I am dying.
In writing these words I find freedom and power. The resistance and fear of death has been notorious throughout human history. We fight and resist the inevitable as if death is something we can control. The western mindset refuses to talk or even think about death as if we speak the words then we lose power and our mortality becomes imminent. This train of thought binds us in fear and restricts us from truly living our lives. When we resist the action persists. Our mind avoids the topic and our lives build up in a crescendo of fear and anxiety up until the day we die and living a life that is never free.
In this way of thinking we resist a natural transition and the obvious but avoided truth that all living beings are dying . Quantum physics has shown us that below our physical bodies we are vibrating energy. The law of thermodynamics tells us that you cannot create or destroy energy; therefore, death is simply a transition of energy. Indifferent to the west, the eastern mind embraces death as a natural part of our existence. It is not to be feared but embraced, a moment to rejoice after a lifetime that has been fully lived. When one is present that all living beings are dying we become united as one. We understand and feel compassion as each living being is simply an expression of ourselves on the same journey that will eventually end and transition. We are connected as brothers and sisters in a blip of time that could end in any moment. The basis of our fears such as greed, or anger, or jealousy dissipate as our ego disappears in this universal connection of oneness. This egotisical view of life is filled with judgement and competitiveness. The “I” versus “we” conversation that you may have in your head. This context comes from a mind that views this body, this ego and this one life as finite. It does not come from a view that all beings are dying and that we are all connected. Until you remove this thought that you are on a solo journey, in one lifetime you will not see what I speak of nor have the compassion and love for all beings. If you understood this connection then every living being would be like your mother on her deathbed. You would kneel, and give your heart and unconditional love to every living being.
As human beings we cannot fully live until we embrace death. When you are present to this lesson not only do you view all living beings with love and compassion but you embrace life. Understanding that each moment could be your last in this lifetime gets you present to the concept of NOW. Not what happened in the past, or what you want to happen in the future, but each moment right now. The moment of now is beyond expectations or attachments and allows one to choose each moment in every breath no matter the circumstance. When we embrace death and this moment of now we can then truly live. Imagine this, in this concept of now and embracing death every interaction with other beings would be filled with love and compassion. In every moment, we would be very present in how we touched every individual that we came across. In our mind we would ask ourselves, how did we leave them? Did we pull up humanity? Being present to the concept that this may be our last moment, we would ask ourselves, how did we make that person feel?, did we act with integrity? Were we authentic with them? Did we act from our heart with love? We live life as if we have time, as if we can wait for someday to truly live yet this is not embracing death. To truly live we must embrace that every moment is precious that all we have is right now, not tomorrow, not someday. These places do not exist. Every day, every moment becomes an exercise in how do we live life to the fullest, and with gratitude and who can we make a difference with on this planet. This is fully living.
I became a hospice volunteer so I could get present to death, fully living, and each moment of now. This past year I have watched my ex wife and mother of my two children suddenly pass away. I tried to prepare my daughters for this moment and to embrace every moment with their mother before she transitioned from this lifetime, yet this lesson of embracing death is one of the more challenging we have as human beings. We want to resist until it is too late. Waiting until your deathbed that realize that you didn’t fully live is too late. A Zen Warrior embraces death in every moment. Understanding this changes our perspective from fear and resistance to gratitude and love. A human being can create anything with gratitude and love as there is nothing more powerful. Do not live a life in fear and resistance, let this go. Get present to your mortality, embrace it. Get present that all living beings are dying as this will shift your connection to everything in this Universe. Embrace death, get present to it. Spend time with those who do not have much time left as you will begin to understand this lesson. To live we must die and then live again. Living a life in fear is a life asleep. Let go, embrace it, all of it, every moment and be love.
Thomas D. Craig