Death Awareness

rain
Peace is every step.
The shining red sun is in my heart.
Each flower smiles with me.
How green, how fresh that all grows.
How cool the wind blows.
Peace is every step.
It turns the endless path to joy.

“Peace is Every Step”, by Thich Nhat Hanh

Every single day we grow older and closer to our own demise. Today could be the day that I go. And that’s okay, at least it is with me. I am not afraid of death, or at least I am not as afraid of it as I used to be. I think one thing that offers me solace is that I am not religious. I am definitely spiritual, however, so I consider myself Agnostic. The energy of the spirit of the universe touches us all every day, if we stop to notice it.

Because I do not believe in hell or heaven, I am not afraid where I will go when I die. That is quite a load off my shoulders, let me tell you. I just live my life by my own code of ethics, I know the difference between right and wrong. If there is a hell, I will be going there for not being saved, not because of my misdeeds in life. After all, we are ALL sinners, right? The only difference between a Christian and me is that I do not require forgiveness from a supernatural being in order to move on with my life. I merely apologize, try to make things right, and keep on truckin’.

If I were to identify with a practice, it would be Buddhism, which teaches mindfulness practices. For those who are unaware of mindfulness, the simplest way of putting it is to teach oneself to live in the moment. According to Buddhist philosophy, this is one of the most effective ways of achieving inner peace. Practicing mindfulness can help a person to recognize the impermanence in life and be willing to accept it, instead of resisting it, which causes more suffering. Toni Bernhard explains this her book, How to Wake Up, “… when we recoil in aversion to life’s uncertainty and unpredictability, our suffering over events that are already painful just intensifies.”

Death is inevitable, so by resisting it, we cause more sorrow and pain than we need to. My mother is suffering right now because of this very problem. Suicide is such a traumatic experience and everyone experiences it differently. I have been able to grieve and try to turn it into something for the positive, just for my own sake. She has struggled with denial however, and is suffering because of it. How do I tell my own mother there is a point to life when I can barely see one myself? This existential crisis is not going to fix itself. We must find our purpose in life, whether it is to create beautiful art or to share our experiences with the world so that others may learn from us. I know that one day I will die, but by accepting this and looking for peace in each moment, I can live my life to the fullest today.

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