Wednesday, October 24, 2012

How we deal with death

There is this idea in Buddhism (well, at least it pertains to certain sects of Buddhism), that we should not avoid thinking about death, because when it does hit, it is more of a shock to the system.

I do not agree with this principle.

On one hand, death is inevitable, and we must, to a certain extent, accept it.

However, in the many years that we as humans live, our death is a very small part of those years, it does not merit as much focus as does our actual body of life does.

There is a contradictory ideal within Buddhist thought that suggests that rather than lending attention to thoughts that bother us for the purpose of letting go of those fears and worries, we should channel energy into meditation on other more positive things in the world.

I'm not saying you should never seek catharsis by sharing a concern with those you trust, or never think about dying, I am saying that when it comes to the depth of our analysis, we would do better to think of the wonderful aspects of life and be present in those wonders. That action begets positiveness in one's individual experience, as well as interpersonal experiences.

Regardless of how well you mentally prepare for death, whether it is your own or that of someone you love, it will be a bit of a shock, so investing too much time in that kind of preparation really seems unnecessary. I can understand a level of acknowledgement, acceptance, but we must prevent a phobic obsession from taking hold.

As a tangent to this topic, it should be noted that death in western culture is seen as a very dreary event. We would do well to look to the East and to Mesoamerican traditions which, when the time comes, embrace death, and appreciate this very natural transition.

This Halloween and All Souls Day, strive for an appreciation for the whole life cycle, do not let your ego take over, simply be a vessel of experience that seeks to marvel at both your individual life and the life of the universe as a whole.

I am not one of those f*cking gurus. I just thought I would share, since all Saints Day is coming up and I was thinking about it.


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