The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying

How many of us live our lives with regret? How many see the old people in our culture fearful of death because they know they wasted their youth without Naam? How long will we continue to regret not being true to ourselves? How long will we allow ourselves to be buffeted by the winds of fear and uncertainty because we have not established a personal relationship with our atma (soul)? God is the only stable thing in this world, all else is ephemeral. Amritvela is essential to develop deep roots in this stability, and only than can the continually shifting sands of life not shake us to the core. All worldly sukh (pleasure/comfort) is temporary, and with it comes dukh (pain). By searching for spiritual sukh instead we invest in the one thing that cannot be taken away. My benti to all of you is to try to make the coming year your most dedicated to spiritual growth. Please keep amritvela (early morning meditation), please continually attend sadhsangat (congregational meditation and contemplation) and engage your mind in the programs. From personal experience I’ve learned that there is no greater way to gain peace of mind and happiness than from keeping these two habits. 

My mother, who is a care aid at an old persons’ home, has told me that when they find dharmic-minded people dead, they always have a look of peace on thier face. When they find the bodies of nastic (atheist) people, they have a look of struggle, a distinct lack of peace, on their face. She has even heard dharmic people sometimes see angels come to take them in the moment before death, and are sometimes given time to say a proper goodbye to their families. For the sake of the world and ourselves, please accept this humble benti (plea) to live a more spiritually focused life from now on. As all minds are connected, this raises the consciousness of the entire world. 

The following article is from a person who has worked with dying people for many years:

For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.

People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learnt never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them. 

When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five: 

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. 

This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. 

It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard. 

This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence. 

By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle. 

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result. 

We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win. 

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. 

Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying. 

It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships. 

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier. 

This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again. 

When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying. 

Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.

-Posted from inspiration and chai


2 responses to “The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying

  1. You only think of work for God when the stick of death is over your head that I wish I could know God.

  2. Pingback: Questions You Should Really Ask Yourself - |

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