Have we understood what living is, for us to discuss death? After all, we spend most of our life trying to avoid death as much as we can. We may or may not be completely aware of it but all our activities, the ‘circus’ and the drama of life — this whole, gigantic ‘thing’ we call society which we’ve built to sustain, and distract ourselves — all of it simply serves this very purpose of avoiding death, or at least escaping it as much as we can.
What is it that we fear so strongly about death? Are we even aware of this fear? Physical death is obviously a fact, we cannot deny it but — didn’t we give it much more credit than it actually deserves?
The interesting part of this ‘puzzle’ we’re trying to solve here is that its solution might be right under our nose, but to see it clearly for ourselves — we must first question some things we’ve taken for granted for millions of years.
Most of us live from a very superficial place; we’re caught by everything we experience in our daily lives, we always have something to do, someone always needs us, we wired ourselves to remain busy — in fewer words, we’ve equated ‘being’ to ‘doing’. And this is where our quest begins.
It’s true that our current society demands a lot from each one of us, we have responsibilities, we have people to take care of, we have to follow our dreams, we have to try something, live some experiences, because maybe some day we’ll regret not doing any of it. Those are all reasonable and practical things. There is no need to deny these facts. But what we’re trying to point out here is that, we’ve come to associate practicality with ‘survival’— we’ve come to ‘inject’ our sense of self in all these little things and that is why they seem so ‘vital’ to our lives when in fact, they might not be. How did we bridge the gap between practicality and survival? Through urgency.
Urgency, in simple words is a sense of having to do something no matter what. There is urgency whenever our survival is involved. Some examples. There is urgency when we’re told by the doctor that if we don’t stop a ‘bad’ habits, we may die. There is urgency when we realize that we may lose a loved one for whatever reason. There is urgency when we realize that our behavior may destroy this planet. And so on.
Urgency is a survival mechanism; it’s a black and white, life or death situation. In fewer words, urgency is what keeps us alive as long as it functions optimally, in its right place, which is assisting the body in its survival dynamics.
Unfortunately, our sense of urgency got ‘misplaced’ from serving the body in its physical necessities to serving the mind in its phobias. If we used urgency to run away from a lion in the past, we now use it because we fear our boss. If urgency served us well in surviving against actual dangers, it now serves our mind’s hypotheses/speculations such as ‘what might happen’ if I’m forced to get a covid vaccine, or ‘what if’ the world ends tomorrow, or ‘what if’ we get fired and can’t get a job because of the world’s current situation, or ‘what if’ our loved one cheats on us. And so on.
Urgency, which once served the body for its survival mechanisms now serves the mind. And this fight between the “mind’s theories” and “what actually is”, creates a confusion between ‘reality’ and ‘illusion’, which we all experience from time to time in our daily lives.
An analogy would be. If reality is what’s in front of us, the mind is the pair of glasses through which we see it, and we are our eyes — caught in the belief that all there is to life is our glasses with the shaded imagery we get to see from it.
1.Eyes, 2. Glasses, 3. Reality.
1.Us, 2. Mind, 3. Reality.
(This example is a bit silly, but it should do the job.)
Believing therefore that everything in our mind is so crucially important — thanks to a misplaced sense of urgency — we confine ourselves to a very little space, unable to see the bigger picture. This process ‘locks’ our ‘movements’ in a very limited and defined circuit, which ‘blocks’ us from truly exploring ourselves and therefore growing and learning.
And this lack of self awareness turns us into strangers to ourselves. We don’t know what drives us, we don’t know why we react in certain ways, we don’t know why we fear some things while craving others, and more than everything — we don’t know what the hell we’re doing here and what is it that we’re running after (or escaping from) all the time.
We just assume it’s all based on our ‘genes’ or on some divine caprice. We never have ‘enough’ time to get to the root of the problem. We don’t have the energy to do so anyway because we’re so dissipated by the excessive demands of society. We become like a pendulum, trapped in its own momentum. So we give our power to others by being dependent on therapists, on fortune tellers, on ‘experts’ or ‘authorities’, on religions, on the government and so on — which are always more than happy to take it from us because they too, don’t know why they’re in this ‘race’ in the first place.
Because of what we have chosen to believe in, as being of utmost importance in our lives, mainly this little superficial world of ours, we have closed our eyes to everything else. We’ve attached ourselves so strongly and blatantly to this little, superficial creation of ours that we’ve clearly expressed how deeply insecure we are.
What could make us hold on to something so strongly that we could kill for it? What else, if not something that’s worth our lives to us? And what could be worth our lives — if not something we deeply depend on, something on which our survival depends on?
Let’s go deeper.
What is it that wants to survive in us? Against what exactly, do we want to survive? What is it that we resist to so strongly that we become blind to it? And isn’t this act of blinding ourselves, of forcefully closing our eyes — denial? What is it that we deny so strongly? And even better, why do we deny at all in the first place? Have we chosen our fearful and preconceived over something that looked much more bigger? Was it because we couldn’t accept being worthy of it?
In the face of our immensity, we chose to remain in our comfort zone, to attach ourselves to something infinitesimal. We chose safety over growth. We preferred the lies over the truth. We gave more and more credit to this illusion and built ourselves on it — and in this act of denial, the ‘original sin’— hell was created. Our fears and insecurities about losing our little world of lies were born, our greed, our lust, our cravings, our desires to strengthen and expand it all took form.
Have we therefore closed our eyes to something much more significant, much more fulfilling, much more vaster than our illusion could ever be? And are we just too scared to open our eyes, by letting go of this little world of ours — even for an instant, to see what we’ve been so terrified of for what it is truly?
Is this act of opening our eyes, the end of our denial? And is this ending of our denial, acceptance? And lastly, is acceptance — death?
Deep within each one of us exists the craving for life, freshness, vitality. We express it nonchalantly in the ways through which we seek the ‘new’ by traveling, meeting people, climbing mountains, surmounting unimaginable obstacles, expressing ourselves artistically, being amazed at the beauty of Nature, loving someone, growing up, and so on.
This life is everyone’s right. And although the external world can give some beautiful experiences that revitalize us — only in pure and absolute acceptance can we learn to die for the new to emerge, once again.
If death is acceptance. Acceptance is allowance. Allowance is renewal. Renewal is life.