As a doctor and a hospice volunteer, one of the most common fears that I encounter in my job is the fear of dying. In fact, this fear is so common that we have come to accept it as part and parcel of our life. In our fear-driven world where a lot of our actions are motivated by fear, the fear of dying seems like just another fear we need to live with.
However, I have had the good fortune to come across people who are able to die with courage, dignity and peace. During their final days and even up to the moment of death, they remained in peace and without a trace of fear. It almost looked as if they welcome death.
Regardless of the kind of illnesses they may be suffering from, each of these people have some common traits.
1. A Strong Faith in their Spirituality
People who die a peaceful death very often lead a very peaceful life as well. They have this inherent faith in their own spirituality and that death is not the be-all-and-end-all. These people need not necessarily be regular church-goers. In fact, just because you go to church regularly does not automatically confer upon you a peaceful life or death. On the contrary, people who are spiritual lead a life of principles, based on self responsibility, non-judgmental and fair play. They are not hung on dogmas or beliefs. However, they are sure of their link to the divine, regardless of whether you called it God, Universal Mind, Allah or Brahma.
2. A habit of acceptance
They have this wonderful trait of acceptance. They don't easily get upset when things do not turn out the way they had expected it. In fact, they don't have unnecessary expectations. If things turned out the way they wanted, fine. If not, that's O.K. too. They don't create a fuss or make a big deal of things. They accept whatever life has to offer them, knowing that things happened for good reasons, and that there are lessons they can gain from them. They see life as a spiritual growth.
3. A blessing to others
Because of their belief in spirituality, they see all lives as inter- connected and inter-dependent. Thus, they feel the desire to be of help to others. They are often involved in community services or volunteering organisations. They are concern about the environment and world peace. Yet, they recognise their limits and are not easily frustrated or despaired by things that are beyond their control. They strive to be a blessing to others.
They cultivate friendship with all beings and value relationships. These traits hold them in good stead when death approaches. They have few, if any, regrets and they welcome the liberation that comes with the separation of the spirit from the old and ailing physical body.
Perhaps we can learn from them.
Dr. Tim Ong is a medical doctor and hospice volunteer. He is also the author of "From Fear to Love: A Spiritual Journey" - a book that explores our hidden fears and how we can overcome them. Dr. Ong shares his personal experience as well as relates stories and lessons from his patients. You can get a copy of his ebook here: http://fromfeartolove.com