Life is like a bullet. Once launched, it must reach its destination: death. We must face this inevitability, whether we like it or not. The sooner we accept the truth, the better we will be able to direct our lives for a good purpose.
People are disturbed not so much by death itself, but by the wrong view they hold of it. Death itself is not that terrible; what is terrible is the fear of death that prevails in the mind.
Our life-span is controlled by our biological clocks, continuously ticking away. When they run out, sooner or later, there is little we can do to gain extra time. Once our time is up, we must be prepared to go through the natural process of death. Gandhi once said, "To be afraid of dying is like being afraid of discarding an old worn-out garment."
We should first learn to overcome the fear of death. Our love of life can sometimes develop a morbid fear of death. We will not take any risks, even if it's for a rightful cause. We live in fear of illness or accident putting an end to our seemingly precious permanent worldly life. "Life is uncertain, death is certain," said the Buddha.
It is important to realize that we are born to this world to do serve the weal and happiness of mankind. We will be remembered by humanity more for what we have done for others than what we have done for ourselves. Our bodies will turn to dust, but our influences will remain. This can be seen from the exemplary works of great men which still remain with us today. They help to shape our way of life even though they are no longer living among us.
With our inate strong attachment to life, we seldom pause to reflect that death is a certainty, and we too must face it one day. Instead, we prefer to put this awful thought as far away as possible-deluding ourselves that death is a far away phenomena.
Someone I know, on more than one occasion, uses the topic of fallen leaves to talk about death with her son:
“To witness the passing away of life, it is just like observing these leaves on our hands.
There is flourishing and falling, but we can see the thread of life.
Leaves returned to the ground and become nutrients for new seeds to sprout the following spring.
Death is just life’s passing in exchange for a new form. A fresh start.
Life is not a mere farewell, but a reunion.”
Let not the present moment escape us and let us be courageous enough to face the facts. Let us be prepared to face reality. Death is a factual happening. Death is a reality.
RIP Aunt Poppy