Human beings don’t think much about their last hour before leaving this planet. If they care for it at all, they give in to some religious promises rather than rely on their own awareness and discovery. There is good scope here for reflections.

It is good to reflect on the last hour that we would have on this earthly life. There is then a fair certainty that we can leave this plane with a sense of completeness and serenity. Melodramatic stories and movies too can give us a push in that direction. Our relationship with people would undergo positive transformation while they are still here! The idea of ‘advance booking’ is not so much to reserve a place in heaven through religious practices as it is to direct our attention to the way we live here and now.

The momentum of conventional neurology takes people along habitual ways from which very few seem to release themselves. The result is that there is no room in their psychology for bringing in deeper perspectives about life’s journey on this planet. What predominates the daily awareness is the ego’s utilitarian approach to everything that the mind touches. Such an approach uses even God to one’s end in the name of religion. It affects our relationship with the near and dear ones. Most of us deal with them through the image we have of them rather than be alive to their presence and let compassion govern our interaction. This patternized behavior hardens people to the point of being heavily grounded in self-importance, leading to lack of empathy and erosion of sympathy. This neglect ends in deep compunction and grief when a close relative or friend passes away. It also leads to anguish when our own last hour approaches, making it difficult to leave with a feeling of completeness.

Reflection on the last hour can help us pay attention to our present life and be alive to others – a kind of soul-level contact with them. Such a relationship is more than just caring for them – it brings in an atmosphere of sacredness in our being with people, animals and nature. There is unconditional love towards all allowing empathy to play a role in our dealings. Naturally, when the final end closes in on us, we will have a feeling of completeness in the way we lived. It is not a matter of just ego-satisfaction but one related to our deeper being, the soul.

While discussing near death experiences, one of the participants said, “If I am told that I have only two more days to live, I would spend that time apologizing to all those whom I had hurt in one way or another.” That expression is indeed significant with regard to the tenor of this article. Somehow, while we function in the habitual psychology, we take people for granted and compassion does not manifest itself in our dealings. That is where reflection on the issue of leaving the earthly life with a completeness feeling can bring about the transformation. It is needed to treat everyone and everything with abundant feeling for them.

The International Association for NDEs ( published a letter to the editor by Mr. Stephen Latimer in their newsletter Vital Signs (Vol. 32, No 1). Stephen lost his son David at the age of 20 due to cancer. His presentation on what he went through is indeed very moving. Towards the end he says, “In conclusion I would like to say these events are not made up by a father clinging to a lost child – they were real and true, and I believe they were a gift from David to help me cope with this loss. It is also a story to tell others I have met, to give comfort and hope to especially the many people I meet who are about to lose someone or who are coping with loss themselves.” We can imagine what Stephen went through and, if we are to face such situations the right way, we should wake up early enough so that we treat everyone with compassion while they are still hale and healthy. Our mental stance during the last hour would then be imbued with serenity.

Sometimes, we read melodramatic stories or watch such movies. They can also push us into pensive reflections on what we should do now so that, when the last hour comes, we can leave with a feeling of completeness. In this connection, the reader may look into two stories: One by Rabindranath Tagore of India with the title “The Home Coming” and the other, a Russian story, by Leo Tolstoy, its title being “How Much Land Does a Man Need”. They can have deep impact on us.

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Author's Bio: 

Gopalakrishnan T. Chandrasekaran was born in Madras (now Chennai), India. He received his doctoral degree in Coastal Engineering from the North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA in 1978; served on the research and teaching faculty of the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, India, the North Carolina State University and the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, Kuwait.
Aside from his professional involvements, he was interested in the philosophic issues of life for the last forty years or so. This led him to the messages of Ramana Maharishi, Lao Tzu, J Krishnamurthy, UG Krishnamurthy, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Eckhart Tolle, Marcus Aurelius and similar Masters. His book entitled “In Quest of the Deeper Self” is the outcome of his reflections on those and his wish to share the outcome with others.
Gopalakrishnan is a member of the International Association for Near Death Studies, Durham, NC, USA. He lives in Kodaikanal, a hill town in the southern part of India, with his wife Banumathy who also received her doctoral degree from the North Carolina State University, in Organic Chemistry. Now they are both retired and currently involved in developing a fruit farm at a village 20 km from their residence. They have a daughter and son who are both married and settled.