A couple days ago, I felt the brush of death on my neck. I had gotten out of my car to stretch my legs before driving up the canyon to my home. Imagine my surprise when I heard a distinct rattle and looked over to see a big rattlesnake less than a foot away! I turned quickly and put a safe distance between myself and the snake. It was a jarring experience and had I stepped just a few inches closer, surely I’d have been struck. I was alone and far from a hospital; it could have easily turned into an emergency situation.
In the Tibetan Buddhist lineage I study, we focus a lot on death. It isn’t meant to bum anyone out, but rather to breathe life into the very fact that because we are born we shall pass. There is interdependence between birth and death and the life that you live between these two milestones.
A good death meditation is designed to get you motivated to live your life more fully. Here’s how to do it!
After taking a few moments to settle into your meditation practice (don’t know how? Here’s a practice that can help), spend a little time contemplating each of these points:
- Remember that death is inevitable. Because you were born, you will die.
- Recall that you don’t know the hour of your death. We fantasize about falling asleep peacefully at an advanced age, but once we’ve lived long enough to know that accidents happen, illness happens, and we don’t know when they might strike, we grow up a bit and acknowledge our fragility as humans.
- Nothing can ultimately keep us alive and even the things that we think can do so often are the very thing that take us out (like the long distance runner who passes away unexpectedly from a heart attack).
- This inspires us to live a good life by helping others through kind words and actions. It inspires us to lean into what it means to live an aligned and generous life.
Then take a few moments to rejoice in small and large acts of kindness you’ve done for others in your lifetime.
Having a plan in place for when we die can create more ease during this difficult time for both ourselves and our loved ones. As the snake slithered away and I drove away none the worse for wear, I was happy that I have outlined my wishes for my loved ones.
Mind Oasis is very proud to launch the Circumpunct Society, our planned giving circle. I have made a 100k personal gift to Mind Oasis via my life insurance and will, for when I pass away. Please join me in leaving a legacy that supports our vision of Connecting a Compassionate Global Community well into the future. Then please let us know so that we can thank you in your lifetime!