|Prepare For Your Death, Daily
The "Tibetan Book Of the Dead" for Westerners, and better than that
By Julian Lee
Beautiful White men and women of Europe, always be preparing for your deaths. This is one of the central wisdom pinions of our great religions, both the profound Aryan-created religions of Vedanta and Yoga, and the great cosmic Bhakti-Yoga that is Christianity. Prepare for death daily and don't let them lie to you about the true nature of your soul, or the true nature of your Cosmic Lord who is all-good and all-welcoming to those who purify themselves and direct themselves to Him. Prepare and don't accept their stupid ideas about the limitations of consciousness or its end, or else you'll be -- unprepared! -- for great opportunities. You already experience the death process, the bulk of it, in the nightly process of falling asleep and entering the dream state, which the Upanishads call taijasa or svapna. It is one of the four states of consciousness -- along with waking (jagrat/visva), deep dreamless sleep (prajna/sushupti), and turiya -- that we experience repeatedly and repetitively. So you already experience the after-death states nightly. And notice how blissful and alive many of them are.
Men and women who prepare for death become free, and they become strong. You become beyond the reach of anybody. Beyond the reach of intimidation, coercion, or control. And with regular preparation, you also get a much better death process. When you enter onto the religious and spiritual path and get experience with the transition, you get the habit of thinking of the death moment on a daily basis, and planning for it. I was fortunate to be shown the death process on a number of occasions, and to actually go through it. I know what awaits me, I know what attitude I will take, and I know what I will do. I practice it in my mind daily, anticipating that moment. It will be a great celebration for me, and much that is wrong with the universe will be then set aright. When my mother died, she sent rains. She sent rains to her town that had been in a drought, and she sent rains to me in my town far away, which had also had a drought. This is just one of the many things she did, and she was not so great as my father.
The founder of the Baha'i Faith -- a mystical religion that communists later turned into a multi-culti, materialistic, and race and culture-destroying religion -- stated that the main point of all the prophets coming to the world was to help us prepare for the death moment. The Buddhists, especially the Tibetans, place a great deal of emphasis on death preparation. The "Tibetan Book of the Dead" is entirely about preparing for the death process, or showing others how to help others with it. It's much more important for YOU to be prepared yourself, than to worry about helping "others," because when you die, you do not actually "leave anybody behind" here.
The reason the Tibetan yogis knew so much about the death process was that they were able to consciously go through it, regularly, as a part of yogic interiorization or meditation. One reason to prepare for death is that the death moment provides huge cosmic opportunities. But the feelings and sensations we have during death are new and unaccustomed. Because they are new and unaccustomed, we usually become frightened and disturbed as these sensations come on. When we become frightened and disturbed, we fail to take best advantage of the opportunities presented to us then.
Death processes go, to a great extent, according to our beliefs, especially our heavily conditioned beliefs that we have been entertaining in our heads lifelong. A second factor influencing our death experience is our impurities, thought impurities, food impurities, drug impurities -- and especially sexual lower-chakra vibrations which pollute and weigh down the process perhaps most of all. A third is our conditioned responses to similar stresses, and a fourth is the plans or mental conditioning we've given our minds in anticipation of death. Planning and pre-conditioning is related to "beliefs," but is a bit more.
One of the great benefits and gains coming from a genuine spiritual life is that the devotee gets experience with the death process. In the profound interiorized states that come with meditation, the practitioner will eventually experience the natural cessation of the heartbeat and the reversal of life force away from the body and up the spine. At this time the body becomes numb, the world dissolves, and one enters -- with greater awareness than usual -- into the astral level of consciousness. At this time one actually goes through the death process, the same one people are thrown into at real death. You can then get used to these experiences and sensations, get practice dealing with them, develop greater capacity in the process, and develop better and better plans. This is what advanced yogis (God-meditators) do, and it takes a great deal of practice and effort to get this familiarity with the death process. But there are a great many things that everyone can do to prepare, and part of that is just thinking about it regularly, picturing it, and making decisions and plans.
