Fear of death (abhinivesha) and Marriage, what does one have to do with the other?



It’s been a while since I’ve written. As some of you might know, I was busy planning a wedding… Yes, I got married last month! It was indeed a lovely day – although my family from Mexico couldn’t be with us due to the current travel restrictions (but we hope to be able to celebrate again at some point with them).

Here a pic from our first dance <3

Our first dance to Mariachi

Now that the party is over, the papers are signed and I got a new last name, people keep asking me how I feel now that I’m married. I feel the same as before. Our lives haven't changed much since (we live together for a couple of years now). Except I did get a major panic attack a week before the wedding... The excuse was that I thought I would have a rainy wedding, but the reality is that I was kind of freaking out about losing myself in this “new identity”. I had nightmares about dying and couldn't sleep much. In hindsight, I think that fear of death was mainly that fear of “dying” in my marriage. Of losing myself as the woman that I am, independent, determined, empowered.


Abhinivesha - Fear of Death


Fear of death or abhinivesha is the last of the five kleshas according to the Yoga Sutras of Pantajali (check out my last post about the kleshas). We can also say that is the desire to hold on to life. We are deeply attached to our identities, to our bodies, to this life we’re living, and somehow, along the way, we tend to forget that we will all leave this wonderful planet at some point.


It is this attachment that feeds our ego, and our egos, that feed our attachment to things, to our identities, to our bodies.


After I had the major panic attack and calmed down, I remembered the number question we use during meditation – Who am I?


As sanskritstudies.org beautiful puts it:

“In Yoga, the one truth is that You are the light of the Self. And although You have a body and mind, you are not the body and mind alone. Knowing this on an intellectual level is a beginning, but it is hardly enough to fully grasp its depth. To live this teaching, you will have to spend time with it and work to understand it’s meaning and then integrate that understanding into your life."

So I asked myself that question again and again and remembered what Yoga has been trying to teach me for the past decade. I remembered that it is the process of detachment, of letting go of our egos, that brings us closer to our true nature (Samadhi).


“Through daily practice (Kriya Yoga), authentic spiritual study and surrender to the divine, we minimize the kleshas and cultivate samadhi.” (YS 2.2)


A lot of people think that Samadhi means enlightenment, and that enlightenment means you’ll become somehow superior to others. I like to think that Samadhi is the process of surrendering and recognizing the beauty of just being, that you see all things as they are, and that you find peace and happiness within yourself and nowhere else.


My nightmares about dying were just a way of me processing my fear of letting go of what I have identified with for so long – my last name, my civil status, when in reality, I am still me. Yes, marriage is uncertain, no matter how beautiful your vows were, no matter how many promises you made to each other, there is always a risk that your marriage might not work out in the end, or that at times you do have to end up giving a little bit more of yourself that you would normally do (especially if there are children involved).


So yes, I surrendered. I consciously decided to surrender to love, to the beauty of impermanence and uncertainty. Because I know that I am still here, I will always be here, and should I ever forget, Yoga will always be there to remind me of it 😊.


If you’re ever feeling overwhelmed, I invite you to try this short meditation. Feel free to let me know if it helped you.



With love and purpose,

Melissa

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