Spirit is the force within you that is believed to give your body life, energy, and power. If this vital force gives life to all of us then a spiritual practice would seem to be an important part of your daily life for an existence filled with health, balance and vitality. If that is true for your life now, then how do spiritual practices help you at the end of your life?

If you have a spiritual practice it is most likely you will, at the end of your life, die in ease and not in terror or fear. However, for many of us today it is a challenge to stay out of stress because most of us are feeling a sense of worry, or anxiousness most of the time. This is due to everyday stressful life issues. Some of the life issues that create these pressures are driving in traffic, having family concerns, strain from computer work, reacting to the negative news etc. These are only a few stressors but there are many other situations that can cause your anxiety and stress. If you do not have a spiritual practice to break this tension, then day after day this tension will accumulate and build in your mind/body. The stress you build up may continue right up until the moment of your death. There is a cliché that says, “The way you live is the way you die”. The fear of death coupled with stress creates in our culture a death phobia. For many of us we avoid confronting our personal fear of death.

That is not always true as there is much to learn if you let your self fully confront death as a discovery process and thereby turn toward death as a natural process of your life instead of avoiding the inevitable. You will learn more about living fully when you get comfortable sitting with death by using your spiritual practices. These practices allow you to see that death is not a medical event but rather a time for inner growth and transformation. This is not a fairy-tale situation as there may be suffering and even pain before the transformation. However, at the end of life your spiritual practices can create an expansion of consciousness that can take you beyond the suffering and open you to that transformational moment of death.

The good news is you can develop a mind-state that is of a higher level of consciousness. It is a mind that connects you to the spirit that gives you energy and power. This mind-state is always within you and is what I call the Expanded Self. This Self creates energy and utilizes energy to express compassion for your self and for all beings. The Expanded Self has the potential to expand your mind into a higher frequency utilizing such inner tools and practices such as forgiveness, gratitude, appreciation, kindness and compassion.

The other mind or consciousness within us you is the self that has been mentioned earlier. This is the self that accumulates stress. It is the self of survival or what I call the constricted self. This constricted self lives in fear, anger, shame, and guilt, and it is this self that has all the survival issues that define your experience of reality. When your body lives in stress and survival mode, these negative reactions lowers your energy frequency and affects your body health by consuming lots of energy and run down your immune system. The reason why it is so important to have a spiritual practice is that you die in the Expanded Self. This Expanded Self is still connected to the constricted self because it needs the material world to express itself in awareness and compassion. But at the same time the Expanded Self has the potential to be free of the constricted self. The more you live in your Expanded Self the more you will be prepared for your end of life transition. The good news is you can wake up and be free from stress and the fear of death now before you die. There are many practices to prepare for death. The five practices described below will enable you as Jesus said to, “Be in the world but not of it.” These practices will help you to expand rather than be constricted.

The following five spiritual practices will help you to prepare for the end of your life. Each practice is a life-long journey of learning and discovery. We begin with forgiveness and then in turn gratitude, appreciation, kindness and compassion.

Forgiveness

Forgiveness is a powerful quality of healing and transformation that can assist you to release the deepest fears of your life. These fears come from feelings, ideas and attitudes that are projected on to others and objects. These projections are the externalizations of your guilt and blame toward others. These negative projections are a defense against your anxiety and fear. Forgiveness is the energy that releases these outwardly directed projections. These negative projected thoughts attach you to the constricted self of this world. At the end of life, you must let go of everything that you are connected to in this world. Forgiveness is a gift that helps release you from the negative attachments through-out your life as you move into your dying process.

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