Understanding Life

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Does knowing we are going to die help us to live? How? We often take our lives for granted especially when we're young. We think we're going to live forever. But, from one moment to the next, nobody knows what will happen. A person could be alive and well one moment and dead the next, this shows the value of life and the uncertainties of death.

Death is the “great unknown,” and that's why it's so frightening. Also, we perceive the inevitability of death long before it happens, which can be worrying, even tormenting. This fear and suffering keeps us from thinking seriously about death as it impedes our happiness. We need to know how to do this, how to live in freedom, not being imprisoned by the future and not being carried away by things in the present. When we can live our daily life deeply and genuinely, we begin to feel free and are able to live; we can see the true nature of life, we arrive at a great freedom with in you and freedom is the essence of happiness. All of us are equal as far as life and death are concerned; we are all going to die. So it is very equal, death will happen to everybody. Everyone has to die however, before we die, can we live properly? Properly being living life and enjoying life, not being sucked in by your surroundings and thought. I am determined to live properly until I die.

If we are going to die, then we have to live the best we can. If we don’t live the best we can why should we live? You are given an extraordinary thing, which is life, and you should use it to fulfil everything you desire, that is how life should be lived. The saying, “To live well is to die well,” takes on great meaning. If our life is filled with being caught in the restraints of pain and suffering, then our life doesn’t have the same kind of meaning as if we live in freedom. Knowing that we have to die, I am determined to live my life properly, deeply. If we aren’t able to live with peace, joy, and freedom before we die, then we live as if we are dead already. Hearing the doctors’ words, “You have cancer, you may live for six months.” This completely overwhelms the listener. The fear, the idea that I’m going to die in six months takes away all peace and joy of living life. Before the doctor tells the person they had cancer, they had the capacity to enjoy themselves with their friends. However, once the doctor informs them of the tragic news, they have lost all the capacity to sit and enjoy a cup of tea, or enjoy a meal, or watch the stars, because they are so afraid of the moment when they will die. The inevitability of death, takes away all our freedom. Accepting that death is something that comes to everybody will reduce your suffering. Mohandas Ghandi, spoke openly about how to live life: “Do not pursue the past. Do not lose yourself in the future. The past no longer is. The future has not yet come. Looking deeply at life as it is in the very here and now, the practitioner dwells in stability and freedom.” Many of us are caught up thinking in the past. The past is no longer there and we compare it with the present, we say that the past was more beautiful than the present. However when those past moments were lived we didn’t really value them at the time. We were always running after the future and now if we were taken back to the past, we would do the same. Our fear is our projections we have of the future tomorrow. Maybe this will happen, or that will happen, we project it like that. That is what makes us afraid. Fear does not occur naturally. Fear comes from our thinking. Our thinking that this will happen tomorrow, that will happen tomorrow. Notice the future is something that is not yet there. Because the future is never there, once it’s there it’s the present. We must be diligent today to not wait until tomorrow is too late. As the great Nelson Mandela said “ There is only today, let us do the best we can do today. People have given us all the conditions for practicing mindfulness, and yet we don’t do it, we say we’ll do it tomorrow we needn’t do it today. But tomorrow’s too late, because of impermanence.” Death comes unexpectedly. One can’t bargain with death, we cannot make a deal with death. Our challenge as people is to improve ourselves to live happy, fulfilled lives. In doing so we are guaranteed that when our time comes we will die happy. Therefore death becomes something, which stimulates us, motivates us, to help us live in solidity and freedom.


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