An old couple walking their dog in a forest

How should you spend your last years of life? What environments and activities will give you a healthy perspective?

In his book Death: An Inside Story, spiritual teacher Sadhguru shares advice on how to overcome the fear of death, how to prepare for death, and how to die well. One aspect of this is the way you spend the last years leading up to your death.

Read more for Sadhguru’s insights that might cause you to reevaluate your plans.

Your Last Years of Life

In your last years of life, Sadhguru recommends that you live in a space with as few barriers as possible between your body and the rest of the natural world, such as an open-air cabin. He states that close contact with nature helps you experience how fragile your physical body is outside of the protected human world. This experience will remind you that your body is temporary and not a part of your true self.

(Shortform note: If spending time in nature helps you identify with the universe beyond your individual self, could other pursuits that remind you of your mortality also bring spiritual benefits? Research indicates that they can: People who do life-threatening extreme sports report transcendental experiences that closely overlap with the experience of being awed by nature, including the feeling of stepping outside of your personal identity. Although it’s certainly less likely that you’d pursue extreme sports in your final years, such athletes in the last few decades of their lives are becoming more common. Consider 80-year-old Dan Little, who ran seven marathons in seven days across all seven continents—including Antarctica.)

Sadhguru discourages the choice to die in a hospital. Many terminally ill patients use medical technology to prolong their lives for as long as possible. However, stretching your life past its natural expiration date will only preserve the body, not the mind, making a mindful death more difficult. Sadhguru is clear that you shouldn’t avoid hospitals and modern medicine if you’re sick and need to recover. But, if the doctors declare that it’s likely you’re going to die, prolonging your life further may do more harm than good.

(Shortform note: While most medical experts don’t explicitly advocate for mindfulness at the moment of death, some agree with Sadhguru that hospitals generally intervene too much for their terminally ill patients. Many doctors hesitate to discuss the possibility of preparing for death with their patients, fearing that patients will react badly. Consequently, many patients fail to realize how low their chances for survival are and agree to aggressive treatment until the end. Although transitioning from aggressive treatment to palliative care may seem like giving up, it has several benefits: Research shows that it results in lower rates of depression and greater quality of life among patients.)

How to Spend Your Last Years of Life: Insights From Sadhguru

Elizabeth Whitworth

Elizabeth has a lifelong love of books. She devours nonfiction, especially in the areas of history, theology, and philosophy. A switch to audiobooks has kindled her enjoyment of well-narrated fiction, particularly Victorian and early 20th-century works. She appreciates idea-driven books—and a classic murder mystery now and then. Elizabeth has a blog and is writing a book about the beginning and the end of suffering.

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