I decided to write this article after experiencing a hypnotherapy session where I visited my inner child. As a child, when I was around maybe 5, I remember crying myself to sleep at night because I was petrified of dying. I am not sure where this came from but it has left me pondering death the last few days so I thought I would put my thoughts onto paper (well, a laptop but you get the idea!) and share with you how I view death.
One of the best teachers in all of life turns out to be death
No person or situation can ever teach you as much as death has to teach you. Whilst someone can tell you that. you are not your body, death shows you. Whilst someone can remind you of the insignificance of the things that you cling to, death takes them all away in a second. Whilst people can teach you that all men and women are equal and that there is no difference between the rich and the poor, death instantly makes us the same. The question is:
“Are you going to wait until that last moment to let death be your teacher?”
The mere possibility of death has the power to teach us at any moment. A wise person realises that at any moment they could stop breathing. It could happen any time in any place. You have to learn from this. Death is inevitable and unpredictable.
“Any time you are having trouble with something, think of death.”
It shouldn’t take death to challenge you to live at your highest level. Why wait until everything is taken from you to dig down and reach your highest potential in life? This includes relationships. If you know that death is coming, we just don’t know when, why would you waste time on petty arguments and holding grudges? We take it all for granted that our loved ones are there and will continue to be there for us. What if they died? What if you died? What if you knew that this evening would be the last time you would get to see them… Imagine an Angel coming down to you and saying, ‘straighten up your affairs, tomorrow you’re coming with me.’ You would know that every person you saw that day, you would be seeing for the last time. How would you feel? How would you interact with them? Would you even bother with all of the little grudges and complaints that have been bothering you? How much love could you give your loved ones knowing that it would be the last time you would spend time with them?
Now imagine living like that with everyone all the time
Your life would be really different. You should contemplate this.
“Death is not a morbid thought, death is the greatest teacher of all of life.”
Take a moment to look at the things you think you need. Look at how much time and energy you put into various activities. Imagine if you knew you that you were going to die within a week or month. How would that change things? How would your priorities change? How would your thoughts change? Think honestly about what you would do with your last week. Then ponder this question;
“If that’s really what you would do with your last week, what are you doing with the rest of your time…? Wasting it? Throwing it away? Treating it like it’s not something precious? What are you doing with life? That is what death asks you.”
Let’s say your living life without the thought of death and the Angel of death comes to you and says, ‘Come, it’s time to go.’ You would say, ‘But no, you’re supposed to give me a warning so that I know what to do with my last week!’ And you know what death will say to you, ‘My God, I gave you 52 weeks this past year alone and look at all the other weeks I have given you, why would you need one more? What did you do with all those?’ If asked that, what are you going to say? ‘I wasn’t paying attention, I didn’t think it mattered.’ That is a pretty amazing thing to say about your life.
Death is a great teacher, but who lives with that level of awareness? It doesn’t matter what age you are. At any age, you could take a breath and not take another. It happens to people of all ages. Babies, teenagers, middle-aged, not just aged. No one knows when their time will be.
“Why not be bold enough to regularly reflect on how you would love that last week?”
If you were to ask this question to people that are truly awakened and living their life’s purpose, they wouldn’t change anything about their life. There is not a single thing that they carry around in their hearts that they would rather be doing. In other words, they are living their lives fully. You have to be willing to look at life as if death is staring you in the face. Then you have to find peace within yourself so that it doesn’t make a difference whether it is or not.
We are always so close to death
There is a story about a great yogi who used to imagine that there was a knife hanging over his head following him around in a spiders web his whole life. He lived his life with an awareness that he was that close to death. YOU ARE that close to death. Every time you get in the car. Every time you walk across the street. Every time you eat something, it could be the last thing you do. Do you realise that what you are doing at any moment is what someone was doing when they died? He dies eating dinner. She died in a car accident 2 miles from home. She died in a plane crash on a trip to NYC. He went to bed at night and just didn’t wake up. No matter what you are doing, somebody somewhere has died doing it. You must not be afraid to discuss death. Don’t get panicky about it. Instead, let this knowledge let you live every moment of your life fully. Because every moment matters. People that have been given a week to live will be telling you that that week was a thousand times more meaningful than any other week of their lives. What if you were to live every week that way? At this point, you should be asking yourself, why aren’t you living this way every week? You are going to die, you know that. You just don’t know when. Every single thing will be taken from you. You will leave behind your possessions, your loved ones, all you hopes and dreams for this life.
