IF YOU ONLY HAD A VERY short time to live;
if some authority medical, political, religious
said you would die very soon, you'd live differently because
you knew you were dying. Death would be so close, you could not
avoid its presence.
What if you knew for a fact you had only
weeks, not years, then only days, then only hours, then minutes,
then gone forever? Life as you've known it would be completely
and irrevocably gone. If you knew, you'd live differently.
But you don't know when it will happen,
and so you, like the rest of us, live as if you've got plenty
of time. By not thinking about our own impending death, we get
to avoid the horror, but we also miss out on something really
People who have been given a terminal diagnosis
say that knowing we only have months before we die tends to wake
us up out of our stupor. We are, in a sense, drugged by the dramas
Almost every complaint we normally have
seems petty compared to death. Car troubles, money troubles,
arguments over the everyday ache of broken hearts, broken homes,
broken dreams we would gladly have them rather than death.
Death makes us sit up and take notice of
what's really and truly the most dear. And people who have faced
death often say it was a gift to (as the song says) "live
like you were dying." People who
face death talk sweeter and give forgiveness they've been denying.
People who face death begin to really
live, really care, really love. The bucket
list of things you want to do before you die becomes doable.
The closeness of death helps us find the time to claim them.
We call old friends. We go hang gliding. We take the trip and
watch the island sunset together. We finish important tasks.
Write our great works. Paint what we see in our hearts.
We don't waste our remaining precious hours
in the mundane or trivial or unnecessary negative stuff. We brush
aside all the clutter of the low quality to make more room for
the truly important.
Would you bother with the things that are
wrong if it meant less time with those you love? You'd give up
battling the wrong and you'd want only to make more right. You'd
stop complaining about your loved ones' faults and want only
to show your appreciation and gratitude.
Death brings words of love. Death brings
the power to go on adventures, do great works, take long, sweet,
deep breaths of air.
Death separates chaff from grain, the unimportant
from the dear. Death wakes us up and says, "Live while you
can!" So death brings the sweetest life.
Wouldn't you like to have that kind of
aliveness without having to die soon? What prevents it? The fear
of death is one thing that prevents it. We don't want to think
about death because it is a horrible thought. When we die, we
leave the people we love. That's one of the greatest horrors
of death: We lose the ones we love. If you can face up to the
bad part, you get the rewards of the good part.
Confront it. Be with it. Feel it. Because
here's the thing: Death approaches! Death always approaches.
Now, while your death seems years away, you sort of pretend it
doesn't exist. But even it if is years away, it is still there
waiting for you at the end of the track and every day it's closer.
And without a doubt, the moment will come
when death is so close you have no choice but to face it and
take your last breath.
I say better sooner than later. Better
to live fully between now and death rather than live fully in
the few seconds between the realization of imminent death and
But to do that, you have to face the horror.
People want to avoid thinking about death,
but death comes no matter what you do and since it brings
and increased ability to live it makes good sense
to dwell on it. Live like you were
This is a great motto: Live! Death approaches!
Death brings and increased ability to see
what's important. It gives you the motivation to do what you've
always wanted to do. It gives you courage. Death enriches
life. Death makes life better! Sweeter. More precious.
Death enlightens. Death empowers. Death
enriches. Well, not death itself, but the awareness of death.
Avoiding death drains us and dulls our
senses. Facing death empowers us and heightens our senses.
The horror of the separation of the ultimate end creates great
joy at being alive. It is the ultimate comparison reframe. It puts us in touch with
the rapture of embracing the people we love.
So don't avoid thoughts of death
but rather remind yourself your death is guaranteed. Feel
it. Feel the inevitability of it. Feel the horror of it. And
then open your eyes and realize you are now alive.
It's not morbid to stay aware of your inevitable
death. It's magical.
The point is: Death does approach. And
the sooner you're aware of death, the sooner you get to turn
up the volume on life. Death turns up the volume. Death counsels
life. Connected to death, we gain the power to live.