As we fearlessly charge into the Tibetan YEAR OF THE HORSE, let us resolve to emulate the equine spirit of courage and gentleness, facing the coming times and our physical incarnation’s eventual destiny: parting from this physical body.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar reminds us that recognizing our own body’s impermanence removes the fear that disrupts perfect peace of mind. His Eighth Law of a Spiritual Life is Confirmation of your own death. “Understanding that you are going to die one day can bring you to the present moment…. Then, the future will not haunt you.” 
The fear of death is a threat to an accepting, peaceful mind. But how do we take this concept from our minds to our hearts? There is no better education about the end of life than at the bedside of the dying. If one is blessed with a gradual decline, what Jesus referred to as “Taking down our earthly tent,” witnessing this process of physical death is life changing. It becomes profoundly apparent that we are not this body. Attachments to how we look, possessions, social position, what we eat, all fall away. All that remains is a luminous, home-going soul. Pure consciousness.
Volunteers and staff of hospices will verify this. When I began working with the dying in 1995, I hoped there was a hereafter, but I was not sure. I feared “the end,” the next unknown stage. Soon, I witnessed hospice patients who would wake & tell me where they had been. Ms. Mable, who had been in a coma for several weeks, described to me “God’s Waiting Room,” and explained why she was still here. Some souls return to finish saying goodbye. Many see angels or family members who appear and tell them when their hour will come. In all cases, these predictions have come to pass.
A gradual death is a transition between this world and the next. It is full of amazing insights. The souls who have told me of this other realm prefer it to our earthly existence. Even those who have been unable to speak or have not awakened in some time often sit up in bed, raise their arms and speak lucidly of joyful reunions. Their visions vary; some see their mothers, while some see Jesus. Others encounter deceased family members or friends who have recently died. Many know their angels by name! Dying people have told me of beautiful music or gardens, of seeing their pets who have died. Two announced they were “climbing the golden stairway.” One man has been seeing his heart donor. These mysteries continue to astound me. They have brought me a gift of gratitude and faith. Bedside death attendance is truly a blessing, where we come to understand that WE, OUR SOULS, ARE LOVE. LOVE IS ALL THERE IS! Now, I am not afraid to die. Thank you, Lord.