By Marc Lerner
Why wait till the end of your life to consciously accept you are going to die? We all will die. Most people have a hard time even thinking about their death, but that is your ego’s resistance. In your most conscious moments, you embrace life instead of your mind-made reality. I have had MS for over 30 years; I am in a wheelchair, legally blind with several handicaps that destroy the quality of my life. I suffer from intense pain. For these reasons, I do not resist death; in fact, at times I would welcome it. You could say this is a terrible situation, but it has given me the opportunity to really study death and the way I approach it
I find that life attachments keep me from going deep inside. They are like a life preserver I subconsciously hold onto. Letting go of them allows me to go deep — to a depth that is beyond thinking — where I connect to the wisdom of my body. Imagine the things we are attached to, such as the clothes we wear. This covering makes us feel secure (if we were naked in the middle of a public event, we would not feel so secure). Think of attachments as the clothes you wear, and also the heartfelt joy you feel when getting in bed with your lover naked. Approaching death consciously is removing your attachments as you get closer to death. When you let go of these attachments, you naturally embrace life, like embracing your lover.
To help me prepare for this final journey, I wrote a book called The End: A Creative Approach to Death. The first part of this book helped me be clear about what is involved in approaching death. The second part consists of 40 poems that helped me to prepare from a creative perspective. Here are a few excerpts:
Many of us have lived a life where we have become proficient in accomplishing goals; we live our lives in that state of mind. When we are close to the end of life, what is our goal? In our lives, we have been “the Doer,” where we do things by focusing on our thoughts. Preparing for death requires us to also be “the Receiver.”
Of course, there are things to do to prepare for this ultimate journey, but we also have to receive to get valuable input from our deepest inner wisdom. The majority of our character was created by habits developed as children, but most children never learned how to prepare for death.
Consciously approaching death involves utilizing powerful inner resources in a selfless way. This inner journey does not serve your ego, but it definitely brings you closer to life. If preparation can give you a better connection to life, why wait until the end of your life to prepare? It would serve everyone to prepare for death, even when it was not yet a threat. My best preparation happens when I transcend my ego and surrender in consciousness. As Lao Tzu said: “It is best to prepare for death while you are still alive.”
Basically, we think to our self-image. If you think to your Positive Self, you will get positive responses. If you think to your Negative Self, you will get negative responses. As you read this book, the importance of the Positive Self will become clear, especially in dying, for you want to have positive interpretations at this time.
You will learn how to develop self-trust, which allows you to use inner resources to be in the moment consciously, ready for that passing. You will learn how your breath is a vehicle that can transport consciousness into Silence, which activates the Wisdom of Your Body and creativity as you pass.
Too many people view death as tragic. Their focus is in the rearview mirror as they mourn what they are leaving behind. Of course, mourning is healthy as long as you are aware and conscious of where you are going. This is a natural process. Sometimes when I say I want to die, it leads to mourning, and I cry. I welcome emotional release, because I do not want my approach to death to be an intellectual exercise.
Unfortunately, most people resist freedom, as they hold onto what their ego identifies with; there is no freedom in holding on like that. “Confidence” comes from the Latin, “con fide,” or with faith, and it takes confidence to face death without holding onto your mind-made reality. Actually, it takes the same confidence to face death as it does to face life, where you are totally free, connected to life in the moment. It is difficult for the ego to comprehend real freedom, because we are attached to our ego, and freedom comes when you are free from all attachments.
In Stillness Speaks, Eckhart Tolle said: “In the last few moments before physical death, and as you die, you then experience yourself as consciousness free of form. Suddenly, there is no more fear, just peace and a knowing that ‘all is well’ and that death is only a form dissolving.” You need to learn how to separate your consciousness from your mind-made reality. From this state of being, you will find passing to be easy and without fear, attachments, or resistance. I think it is good to work toward that as you master approaching death.
I have a formula that I will develop in this book that gives you control over the quality of life as you approach death: Anxiety = approaching death x your resistance. As you approach death, your anxiety increases as your resistance increases. If you learn the art of surrender, your resistance will decrease until you approach death without anxiety.
The Eckhart Tolle quote allows this to happen naturally. As you develop strong habits, you can allow this to happen without creating resistance. The quality of life does not depend on the health of your body; it depends on your focus. In your approach to death, develop the focus that serves you in creating the quality Eckhart Tolle talked about in passing.
When you do this work ahead of time, it also makes it easier for those who love you and care for you. It allows them to relate to you consciously in the moment and say goodbye. There is always mourning when you deal with death, but there can also be a celebration when it is done consciously. Join me in creating the conscious moment, where you pass into a new dimension and celebrate.
Time seems to be changing for me,
Minutes seem to be so long
And even 10 seconds seem to last forever.
Maybe that is it,
I must be getting closer to forever.
Marc Lerner, age 62, has had multiple sclerosis since 1981. A Michigan State graduate in psychology, he worked for 25 years with cancer and AIDS patients, veterans with PTSD, and the mentally ill homeless. In 1982, he founded Life Skills Institute and began writing and giving seminars. His books include A Healthy Way to Be Sick, The Positive Self, and soon, The End: A Creative Way to Approach Death. All are available on Amazon. His website is lifeskillsinc.com. Marc can be contacted at (734) 913-0868.