The Death of Me

Oct 04, 2021

By Terryann Nikides


At 11 years old, my grandmother's brother, a tall, strong, handsome man of only 48 years old, came to visit. I sensed something was wrong. My grandmother and mother were not home. He left. My mother arrived to find me panicking. She said she would see him later. I was not relieved. The moment is frozen in my mind.

 

My bedroom was next to where the green rotary phone was kept. It was ringing in the wee hours of the morning. My mother picked up the phone. She said, "What? What happened?" I knew he was gone. I had known it all day--this feeling of loss. Death's smell permeated the air, even before it happened. She continued, "A car accident? He is dead!" I lay in bed crying, my chest heavy with loss. Not only the loss of my uncle but the loss of childhood and the fleeting moment where I might have warned him.

 

Not only was my mother's family impacted by the loss of my uncle, but my father had his own story of grief to transmute. My father's father died at 48, when my father was only 6 years old. My great uncle and father had become dear friends. My great uncle's death was at the exact same age as my grandfather's! I grieved for my father's loss of both men in his life.

 

And so, I began to prepare myself for the death of my grandparents. We lived in the same home. At my young age, they seemed old; of course, they were not. They had many years to live. But I was driven to prepare for their death at the tender age of 11.

 

As I passed through the death of my childhood, and teen years gave way to young adulthood, fantastical notions of life died as well. Awareness of death made its way into my daily life, including the death of how I used my intuition. The use of my intuition, since age 3, could be easily described as, "If I knew something was going to happen, then I could prevent it." My intuition and the death of my uncle rigidified the notion that "I could control an outcome." However, life clearly demonstrated that this was not possible. This led to great mental conflict.

 

In my twenties, I began meditating for eight hours a night and practicing different methods of manipulating my intuition, such as rewiring the mind and channeling. My greatest nemesis was the mind's contents – thoughts. The greatest suffering I experienced was in my thinking. I mistakenly thought that I could resolve each conflict in my mind with opposing thoughts. What resulted were further conflicting thoughts! I kept thinking, "I need to die to the old thinking, to the old me. Then and only then will I be free." But how?

 

In one of the moments where I was melodramatically pitying myself, falling deeper and deeper into desperation, something alchemical occurred. I saw clearly what needed to be done. I was to meditate on DEATH. Each day, I was to awaken to, "today is my last day." My first experience was alleviation of conflict.

 

At the time, I was working in the family business. It was a very hard time. I had been inexplicably fainting for five years. It had become quite dangerous. I had smashed my face on a steel bar, fallen under a moving bus, and been found at an elevator with the doors opening and closing on me.

 

After a few years of meditating on death, I noticed that the strength of the "me" concept was waning. One day, I awoke without the need to outperform the previous day to please my father. I awoke without the need for security. I awoke without the need for anything. This single day marked my resignation from the family business, and I stopped fainting entirely.

 

In one fell swoop, my old life – the old notions of "me" – died and something new was born: Adventure. Life was now unimpeded by delusions of "what if." I continued to meditate daily on death. I lived every day as though it was my last.

 

However, after years of practice, what became evident was that I had not killed the concept of "me." The "me" concept continued to plague my mind. In my teen years, I would dramatically tell my mother that I wanted to kill myself. In my melodrama, I omitted telling her it was my mind's concept of myself that I wanted to die not my Self! Ah, the drama of a Greek teenager.

 

What became clear eventually is that I did not like mental conflict. It all came down to the concept of what I thought was "me" and a massively agonizing addiction to these thoughts. Of course, at the time, I only wanted the concept of "me" to die, but I had yet to become aware of my identification with the contents of my mind.

 

Early in my career as an energy practitioner, what struck me most was the ubiquitous focus on symptomatology, rather than the "source" of symptoms. The mind's inability to grasp paradoxical sources of illness meant that it only focused on what was most obvious – the symptom. However, tending to symptoms impedes the capacity to be present to "what is" and focuses on "what isn't."  This harkens back to my childhood thinking that "If I knew something might happen, then I could control the outcome." Such thinking clearly omits the complexity of life. For example, as a child, if I knew a relationship would ultimately not work out, then I should help prevent the relationship. Such an assessment assumes that life, death and rebirth should be eliminated. Stilted, neurotic, childish thinking cannot bear the complexity of a relationship where children will be born to the couple, there will be good times and bad, there will be new insights, old patterns will die, there will be learning, exploring and adventure. There will exist an entire journey.

 

Horizontal, linear thinking tries to eliminate the journey and witnesses only the symptom or outcome, such as "the relationship will ultimately not work." Of course, prognostication, running around like Cassandra yelling "Troy" is burning, has rarely catalyzed transformation. Ultimately, living life without death (or simply being unwilling to experience an undesired outcome or symptom) is anathema to living life. I finally awakened to the journey. Death will come to everyone and everything as it is the nature of life.

 

Despite my realization that the journey was all there is, I did not like, to say the least, the part of the journey that contained mental conflict.

 

Then I found myself in a BreakThrough course with its founder Esther Veltheim. Throughout the class, I grieved – not for the loss of the "me" concept, but for a lifetime of grief caused by the "me" concept and my years of unwitting identification with it. I quickly became a BreakThrough Instructor.

 

I have often described BreakThrough as the French describe an orgasm – "le petit mort," or "the little death" in English. In each class, in each session, the "me" concept loses some of its grip. Or as Esther Veltheim describes it, in BreakThrough we are "breaking the spell of the mind."

 

It has taken many years for the spell of this mind to break. Of course, the complexity of the human psyche and my unconscious involvement continues to be part of my journey. It will continue until it too dies and something new is born.


Terryann Nikides, B.A.Psych

SrBrI, BrI, ParBP, CBP,

Reiki Master, SRI, Tarot Mastery

www.leurbanretreat.com

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