There is a Native American saying, "Today is a good day to die for all the things of my life are present." This embodies the possibilities of a life reviewed and completed. A life in which even death is not excluded. I am speaking here of a whole death that succeeds a whole life. A life caught up to, and lived in, the present, that rides the breath and knows the power of thought to create the world, experiencing itself in its fullness and emptiness.

The more mindful we are the less there is to crowd us in our deathbed. When we are living our life instead of only thinking it, nothing remains undone, and if we should die that day we are pleased that our death can be so complete. When everything is brought up-to-date, and the heart is turned toward itself, it is a good day to die.

Once opened, our original lotus knows its way home by heart.

Thus, it is suggested that we practice dying (find a perfect day to die) with a very interesting and enjoyable and sometimes frightening exercise called "Taking a Day Off." It is a daylong contemplation of seeing the world without ourselves in it. It speaks to that place within us that asks, How can I not be among you? Some call this practice "Dead for a Day." We walk the streets as though we were not there, as though we had died yesterday. We see the world in our absence. We act as though we were already dead and had this last chance to visit the world we have left behind. We grieve for ourselves and go on.

The power of such an exercise is demonstrated in the popularity of such films as It's a Wonderful Life. Something essential is drawn to the surface when we recognize that This day may be the last day of the rest of our life.

Experience each breath as though it were the last. Enter each moment, each conversation, each lovemaking, each meal, each prayer, each meditation as though there may never be another.

Just as yesterday we pretended to be dead, today we pretend we are alive. We walk the streets filled with presence. We watch the gratitude at our rapid recovery. We cut out the middleman of death, not needing to die in order to take our next incarnation, we take birth now, in the middle of the street, in the midst of a life redoubled by new birth.

We enter life so fully that even if we died it would not spoil our day.

Stephen Levine in A Year to Live