There are some words in the English language that cause an instant reaction within the body, and one of those is death. Today I want to open up pandora's box and talk openly about the important topic of death.
Growing up in a westernised country, where today cultural diversity is expansive is a delightful and enriching thing to experience. With it brings a variety of beliefs on death, far outside the traditional norms of the somewhat young baseline of western societal views. The shift in cultural diversity where I live has enriched my life personally, and for that, I am incredibly grateful.
Death for many is often considered a taboo subject, one not to be discussed ever. In fact, when confronted by death, some are completely overwhelmed with a deep sense of despair within their heart and are never able to release it on their own. This is the manifestation of the fear of death.
Most people see death as an ending, one to make you feel like everything that meant anything to you, left your body at that moment a loved one died. As though part of you, it would seem had also died.
In life, we know that death is inevitable, and it comes to us all at some point. Sometimes death comes when we are young, some without notice and some through what can be a long and painful amount of suffering.
OK so let me put it out there. Yes, I kind of have a superpower in dealing with death. You might be thinking this is a strange claim to fame. You see, I do not presently, and have never seen the concept of death, the way most people I meet do. For my entire life, this has puzzled others around me.
I have experienced death in family members, friends and have never been overwhelmed by their passings. As a young adult, I was intrigued why this was the case for me and not for others. Many people thought I was cold or in denial or both. However, I can articulate now as an adult, that I have a sense of deep understanding of the process of death.
Basically, from the moment, we are born, we are dying. Our body experiences a slow demise until, eventually, it stops working entirely and we die. We know this happens for a multitude of reasons. Death is both an ending and a beginning for me for several reasons. There are many explanations available to read to understand the process of death, which are both scientifically and energetically driven. I have read many of them, and so could you, should you wish to broaden your horizons on understanding death.
So if you are still reading, you might be thinking where is she going with this death thing? This is the clincher! Well, I have personally experienced that embracing the immanence of death can improve the quality of your life significantly. I now embrace death and live better, go figure. The fact that this occurred for me even though I grew up in a western culture that treated death as taboo. My experience may shed some light on the potential for understanding to be achieved in any circumstances.
First, we should take a step back because death is not just about the end of life, even though that is what we focus on when we consider death. Death is, in simple terms, just an ending. Friendships die, relationships die, enthusiasm for a job you no longer enjoy dies and sometimes, our entire zest for life, can die as well. These experiences do not necessarily mean that we die too.
Have any of these things happened to you? If they have, which I am sure some if not all of them are recognisable to you in some form, then you have experienced endings.
So why are we so surprised and scared of death? Yet when we are confronted by it, we suddenly want to live for every moment we have, like it is our last. It is like we suddenly realised we were going to die, yet we knew it all along. It is an odd kind of denial don't you think? if you think about it rationally.
In some cultures, death is considered honourable, and in others, it is the path to something greater. But in western cultures, it is for most people I know the absolute end.
When people I know, who are not at all religious or spiritual say, hopefully, they are in a better place, when someone they love dies. This sudden about-turn invariably confuses me completely. Where does the better place suddenly appear from when a non-believer loses someone they love? Is it a subconscious knowing that rises to the surface, or is it clinging to hope to lighten the load of the loss of a loved one?
Do we, in the end, hope that there is something else or do we innately know that it exists and when our mortality is shown to us front and centre we start to see?
I have felt the pain of death close to me many times in my life. I feel into life, as though death could come at any time. I lost both my parents and all my grandparents before the age of fifty. Death is familiar for me, but even when it is not, it does not have to be as scary or overwhelming as we might think. In fact, I have been there for some of the closest people to me in their final days. I feel a sense of calm in these situations which surprises people.
Endings can be incredibly hard, but so too can beginnings yeah? When we are born, is possibly the hardest beginning of all. Probably a good reason why we don't remember it, leaving it hidden deep within our subconscious.
What is the difference between beginnings and endings? Or are they the same? It quite possibly could be just the lenses we look through that makes them different. One person's ending is another person's beginning. Sounds odd doesn’t it but it is true. You end a relationship, and they begin one with someone else. It is your ending but also their beginning.
As you face your endings in life, face them with a view that a new beginning is coming. If you don’t want to consider your death, then at least focus completely on living this very minute and every other minute you are experiencing, because you never know when it may very well be your last.
In the years leading up to my beautiful mother's death, because I had already felt and embraced what death would mean, I cherished the moments we had. I reached into our relationship much deeper, and we experienced a depth of love and understanding that was truly remarkable. In the end, I was able to be there for her exactly as she needed me, bringing joy and happiness into her life, right to the very end. In fact, the last words we spoke to each other were I love you. In some cultures & religions, it is incredibly important to bring peace at the end of life, and I did that for the dearest person in my life to date. How precious it that potential gift, for someone you love?
Alternative you could do absolutely nothing! Hold on to all the things holding you back in life and keep living as if life will never end, but as John Joseph Adams said: “the end is nigh”. One day for us all when you least expect it!
My advice to you is when you experience Death head-on, don’t rush to run away, to hide or box it up. For you will have to face it sooner or later. There is a lesson in all of life’s experiences. What is the lesson for this one?
Cherish the lessons. For, with every ending, a beginning follows. Allow whatever comes up in the death of a loved one, feel into the emotions, the lessons and allow yourself to move forward whole, embracing the life you have in each day, moment by moment.
If you would like to understand more about how Yoga & Mindfulness can help you overcome your fear of death, reach out and book a FREE discovery session.
You may be surprised how acceptance of the inevitable can bring greatness into your life, just as it has in mine.