“We don’t have to wait for the end to awaken to what most matters to us,” writes Senior iRest Trainer and Retreat Leader Anne Douglas. Drawing from the tenets of iRest Yoga Nidra Meditation, Anne has developed a gentle support program to help those who are navigating times of loss and transition. “iRest in Peace” includes the following contemplative essay, along with a two-hour webinar offering the opportunity to reframe death as part of a natural cycle. Read more from Anne below and learn more about the webinar here>
"We have to nourish our insight into impermanence every day. If we do, we will live more deeply, suffer less, and enjoy life much more." ~Thich Nhat Hanh
The ancient practice of yoga nidra is as relevant and impactful today as it was thousands of years ago. Yoga nidra (or yogic sleep) invites us to “wake up” to the profound well-being that fundamentally abides within. Any devotee of iRest Yoga Nidra Meditation knows the potential of its time-tested practices to nurture the human capacity to meet life’s challenges and encourage resiliency. iRest awakens the experience of resting in peace, and as peace.
When facing final days or hours, folks might reflect upon the moments that mattered most—recalling precious offerings of unconditional love, the freedom of forgiveness, or playful encounters with our nearest and dearest. Yet there is no need to wait for the end to awaken to such meaning. iRest in Peace offers a “dress rehearsal” for death that invites you to come to this clarity now, and thereby live life more fully each day.
Death dress rehearsals help to soften the fear of death. The more we practice dying, the more fearlessly and fully alive we can become. The abiding peace and imperturbability from our practice begins to manifest more and more in the foreground of our daily experience.
Yoga nidra mimics the experience of falling into sleep. In sleep, we lay down our heads and let go of our bodies, and gradually the sense of self goes “off- line”. In iRest, we lay down and progressively feel more deeply, letting go of each layer of experience, opening to profound states of relaxation and ease. We can use this practice of letting go as a metaphor for the surrender that is asked of each of us at the end of life, as body functions gradually shut down.
iRest works by guiding us from gross levels of experience to subtle levels of sensations, of brain wave states, and states of consciousness. We thus build capacity to sensitize to qualities of our essential nature that are unchanging and eternal, equanimous, and sublime. In this way, that which was previously elusive can be deeply met and embodied.
As we wake up to the undying, eternal self, let us come to the end of our days free from fear and ready to surrender the cloak of the body-mind, dissolving like a wave into the ocean of consciousness. In that surrender, we can see death not as a tragic end or failure, but as a natural cycle in its completion. The body dies, but the true self is undying.
Want to learn more about cultivating peace and waking up to the undying self? Download the full webinar: "iRest in Peace: Meditations for End of Life & Awakening to the Undying Self">