It’s a Rare Honor to Die On the Way to Kailas

“Every Night & every Morn
Some to Misery are Born
Every Morn and every Night
Some are Born to sweet delight
Some are Born to sweet delight
Some are Born to Endless Night
We are led to Believe a Lie
When we see not Thro the Eye
Which was Born in a Night to perish in a Night
When the Soul Slept in Beams of Light
God Appears & God is Light
To those poor Souls who dwell in Night
But does a Human Form Display
To those who Dwell in Realms of day.”

– from Auguries of Innocence, by William Blake

One of the saddest things to me is to see people who claim to follow a specific spiritual path completely abandon any semblance of the respective path when encountering the sobering reality of life.

Our spiritual path is DEFINED by how we use it to navigate the deserts and mirages of Samsara.

If you abandon all aspects of your spiritual life when encountering any danger or samsaric illusions, have you wasted all your time?

Eastern religions constantly remind practitioners to contemplate Death…daily. This is not a joke or a metaphor.

This is like someone claiming to study Kung Fu, dedicating years of their life going to class. Yet when they encounter a physical danger, they break down and cry and are unable to use any tool they claim to have studied.

This reminds me of one of my teachers from India. We were hiking at 29,000 altitude in the Himalayas and we witnessed two people dying of altitude sickness. I was the medically trained person on our team and was asked to help the dying.

The individuals dying we calm and peaceful, one said to me, “it’s a rare honor to die on the way to Kailas, I’m very blessed by Shiva.” Many individuals around the dying were screaming and crying, unable to deal with the reality of the situation.

My teacher quietly said to me “We are literally in sight of the most sacred space of Mount Kailas, yet these people act like children. What have they even learned with their years of yoga study?”

It was an important question, one which deeply inspired me to take every moment of practice seriously. The spiritual path is not about joy and peace and happiness. It is a daily contemplation of death, the fragility of life, and the rare blessing of a human incarnation.

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