At other times an aspirant may simply be given the boon of being shown his future death process. He may go through the death process in vision, in dream, or in a waking experience. This is a great blessing and makes the aspirant aware of the inevitability of death, and of the tricky situations that arise in the process. It makes him or her think and plan for that moment. Such a gift works on his mind very strongly to make him realize the inevitability of this experience, clue him in to the difficulties involved, and develops his plans and thinkings about that coming moment.
The big thing is that many processes and experiences occur at death-time that are very unfamiliar to us. Our consciousness remains, but experiencing strange and upsetting things. We react to these things emotionally, inwardly. We do not have daily experience with the death experiences. If we get no experience or even expectation of what they will be, we will have fear reactions to them as they come on. The general inner condition, for the average uncultivated person going through death, is one of confusion, fear, and panic. Many people are at their worst -- their most afraid, their most confused, and their most impure -- upon death. This is, in a sense, to be expected for the average person with no education or conditioning for it, since the death experiences are so strange and upsetting. So it's one of the points of spiritual culture, and of religion, to address this problem and culture you for a good death process. (Long live the Christian and the Aryan religions.)
The more one can practice meditation and experience the still-minded samadhi states, the more familiar he can become with these processes. For example, the hearing goes away. This is disturbing. The vision starts to fade and other things start to be seen. This is disturbing. There may be special pains and sensations in the body having to do with whatever disease, or whatever wound or bodily harm, is doing the killing. These can give fear and distress. The sensation of the stoppage of the heart itself can be an unexpected source of fear and confusion. Yogis learn, through the breathless state called kumbhaka, to let the heart stop. However, the first times one experiences this it is a very strange sensation. The chest area, which was always filled with the constant activity of the heart-engine, becomes strangely empty and silent. It feels like a huge, cavernous space and one is unaccustomed to that feeling. The mind thinks, "My heart has stopped! That can't be right! I'll die! What will happen?!" So, there are so many things going on -- so many new, strange, and unaccustomed things. Death can thus be a cacophony of new and upsetting experiences. For this reason it is pretty much impossible for a person to do the death process with any grace or self-control unless he has practiced and planned, practiced and planned, and practiced and planned some more.
One saving grace is that whatever we do habitually in the waking state -- especially during times of distress or fear -- we tend to go into that reaction also at death. So, if you tend to think of your guru whenever you are afraid or distressed (such as being stopped by a traffic cop, or falling off something) -- then you will tend to do the same during the death process. If you get the habit of visualizing a positive outcome whenever you are faced with a threat, you will do the same in the death throes. So, whatever culture you give to your mind in the waking state, during troubles and fears -- that cultivation will arise automatically during death. This is, indeed, one of the purposes of religious culture -- the idea of praying during troubles or thinking of Christ, or going into a mantra or prayer to focus the mind during troubles. This daily religious culture takes over, in part, during the strange trauma of the death process. So, the more we can anticipate the death processes, and practice our responses to similar phenomena while living, the better we will do at death.
In this article I am going to get you started, started preparing, for three major challenges at death. The first is the worries about the world you are leaving. The second challenge is being presented with All Fulfillment. The third problem/challenge, is the fear of a loss of identity. There are other issues, challenges that can arise during the death process, depending on your spiritual culture now. But these are three real biggies and important situations to mentally prepare for.
Worrying about the World Left Behind
On dying the thought of people and situations left behind can be thrust into our mind. This can be children, property matters, or things to do with our work, profession, or relations. We may worry about them, or think of things we didn't finish and feel stress about that. We may think of things not given to the right person, or things left askew or misplaced that should be discharged in some manner. We may think of people -- such as children -- who we feel need us and will be lost or afflicted without us. Usually some urgent thought will enter the mind, a worry about someone or something. These thoughts become a distraction as we begin to encounter the new and unfamiliar territory of death.