“Death changes everything in a flash.” That’s the reality.
If all of these things can be changed in an instant, maybe they aren’t so real after all. This gives you an opportunity to check out who you really are. Look deeper. The beauty of embracing deep truths is that you don’t have to change your life. You just have to change how you live your life.
It’s not what you are doing, it’s how much of you is doing it
Let’s take a very simple example. You have walked outside thousands of times but how many times have you actually appreciated it? Imagine a person in a hospital bed that has just been given a week to live. They look up to the doctor and say, ‘Can I walk outside, can I look at the sky just one last time?’ If it were raining outside they would want to feel the rain just once more. For them, that would be the most precious thing. But you don’t want to feel the rain. You look out the window and say, ‘Oh what a miserable day!’ You run from it and cover-up.
What is it that won’t let us live our lives? What is it inside of us that it is so afraid that it keeps us from enjoying life. This part of us keeps us so busy trying to make sure the next part goes right that we can’t just be here now. In the moment. Enjoying and appreciating all there is to appreciate. All the while, death is watching our footsteps. Don’t you want to live a while before death comes? You probably are not going to get a warning. Many people just take a breath and then didn’t know that they didn’t take another. So use every day to let go of that scared part of you that won’t let you live life fully. Since you know you are going to die, do what needs to be done, say what needs to be said, don’t leave things unfinished, don’t hold grudges or anger inside you. This is how people would act if they had been told they are going to die. Well, you are going to die, you are facing death at any moment.
If you live life knowing that you could be facing death at any moment then you will become bolder and more open to life.
Live life fully
If you live your life fully, you won’t have any last wishes. You will have lived them at any moment. Only then will you . have fully experienced life and released the part of you that was afraid of living. There is no reason to be afraid of life. The fear will fade when you realise that the only thing to get from life is the growth that you receive from the experience of living it. Life itself is your career. And your interaction with life is your most meaningful relationship. Everything else you re doing is just focusing on a tiny subset of life, attempting to give life some meaning.
What actually gives life meaning is the willingness to live it.
If you challenge yourself to live as though it were you last week. Your mind may come up with all kinds of suppressed desires. It may start talking about all the things that you have always wanted to do. And you might go and do them. You will soon see that that is not the answer. You have to understand that it is your attempt to get special experiences from life that you miss the actual true real experience of life. Life is not something you get, it is something you experience.
Life exists with or without you. It has been going on for billions of years. You simply get the honour of seeing a tiny slice of it.
If you are busy trying to get something, you are missing the slice of life that you are actually experiencing. Every one of life’s experiences is different. And every experience is worth having. Life is not something to waste. It is truly precious. That’s why death is such a great teacher. It is death that makes life precious. Look at how precious life becomes when you only have a week left to live. How precious would life be if there was no such thing as death? You would waste every minute of it because you would think that you always had it.
It is scarcity that makes things precious. So it is death that actually gives meaning to life.
Death is your friend. Death is your liberator. Do not be afraid of death. Take each moment of your life and live it fully. You fear death because you crave life. You fear death because you think there is something to get that you haven’t got yet. Many people think death will take things away from them. The wise person realises that death is constantly giving them something. Death is giving meaning to their life. You get in your car and go from A to B and you don’t see any of it. You’re not even there! Your living in your head. You’re not living life your living mind! It is you who is throwing your life away, not death.
If you are living every experience fully then death doesn’t take anything form you because you are already fulfilled.
That’s why the wise being is always ready to die. Live every moment of your life letting it touch you fully deep inside. Really experience it, let it fill you. Smell, touch, listen see. Even if something terrible happens, let that just be another experience of life.
Death has made you a great promise in which you can find deep peace. The promise is that all things are temporary.
In the end, life belongs to death. Death is the landlord, you are the tenant. You should have a healthy relationship with death. Be thankful for death because death is allowing you another day, another experience and for creating the scarcity that makes life so precious. If you do this, your life will no longer be yours to waste. It will be yours to appreciate. Death is the ultimate reality of life.
So instead of getting lost in the normal everyday chatter of life, live every moment fully. Your job in life isn’t to worry about changing your life, it is to experience whatever life gifts to you and be grateful for all you experience. Live your life every day as if you are on the verge of death because you are.
How are you going to live?