Memento Mori… (“Remember That You Will Die” In Latin)
There is one certainty, and that is that we will all die one day. The uncertain part is the day and time of our passing. Faced with this unknown, most of us live as if we were eternal. Is it really reasonable or wise to act this way?
Define The Age Of Your Departure
If you live ignoring the existence of death, you risk living superficially and irresponsibly. Not knowing the year of your death, it is advisable to arbitrarily define the age at which you think you will die. By doing so, you will create an intensity in your life and even a sense, a direction. If you don’t do this, your subconscious will believe that you are eternal and will wastefully spend time. Tell yourself, for example, that you will die at 91, or less if it is necessary to create a bit more intensity, why not at 71 years? It seems like a lot, but it’s still insignificant compared to eternity. Faced with these two-digit numbers, you create urgency, a potential of intensity that your brain will seize. Now a countdown is launched, and you will have to do your best to make good use of the remaining allotted time.
Limit Creates Intensity
You need to be aware of death at all times, so to speak, in order to live fully. You have realized this in the past: when you set a time limit to complete a task, you are much more efficient and focused. This is, in a way, using the effects of Parkinson’s Law for your own benefit. It states that a gas will tend to occupy all the space given to it, just as a task will tend to occupy all the time allotted to it.
Why Is It Necessary To Introduce Intensity?
Intensity gives flavor to life. Would you really be happy if you could live indefinitely? Life would immediately lose its meaning. What gives meaning to life are the limits set to it. The problem is that we live in a kind of illusion. We accept monotony and unhappiness, thinking that we have an indefinite resource of time. This is not the case. Time is much more precious than we think, and it is dangerous to waste it carelessly.
Live as if it’s your last day, learn as if you were eternal. – Gandhi
Gandhi gives us an even stronger piece of advice. He invites us to cultivate a form of paradox. Often the truth lies between two contrary ideas. This is what we observe in Taoism. It is difficult to truly live as if each day were the last day. If that were the case, we would immediately stop working and spend the last remaining hours living with our family. However, training to consider life as finite helps us paradoxically develop our infinite dimension. It’s because we know we’re going to die that we’re interested in philosophy and spirituality. Conversely, by believing ourselves immortal, we most often plunge into vice or debauchery. The awareness of death and the resulting finitude of time are the main sources of wisdom that an individual can have at their disposal. Living as if we are already dead, in a way, helps us keep our measure and focus on the essentials.
The Power Of The Countdown
Knowing that we will die in a set number of years puts our actions into perspective: everything becomes solemn. Knowing that everything is impermanent, we pick the moments of life as we pick fresh flowers at the morning dew. We do not wait to tell people we love them and care about them. We do not waste time helping a loved one in need. We do everything possible to leave a trace of light during the few years of our existence.