I didn’t expect my first post to be about death, but I suppose that represents how death is generally viewed in Western culture — known to occur but rarely discussed.
So I draw on my yoga teachings. This is fitting since Margo was one of my first yoga teachers.
In receiving the news, I became the observer of my own reaction. I dug deep into my memory to recall Margo’s classes that I attended in the local school gym, at the pool facilities, and finally in her own studio. I google Margo’s image as though not wanting to lose the impression of her eyes and smile in my mind. Will I remember what she looks like? Can I still hear the sweetness in her voice?
Then I ask myself, does it matter? Another opportunity to practice non-attachment.
Avidya is the Sanskrit word meaning ignorance or false understanding. Raga, meaning attachment, is one of the four branches of avidya. Wanting something that I do not have is raga, and her death is a reminder of wanting to keep something that I need to let go. Attachment does not have to be as big as a death. It could be wanting the latest cell phone that everyone else has, or wanting your yoga pose to feel like it felt the last time you practiced. All forms of attachment cloud our perceptions. And believing in our clouded view, we are likely to act incorrectly.
I like to think of the four avidya branches as clouds in the sky that block the sun. When I am aware of my attachments, it helps to blow some clouds away so that the sun can shine through. This helps me see things more clearly and I experience a deep sense of peace.
When I remember these yoga teachings, I realize that Margo is still my teacher as she transitions on. In the funeral I attended this afternoon, the minister talked about the dash between the birth year and the year of death. “It’s the dash that matters,” he said. “That’s the part that really counts.” Margo’s dash was extraordinary, and I am grateful and honoured that our dashes crossed in this life.