Wear the World as a Loose Garment
This past week we had a member of our community pass away. It brought me back to the bedside of my father in his final 72 hours. Nothing remained; all the tattvas had been purified. The man who was my father, the kind, wise, funny, brilliant, caring small-town doctor was now just bone and breath—and that for only a short while longer. When Saint Francis spoke these words, “wear the world as a loose garment,” he was referencing this all-too-short life we live and how we should approach living it. He was cautioning us to not become too attached. But as I reflect on these words in light of this path, the path of Kundalini Yoga, there’s so much more we can give to this simple phrase.
In our path, we speak of Sahej, in fact it’s one of the five stages of Spiritual Maturity or Wisdom. And it means ease. To come to a place of ease and grace in our practice is to find ourselves on the threshold of mastery. To come to a place of ease as a woman is to give up the pretenses of make-up and tight clothes because we know have nothing to make up for—and anything we can’t breathe in doesn’t belong in our closet anymore. To come to a place of ease in our own lives is to understand that all we can do is our best; the rest is in the hands of the doer, Karta Purkh. To come to a place of ease, sahej, is to come into a state of acceptance of what is. We quit trying so hard. We quit pushing the river. We quit anything and everything that used to tie us up in knots, whether it’s what our neighbors might think, what our children might do, what our partner might say. We quit judging everything and everyone—including ourselves. We loosen our belts and take a deep breath and see what lies before us as good. And in this way, we align ourselves with God who sees it all as good, in the beginning and in the end.
Sahej is a state of peace and equanimity. It’s a state of non-judgment. It’s a state of rest. So take it easy today. Life is short, but it’s also long. Loosen up a bit. Laugh as often as you can. Be at ease at least once every day. And you may find, oddly enough, that the rest takes care of itself.
If death serves as that reminder to us of these basic things, then may we be brave enough to look into its face often enough to remember: It is a good day to die, and with that as your foundation, Live!