At Tiruvannamalai, for some of us seekers, it is considered cool to just be, to not follow any spiritual practice. Some of the masters like Ramana Maharishi, Nisargadutta Maharaj, and Ramesh Balsekar, we interpreted their teachings as a 'do nothing' philosophy.
In the Ramanashram, it is engraved on stone the process which Bhagwan went through and achieved self -realisation. When he was barely sixteen years old, fear of death overcame him. His response was to lie down and face it (!), and so he imagined the physical symptoms of death. His body being immobile, carried to the funeral pyre and then burning. After half an hour, he realized that which does not die, the everpresent 'I'.
I always thought this is the way it happened to one great soul, it was his time. I never realized that this could also be a meditation technique, a method, till I heard this talk on you tube.
The obsession with playing dead transcends Hinduism, or even kids. Some of the nuns follow the practice of lying in an open coffin for a couple of hours before sleeping. Some of the sufi's dig pits in the desert and go kaput. And a particular buddhist monk's initiation is done after he spends three months attending funeral pyres.
Swami Nithyananda also narrates how he overcame his fear of death at the Manikarna ghat, Varanasi, by watching dead bodies burning at the akhanda smashaan (continuously burning pyres).
One loses respect for death as one sees numerous bodies, of all shapes and sizes, going up in smoke. When so many of us die again and again, we have company, what is there to be afraid of.
When my sister was shooting her diploma film in the Film Institute, she needed a woman to play a dead body, wrapped up in white and tied to the wooden plank, being carried on four shoulders at the chanting of 'Ram Naam Satya Hai.'
I willingly offered to lie me down, tired as I was by all the running around! Although she was slightly un-nerved at the thought, my sister finally gave me the role, as there was no one else as eager.
And, although this happened much before I got into the seeking business, it was so beautiful to be still, and silent, and surrendering ...
Edited to add: After writing this post I did something I have been wanting to do since days: a half an hour session of Yoga.
I did only one asana, guess which?