I know just the thought of me already brings up some death anxiety in many of you–understandably–but I can’t resist making a plea to everyone to face your fears, acknowledge your eventual and unavoidable demise, and have open discussions about death with the people you love.
I don’t know the original source, but an obviously wise person once shared the following set of realizations with me:
Realization 1: I’m dying.
Realization 2: I was always dying.
Realization 3: We are all always dying.
Realization 4: Nothing has truly changed.
Realization 5: I’m at peace with that.
Most of the time, most of us are successful at pushing death to the background, where she creates a mild sense of unease at best. Some get lucky and brush close enough to death (at great cost) that we have no choice but to shake hands with her. And some find her acquaintance without any prompting. In the end, a few are able to embody the 5 realizations and experience genuine peace until the moment of our actual physical death.
My point is, don’t wait until death forces herself into your consciousness to start making these realizations. No matter how strong your faith in your beliefs about the next life, there are no shortcuts for coming to terms with the inevitable end of this life. A peaceful acceptance of your death means a peaceful acceptance of your life and everything it throws at you. I’m not there yet–in spite of the accelerated crash course I have been given–but I’m closer and my life is more peaceful as a result. I would love for these benefits to exist for all people, long before death is knocking at the door.