Despite what appears to be a morbid and perhaps nihilistic title, this blog is all about inspiration. How can death be inspiring I hear you ask? Well, it’s all about perspective. We’ve largely been brainwashed (yes I do mean that) into believing that the material aspects of life are the most important..global economic crisis, war, famine all find their root cause in this and what can be defined in Buddhism as the three obstacles: anger, greed and stupidity. Obstacles because they block our path to our true state of enlightenment (or Buddhahood). We ALL suffer…that is what it is to be human. So these events don’t just happen, there are people, individuals like you and me that make decisions alone or together to create these effects. This focus on materiality; money, shiny things, even the body beautiful all anchor us in fear….fear of loss, and fear of ‘not enough’. All, however, is very much impermanence and in this way a focus and attachment to material is not constructive. This physical impermanence is the very nature and essence of life and that is why death ironically can be so inspirational. Through contemplating our own mortality we begin to see that all we really have is this moment and each other. Death is not called the ‘great leveller’ for nothing. If there were a bit more thought given to our infinitely small amount of time on this planet perhaps there would be less interest in foolish things, less anger and as a result perhaps, less suffering?
Anyway here’s some quotes from people far wiser than me, hope you enjoy and please share and like (if you like).
1) “Death is more certain than the morrow, than night following day, than winter following summer. Why is it then that we prepare for the night and for the winter time, but do not prepare for death. We must prepare for death. But there is only one way to prepare for death – and that is to live well.” – Leo Tolstoy
2) “Death is our constant companion, and it is death that gives each person’s life its true meaning.” – Paolo Coehlo
3) “We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Sahara. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively outnumbers the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here. We privileged few, who won the lottery of birth against all odds, how dare we whine at our inevitable return to that prior state from which the vast majority have never stirred?” – Richard Dawkins, 1998
4) “There is no place on earth where death cannot find us – even if we constantly twist our heads about in all directions as in a dubious and suspect land … If there were any way of sheltering from death’s blows – I am not the man to recoil from it … But it is madness to think that you can succeed … Men come and they go and they trot and they dance, and never a word about death. All well and good. Yet when death does come – to them, their wives, their children, their friends – catching them unawares and unprepared, then what storms of passion overwhelm them, what cries, what fury, what despair! … To begin depriving death of its greatest advantage over us, let us adopt a way clean contrary to that common one; let us deprive death of its strangeness, let us frequent it, let us get used to it; let us have nothing more often in mind that death … We do not know where death awaits us: so let us wait for it everywhere. To practice death is to practice freedom. A man who has learned how to die has unlearned how to be a slave.” – Michel de Montaigne 1533-1592
5) “Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It’s the transition that’s troublesome.” – Isaac Asimov