What Is ‘Conscious Dying’?

We’ve been hearing a lot lately about the importance of being ‘present’ in the moment and to be more intentional in every experience. What if a similar approach could also be applied to the moments leading up to death?
What Is ‘Conscious Dying’?

In Western culture, there is a predisposition to consider life and death as being mutually exclusive. That is, to think that moving closer to one is to be moving further away from the other. We tend to think of living and dying as two things that cannot occur at once, or that cannot be integral to each other. Thoughts of death are pretty much suppressed in favour of figuring out the best ways to cram the most into our years before we are forced to confront our decline.

The concept of dying consciously instead invites a way of looking at things that is more prevalent in Eastern cultures and religions. Here, death is often welcomed as a function of life itself, and as being necessary to the continuation of birth and rebirth cycles as part of the bigger picture.

That’s not to say that conscious dying is tied to one religion or spiritual path. Rather, it provides a modern framework for enhancing living through recognising that death can itself be “the key that opens the door of life” (as Father Guidalberto Bormolini so eloquently puts it).

Read on to unlock the path to conscious dying.

What does it mean to die consciously?

Conscious dying is essentially the idea that we can utilise the dying process as an opportunity to become more present and loving, shedding ego and exposing the true soul. Prolific figures in the conscious dying movement and spiritual guides (like death doulas) who provide end-of-life support teach the possibility of making the dying experience a conscious act. They also emphasise its potential as an opportunity for healing – of the mind and body – by bringing consciousness to the confronting topic.

But what exactly does consciously dying entail? The tricky part is that you don’t just get to the dying part and decide to be conscious in that very moment. Well, you can, but it’s more about leading a life that honours each experience, pays attention to the moment-to-moment content of the mind and draws gratitude for life through acknowledging the permanence of death.

In this way, by practising being here, now, death becomes just another moment. This mindset can also allow those around you to be at peace with your passing because they feel as though you’ve lived life to the fullest (and that they’ve lived life to the fullest with you). This kind of existence makes it easier for your loved ones to carry out your wishes, too!

Practical steps to approach death in a conscious way 

By now we’ve grasped that dying consciously isn’t so much about death as it is about the opportunity for personal growth and healing that exists between living and dying. That is not to say that we shouldn’t aspire to be fully awake, aware and accepting of what is happening at the end of life and in the moment of death. But to say that we should also feel inspired to be equally as conscious in every moment that eventually leads us to that fateful one.

Since there’s no time like the present, here’s a checklist to prepare you for the journey to dying consciously:

  • Live your life consciously and fully. Learn to identify with and be present in your soul, not your ego.
  • Fill your heart with love and turn your mind toward your truth.
  • Continue with all of your spiritual practices, whatever shape they may take: meditation, mantra, worship and all forms of devotion.
  • Be there for the death of your parents, loved ones or pets. Know that the presence of your loved ones will remain when you are quiet and bring them into your consciousness.
  • Read about the deaths of people who have lived authentically and impacted the consciousness of others.
  • If there is pain at the time of death, try to remain as conscious as possible. Medication for pain offers some solace but dulls awareness.
  • To be peaceful at the time of death, seek peace inside today.

Wrap up

Great minds in the realm of conscious dying advise people that conscious living starts from the ground floor. In other words, people can kickstart their consciousness by getting their affairs in order, so they can make space for more spiritual matters and examine parts of themselves more deeply. These minds also reject the greatest temptation of ours, which is to ignore death, because history teaches us that it is really the reflection on death that supports the highest level of wisdom. So, be wise. Start or update your legal Will, or contact our own team of gurus today.

Disclaimer: The content of this blog is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. This blog should not be relied upon as legal, financial, accounting or tax advice.

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