Wednesday, January 26, 2011


The most significant lesson of 2010 for me was death.

On the 3rd day of the year, I collapsed twice. Apparently, I was blood-less, weary, fatigued -- and had no one to talk to. That was the doctor's assessment, and it was only partially true. I had someone to talk to, but I was away from that someone in a cold, wintry town with power and heat outages. On that day, as my heart collapsed twice, I could not reach the only person who listens to me. 

In the initial hours of my collapse, I did not quite fathom what was happening. I was only very sure of one thing: I was dying. 

I had never, ever imagined death to be a feeling so friendless, so cold, so completely an annihilator of all attachment. 

I was in the town attending a wedding, and yet I had a feeling that I had parted from the world. My chest felt a certain coldness, a darkness. At night, unable to sleep for fear of falling through, I felt myself departing and returning, departing and returning. It was all in the region of the heart. My heart felt a terrible despair, a sadness, a reversal of time. Perhaps more macabre than the feeling was my utter sadness at the lack of preparation for the moment. 

When I was younger, I found life an explosion of color and energy... and yet I felt a marvelous firmness, a stillness, a base underneath it all. It was a power, a friend, a magic that I faced. Intuitively, I knew, that I would one day explode into it. I will become dust, and I will be a whole, full part of it again when I die. And only when I die. And this peculiar knowledge made me willing to die. More so, it made me embrace life with a fervor!

And yet here I was, physically obliterating, and I felt weighed down. 

You know, as I am writing these words down, the whole imagery of becoming a part of 'it' again through death has made absolute sense to me. Just now. I came from that magic, after all, that I am looking at. A woman somewhere here has carried me for 9 months until I came to be a separate body. An animal here is related to another animal that I consumed at one point, and part of it still resides as my muscle. I ate plants from this Magic. I breathed out into it (I exhaled), and it breathed into me (I inhaled). I excreted into it, too. When I die, my body is going to disintegrate into this Magic again. This Magic is where I came from. This Magic is where I am going to go into. 


This I only realized now. Just now, as I am sitting by a spectacularly well-lit white window, watching the dazzling, warm afternoon sun rays strike upon the luminous green flesh of the plants in my garden. It is a brilliant scene, bursting with life and color. 

I struggled a few days after my collapse with an immense feeling of darkness, of gray, of weight, of old age, of time. I felt as if I were 70 or 89, and I was about to part the world having tasted little of its fruits. I felt angered, sad, terrible. 

My goal immediately become to lighten the burden that I was carrying. I returned home as soon as I could, took medicine that worked at -- I later realized -- at a very deadly bout of flu that had attacked me in early 2004. I had managed to fight and resist it, while still managing extremely hard work. But it had managed to harm me. 

I had one of my most intimate prayers in a long time when I returned home. Standing on my prayer rug I felt, after years, that I was face to face with Allah. I spoke with Hu. I shared that I was taken by such utter sad surprise that I was not ready to die. What a shame it was! If I had any grace, I would leave even if I had a burden on my shoulder. But here I was, still left to live, feeling that my sole task now was to chuck this weight off.

It is fantastic that I have still put on more weight since that close brush with death. I went on to do more, and yet my pledge was that I would do less. In other words, it took me a while yet longer to slow down, to slow down, to sow down my rapid progress on the wrong path. 

I finally started turning around on 01 October 2010. That is when I started a Sabbatical. What is this Sabbatical about? Heck, I don't know and I don't want to know until what I am to know becomes apparent. What it is certainly about is me sitting with myself, listening to myself. I feel relieved now. 

What do I want at the end of this Sabbatical? I want to be the person who is willing to die immediately the moment death comes. This is the only state in which you will ever taste your life fully. This is only state in which you know what it means to be alive. 



1 comment:

  1. Amen! And prayers for your continuing recovery and good health :)

    Ya Haqq!