I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you’re gonna die. Actually, I wouldn’t even consider it bad news but merely stating the obvious. For some reason however, talking about death is faux pas for a lot of people. Just yesterday, my uncle said “that’d be a nice place to get buried” and his daughter went all crazy over it. Why? I just don’t get it. Death is one of the few things in life we cannot avoid.
When we were visiting Bosnia this summer, I heard of an old Bosnian saying that goes something like this: “if an owl comes to your house, somebody in the family will die”…. DUH! I’d think it was much more interesting if turned upside down like this: “if an owl never comes to your house, your family will live forever!”. Denmark has similar superstitious sayings and while I by no means think you should sit in a dark hole thinking about death all the time, it is inevitable.
In contrast to the western way of viewing death, traditional eastern philosophy has an entirely different view. I’ve read that the samurais used to meditate on death daily, so that when faced with the real deal, they wouldn’t show fear. While this may seem a bit morbid to some, the philosophy behind it isn’t pessimistic in any way. By meditating on death on a daily basis, they also became much more aware of the finite nature of life, allowing them to live life fully in each present moment.
So in reality, meditating on death daily is not about death, but about life. About reminding yourself to live it to the fullest, each and every day.
Back to the western world. For me at least, daily meditations on death seems a bit too wacky. So I don’t. I do however try to remind myself regularly that everything is part of a greater whole and that growing older is merely that. It’s not a degradation of the body, it’s merely a part of a natural cycle.
Life will end. And life will start. That’s the beauty of life.
Go out and make the most of your day. <3