This problem is easily solved by meditating throughout life on the fact that when you die, this world will completely disappear also. It will in fact go with you. It exists then only as memory in you. It actually will not exist any more after your death as an external thing, but only in memory or your "impressions" of experience. (This actually takes place every time you sleep, too, but most can't comprehend this.) So in reality you do not "leave a world behind" when you die. In reality, you take it all with you. (This occurs each night when you go to sleep, too, but average people cannot comprehend how.) If you can get some yogic development, such as separation from the body and astral explorations, you can see this is true and get faith in it. What actually happens is you take everything with you, in the form of your subtle impressions/memory. These subtle impressions are what has been projecting "a world" -- via your actual body -- while you had a body. The world and material cosmos was literally a great extension of your body. Once the body is gone, the world can be no more. (We also dissolve the world, in real life, every time we go to sleep each night, but our incarnations-built conditioning for "others" and for "continuity" makes us uncomprehending of this. I repeated this point two times for those it might interest.) The world is simply an extension of your own physical body. The world is destroyed when you die, or rather, dissolves. It only exists then as memories you carry in your astral body. In like manner, you may have a dream some night or some morning, and have memories of the dream. But the dream is no more. Understanding this, you can easily let go of your fears and worries, during the death moments, about things and people you think you are "leaving behind." To worry about them, when dying, makes no more sense than to worry about leaving your things and loved ones each time you are falling asleep at night.
So, if you have children you are worrying about while dying, realize you are taking them with you, and they will be with you in their essential form on the other side. If you have some books that you wanted to give to so-and-so, realize the books will still be with you there in their essential form -- all of your possessions will -- and you can give them away there. Nobody has all their "loose ends" tied up at the time of death. There is always something to worry about. If you realize the true nature of death and the world, none of them should bother or worry you while you are dying. It often happens that the world tells us grotesque lies in the form of slogans and maxims, things that state the very opposite of the truth. One of these, then, is the phrase "You can't take it with you." The fact is, you do take it with you. You have to. What you manifest exteriorly now is the fruit of your own karmic impressions. The world and its conditions are like a projection on a screen, and the "film" is the impressions in your body. Whatever conditions you are manifesting here, you will also tend to manifest "there," though on the higher astral level. So, if you have "a library" here, you will have the essence of your library there, or some form of it. It will be a better form of the library you now have, and the same one in essence. You can also plan for your library, or garden, or children, or instrument -- to be presented back to you -- in real terms or upgraded terms, in your next incarnation. For example, you could imagine being born into a family that has your very things, or better versions of them, restored to you as a child. It's all, in fact, in you, so it can't "go anywhere." But just make that "note of" such a prospect, to discharge the thought, and let it go.
In reality we "own" the whole world and universe that we experience. It's form is planted as samskaras in our body, spine, and mind and erected as "real," or solid, through God's powerful life-force coursing down our spine. "Solidity" is just another conditioned idea present in those same samskaras. Our limitations in it, too, or "non ownership" or poverty, are also features that our conditioned samskaras have projected into our world-script. Because we live our whole life thinking "the world is separate from me, I have no control over it" this same idea keeps hold during death. We think "I'm leaving 'a world.' " The idea that we're taking it with us never occurs to us.
If you find yourself vexed, during the death transitions, with the idea of "people you are leaving behind" (or things, should you be so silly) -- know yourself as "bundling them all up with you." Imagine all good in the world you are leaving as bundled up and with you, including all your children, relatives, etc. -- and forget them and think of God. Give these things, this bundle, to God in your mind, saying, "Here, take these."
The only reason or way that you "leave a world" behind is because you BELIEVE that when dying. So, you would not tend to see your children-left-behind on the other side only if you believed that you left them behind in "a world." The universe tries not to confuse or disturb you. Therefore many people, having lived lifelong believing they will "leave a world" here when they die carry this idea into death, and keep projecting the same scenario from their seed ideas in the powerful astral state. Thus they keep mentally developing similar life-in-a-world scenarios in their astral sojourn. Using the powerful desire-emotions of the astral state, they prepare or cook up more future material lives, finally getting "born" again into "another's" body, etc. This is all conditioning. If you can go into death with a different idea next time, one more based on higher reality, you will start to alter this conditioning and possibly completely dissolve it in the Light. Or, receive higher incarnations in some of the better worlds you have been cooking up.
Another practice for overcoming the "world-left-behind" notion at death is to ponder and consider the current material world-life as a dream. We understand when waking from a dream that the dream was projected from ourselves. We understand those dreams as our own. We can learn to take this same attitude toward the waking world at moments while living. Simply ponder the world as a personal dream often during your daily life. Meditate on the fact that it has all the same characteristics: It is transitory. It contains pleasure and pain. By doing this during life your conviction about "a world you are leaving behind" will become softened at the death moment.
