A reflection from Ajahn Jayasāro:
For most people, reaching the end of their life, breathing becomes laboured. Meditation on the breath, even for experienced meditators becomes difficult. At this crucial time, with death approaching, the meditations that are most practical are those that use the power of recollection to stimulate uplifting emotion.
Once kindled, that emotion can become the meditation object. If the mind starts to waver, then the meditator is encouraged to return to the original recollection in order to rekindle the emotion. Wholesome emotion, systematically cultivated in this way, can take the mind beyond the hindrances and into samādhi.
The most powerful of these meditations is the recollection of the good deeds that one has performed throughout one’s life. When we recall occasions on which we acted kindly and purely for the welfare of others, with no desire for any kind of reward, we feel an immediate sense of well-being. This is true even for good actions performed many years ago.
To realise that such a source of joy and peace lies within us is a wonderful discovery. We come to understand that no goodness is ever lost. Every kind action we have performed has added to the store of ‘noble treasure’ within.