The Dalai Lama once said that what surprised him the most about the human condition was that “Man sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.
And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”
Confronting our mortality is anathema in our western culture. We don’t talk about it and when a loved one passes we are expected to “get over it” and function again as soon as possible.
Cultural icons are expected to stay forever young. The dying are outsourced to hospitals and hospices and the dead are buried in well-manicured cemeteries far-off the beaten track.Confronting mortality head-on
One of the multiple reasons for our mental health crisis and addiction epidemic is that we don’t confront our mortality head-on, compare ourselves with the Jones’ next door, and hope to live the “happy” life one day when we retire, when we get rich, when we find the perfect partner when we have that luxury car or that beautiful home.
There is a reason why the people in the small southeast Asian country of Bhutan are regarded as the happiest and most contented people in the world. Like in the world of our ancestors, death is part of everyday reality.
The Buddhist country encourages its people to think about death for at least a few minutes each day. Paintings, artwork, and house decorations often feature death. Funerals are an elaborate three-week event where the dead body is kept in the home before being slowly cremated over fragrant juniper trees in front of hundreds of friends and relatives.
In Bhutan, death is merely seen as a transition to another dimension. The spiritual disconnect in our western culture has left no place for death or the ritual of death. I’ve had my fair share of loved family members and friends who have died during the past three years, jolting me back to reality and the age-old question: What are you doing with the rest of the days left in your life?
Because death is the big elephant in the room, we succumb to collective hysteria and grief when a well-known personality suddenly dies.
The University of Oxford Centre for Suicide Research found that the overall suicide rate in England and Wales rose by 17 percent in the four weeks after Lady Diana’s funeral in September 1997, compared with the average reported for that period in the four previous years.
A review of these patients’ case notes suggested that the influence of Princess Diana’s death was largely through “amplification of personal losses and exacerbation of existing distress.”
Talking about the human condition
We need to talk about the human condition, about death, our mortality, and that life at some point ends the way we know it. My passion is to help people improve their lives to such an extent that they have the vitality and energy to live out the life that they are meant to live.
Are you living the life you are destined to live?
Are you merely existing or living the life that you are destined to live? Are you stuck in a job or relationship that depletes most of your energy? Are you waiting for that day to arrive when you can finally start living?
Procrastination and fear is the biggest obstacle to the elevation of consciousness and spiritual growth. When you are doing things that are in alignment with your soul destiny you will, to quote Rumi, feel a river moving in you with joy.
If you are interested in diving deeper into the topic of goal setting, experiential spirituality, and an accountability coaching partner please contact me for a scheduled zoom chat and free get-to-know session.
Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker
One more thing...If you have found this article interesting you might want to read more in my books that can be ordered at all places that sell good books in both paperback and kindle.
2 responses to “Thought about death today?”
Thanks. Great post. You’ve probably read it but ‘The Tibetan Book of Living And Dying’ explores your post points in freat detail.
Thanks for the response. Yes, that is an excellent book!