“Death may be the greatest of all human blessings.” ~Socrates
There’s a lot of beauty and value in positive, light-and-love approaches to mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
But I challenge you to go a little deeper and to face something we’re all going to experience eventually:
I know this may sound macabre, bizarre, or downright unappealing. But hear me out!
There is a certain power and beauty in consciously visualizing and meditating on one’s death.
What could be more awakening and more revealing than putting your current self into the perspective of your dying self—into your last few moments?
Such a precious practice helps to bring a stunning clarity and crystalline focus to everything going on in your life.
Indeed, what is referred to as the “deathbed meditation” helps you to:
- Figure out what is most important to you
- Let go of old pains and hurts
- Focus on what brings you joy
- Find your true life path
- Uncover your hidden gifts
As humans, we tend to live our lives as though they will never end. From one day to the next we live in a kind of autopilot mode where we take everything (and everyone) for granted.
The deathbed meditation is a powerful practice you can incorporate into your life whenever you feel lost, stranded, stuck, out of focus, or simply aimless.
My Experience With the Deathbed Meditation
I’ve always been someone who desperately needs a strong purpose in life.
But something happened last year that tossed me into a dark existential crisis where I questioned (1) what my place in the world really was, (2) why old wounds were rising to the surface, and (3) why I felt so lost—despite having a strong self-care and spiritual practice.
With the advent of COVID-19 and the retriggering of old traumas, I felt empty inside.
You know that feeling of falling and not having anything to catch you? That’s how I felt.
Witnessing the suffering in the world and in my own circle of family members, I realized something major: “I could die tomorrow.”
I realized this isn’t a groundbreaking thought; we all have it at some point (I know I have). But in that moment it felt like a lightbulb went off in my head—I suddenly realized that the key to finding the answers to life was to contemplate something so few people dare to approach: death.
The answers I received from that subsequent deathbed meditation have guided my life, reawoken my purpose, and fuelled me with vision ever since.
How to Practice the Deathbed Meditation
Doing the deathbed meditation is an act of radical self-love. There, I said it!
Why radical? The deathbed meditation is radical because it’s rarely mentioned or practiced by anyone (that I’m aware of) due to its intimidating nature.
But let me assure you that the answers you can potentially find are so soul-nourishing, so meaningful, so profound, that you will be overjoyed that you courageously took this step.
Before you embark on this inner journey, please ensure you have a neutral mind—we don’t want minds that are feeling down or frazzled or unhappy for any reason (that will bias your discoveries).
When you’re ready, let’s begin:
1. Focus on feeling safe and relaxed.
Before you begin your deathbed meditation, find a space in your house that feels cozy. You might like to place a blanket over you and a pillow behind your head for extra comfort. Draw the blinds or curtains and ensure the atmosphere is dark.
It’s important that you feel safe and relaxed so that your heart and mind can open up and gain the most from the meditation.
Place a blindfold, sleep mask, or cloth over your eyes so that you can’t see anything. Then take some gentle, natural, grounding breaths and settle yourself.
2. Find some funereal music (optional).
Some people prefer their meditations to be totally silent, but if you’d like to set the mood, find some funereal music (or music that would be played at a funeral) to prepare your mind for the scene.
Again, do whatever makes you feel most safe and comfortable. If you prefer total silence, that’s okay too.
3. Visualize yourself on your deathbed, surrounded by loved ones.
In your mind’s eye, imagine that you only have a few minutes (or hours) left to live. You feel comforted and at peace with your loved ones surrounding you.
What kind of room are you in? What kind of bed or seat supports you? Focus on some kinesthetic details to help enrich the visualization.
4. Ask yourself, “What was I most happy to have done in life?”
Take some moments to reflect on this crucial question: What were you most happy to have done in your life? Let images and scenes play out in your mind for as long as needed.
This powerful question will help you to hone in on what truly matters in your current life. If you’re struggling with making an important decision or finding a life direction, this simple question could be the key to unlocking deep truths residing within you.
5. Ask yourself, “What did I regret not doing?”
Regret is a natural part of life, yet many of us shy away from it, trying to sweep it under the rug. To avoid accumulating too much regret, ask this simple question within your deathbed meditation: What did you regret not doing?
Let any thoughts, images, memories, or scenes run through your mind’s eye. Take special note of them.
6. Ask yourself, “What is the most important thing in life to me, above all else?”
Values are what guide our lives, and yet we are often totally unaware of them. By asking the question, “What is the most important thing in life to me, above all else?” we come to understand, truly understand, what we value deep down.
Take a few moments in your deathbed meditation to contemplate this question, letting it sink into the recesses of your mind, heart, and soul. The answer you discover can have the potential of shifting, expanding, and empowering your entire life.
7. Thank your loved ones and end the meditation.
Once you’re done asking all or some of the above questions, smile warmly to your loved ones and thank them for their presence in your life. Then, when you’re ready, return to the room you’re in, get up very slowly, and do a big stretch.
You might also like to drink some water to ‘emotionally digest’ your experience.
The deathbed meditation has been one of the most powerful tools in my life for getting straight to the heart of what I most love, cherish, value, and need.
After all, what else can put things in perspective other than our own mortality?
If you’re feeling confused, lost, or in need of direction, I highly recommend that you try this unique meditation at least once. You might be surprised by how intensely transformational such a practice can be!