Being Presented with the Possibility of All-Fulfillment
The first and most important thing to know about death is that you will be presented with All-Fulfillment. You will encounter the great divine light, and sense by instinct that it contains all fulfillment, all joy, all satisfactions, all rectifications, all healings, and all glories. You will know this by pure instinct as soon as you see it. It transmits this knowledge to you, or perhaps it is simply a truth you remember and know vitally. You will also perceive that your soul is the same, in essence, as that light. The feeling will be that you are a small drop of the same nature as that light, and can easily merge into it and become one with it. The feeling will be like a great mother who has come to claim "her own" and you will have the same feeling you did as baby or child when being rescued by your mother. Because of that sameness, and the greatness of that light, there is a strong attraction to merge with it, an almost irresistible attraction. This huge attraction, however, can be impaired by contradictory fears and confusion.
The death experience makes mixed and contradictory feelings arise because of ignorance and conditioning. So here, even though the light is known as a good thing and the best thing, the average person will be actually be, in part, distressed and confused by this opportunity of All Fulfillment. Basically, it is too strange and new. It breaks the barriers of thought. The opportunity and prospect is completely outside of our conditioning or expectations, which are limited because of long dualistic, limited conditioning. It is unexpected. We are not used to the possibility of "all fulfillment." We are not used to the real prospect of "all glory" and "all capacity." This is, for most of us, very foreign to our mind when actually presented with the possibility. The very foreignness of this possibility is one of the things that makes us draw away from it in fear. We are at first attracted and amazed, brightened, and enlivened by this light, perhaps made childlike, needy, and open by the trauma of the death experience. But then the ego rises up and we suddenly feel threatened by it. The way we react to it right that very moment, our first and second reactions, is what determines what happens next. To merge with it, you must have one reaction and not a second. One must have no fear or reservations.
And so if one wants the best and highest at death, one must consciously prepare for this moment. The divinity in that light knows all our reactions and also our ambivalence. If there is any ambivalence or holding back, the light leaves us alone and we lose this opportunity to merge fully with that light. At that point we are presented with lesser and lesser opportunities, and lesser lights, and we go through the death bardos on our way to our next incarnation. The Buddhists state that this huge cosmic opportunity is only reliably presented at death, and it's why the fast-moving death moments present huge opportunity for "enlightenment" and spiritual progress. They also state the length of one's perception of the Light, and the clarity of the experience, are determined by one's spiritual development in the past lifetime; one's seeking of the pure Light before death. The experiences move so fast, and are so intense and disturbing, that only pre-conditioning, pre-purification, expectation, and rehearsal have a strong chance to raise the stakes in our death transition. We must develop ourselves in the waking state in such wise that we respond to certain things instinctively.
Fearing Loss of Identity
A second problem arises for the dying person, when encountering the great light of God. This is his fear that, upon merging with the great light, he will lose all his individual identity. Just after we become aware of the light as "all life" and "all awareness" and "all reality" we may begin to fear obliteration by merging with it. "All life" and "all awareness" is not the characteristic of our earth-ego which is just leaving his incarnation. Though beautiful and attractive, "all life" and "all awareness" are not native to that identity and this identity suddenly interprets it as a state foreign to it. We suddenly have a doubt and fear that, should we merge with it, we could not "recover" and be the person and identity that we are now. Even though our known identity is limited and full of problems and pains -- it is the identity we know; the one we are used to. It is a human characteristic to become attached to things, even our limitations, flaws, and painful conditions. They are the things that we know. Confronted with this greater and larger identity, we fear losing the one we know -- no matter how troubled and limited -- and start to cling to it. Even though the Light is actually a greater Life, and our own original identity, we suddenly interpret the loss of our small identity as Death. This fundamental form of ignorance keeps our divine consciousness constrained and compartmentalized into particular limited lives and identities over incarnations. We make this choice-for-limitation over-and-over again during the death transitions of lifetimes. Again, everything is conditioning.
This second feeling, the fear of loss of individual identity, is a second huge fear that comes unexpectedly to the dying person and causes him to usually draw away from the light, going on to lesser outcomes.
