part, to ‘experience.’ Sadly we forget all this as we enter the world and struggle to find meaning in existence. Thankfully, more and more people are waking up to the fact that there is more to us than what we physically see; much much more.

    Due to my beliefs being the same as yours I don't see the need to grieve much either as I look forward to the day I will be reunited with kindred spirits, on the other side. People I have been blessed to know have spent the time here they were meant to and if they have passed over, then it was their time to pass over and be released from their physical vehicle. It seems to me that people attach so much emotion to others that if someone dies they are completely beside themselves with grief and I wonder if it's because of their fear of death for themselves. I look forward to the day when we celebrate the person’s life and celebrate that we got the chance to spend time with them rather than focusing on the fact that we think we will never see them again. In any parting of ways, either through passing over, moving physically away, losing touch etc, we should reflect on the time we had with that person and ponder on what we may have learnt. In every relationship there are lessons to learn for all.

    What puzzles me is why this vehicle has to be so bloomin complicated inside!!

  10. Tanya Lee Markul tanya lee markul says:

    Just posted to "Featured Today" on the Elephant Yoga homepage. <3

  11. Tanya Lee Markul tanya lee markul says:

    Just posted to "Popular Lately" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

  12. […] Get out feeling good. (The wise grieve neither for the living nor for the dead)./a> […]

  13. […] Get out feeling good. (The wise grieve neither for the living nor for the dead)./a> […]

  14. Melissa says:

    This is one i will definitely revisit. I want to print it out and hang it on my wall! Thank you, Ben!
    Much love,
    Melissa

  15. Sam Drewel says:

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  16. Glenn says:

    Ben, you nailed it again…another great article bringing us back to the simple important truths. Ties in with a quote I read couple of days ago that stopped me in my tracks "You're afraid to die and you're afraid to live…what a way to exist"..So hard to break out of this inner prison we've/they've built into ourselves. More power to you, your articles are very interesting to read, relevant and just good soul food. Keep them coming!

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