Spotlight, The Great Adventure, The Heroic Life

Preparing for Your Own Death

This is probably not how I’ll die.

My plan is to live through the Great Adventure.

Nonetheless, as part of my preparation I’ve been confronting the very real danger of death along the way.

How do you practice for your own death? Is it possible to prepare for it? Recently I wrote on the experience for Patheos. Please take a moment to read:

Training for Death

(And show them some tweeting/sharing love!)


8 thoughts on “Preparing for Your Own Death

  1. From the Hagakure of Yamamoto Tsunetomo (William Scott Wilson translation):

    “Meditation on inevitable death should be performed daily. Every day when one’s body and mind are at peace, one should meditate upon being ripped apart by arrows, rifles, spears and swords, being carried away by surging waves, being thrown into the midst of a great fire, being struck by lightning, being shaken to death by a great earthquake, falling from thousand-foot cliffs, dying of disease or committing seppuku at the death of one’s master. And every day without fail one should consider himself as dead.

    “There is a saying of the elders’ that goes, ‘Step from under the eaves and you’re a dead man. Leave the gate and the enemy is waiting.’ This is not a matter of being careful. It is to consider oneself as dead beforehand.”

    • Thank you Faoladh. I’ve been increasingly finding the bushido writings to be extremely helpful to me. It’s interesting, because (according to Wikipedia) the Hagakure represents an attempt to find a role for samurai in a peaceful era when a warrior class was not desperately needed.

      I’ve had it suggested to me by many people that in the current era, Achilles-like heroes of old are not needed.

      The fact that the Hagakure is so useful to my practice, then, may not be coincidence.

  2. Drew,
    I’m there! Discovered quite dramatically and suddenly that I have a rare, progressive, incurable disease. It may or may not be slow, so perhaps I have the gift of some time in “Getting Ready for my own Death.” Or not.

    Meditation, living in each precious moment, has been joyful. The love in my life has blossomed as well. It’s a long story….maybe I’ll attempt to write it down. Thanks for your posts, and strength to your sword arm on your travels.

    • Katharine, I’m not sure I can express my emotions on reading your comment,.

      First off, I’m sorry that you received such devastating news.

      I also want to say how touched I am that you find my writings useful or relevant. I can talk about the possibility of my own death, and I treat that possibility very seriously, but for you it is REAL in a way I can’t imagine. I’m honored that my practice and experience can be of any value to you at all.

      And last, may I say how elated I am that you are able to face the world with such an attitude. You give me hope. Strength to your own sword arm, each day, and in whatever comes next. Blessings to you, Katharine.

  3. Mockingbird says:

    What a fantastic article. it really made me go “hm.” and start thinking. When I got really scared about dying my mind immediately went to my belief in reincarnation and I was terrified that it was the first time I ever really *really* thought it might not be true.

    • Thanks Mockingbird. It’s amazing how much of our anxiety comes from the unknown and the not-considered. By giving it attention and consideration it’s possible to have equanimity in the face of death.

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