“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.” – Mark Twain
There’s nothing like death to put life into perspective. I recently listened to a series of videos from the Youtube channel Higher Self, which triggered a huge amount of changes in me as their basic message (as we came into a new year) was This is it. This is your time, take it! No need to procrastinate, this year is the year you were born for.
Now I’m not sure if these ‘channelled’ messages were designed to shift us into the right gear through false statements, kind of like an affirmation might, or if they were accurate. Either way, they had an incredible effect on me.
Mystic Osho believed that the reason the prophet Muhammed preached that this was the only life was in order to wake others up. As soon as we learn about reincarnation, the temptation is to add it to another long list of excuses we have not to act. And it’s true – as much as truth is in the eye of the beholder – what we perceive becomes reality.
This is also why many attribute cancer and other life threatening diseases to us manifesting a reason to sit up and pay attention. Becoming alert when we are so anesthetized to the realities of reality and our vulnerability requires explosive terms; something that shocks the system and yells wake up! until we have no choice but to wholeheartedly respond.
As someone who has had first hand experience of death (and by the way I apologize for sounding flippant in my first statement, but as someone who has had first hand experience of death, you get to recognize the funny side of our fragile existence), I have been given a unique insight into the realities of it.
I experienced my own mother’s death at the age of three, and let me tell you, it was quite different from any associations we might have with this inevitable ‘end’ to life.
As a three year old, and a sensitive one at that, I believe I experienced a lot of what my mother did as she continued on. I felt her fear and her childlike panic, wondering where the safety net was, grasping desperately for it and not having anything to hold on to, but also everything else that followed.
I believe a fragment of me continued to travel with her as she left her body. This wasn’t an instantaneous thing, but a series of extremely vivid dreams and sensations that I was being protected and watched, especially in the garden where we lived for months after she died.
The memories have mostly faded now but these experiences have allowed me to appreciate people’s inner child and vulnerabilities; their fragile mortality that I may have otherwise been disconnected from throughout the rest of my life.
Since then, I have been drawn to death as an enlightening subject to meditate on. The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying is an excellent book to read on the subject for anyone who’d like to take this subject a little bit further. We can also integrate many of the meditations suggested within the book and those slightly more westernized ones as described in the video below into our daily practices to ensure we’re living each day to its (and our) fullest potential.
Removing The Pettiness
Meditating on death can take many forms: Imagining yourself being a fish caught in the fisherman’s net or lining up for some public execution as I believe the TBOLAD suggests. Sounds morbid doesn’t it? But if you haven’t done so already, you will find that after the initial panic and sorrow bubbles up inside you, overwhelming appreciation and love for life and all those around you (yes, even your enemies!) swiftly follows.
As Leo points out in the video, it also removes a lot of the pettiness we can get caught in as we go through life. Gossip, worrying about what others think of us – and yes, that is another perspective death helps us slot into its rightful place. If we only have a little bit of time left, why burn up valuable energy and life force on worrying?!
This, being another subject I’m expert on (!) is often a repercussion of trauma, otherwise known as the fear of something ‘bad’ happening again. Meditating on death can help with this. Putting things into perspective, every single day, every single time you wake up in the morning allows you to shift your focus. Addressing the fact that you might only have thirty years left (adjust accordingly) helps you to get a move on. If you are still holding back you can study why you are doing so.
Do you really need to care what your father/mother/friends/siblings/peers reactions to you living the life you came to live would be? Removing connections by visualizing, cutting or dissolving invisible cords will aid this process, but death will remind you that we live and die alone, and so we should really adjust the direction we take ourselves in the same way.
Death helps us realize that loved ones are a bonus. It fills up our cup with self compassion. You are able to see your inner child with a distinct clarity and appreciate your true nature like never before. Meditating on what others reactions to your imaginary death might also put into perspective whether you’ve achieved your true value and potential. As a fun game; try it. You will see that no-one can ever truly see your inner world and know your truth unless you express it.
And speaking of expressing yourself, meditating on death and the fact we are all as common as mud when it comes to our ‘final’ destination, allows you to take the subject with a pinch of salt.
Not taking ourselves so seriously, combined with those ambitious and wonderfully unique dreams is the perfect recipe for success. If you look to those you admire; people who have achieved something similar to what you’d like to do, you will find that as well as being in touch with their truth and privy, to the fact we create our own realities they probably have a heavy dose of humility to their names.
In Western societies there is more focus on the individual and a certain narcissist competition that elevates one individual over another. While hard to shake on an intellectual scale, meditating on death gives you the experience of being equal to others. As cultural narrative and archetype reveal (think Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol), money, status and property mean nothing to the grim reaper.
And finally, our perspective of death needs to be realized for what it is. If we recognize that we are currently existing in the 3rd dimension and our soul is seeking to expand further than that, then death is only part of the ascension process. When we have outgrown our bodies we step out of this vibration, of this dimension and go on to the next lesson. That we leave loved ones behind may be heartbreaking, but we most certainly go with love.