Let us look at three kinds of death: involuntary, voluntary and conscious. Most of us would love to live forever and so for us, death is involuntary. Can we make death voluntary? This is not easily done in the moment of death, but depends a lot on how we relate to suffering in our everyday lives.
We spend our whole lives seeking comfort and running away from suffering. Yes, this is the story of our lives which does not change for anyone - however rich, famous and powerful they may be. As long as we have this inner, nearly unseen and constant desire to escape from suffering, we can never make death voluntary. Every moment, whether we are sitting in a car or negotiating a business deal, we have this unseen desire that things should go well.
How can we practice making involuntary suffering voluntary? This does not mean we go looking for suffering. There is enough of it in the normal act of living. The price rise, the weather, the government, the family, my friend who did not call me for dinner… oh! There is enough of suffering to work upon.
The first and most important step in transforming suffering is to consciously not complain. When we complain, we are saying ‘I do not want it’. Suffering is then involuntary. The practice of not complaining about anything is a very strong one and if done with persistence, can transform our lives and psyche completely. This small practice can lead us to such a heightened state that we will never need a guru or any other practice.
At the end of every day, we must take an account of where we complained and consciously change it. Yes, we will be shocked to see how trivial and mechanical we are when it comes to complaining. Through practice, we start feeling a new power within us, as if we have risen above the suffering of life and can see it from afar. Then we ease into suffering spontaneously like the shift in a car’s gear. Now death will be not only voluntary, but highly orgasmic and joyous.
For a conscious death, we must sacrifice our personal suffering in its own fire or ‘yagna’.