Why die consciously? Exploring death as an Opportunity

Submitted by Richard W on Fri, 09/09/2016 - 06:16

Why die consciously? Death – it comes to us all. We all know this but how many of us have really explored our deaths? What I’m about to say may shock you – but in many ways, those who get some advanced warning of their deaths through terminal prognosis – they are the lucky ones! Of course many of you in this situation will definitely not be feeling lucky and I completely understand. A life shattered, knowing that it will all come to an end so soon can be one of the hardest things for a person to deal with. But let me explain why these people are lucky. It’s not because of the suffering they may go through, but because of the tremendous opportunity they have...

Death as an opportunity

Going through life we hit many small ‘deaths’ along the way. Loss of loved ones, relationships and jobs, and more profoundly, loss of health, abilities and identities. Even if these things are only temporary, they provide a great opportunity for exploration of dying, in which we will ultimately lose all of these things.

Many people expect that if they manipulate some outer circumstance, for example dying at home surrounded by family and friends, then they will have a beautiful death. But if you’re life was one of holding on, to things, people, or roles such as being a parent, then death will magnify this tenfold. Even if your life was one of giving and caring, if this was motivated by a subtle need to boost your self-esteem, if you clung to the notion of yourself as a ‘caring’ person, then your death will also be a clinging. What matters when dying consciously is what is going on inside. Then the outside world will reflect that which is in you.

So, those who are in the position of knowing that their death is coming soon, will be going through many stages as they process all of what dying means for them. It is these stages of the dying process that provide us with the opportunity. They are opportunities to look at ourselves – all of our deeply unconscious fears will be bubbling to the surface. We can use this as an opportunity to heal a lifetimes worth of pain and suffering that we couldn’t quite go beyond before because it was buried too deep. We can use them as an opportunity for deep healing.

Death as healing

“If there is a single definition of healing, it is to enter with mercy and awareness those pains, mental and physical, from which we have withdrawn in judgement and dismay.” – Stephen Levine

Death presents us with the ultimate healing opportunity. If we can look into the darkest aspects of our being with compassion, and learn to let go of anything that is holding us back or no longer serving us or those around us, then we will already be coming ‘back to the source’ of our own being – from there dying is simply like taking a well-trodden path to a new destination.

What are the benefits of dying consciously?

Why go to all this hassle of digging down into all the muddy bits of your being? There are of course plenty of ways of avoiding pain and suffering. Entertainment is enticing. It is a method we have used our entire lives as society surrounds us with it and pushes it on us. Medications work wonders but many of them do so at the price of consciousness – essentially they hold you in a bubble of consciousness, numbing anything that gets pushed outside the bubble, such reception to pain and emotions, but also intuition, creativity and thought processing among other possible things.

If your pain is looked at in a conscious way – that is non-avoiding, compassionate, non-judgemental, but also with respect for where it has come from – then you connect with parts of you that have been distorted, healing them and becoming whole. This also has a ripple effect into the outside world and many relationships can be healed between loved ones.

Some of the benefits of practicing Conscious Dying include:

  • Expanding through physical pain – non-identification with the body
  • Flowing through each stage of grief and of death with relative ease and coming out the other side with a fresh perspective – non-identification with emotions
  • Releasing attachments that hold you back and embracing your source energy
  • Healing relationships with loved ones through forgiveness and finishing business
  • An expansion of your being – opening up into the unknown
  • Release of Karma which would otherwise draw you back to similar circumstances in future lives

Releasing Karma

Karma is the word that describes blockages that have built up over time. They are blockages in the flow of your soul attained through identification with the 3 lower planes of the physical, emotional and mental. As your soul is ever being drawn back to the source (oneness) it will be looking to release this Karma. In order to release Karma, you will draw circumstances in your life through the law of attraction which will cause you to confront those places in which you’ve become identified. The dying process will likely bring most if not all of these identifications to light at some point. Conscious Dying helps you to confront these blockages and transcend them, making the dying process ‘smoother’. Of course if these blockages are not confronted it’s also OK. You will simply attract other circumstances in other lives. But why not use such an incredible opportunity when it comes? For a brief period, dying magnifies all of these attachments and makes them simpler (not necessarily easier) to work with.

Releasing Karma will mean that your soul can move on to other adventures after you pass on, instead of being drawn back to the same circumstances. It will put you ever more in harmony with the flow of your soul and the rest of the universe.

A choice to make

So, Conscious Dying is a choice. It’s a choice that only you can make. If there are pitfalls along the way (as there likely will be) it’s OK. There are no hard and fast answers, but you have all the time in the world – who says the work doesn’t continue after you’ve passed on? But, why not seize that opportunity while it’s there? Why not do what your soul is yearning to do? Why not begin today? Here's a short inspirational video on making conscious choices:

Much love,


Richard is a spiritual facilitator with Openhand. He is a carer, psychologist, spiritual coach and writer. He has worked close to death for 7 years and is passionate about helping people to move on in a conscious way, even though society is geared to fight against death. He offers services in Spiritual Facilitation and Conscious Dying on his website Back to the Source and writes regular articles on his blog.


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Thanks Richard for the kind words and input. You said " to truly work with death, is not to imagine some fixed time of death but to recognize it in our daily lives". This hit me as soon as I read it. You see at the time I wrote the above message, in my mind the though was to help ease my vessel's passing with my kids, who are 30 and 33, still kids in my eyes (lol). I guess it was my way to try and have time enough to say good bye before death. Which I guess this is an attachment to this life? The other thing I guess is wanting to be in the right mind set that may have something to do with where your soul goes in the next life or what part of the universe. This maybe coming from my religious background. Where you ask for forgiveness on your death bed. By the way I was never religious, always felt the attachment to my native roots, which have grown stronger with age.
Just rambling here.
Cathy, I to have questions popping up all the time and have come to peace with them by like you said not needing an answer. Love that song "let it be"
Keep on keeping on, my friend.