Religious Teachings & Practices
Which Help Us With These Death Problems
So there are two sudden challenges to the mind that come during death. The first is being presented with an unexpected possibility, that of all-fulfillment and all happiness. We literally live lives in which we don't think this way at all. We simply draw away from the foreignness of that possibility. The solution to this, and an excellent preparation for death, is to think of the prospect of all-fulfillment and all-possibility on a daily basis.
Think of the prospect of all-fulfillment and all-possibility, God's nature, on a daily basis
This is a very powerful and valuable life-practice to develop in preparing for death, and one of the purposes of the great spiritual tradition of Christianity, its teachings about heaven and salvation, and it's teachings about faith. This merging with the Light, and into its all-fulfillment, is in fact salvation. The Christian thinks of salvation regularly, thanks to his great spiritual tradition. He should enlarge and enliven his concept of salvation to definitely encompass "all fulfillment" through mergence with the Lord. This prospect should be a daily thought. Ponder then daily the possibility of God's nature as all-fulfilling and all-providing.
You can meditate on your highest and happiest sleep states, as well as day-dreaming states, to get more understanding of God as all-fulfilling, all powerful and blissful. Eastern yogis define God as "pure being, pure consciousness, and bliss." You yourself experience this pure being, consciousness, and bliss often in the sleep states and whispers of it in daydreaming. You can also do meditations on personal wish-fulfillment to get some small slivers and shards of this feeling. Then God will not be so surprising and unfamiliar to you in that moment. Then certain scriptures and verses of the great religions speak to God's nature as all-fulfilling. You can read these scriptures often in life. Some of the verses in the Bhagavad-Gita where Krisha (as God) describes his own qualities and nature, are very good for this purpose. Also many of the Psalms in the Christian and Jewish Bible speak to this nature. So, thinking of God's nature as all fulfilling, all-healing, and all providing is a good daily practice to prepare for the death moment. Imagine what that would be like. Imagine if you were presented with all-fulfillment right now in this waking life, or even subsidiary, minor fulfillments such as seeing a bad family matter turn wonderful, or a material or social fulfillment. Practice thinking of Good in life, and you will be more comfortable to the great Good in the Light at death.
When Christians stand or sit in church singing or reciting phrases about God's nature, His glories, or beneficence -- they are actually practicing a yoga that prepares them for a better death process. Many modern "spirituality" mavens, because of neurosis and experiences with relatives etc., disavow and attack Christianity, failing to register its many dharma elements. Perhaps they had a bad experience with an uncle or a shallow Sunday school teacher, and now have a neurosis that says: "Only other things are better. God could not have possibly blessed me with knowledge, truth, or dharma right where I lived at birth." This is all neurosis. Jews do this a lot, too, simply because of their centuries-long competition and jealousy regarding Christianity. However, the great spiritual traditions of Christianity are loaded with what new-age mavens would call "yoga" as well as "dharma." It's their neurosis -- or in some cases their desire to have lots of illicit sex -- that keep them from recognizing the real yoga and dharma in Christianity while pretending a big interest in yoga or dharma. But the ignorant attacks on Christianity by so-called "spiritual" modernes, and Jews of all stripes, is a matter for another paper. Now, for addressing the second problem, the fear of loss-of-identity.
Imagine your identity surviving in God's identity, and being well-cared for
The second problem, the fear of loss of identity, will be overcome by also meditating on that moment, and what you will do when you fear that loss. You should visualize and affirm on a daily basis that "nothing is ever destroyed in God." God will allow the memory and form of your individual identity to remain, within himself, because He contains everything. But what will happen is an enlargement of your self. You will know more, become more, and be aware of that self and even other selves, as well as God's self. It may be said that God himself would rather you retain some identity so that he can be in relationship with you. Maybe he would like to hear your stories and individual experiences, there by the fire, in his Kingdom, and that your own unique path and story is precious to him. What you do is that you leave that to God, when the light presents, and give up all your fears about identity loss to Him, to the light. You say to Him, to the light, "Here I am and all my stories, all my pains, and my identity. I want to give it all to you. You do with it as you like. I trust you with my identity now."
