How to Treat Death

How to Treat Death

It’s been said you shouldn’t discuss religion, sex, or politics in social settings, death is another neglected topic. At least this is how it is where I live in the Western world. It’s seen as a morbid topic that we prefer to avoid despite the fact that it is inevitable.

Death is in fact the most natural process akin to life, you can’t have life without it. Hypothetically even if we could choose to live forever many of us wouldn’t want to, the boredom and need to keep working would become a kind of hell.

One of the major reasons death is seen as a problem is because we see it as potentially final and it follows decay. We know that decay feeds and rejuvenates but it’s still seen as a withering away for some, our language defines it as a loss, a tragedy. This has to do a lot with conditioning because the reality is that death is necessary. It creates space for new life, innovation, a carrying of the torch.

The problem with seeing it as final is that we don’t know for certain what, if anything follows death. It could be that it leads to:

  1. No sensation for eternity which is only disturbing to those that are alive and choose to see it as wrong. At the very least in this you have no pain. There wouldn’t be anyone to sense anything to call it either good or bad because it would be nothing.
  2. Some sort of reconnection to a divine energy. It’s up to you to take your pick to define what “it” is. Perhaps it’s even beyond explanation, without category. If it is divine it may not need any sort of identification, why would it care what you define it by?
  3. Something absurdly in between, an unidentified sort of experience which is transcendence and unintelligible to our basic human understanding.

In either scenario there is a good argument for any case, which means there is yet to be any certifiable proof, as our direct experience has not shown anything beyond the unknown.

It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.
-Marcus Aurelius

The Present Moment is All We Have

Dwelling on anything beyond the present moment will always lead to burdens. The jewel of existence is being able to be with the present moment, because that’s all that we know for certain. We have nothing to fear in death because we don’t know what it will bring. It may be far better than life, we just don’t know. But since we have yet to find a good direct experience to what death will bring, all we can rely on is the ability to be fully in the present.

Death is not a worry to people who are fully with life, they’ll get to it when it comes.

When you are fully in the moment, without judgement, without striving, you find you’re able to put forth more energy into life. Being in the present fully aware comes from not trying to control and cling. By worrying so much about death you end up being trapped and the trap maker. Instead of intellectualizing what may or may not happen, living will grant you so much more energy and spirit.

The only way you can escape this circular roller coaster is by not trying to escape it. In other words simply be with the eternal now. Unless you’re being chased by wild tigers (which if you are bravo on being able to multi-task) the present moment is often calm. Any issues can be intellectualized as being pending or a inevitable tragedy if you want it to, but it can also be a release, a part of nature. It is completely natural to die, it is what gives us light. Without it life would be dull, there would be no reason to get in shape or to find a new trade, you could always put it off for the later future. By having ups and downs you get to appreciate life more. If it was a fixed line it would be lifeless and not worth it.

Take gambling for example, playing cards without risk would be dull. If you’ve ever played a game when there was a mismatch, it quickly became dull because winning or losing was too easy. Novelty is what gives this life excitement. Uncertainty is the ground for a thrilling life. If you were fully aware of all of it, what would be the point. This is one of the ideas behind God that Hindus have. Showcasing Shiva in dance, not to get anywhere or for exercise, but for the simple joy of it.

When we are most expressive and free is where we feel fully immersed in life. Not when we cling, but when we fully express ourselves through non-striving. Life than wasn’t created to correct any issues or to praise, but simply to experience life for the sake of it.

You can make this world hell for yourself or you can see it as it really is, a constant flux, ebb and flow, growth and decay. Neither always good nor always bad.

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