You are not brave
until you do
what you are scared of doing.
Picture: Impermanência Azul by jeronimo sanz on Flickrby
– You’re going to be scared, he assured me.
– I find that highly unlikely.
– Trust me, you will. There are spirits at work here.
– I’m open to the experience, but I would be very surprised if anything here manages to scare me.
Then we split up and each found our own spot in the cemetery, where we sat down to meditate with the hindu goddess Kali – the goddess of death and transformation. It was in the middle of the night and dark all around. I invoked her energy and also clearly said that I was open to being scared.
Then we meditated for three hours.
I had some nice emotions and images connected to death and transformation. I saw myself eating my own foot which I had chopped off. I saw myself working in a deep tunnel, unaware that my canary was dead. But was I scared? Not the slightest.
And as if wanting to underline that there was nothing to be afraid of, behind the cemetery a pond of frogs were going totally crazy with mating calls. “Make sweet, sweet love to me”, they were crying out, while we were doing our best to get scared out of our wits.
Why I wasn’t scared? Well, there are at least three reasons.
1. Spirits aren’t scary. They are spirits, nothing else. Most spirits are very nice. Some need our help. Others are confused. A few are “bad” or “scary”. I know a lot of people freak out even thinking about them, but I am not one of them. I have met “scary” spirits, but my spontaneous response has been to laugh at them. I don’t laugh at them because I think laughing is a safe response. I don’t think at all. The laughter just bubbles up inside me, because “scary spirits” bark loudly, but are, in my experience, the tiniest of dogs.
2. Cemeteries are quiet spots. There might be a few cemeteries that are haunted, but generally cemeteries lack spirit activity. It is a place for burying dead bodies and a place of maggots feasting on those bodies. There is quite a lot of sadness expressed at cemeteries, but there is very little trauma. In those cases that spirits linger, they tend to linger at home or where they died. They don’t follow the body around, because they are separated from it. You can of course call on spirits anywhere, but to be quite honest I find it easier to get in contact with them in my own kitchen over a cup of tea, than in a quiet cemetery.
3. Death is the celebration of life. The Indian guru Osho expressed it beautifully when he said “Death is not the axe that cuts down the tree. It is the fruit that grows on it”. Understanding that life is at the very core of existence and never ceases, has made me confident that death is nothing more than a transformation, which is for the best. I can want to avoid pain, suffering and sadness, but not death.
So I started thinking. What places would be scarier to meditate on than a cemetery? Well… What about a slaughterhouse, while pigs and cows are being killed and sawed up? Or perhaps somewhere laden with trauma, like a place where people have been tortured and killed? Or why not in parliament, where people take the right to pass bills to oppress and persecute other humans and destroy the planet?
If there is something scary in this world, it isn’t spirits. It is living, breathing human beings doing wrong, while they are convinced that what they are doing is right.by