Accepting your own death may not be the easiest thing you ever do, but it could be the simplest. “Approaching death requires simple surrender, where you accept death as a state of embracing life,” says Marc Lerner, author of A Healthy Way to be Sick.
Marc was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1981. Within weeks he was legally blind and numb over 30% of his body. The doctors didn’t know what it was at first, and after the diagnosis they didn’t know how to cure it. “That set the tone of exploring and accepting death within with passion/ desperation,” says Marc. He realized that the way he used my brain had significant effects on his body, and his mind at that time was the best treatment that was available to him.
If you’re dealing with the fear of death, you may find Marc’s perspective and creative way of accepting death helpful. He believes surrender is difficult for most people, because they are focused strongly on thinking. The ‘letting go’ state of mind help you accept death by leaving you in a simple state of being. If you can surrender to the idea of death, you’ll have no anxiety or fear, and death would be a relief of your suffering.
Accepting Death – A Creative Approach
Marc established the Life Skills Institute in 1982 and served as President to 2013. Through the Institute, he worked with people with cancer and AIDS, as well as veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Recognize your resistance to death. “Now that I am facing the end of my life, I feel that the state of mind of actively participating in your medical care is important in accepting and approaching death,” says Marc. “I recognize the resistance I have to passing. I see that you have to let go of your attachments, beliefs, and any mind-made reality that comforted you in the past.”
Find peace and acceptance of death. When you let go of your attachments, you’ll find an amazing peace and acceptance of what is happening. Marc feels this letting go puts him in the moment, where it is easy to share a heartfelt goodbye to those he loves.
Approach death like a celebration. “I feel it is possible to approach death almost like a celebration, instead of a tragedy,” he says. He adds that everybody needs to prepare for death simply by creating habits that puts them in that state without having to think about their death. He often tells people they have to face their challenge directly, instead of looking at what they are leaving behind.
If you’re losing a loved one, don’t project your fear of death. “Talk to your dying loved one, and accept exactly where he is at,” says Marc. Simple love helps them to accept death. Don’t project your fear of death or dying on him. Try not to talk about the future, where he is not going to be involved. Stay in the moment. Marc adds that often people at this stage are experiencing a lot of pain. It is helpful to learn how to focus beyond the pain. This does not eliminate the pain, it just lessens the intensity to a tolerable level. In fact, that focus becomes a spiritual experience that helps you surrender and accept death easier.
Find creative ways to express yourself – and your thoughts about death. “I feel creativity is a beautiful way to express yourself,” says Marc. “In my book, The End: A Creative Approach to Death, I use poetry, but I feel any form of creative expression has the ability to deal with issues about death that are not easily expressed.” Some people always wanted to blog, and decided to try blogging as they move towards death.
In accepting death, remember that it is important to have a quality of life until your last breath. There is an advantage to working on yourself as you approach death, for it is easier to let go of unnecessary chatter in your mind. Strive to your ideal state, for that is the best way to pass.
If you have any thoughts on Marc’s perspective – or learning how to accept death – please comment below.
Marc Lerner developed the Life Skills Institute and Life Skills Seminars Inc. to share tools for connecting with inner resources with veterans struggling with PTSD and people struggling with health issues. He wrote A Healthy Way to be Sick, and gave seminars about tapping inner resources to become an active patient in the healing process. Visit Life Skills Institute for free downloads and a free tele-seminar.