This is what you should practice saying, practice getting ready to say, when God presents Himself to you as light in the death moment. Have no fear. Only joy and thanks. Accept and enjoy, and bundle up all your self and all your sorrows, in that moment, and say "Here I am, God. Take me."
A second major cure to that "fear-of-loss-of-identity" moment is to practice merging your identity in God's here-and-now in the worldly state. There are many religious techniques for doing this, in almost all of the religions. But should you develop a waking tendency to think of God a lot, and then a waking tendency to feel affection for God, and finally a tendency to want to connect to God and draw near to Him -- you will get these techniques naturally on your own. A lover always wants to merge with his beloved. Anyone who becomes a lover of God -- no matter the religious culture -- will find his ways of merging with God. Love always finds a way. It all begins with thinking of God a lot during the waking state. Later you will find your special particular practices of merging with God. On the other hand, many excellent practices of this nature are already known in Christianity and yoga, discovered and uncovered by saints, and some have been written about. I myself use a technique that involves the breath, since God is very close to us through our breath. Some devotees -- including the Christians -- place themselves, in mind, with God and guru. They may visualize themselves at Christ's crucifixion offering compassion and attunement, and other visualizations. Christians saints are known to become so mind-concentrated on certain images of Christ that they even take on His crucifixion wounds. This is the result of full concentration and identification with the guru and demonstrates the Yogic/Upanishadic teaching that a devotee becomes like whatever he thinks of. When aspirants do a daily practice of merging with God or his incarnation, doing this becomes a natural reaction at death time. There are many techniques for this mergence, both known in religions and unknown. All good techniques and other things are vouchsafed to God's real devotee. Should you do these often and long during your waking state, then your instinct to merge with God will be strong and natural during the death moment. You will do it by instinct with no hesitation. Practice merging with God here and now, and you will do the same, in final and greater terms, then and there. Practice returning to your source now, and you will do it at that moment as well.
Should you think of the death moment on a daily basis, and especially get some real experience with it through meditation and stilling of the breath, you will become a fearless person, able to do right at all times with no fear of death whatsoever. These kind of people make evil quake and flee, and these kind of people have a wonderful death process, no matter what the form of death. More importantly, death will become a friend to you, and you will be able to direct yourself to higher incarnations after this one, on better worlds, or even come back to this world in vastly upgraded form, both your state and the world's.
Knowledge of the Martyrs,
Destruction of Evil in the Moment of Death,
& Wish Fulfillment
In the early death stages enormous divine powers are unleashed and the dying soul is in contact with them. There is great capacity for wish-fulfillment at that time, including the destruction of evil.
The more pure your life, and the better person you are, the more world-evil will be destroyed upon your death. It's actually destroyed in your astral body, but you can imagine it any way you like. This destruction-of-evil is especially true if you are killed by evil forces themselves. When evil forces throw themselves at a good man or woman, especially if they harm of kill him/her, the evil forces become destroyed. This is one of the reasons saints and martyrs never flee from death at the hands of evil or reject it. They know that great evil will now be destroyed, for themselves and all. Part of the guru principle, in fact, is that the more merged-in-God a being is, the more evil becomes destroyed when it attacks that person. It doesn't matter if the pious one intends this or not, it happens by impersonal cosmic law. A divine man or woman becomes like a blazing furnace that burns-to-nothing bad karma and evil, and the closer to God, the more they can burn both during life and during death, with no ill consequences to themselves.
We can see this principle active and alive in daily life. One of the Indian commentaries on the Yoga-Sutras states that there are three kinds of actions which yield especially sudden or fast-acting bad karma. One of these is the harming of the innocent. This brings especially fast-acting karma onto the one who harmed them. A second is turning away someone who asks you for help in dire need. And a third cause of fast-acting bad karma is simply to "offend a sage," or even to insult or irritate a saintly man or woman; one with greater God-devotion and purity. This law works even if the saint cares not a bit. The cosmos effects the punishment. If you observe life you will see that this principle is true. Negative results come fast to those who harm the innocent, turn away those in dire need who entreat you, or insult a saint.
