Mark Whitwell on Death is the Nurturing

Morning in Tibet near Lake Manasarovar | Mark Whitwell | Photograph by Audrey Billups

In the culture of Veda, they say that at the point of birth we are allocated a certain number of breaths and when those breaths are used up then you die. So it is a good thing to lengthen the power of our breath and to let the breath slow down in our day-to-day life.

My teacher TKV Desikachar said “To measure the success of your practice, you take the pulse and at the end of the practice it should have slowed down.”

It is not a matter of manipulating the breath but allowing the natural state to function. The body is slowing the breath down because that is what it wants to do. The breath is slow during sleep and it is slow when the body is calm and in relationship. This is why we say: “Leave the body alone, give it a chance.” Your body will breathe. Your body knows what to do.

And one day, we won’t take our next breath. We will go into sublimity; into mother’s arms; into the great mysterious nurturing field of Reality Itself. Death is a human need and she takes you back to the One love. Even death is a healing event that we need at a certain point.

In my personal experience with the dying I have seen that there can be an utter pleasure for the person as they merge back to their Source. Friends and family have described it in terms like delicious, exquisite and utter peace. In death, the body drops and the source heart and its flow remains in its infinite condition.

The flow of nurturing from Mount Kailash down to the world | Mark Whitwell | Photograph by Audrey Billups

When my Father died I was saying “Dad, don’t go. Your job is to stay around and get well.” He said, “Don’t worry son it’s a good deal.” He was an ordinary New Zealand man and he meant it. He said you just get tired and you want to go. I could feel his relief as he relaxed into the natural process of dying. He was graciously folding up and in and away from conditions and his body.

At a certain point towards the end of his life, he said, “I just need to go.”

Everything is as it is meant to be. Death is not a problem to be overcome but part of an organic process of nurturing. Pain is the healing and death is the healing. The universe is a perfect intelligence that is operating and knows what it is doing. This includes spitting out the toxicity that humans are creating on Mother Earth and it might have to spit out the whole of the human species to restore itself if we don’t cooperate and support her.

Because Mother Nature is definitely supporting us. She provides us with everything we need for a good life including the absolute attraction and love adoration of one another. Love, sex, creativity, the air, the water and all the food that we need.

This Life is an extraordinary phenomena and we are not to ignore it anymore through our secular mind of looking for something beyond it all and fearing our death.

Mark Whitwell | Heart of Yoga | Video by the Nomadic Filmmaker

In the tradition of the Guru-Sirsa relationship, there is a phenomenon where if the Guru dies he or she is still available, even in some sort of curious bodily form. They are still available as an Ishta, as somebody you can have an ongoing relationship with.

Many of my Christian friends describe how Christ is available to them. We honour the traditions of Christianity and Islam and Buddhism and Hinduism that hold this wisdom.

It is a very curious matter! My friend U.G. Krishnamurti would say, “The body changes form but it does not die.”

I speak about that not only because it is my experience but because it is the experience of everybody. When your parents die, for example, they are curiously still available to you. Love never goes. The love that is your mother and father never leaves you because mother-father love is the substance of existence. And many people report their still being form and identity to that love.

This beautiful realm that we live in is not some bland material existence that when you die there is only blackness. Life is a sublime Unity and death is a human need within the One Love.

*Join me and my friends in the Heart of Yoga Online Studio for live classes, workshops and personal help in establishing a home Yoga practice that is right for you — no gymnastics, no commercial activity, just friends sharing the wisdom tools.

Follow Mark Whitwell on Twitter.




Mark Whitwell has worked as a Yoga teacher around the world for the last 45 years and is the author of 4 books on Yoga. He lives in Fiji with his wife Rosalind.

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Mark Whitwell

Mark Whitwell

Mark Whitwell has worked as a Yoga teacher around the world for the last 45 years and is the author of 4 books on Yoga. He lives in Fiji with his wife Rosalind.

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