whitelight-751676.jpgI read recently about a yoga meditation where you lie down, close your eyes, and imagine your own death. You “practice dying.” The point is that by being able to face such a moment calmly, we can live our current lives more fully, with deeper gratitude and appreciation for the present moment.

So I tried it. I stretched out, closed my eyes, breathed deeply for several moments, and began to imagine:

I found myself on a bed, frail and barely conscious. Only two people were there, my wife and my son. My son had grey-streaked hair, my wife snow white. My mind was clear but I knew the end was near. There were no pithy words, nothing really memorable that I wanted to say, just to tell my wife and child that I loved them more than words could say, that I hoped I’d been able to live my love for them every day, that life with them had been good, that I’d miss them. Goodbye, hope to see you soon. Words we might all say, perhaps banal to some in their everyday ordinariness. Moving to me because they sprung to mind so readily, bluntly reminding me of the essential basics of life.

Letting go was like slipping smoothly beneath the ocean, a quick and painless darkness flowing over me, a contented release.

Reactions to this exercise may vary and, obviously, I’ve got a fertile imagination. I found it strangely calming and centering. I tried it a second time a bit later and found myself “traveling” in my mind’s eye and bidding farewell to other important people in my life, telling them what they meant to me, hugging them, thanking them. It left me wondering, “Why wait to tell them how I feel?”

Practicing dying is a powerful meditation, a moving exercise I highly recommend to you.

Closing Quotes:

“All human beings should try to learn
before they die what they are running from,
and to, and why.”
– James Thurber (1894-1961), American writer and cartoonist

“Do not fear death so much,
but rather the inadequate life.”
– “Mother Courage and Her Children,” by Bertolt Brecht

“Because I have loved life,
I shall have no sorrow to die.”
– Amelia Josephine Burr 1878-1968, American poet