Yet it's only a matter of time that we DO.
So how do we BEST PREPARE?
"It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live." Marcus Aurelius
Many teachers have said that "meditation is learning to die before dying." In deep meditation we intentionally undergo "ego death" ie letting go of the "small self" - the reductionist model of who / what we imagined we were.
“Love says 'I am everything.'
Wisdom says 'I am nothing.'
Between the two, my life flows.”
“Without being mindful of death, whatever Dharma practices you take up will be merely superficial.” Milarepa, The One Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa
During general anaesthesia for an operation, "I was just going through the feeling of the essence of loss of control, and tears washed down my face when I had to think about it. That this is the essence of dying, to just let go, to dive down without any ground under your feet. That this is to step out of control, like in death. If we let go of the rational control over our own consciousness, we can get somewhere that forms us and that also forms the universe. I acknowledge that this is, in my opinion, a very important state of mind, a very important process for us all.” Beate M's Near-Death Experience: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AE_8E6casn0
"Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Matt. 27 Verses 45-46, Bible, King James Version
"And here I would advise a sort of intellectual humility. Near-death experiences are obviously deeply mysterious. Death has always been viewed as something holy by religions because it is deeply mysterious. Near-death experiences suggest at least that death isn’t just a flame of life that is slowly burning down, but that it is once again a phase of life that is of extreme importance for life as a whole. Even if you can’t see any of this from the outside, but for the ones who live through this process of dying from the inside, it is of extreme importance and a moment of clarity of the consciousness.” Near-Death Experiences and the Mysteries of Consciousness - Godehard Brüntrup in Conversation : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSvfoKZnnYs
"Nothing in life is to be feared,
it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that
we may fear less." Marie Curie
"The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek." Joseph Campbell
"I was born
when all I once feared
I could love.”
"On the day her first book came out ― a new translation of 'Dark Night of the Soul' by Saint John of the Cross ― Mirabai Starr’s daughter, Jenny, was killed in a car accident. 'My spiritual life began the day my daughter died,' writes Mirabai. Even with decades of spiritual practice and a deep immersion in the greatest mystical texts, she found herself utterly unprepared for 'my most powerful catalyst for transformation, my fiercest and most compassionate teacher.'" Mirabai Starr "Caravan of No Despair : A Memoir of Loss and Transformation." Sounds True, 2015.
"All shall be well,
and all shall be well,
and all manner of things shall be well."
Julian of Norwich (1342 – 1416) English Christian mystic
“So long as one is merely on the surface of things, they are always imperfect, unsatisfactory, incomplete. Penetrate into the substance and everything is perfect, complete, whole.” Philip Kapleau “The Zen of Living and Dying. A Practical and Spiritual Guide.” Shambhala, 1998.
“I have watched people choose growth over fear as they navigated some of life’s most difficult transitions. I have seen how it is possible to approach the challenges of real life with openness & optimism – even with wisdom & joy.” Elizabeth Lesser. “Broken Open. How Difficult Times Can Help us Grow.” Villard, 2005. POWERFUL BOOK!
“Rapture is not a selfish emotion. It is pure gratitude, flowing freely through the body, heart, and soul. Gratitude for what? For breath, for colors, for music, for friendship, humor, weather, sleep, awareness. It is a willing engagement with the whole messy miracle of life.” Elizabeth Lesser. “Broken Open. How Difficult Times Can Help us Grow.” Villard, 2005.
"I just had to keep going, even though the cockpit was shaking mightily just before breaking the sound barrier." Captain Charles E. “Chuck” Yeager, first pilot to break the sound barrier
“On the other side of a storm is the strength that comes from having navigated through it. Raise your sail and begin.” Gregory S. Williams
All of our days,
a single drop of dew
from a slender leaf.
“You needn’t worry about anything because this isn’t your real home. It’s just a temporary shelter. Everything there is, is preparing to disappear. If you look at it like that, your heart will be at ease.” Ajahn Chah, “Our Real Home”
“Death is our friend precisely because it brings us into absolute & passionate presence with all that is here, that is natural, that is love.” Rainer Maria RilkeEspecially if you fear death - and most of us do - I HIGHLY recommend this wonderful book - you will feel much better about death AND about life!: Bruce Greyson. “After. A Doctor Explores What Near-Death Experiences Reveal about Life and Beyond.” St. Martin’s, 2021.
"The more you understand, the more you love; the more you love, the more you understand. They are two sides of one reality. The mind of love and the mind of understanding are the same.” Thich Nhat Hanh
“The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty ‘yes!’ to your adventure.” Joseph Campbell
Bill Hicks, 1992 - "It's Just A Ride"
( all over in 2 minutes :-) ! )