While we welcome a birth with great festivity, death is often less celebratory. Acknowledging death is more uncomfortable than talking about birth. We hear about death everyday, whether it's on the news or within our own social circles. Even though we avoid thinking about it, death can happen at any moment. The concept of death is uncomfortable; it can be painful, and it fills us with fear.
As a spiritual teacher, I meet many seekers who are unable to deal with the idea of death. This results in stress, anxiety, and other more serious psychological disorders. My own spiritual journey was affected after I experienced the death of my sister and best friend. I questioned death. I questioned divinity. But these deaths gave me a reason to explore spirituality from a new perspective. In my new book, Break the Norms, Questioning Everything You Think You Know About God and Truth, Life and Death, Love and Sex, I write in depth about death:
"I have realized this deeper truth about death: It is as natural and normal as birth. I am often asked if there is a way to conquer death, but my response has always been why do you want to conquer death? We 'conquer' our enemies. Death is not something to be conquered and believe it or not, death is not your enemy. It is actually a sacred and unavoidable phenomenon we can understand as an expected -- even celebrated -- event in life. Knowing that death is as natural as birth is liberating. Seeing deaths all around us should humble us that one day we'll die too. And it is okay. What is born must die.
Death is a requirement for any living being. It is mandatory and no one is exempt from it. Name one person you have known who has not died, and I shall change my attitude about death. Life is not guaranteed but death is certainly guaranteed -- so why stress about it? I don't mean to be flippant about this. But truly, every single one of us will die. Nothing we could ever do will change this fact. However, suffering in death is optional. Acceptance will end our suffering. The key to acceptance is to understand what death actually is."
When you accept death, you accept life. In order to live a fearless life, you must accept the idea of death. I'm not saying that you have to think about death every day; I'm simply saying that it's important to understand that birth and death are two sides of the same coin. Regardless of your religious beliefs, death will happen to all of us. Here's a meditation from Break the Norms that may help you further:
- Write a question down on a piece of paper before you go to sleep. Or, some people like to delve into these questions in the earliest hours of morning. My experience says that once you start to devote time and attention to these questions, the universe also conspires to get you the information you requested.
- For this exercise, simply pick a question and meditate on it. You can come back to the same question as often as you wish, or pick a different question on a different day.
- Do not ask questions to find some exact, specific answer. The aim is to meditate on the question and let the answers happen in their own way.
- Take a comfortable seat. Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Take your awareness to your heart or the third eye (the space between your eyebrows), and gently ask the question.
- Then, let the question marinate within you. Don't try to get the answer. Remember, an answer is not the goal. The goal is to throw out the question; the answer shall come when you are ready.
- Be accepting of your answers. Observe every answer that comes to you. Don't judge. Don't overanalyze. Simply reflect.