This principle has even greater significance in the case of martyrdoms and the killing of saints. It is in fact because Christ was holy and God-merged that the White European peoples, by aligning with Him, had centuries of stable development and prosperity and were freed from domination by evil. The evil forces who killed Christ set themselves back mightily by doing so, and the White European peoples were able to live for centuries relatively uncorrupted, and prosperous. This is where the Yogic principle of the "guru taking on bad karma" meets hand-in-glove with the Christian idea of Christ "taking on the sins" of the world. His martyrdom made this principle function even more strongly.
This dynamic of evil-destruction is increased, for even those with a semblance of good or piety in them, during the death moment by conscious intent. As you are merging into the great Light, you can visualize all evil -- in the world you are "leaving behind" -- being burned up forever in great fires. You may even feel these fires. In reality, you are burning up the evil within your own subtle bodies which projected evil outwardly in the old life, but this effects the same result. During the merging, God will in fact be felt as a great fire and that fiery pain can be visualized as purifying yourself and all past worlds of your experience. God is bathing you in the grace-fires of his pure shakti. You can also cast up prayers for the protection, uplift, and guidance of your kin, children, friends, and loved ones at death time.
It is good to have a short prayer you rehearse in your head and heart that touches these vital items. You can use this short prayer to fill any death transition moments in which you retain self-awareness and capacity for thought. Practice saying it a lot during life, while imagining you will do this at least once at death. A short "death prayer" that touches all your concerns is a very good thing to create and practice. A good technique is to develop a prayer with a short refrain (repeating verse), interspersed with more detailed verses praying for friends and loved ones. On death, repeat only the short refrain, which will be imbued by now with the other more complex thought-prayers as well. That is because it is very difficult to concentrate on a thing during the death process, and the more simple your plan, the better. All of these prayers and wishes have maximum effectiveness when even briefly thought during the death moment, when approaching the Light. When seeing the light, one should forget all words and prayers, and only think of the Light with openness, love, and gratitude.
One can also have a thought of the form and circumstances they would like for their next life, should their be a next life, during the death process. These thoughts have, in this particular phase, huge impact on any future incarnations. However, it is better not to try to think of too much, but only of God and merging, and letting Him do all the rest as he will. As to influencing future lives, it is better to mind-construct these occasionally during the waking life instead. These repeated mind archetypes will then have their effect in shaping future incarnations, and arise naturally on their own during the death process.
Prepare for death daily. Think of it at least once a day and what it will be like. Make clear plans of how you will react to these emotional situations, what you will think, and the attitude you will take. Rehearse these mentally each day. Best of all -- if you care or dare -- practice meditation and guru-devotion for the calming of the heart and experience passing out of the body. There is nothing more valuable, for death training, than this. Whatever prayers and attitudes you want to cultivate for the death moment, practice these same prayers and attitudes during all life situations where you are afraid, confused, or vulnerable. Most important of all, think of God's nature as all-giving, all-good, all-accepting, and all-powerful. Ponder your veiling and blindness from Him as a fruit of your own misuse of natural law; a result of your own impurities which had to veil Him from you by law. As you dissolve these impurities by religion and spiritual practices, you will begin to get an actual experience of God's nature, starting with uncaused bliss.
One easy to way to get to know God's nature as bliss, and as consciousness, is to study your dream states. In your blissful dreams you are closer to God, and that is why the dreams are blissful. Nightmares come from food impurities, thought impurities, and sexual impurities of the waking state. The blissful nature of the dream state (ananda) is the bliss of God's nature. In the after death and transition states you will go through phases of bliss like your best dreams, but stronger and more vivid. Observation of your sleep states, both the lower astral blissful state, and the deep sleep state of "pure consciousness" gives an acquaintanceship with God's nature as bliss and consciousness. The practice of dying, too, can be carried out during the sleep state through strong development of meditation practices in the waking state. The territory of sleep is partly the same territory as the transition into death. In both cases you enter the astral. In death, you generally do it with more conscious awareness, plus the special opportunity of "All Fulfillment" is presented. The greater your spiritual development now through chastity, bhakti-devotion, and meditation, the greater and more noticeable will be the opportunity with the light at the time of death.
In the waking mind, a very nice way to read about God's nature is to study the 10th chapter of the Bhagavad-Gita, in as many translations as you can find.
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