Death is inevitable.
But we don’t talk about death. We shy away from it. We fear it.
Death and the idea of it, however, can also be helpful. By remembering the fact that we are going to die one day, we can gain great personal power.
Consider three separate “sources” that come to my mind:
- The Samurai would meditate daily on their inevitable deaths. This was to remind them that one day they would die and, among other things, allowed them to enjoy what they could while they were alive.
- Steve Jobs talked about death and how it helped him in a speech he gave for Stanford.
- A paragraph from Radical Honesty, by Brad Blanton:
“The abysmal truth is that everything comes to nothing. No change matters. Whatever you don’t have is only important to you because you don’t have it. Something you want is very important to you until you get it, and then it’s nothing after a while. This movement from anticipation to accomplishment to disillusionment is inevitable. All change is futile. The alternative kind of life – conservative, preserving beliefs, avoiding change, a kind of stagnation within the protected bounds of first-learned concepts – is an equally futile way to live. Both ways to live are merely playing tiddlywinks between predoom and postdoom. Willingness to face the abyss of meaninglessness is the power required to accomplish change. Whatever your main struggle is, it is insignificant in the face of your death; it is petty and unimportant and has no meaning at all. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
When it comes down to it, you are going to die one day. You will cease to exist, think, feel, function or be. And eventually, your death won’t matter to anyone.
But your inevitable death can create a helpful context for your life. It can become a frame for you to look through, making every passing moment a miracle. A miracle that you can feel the best or the worst you’ve ever felt. A miracle that you can think with your own mind. A miracle that you are alive and here right now in this moment.
And that is a powerful place to be in.