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#77: Life And Death

5 min read

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true… - Steve Jobs

I just finished reading the book The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself recommended by Justin Kan in this podcast interview.

An amazing book which is about the relationship with your own thoughts, emotions and describes how you can untie your self from your ego, harness your inner energy, expand beyond yourself and float through the river of life instead of blocking or fighting it. It’s now one of my favorite books among Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams and Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World—and Why Things Are Better Than You Think.

Chapter 17 “contemplating death” is the chapter which stuck with me and motivated me to make this post. Also it reminded me of the introduction quote from Steve Jobs. The following quotations should summarize the topic about life and death and this post should be just a reminder to try to make the best out of the life which one has.

It is truly a great cosmic paradox that one of the best teachers in all life turns out to be death. No person or situation could ever teach you as much as death has to teach you. While someone could tell you that you are not your body, death shows you. While someone could remind you of the insignificance of the things that you cling to, death takes them all away in a second. While people can teach you that men and women of all races are equal and that there is no difference between the rich and the poor, death instantly makes us all the same. The question is, are you going to wait until the last moment to let death be your teacher? - The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

Death is not a morbid thought. Death is the greatest teacher in all of life. Take a moment to look at the things you think you need. Look how much time and energy you put into various activities. Imagine if you knew you were going to die within a week or a 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. What a wonderful thought to contemplate. 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. - The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

So why not be bold enough to regularly reflect on how you would live that last week? If you were to ask this question of people who are truly awakened, they wouldn’t have any problem answering you. Not a thing would change inside of them. Not a thought would cross their minds. If death were to come in an hour, if death were to come in a week, or if death were to come in a year, they would live exactly the same way as they’re living now. There is not a single thing they carry inside of their hearts that they would rather be doing. In other words, there are living their lives fully and are not making compromises or playing games with themselves. - The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

Learn to live as though you are facing death at all times, and you’ll become bolder and more open. If you live life fully, you won’t have any last wishes. You will have lived them every moment. Only then will you have fully experienced life and released part of you that is afraid of living. There is no reason to be afraid of life. And the fear will fade once you understand that the only thing there is to get from life is the growth that comes from experiencing 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 in the attempt to give life some meaning. What actually gives life meaning is the willingness to live it. It isn’t any particular event; it’s the willingness to experience life’s events. - The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

Don’t be afraid of death. Let it free you. Let it encourage you to experience life fully. But remember, it’s not your life. You should be experiencing the life that’s happening to you, not the one you wish was happening. Don’t waste a moment of life trying to make other things happen; appreciate the moments you are given. Don’t you understand that every minute you’re a step closer to death? This is how to live your life. You live it as through you were on the verge of death, because you are. - The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself