…when we finally know we are dying, and all other sentient beings are dying with us, we start to have a burning, almost heartbreaking sense of the fragility and preciousness of each moment and each being, and from this can grow a deep, clear, limitless compassion for all beings. — Sogyal Rinpoche
I have been brought up in an environment where the word – death, has forever remained a prohibited word for normal usage. However as I traversed on the path called life, I somehow stumbled upon a deep understanding that the quality of this journey can be tremendously improved by being aware of the temporal characteristics of life, by being aware that the body that defines me today is, one day or the other going to have a definite end called death.
Imagine that you are informed by your doctor that you have only ten more days to live? Would you continue to live the same way you live today? Would you still continue being inhuman by hurting others with your ego, power, wealth and authority? Would you still curse your wife, would you still punish your child as you do today? Would you still play your foul power games in the society and at work? Chances are that you would drop all this and do things that you always loved to, maybe one last time. Chances are that you will suddenly drop or melt away your so called valueless ego that you have been nurturing within you for years together.
Someone has rightly said that there is a huge difference between a human being and being human. However a vast majority of the population on this planet are living a blind life as if they are immortal beings. They go on playing power games, trying to enslave others through their positions, authority, wealth and might.
I have seen people’s attitude changing from a night to a day, when they are exposed to a glimpse of death, perhaps by a death prone illnesses like a cardiac arrest or a cancer. A violent man suddenly becomes peaceful; a lifetime egoist suddenly becomes all-forgiving. What brings in this drastic change in ones attitude? Suddenly a strange kind of awareness engulfs the self, an awareness of the temporal nature of life. And with the awareness they transform their way of living and suddenly they become loving, kind, caring and compassionate. Deep inside they regret for their dark past and they start experiencing the real nectar of life.
So remember that it is important for us to understand that life is all-precious because it is temporary, because it is loaned to us and most of us aren’t sure just how much time we have left here with. That’s the reason why I say that we should live with an awareness of death. Living with an awareness of death simply means that you are traversing the path of life with open eyes unlike the ordinary mortals who seem to be running a directionless path and ending this journey called life, as silent slaves of regret. Perhaps with such a consciousness, a realization will strike you as to what truly matters to you in your life. It might not be the job, it might not be money, it might not be your valuable possessions you own today. No body would want to go to work on the last day of their life. May be the longing for a walk with your loved one, May be the urge to ask for forgiveness whom you have caused intentional hurt, maybe to sit and watch the sunset that you have longed to see. That is why I often make it a point to tell all my acquaintances to stop in life for a while. Stop, and make a self enquiry as to what are that things that truly matter to you in your life. Dive into those feelings and make the best of life. From hatred, dive into love. From anger and violence, dive into peace and compassion. From an ordinary rat race dive into a conscious journey. Enjoy little things, love, be happy and experience the bliss of life. So I say – Go slow, Go slow for a while and smell the intense fragrance of life.
That is what distinguishes the eastern philosophy from that of the west. The east has always enriched the minds with the idea of oneness, with a holistic view of life, where we all seem to be a part of the vast whole, where death is not considered to be separate but a part of life. This philosophy has helped us distinguish clearly between the material and the moral, the permanent and the impermanent. Knowing that the material world is impermanent prepares the mind for higher planes of thought.
Only humans are capable of being death conscious. Death consciousness does not mean to live life in the fear of death, infact it means to live a life of exceptional freedom. Freedom from all the worldly vices – Anger, Jealousy, Hatred, Lust, Pride and Desires. Living freely with the qualities of a superior human being. Loving, caring, peaceful, blissful, compassionate, forgiving, acceptance and letting go.
Several enlightened souls who appeared on this planet have offered us lessons in their own versions on how to travel this path with an awareness of the fleeting and fragile nature of life. A consciousness that will balance our actions in the outer world with the wisdom of the inner. Once you live such a balanced life, there is all possibility that you will not fear the end but embrace it with grace.
Live life in awareness. Before every action ask yourself this fundamental question. If I had just a few more days on this planet, would I still continue with this action? The reply should help you direct all your actions in life.
Live Now !! Live Happy !! That is the only thing that truly matters in Life.