In reply to by Charlie


Hi Charlie,

Thank you for being in my corner. Much appreciated. I'm committed at this point to feeling into what the outer mirror shows me about my inner consciousness, no matter how painful, so it's too late to bury my head in the sand. Damn, ha!

I sat in the sun by the ocean yesterday and listened to "Let it Be" several times. It helps me to be with whatever is going down without needing an outcome. Then I went onto Ringo Starr's "Octopus's Garden" as I merged with the sunbeams dancing on the water. For me, the song lyrics have shades of 5D.

"...We would shout and swim about
The coral that lies beneath the waves
Oh what joy for every girl and boy
Knowing they're happy and they're safe
We would be so happy you and me
No one there to tell us what to do
I'd like to be under the sea
In an octopus's garden with you."

I always appreciate your posts. Wishing you well as you journey on,



No worries, Richard. You're not pushing me too hard. Good exploration. Amidst the turmoil and confusion, it feels like I don't care one way or another if I have an answer or not. Then again, I'm not sure of anything these days. But I do feel that all roads lead home so there must be countless answers.


Hi Cathy,

It sounds like you're having a tough time a the moment. I know what you mean about the mountain top thing. I sometimes catch myself thinking "wouldn't things be easier if...".

It's a lot of questions you're asking yourself and I hope I don't push you too hard by asking more. Is there a need to answer these questions? Is there one true answer? I have found before that sometimes (not always) just holding the question without need of an answer is enough for whatever process to take place. It opens me up to the pure potential of the moment.

Ps, I love 'let it be'. I used to sing it to my daughter when she was a baby and having trouble sleeping. She still asks for it sometimes. That and 'blackbird'.


Hi Richard,

"Who is passing on?" you ask. It's all a jumble right now. Is it ego with OC tagging along? Me as a soul, a divine spark of the divine? A stream of consciousness with unique gifts to share? What is true soul yearning? What is ego-driven? How do they differ? Am I okay with it all? No. Unattached? Unidentified? No. Me oh my. I feel totally exhausted with the whole self-realization process. The constant engaging with the outer mirror. Feeling into the reflections. Meditating alone on a mountain top looks very appealing these days. The song "Let it Be" comes to mind.



It's so great to see your article circulating to a wider audience on the OH forum. Your thoughts and feelings on exploring death as an opportunity and dying consciously resonated strongly with me when I first read your article on Facebook not long ago. These days I've been feeling into fears around death that constrict my body, mind, and spirit and stop me from fully expressing what matters most to me. I especially feel the fear when I'm writing and trying to get my words out. Lots of past life traumas to feel into and release around frightening and painful ways I've died down through the eons. I recently felt a strong pull to watch a Netflix series on witch hunting in England in the 17th century. I could feel cellular memories kick in about those insane, torturous times in history when many felt completely alone, betrayed, and abandoned. I have a choice. Either live small or let the fears go. I'm doing my best, but I'm not finding it to be an easy process. I feel like I die a little bit inside each time I pass on expressing my soul.

I've been asking myself, "What's the point in being alive if one is too fearful to fully express one's soul?" I'm deeply inspired by those who look death in the face and still do what feels right in the depths of their being. In that regard, these words used by many Native American tribes as they went into battle with the U.S. Army to preserve their lands and sacred way of life truly speak to my heart:

"Hokahey, today is a good day to die!"

John Donne's poem is floating through my head:

"Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those, whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me."


Best Wishes with all of this. So inspiring and much needed.

x Catherine

In reply to by soulseer


Hi Cathy,
I really admire your courage to face all this. It sounds like you are really tackling it head on. It's certainly not easy, like you said. I really feel for you, especially when you said "I feel like I die a little bit inside each time I pass on expressing my soul". Indeed, it can be really a shattering process, eh? I wonder if it may help to ask yourself this question: 'who is passing on?'

Best wishes Cathy


Hi Richard, I really loved your article. Death is something in my mind on a regular basis and I believe that I would truly embrace knowing the day of my demise. I would like to think that it would make it easier for me to explain death to my loved ones to make my passing easier for them to deal with. Just maybe help them understand life, a little better. So that they can enjoy the time they have here and that I will always be here. I do believe that you never truly die. This vessel may past, this body may cease to exist, but my soul, my spirit, it will transform to what, I don't know. But it will be something glorious. For everything you covered in this article I have experience tenfold. The Lose of family, loved ones, friends, possessions, ability to carry on like I did as a younger man as I get closer to my death. I guess I truly believe that you never really lose anything you need. All you really have to do is look within yourself and you will find what you were looking for. It reminds me of the video you have here where it mentions "thoughts being a powerful ally", which I really like that. I guess my Awakening has made it so much easier to understand life a little better and that from the moment of birth we are one more day closer to our death and rebirth. So do not be afraid to live,for everyday you live your body is one more day closer to death. Your soul and spirit will live and move on. Because you lived you have created memories in others that if used right will foster a greater understanding of death.

All the best in your journey Richard

Much Love

In reply to by Charlie


Hi Charlie,
Thanks for writing such lovely thoughts. It looks like you are coming to terms with death, which like you said, brings us closer to living. It seems to me to be like a constant opening into the moment. I think to truely work with death, is not to imagine some fixed time of death but to recognise it in our daily lives.

Best wishes


It's a brilliant debut article here on Openhand Rich - awesome *OK*

It's a powerful topic you've illuminated. It seems to me that for so many people, there is a subconscious fear of death and this limits how they live. And it limits their potential expansion back out into the universe.

Thanks for bringing light to it. And great to see your website being so active too... Back to The Source

Best wishes