Perhaps my strong impulse to reflect on death, study it, talk and write about it is the result of my journey of going from living in the tight grip of its fear to cherishing it and having a playful and open-hearted curiosity about it.
It makes no sense to live our entire lives fearing the inevitable and buying into the culture’s irrational thought that “death is wrong and something to avoid at all costs”… No, death is cardinal in our lives, to impulse us to live, not to rob us of joy and clarity while we live.
Letting go of my fear of death has freed energy and creativity that was formerly trapped. Other fears have slowly yielded as well. Maybe that is why I am writing this article, and why I aspire to write my first and subsequent books, because I no longer am afraid of dying as I used to. (Fear takes energy).
Every spiritual teacher taught fearlessness of death.
“Life and death are but phases of the same thing, the reverse and obverse of the same coin. Death is as necessary for man’s growth as life itself.” — Gandhi
“Cherishing death?” you may ask. Well, if I cherish my birth, it makes sense to cherish my death, doesn’t it?
Have you noticed how we celebrate births so readily but have a universal refusal and unwillingness to let go — even when the thought of there being no death is a nightmare? — To clarify, we don’t want to die OURSELVES or any of OUR loved ones; but “the others” can die because that’s the normal cycle of things. But me? and mine? No, we are to live here on this earth forever.
Is this not infantile? Yes, it is infantile and irrational. We were born into these bodies that are like clothes for the spirit, and these wonderful “suits” will wear out even as the spirit inside them can gets renewed, (if we are in a journey of expansion of our consciousness).
A pivotal consideration is that our fear of death reveals not only a fear of dying, but most importantly a fear of living. Being afraid of dying impairs us in more ways than we realize.
We come to know life because there is death; death is essential for our life experience.
We have been taught wrong about many things, and death is one of them.
“Death is a stripping away of all that is not you. The secret of life is to ‘die before you die’ — and find that there is no death.” — Eckhart Tolle
All of our ideas about death are wrong. Death is infinitely more fantastic than any human can imagine. Death is a gift, not a robber. And life is given to us so we occupy ourselves doing what we came to do, utilizing the talent or talents we have, whatever they are. Our lives are not meant to be spent in fear.
By a long shot death is not the worst thing that can happen to people. The purpose of life is not breathing air and producing waste; it is to achieve spiritual growth to show for our life’s experiences and suffering. The tragedy isn’t dying, but to be born and die and never have learned anything. But if we have lived, loved, served, learned many lessons, expanded our spirit and then die, that’s a gift that we cannot even comprehend.
From Freud to Socrates we hear of the human tendency to put the subject of death in the back burner; to ignore it. This does not help, on the contrary, it lends to our fears due to obscurity, ignorance and socialization since everybody is doing it, so we do it too. But we can take the initiative and challenge the status quo and bring this, at least for ourselves, to the front from the shadows to learn and benefit from it.
How much better able to cope with death do you think is someone who faced it on time and didn’t wait until death faced them? Wouldn’t everyone choose to have made the muscle necessary to face death in a calm and ready manner than die with panic? This is invaluable for us who are doing the passing from this life and for the people we love and leave behind; it is a gift to ourselves and those we love.
We must go against the grain, because from the Bible* to the movies, and everything we hear, it all portrays “death” as the ultimate enemy, one to avoid and keep avoiding for as long as possible. (Imagine how this fear of dying makes the business of prolonging life artificially a monster of a business, — in every sense). *The New Testament in the Bible has exceptions where it does not portray death as a bad thing.
The idea that existing equals BEING ALIVE is an erroneous one. Breathing and Living are not the same thing.
We come with a commission, something to achieve by which we may serve the whole and experience as much conscience evolution as possible.
At our collective stage in evolution, most of us are in survival mode, the basic stage. It is painful to live there. I know.
Death is graduation day. What are we showing up with?
Isn’t graduation day exciting?
Put your heart into the work you do that blesses the world, so graduation day is a good day
That is all the gnashing of teeth and fire and brimstone I believe in. It is plenty.
The worst thing is not dying, but it is having never truly lived.
“Death”, or our idea of it, is the cardinal point of our life; it affects everything we do.
We need each other to embrace death; we are in this together.
Question your ideas about death, discard them, and start over.
Let the power in you be ignited, start off by getting rid of fear of death.
Discarding old ways of thinking and opening up ourselves to higher thoughts is wise, and the most spiritually and intellectually invigorating thing we can do in our lives.
It is our culture to be and live fearfully. But we must be like the salmon: swimming upstream, against the current, against tradition, and onto something new and wiser.
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Copyrighted material 2018
Originally published at medium.com