It is a Buddhist practice to think about your death constantly. It is a practice of life that brings you closer to life ironically. You know that the tendrils of death are close to you at all times. Life is fragile. Your body, the shell that you occupy is fragile. You are vulnerable to so many different ways of dying on this new planet that we live on. The list is endless and I do not need to repeat it for your benefit. Instead of thinking about death constantly and letting it guide our behaviour and our life, we ignore death as some unpleasant smell that will go away soon.
You see people dying around you and you think to yourself, ‘I’ve been good, I’m different, I’m not going to die like the others, I still have a long way to go.’ It is odd how we think we are the only ones who are not subject to the only law on this Earth that has existed since the beginning of time and will exist until the end of time. Death is the only constant in our life. We know we will die some day, some how. We do not know when or how, even if there are websites online which think they can predict your death-time, you are too smart to believe in them.
If you do not know when you are going to die, instead of pretending it is going to happen some time in the far, far future, let’s pretend it could happen tomorrow, or in this very next moment. Do not think about how. Do not think about how healthy or young you are. Do not think about how good you’ve been and how great your guardian angels are. This is not an exercise in refuting the idea of your death.
It is an exercise to ingrain the idea of death so fully in yourself that you are unable to think of anything without first thinking of your death.
- When you wish to do something, but you keep putting it off – think of your death tomorrow. Instantly, you will be forced to do that task today.
- If you are thinking of placing something on the someday isle, someday in the near future, I shall follow my dreams, and desires – think of your death tomorrow. Instantly, you will realize the only moment you have is now.
- If you are thinking of re-engaging your relations with your parents next year – think of your death tomorrow. Instantly, you will have to make a phone call right now to reconcile your differences.
- If you are in a fight with your partner – think of your death tomorrow. Do you really want to die without saying ‘I love you’?
Obviously, this might seem a bit grim to you. Seriously, it is such a buzz-kill. You are trying to have fun in this dreary life of yours. Thinking of death will just ruin everything. But the honest truth is that thinking of death at all times, will make you more accountable to yourself, your life, your relations, and everything around you. You cannot postpone and you cannot delay. You have to live your life right now. There is no other moment.
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