Ahh, the topics seem to be getting more and more interesting hey? Trigger warning in advance for people who might find this topic a sensitive issue. I do not intend on writing in a dreadful or pernicious manner but rather in an eye opening or inspirational way.
For those of you that spend enough time with me, you’ll know that I often use death as motivation. It’s also been a recurring theme in the past few posts, considering how often I mention memento mori. In this post, I’m going to dive into my personal view on how we can use the realization of death to our advantage, not only to live life to its fullest, but to also help gain a deeper psychological understanding of our own behaviours.
Just as with change, death is inevitable; resistance is futile. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle is an incredible book which emphasizes the importance of the present moment. Again and again, I can’t tell you how vital it is to implement that form of mindfulness in your life. Keeping death in mind healthily, is probably the ultimate form of being present. When we understand that now is all we have, and that we could die at any moment, we open ourselves to living more meaningfully. Considering the only guarantee we have in life, is that we’re going to die. The point isn’t to get anxious or worried about it, but rather to appreciate everything and everyone much more.
Have you ever realized how we create problems and situations for ourselves, even when everything seems to be going okay? On a subconscious level, think of how often we try to escape our own thoughts and ideas, from the fact that we’re so temporary. We tend to complicate things for ourselves all the time and find different ways to keep our minds occupied. If you’re into philosophy, you’ll often notice that many of the discussions revolve around our deep and hidden anxiety regarding death. This is something that we don’t truly understand, yet it has such a profound impact on our day to day interactions. So when faced with unforeseen emotional turbulence, ponder on why it’s affecting you as much as it is. I just mean that there’s a lot of unnecessary distraction that we create for ourselves, and being aware and more thoughtful of where it’s arising from could help deal with it.
So, how can we use this thought process to motivate or inspire us?
More than anything, when you’re in difficult situation: overwhelmed, stressed, panicked or depressed, embrace that it will be temporary. Remind yourself that this too shall pass!
Prioritize what’s important to you by following your dreams, leaving your comfort zone & keeping in mind that we only have one shot at this! So
how could you not give it your all? Picture yourself on your death bed from time to time, and think: How would I want to feel at that moment? Remember that we regret the chances we didn’t take, not the ones we took and failed at. So don’t let fear stop you from chasing your goals. Don’t let fear keep you in your unhappiness, we seriously don’t have time to waste on that.
From an Islamic point of view (my religious practice), this world is meant to be a temporary transition. The hereafter is what ultimately matters; what we’re meant to be striving for. Our prayers include: not making this world / life our biggest priority. When we dig into the essence of this, it makes sense… Everyone that has ever preceded us, everyone that will ever follow, is so temporary and so unimportant in the greater scheme of things. How does it then make sense for us, to think that we’re the centre of the universe and that we won’t be accountable for all that we do on this planet? Does being rich and famous really matter? Can you take anything materialistic with you when you’re gone? We need to focus more on leaving a positive impact on the world. To give people something to remember, not to merely be remembered.
The beauty of Islam is that it emphasizes peace and forgiveness as much as possible. Especially because we don’t know how long we’re going to be here for. Being kind to your neighbours, giving charity, assisting those in need, gaining knowledge, smiling to strangers, taking care of yourself. These are all actions which are highly valued and rewarded; where it’s accounted for in the afterlife. It brings me back to the main point, if we don’t know how long we’re going to live for, why not be the best possible person you can be, to everyone around you? So we need to try and understand and just think about how there’s a lot more to life than just existing, we need to strive to live.
This is where I’m trying to aim the posts in this blog, to difficult conversations and topics that many of us are uncomfortable with thinking and speaking about. So keep these questions in mind, especially when you’re afraid, upset, confused or just unsure. We can all find so much more meaning if we understand how valuable our time is. Keep pushing yourself, do more for others, and picture yourself on your deathbed more often. I have a lot to discuss regarding balance; mind, body & soul. That will be the topic for the next post.