In Good Faith

How do you prepare yourself spiritually for your own death?

David Gardiner - Buddhist

David Gardiner is an associate professor in the Colorado College Religion Department, specializing in Buddhism and religions of China and Japan, and is co-founder and director of BodhiMind Center.

The Buddha is reported to have said, “Of all footprints, the elephant’s is the most impressive. Of all reflections, that on impermanence and death is the most impactful.” One way it’s impactful is because it reminds us that we simply do not know how much time we have. Thus, I try to focus every day on saying and doing things that truly matter to me, and on telling those close to me that I love them. I also find reflection on death valuable because it reminds me how much I still need to learn about letting go. At death, we need to let go of body, possessions, memories and loved ones. I try to engage, every day, in the simultaneous practice of loving deeply and letting go. 

Bryan Garner – Ceremonial Magician

Rev. Bryan Garner is a published author, Ninjutsu instructor, lecturer and western ceremonial magician. He is currently pursuing ordination into the Apostolic Gnostic Priesthood of the Apostolic Johannite Church.

My own mortality is something I’ve meditated on frequently. When I remind myself that everything in creation experiences impermanence, it often leaves me with a renewed appreciation for being alive. The reality of dying is something I find I’m able to come to terms with when I feel most “in tune” with Divinity. It involves a deep knowing that I am simply a fractal extension of the Creator, destined to return. I try to live with a sense of fulfilling my purpose although I realize the experience I am having ultimately does not belong to “me.” The thought of death becomes fearful during times when I am fixated on possessing something: a belief, circumstance, situation or ideal. I prepare myself spiritually for death by being grateful.

Alycia Erickson - Christian

Rev. Alycia Erickson, pastor of Pikes Peak Metropolitan Community Church, has a passion for working with the LGBTQ and straight communities.

I prepare myself spiritually for my own dying every day — or I try to, anyway. I live my life intentionally. I make time for listening to Divine Spirit. If I make that time every day, and listen carefully to what Spirit prompts me to do, then I live the life I’m meant to live. I embrace what comes to me, and practice how to respond with love through it all. I am part of a faith community that supports me in my journey. I say “thank you,” “sorry” and “I love you” as often as possible. I don’t assume that I have forever to live, and I don’t want to have regrets when it turns out it is my last day on Earth. 

Ahriana Platten - New Thought, Unity

Dr. Ahriana Platten is founder-executive director of In Good Faith, leads Unity Spiritual Center and speaks around the country on the topics of interfaith and intercultural understanding.

I prepare for my death by living fully. I often think to myself, “When I am on my deathbed, will I care about this?” or “If I were to die tomorrow, would this be important?” Living well seems simpler when you are living through that kind of lens — so does dying. I give consideration to how my soul will release my body. Resting into the stillness, I breathe deep and notice that I’m more than this physical form. I extend my awareness beyond my body and feel that I’m connected to a Holy Presence. I instruct my mind to understand that my body is a very small aspect of the whole of me. And, I practice being the presence of love. To me, that is what God is. 

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