One thing is certain, we will all die one day. However, many people act as if they were immortal. It is much wiser to live as if death was already within us, like a poison that was inoculated into us at birth and that would inevitably bring us closer to this fateful end.
The awareness of death connects you to reality
Knowing that you are mortal is one of the best things you can do to live life to the fullest. This idea allows us to go to the essential and not to waste time in futile things. To die is to put solemnity back into your life, it is also to connect to your deeper being.
Acting as if you were dead makes you the best warrior
The best warriors were those who were no longer afraid of death. Considering themselves already dead, they could go out and meet the enemy with a fierceness and intensity that only detachment from death can give. You can approach life as a battle, so why not be inspired by warriors to triumph?
Awareness of death, not morbid thinking
This change of relationship with death should not be confused with a tetanization following a morbid obsession. On the contrary, it is rather a matter of living more in the present thanks to the serenity of having become aware of death.
Death gives depth to your life
The greatest freedom fighters are those who have made death their close friend. Because the awareness of death allows you to get to the heart of the matter without fear of death, you become more courageous to fight for the causes you feel are most just. This reality is shared by famous fighters such as Malcolm X, Gandhi and Martin Luther King. All three were assassinated.
How to make death an ally?
To live by this philosophy, you must learn to die every day. Why not do something that scares you every day? The more you repeat this experience, the less fear will be part of your life. A simple thing that allows you to be more courageous is to do a martial art or a contact sport (rugby etc.). The repeated stress of confrontation will gradually remove your fear of danger and some of your fear of death. There are thousands of other things you can do to tame death.
Learn to philosophize
It is always good to have a short, medium and long term reflection. There is a phrase from Gandhi that I like: “Live as if you were to die tomorrow, learn as if you were eternal”. There is an apparent contraction in this phrase, but it can be reconciled. Living as if you were dying tomorrow reconnects you with the present and allows you to eliminate the superfluous. Learning as if we were eternal allows us to avoid becoming a thick, hedonistic and selfish brute, which could happen if we are left to our instincts because we have not done enough work on ourselves.
Starting from Gandhi’s quote, we could imagine a list of daily activities that we should do with a different relationship to time:
– eat -> as if we were eternal, which implies that we should pay attention to what we ingest because our body is our vehicle. Neglecting it will prevent us from going far.
– Drinking -> the same as eating
– Writing -> as if we were going to die tomorrow, because we need intensity to say everything we have on our heart
– Loving -> as if we were going to die tomorrow because it can give a certain solemnity and purity to all our relationships
– Playing sports -> as if we were eternal (for training, but for competition it’s the opposite, it’s like dying tomorrow)
– to pray -> as if we were dying tomorrow
Essentially, if a verb appeals to the intellect or the body, it must be considered as being in a long-term relationship. If it is the heart that commands this verb, we must create intensity and therefore think that it is our last day on earth.