“Stop being so negative!”
“Why do you want to talk about a sad place?”
“You are corrupting your mind with unhealthy thoughts”
These are the statements that have confronted me every time I try to utter the D of Death. No one wants to think about death because it is a sad place to be or it is no place to be.
But, let’s face it, Death is as absolute as birth. It is the opposite of birth, but it is only just as opposite of birth as the night is of day. And just like day and night, birth and death are part of a cycle, with life caught in between.
Nature explains this cycle beautifully.
There we are, the seed – tiny, helpless and terribly needy. Then we grow into the trunk – as tall and as strong as we can be – physically, mentally and emotionally. After this, we bear the leaves, flowers and fruits – all the things that we can give to our family and the world through the exercise of our intelligence. And beyond this, we wither away, having lived life to its fullest…
…um…what happens after that?
Death happens after that.
An old tree falls. It rots away into the earth, becoming one with the earth. Then, it extends its energy to nourish a new seed, combining its own energy with the new one, thereby growing and living yet again. The tree had, in fact, transferred its energy into the seeds it had created while it was still alive.
In humans, this is called genetics.
We live through our children, their children and the rest of our descendants. When we look at this scientifically, yes, we are all immortals. So why run away from death when we have already begun living once again?!
It is because we don’t know what lies beyond…
The fear of the unknown is just one of the reasons that we run away from death. The desire to live is another reason to postpone the arrival of our Time. But how often do we realise that Death has always been by our side, constantly reminding us of its presence.
It is one thing to look at nature and accept Death. It is another to experience it with every breath that we take.
Think about this, even as we breathe in, we are also getting ready to breathe out. We are constantly breathing out throughout our life. A little bit of what went in also goes out taking something from within to the world outside. We are always dying.
Come to think of it, do we die because we can’t breathe in anymore, or is it because we cannot breathe out anymore?
Whatever the reason, this is what happens when we die – we are already alive through our genetics in someone else. We are alive in the memories of loved ones. And if we are achievers like Gandhi, Nelson Mandela or Martin Luther King Jr, we are living in the memories of millions. Our genetics, the love that we have spread, and the things that we have done keep us alive even after the breath of life does not enter our body. To sum it up, we are alive physically, mentally and emotionally long after we think we are gone.
Therefore, what happens after death, is called Life.
But the unknown…
There are two ways to approach everything. Most of us approach life thinking of how we are going to live it. The problem with a single-minded approach is that it always fails to look at the other side. But just because we don’t want the day to happen, it does not mean that the night will live on forever. The other side always catches up with us.
So, it does us good to not only look at our life as how it is meant to be lived, but also as how we want to die. Because when out Time comes, we need to shake hands with Death, not try to cut short its movement. While we may be extending our shelf life, how exactly are we extending it?
What are we losing by not keeping our Time with Time?
Imagine an old tree that refuses to fall. It is also not making way for a young one to grow. This is probably the reason why trees disperse their seeds instead of falling them right underneath. Through this separation from their young, the trees are only making way for the right kind of growth.
Now, let us carry this theory forward and into our lives. Think of what happens when a king refuses to give up his throne to make way for succession. Think of what happens when a manager refuses to retire, a captain refuses to step down, a sportsperson refuses to leave the team – despite knowing that their time is up. None of them is making way for growth.
A similar thing happens when we don’t die. While not only stagnating our own life, we are also suppressing the growth of the future. Most of the world’s frustrations can be tracked down to one single point – the lack of space to grow, and grow healthy.
So, how should we look at Death?
The first thing that Nature teaches us about Death, is that it should happen as a natural state of being. In other words, Death should occur because of old age. It is unfortunate that we are witness to a world where the young are falling into pieces as the old continue to extend their lives. We need to understand that young lives are meant to be protected and nourished, while the old need to be let gone.
Next, let us figure out the feeling of Death.
My father died from a renal failure, but he also died with a smile on his lips.
When we die with a smile on our face, we also die with an acceptance of having lived life to its fullest – facing our challenges while enjoying the moments in between. A smile on the face is also an acceptance of the next adventure that the spirit will face in the unknown.
The best way to exit the body is to exit it with a mind at peace. A belly full of happiness, and a mind full of peace – that is the way to go.
Standing at this point with a view from the great beyond, let us look at life from Death and figure out all the things that we need to do to achieve this peace of mind during the end of our Time. Then, let us move back into life and remove all the physical, mental and emotional shit that will become a burden in this journey. We will realize that most of what we thought was important and necessary simply grow and vanish into nothingness. We will realize life in its truest form for what it is meant to be – Simple.
Here’s to the simple acceptance of Death for what it is – a space in the continuum of Time!