Everything that happens in life is a lesson, even death. I truly believe in this adage. Everything that is happening, from the tiniest of things, to the biggest of things, is a lesson that we need to learn at that moment in time.
I am in India visiting relatives, taking my parents around, and I am seeing a lot of poverty. And also a lot of joy.
The biggest lesson that is served to anyone is to remember to appreciate life. Appreciate that you are here, and that you are alive. Appreciate that you can move your limbs, and make a noise, and eat some food, and talk to friends and family.
Without all of this appreciation, we are dead. Zombies moving through the world, pretending to be alive, but not.
My mother’s sister’s husband died while we were in India. It’s not a big deal. There are billions of people on this planet. And one more dying shouldn’t be a big deal. But of course, it is to us. He was a quiet, smiling man, who lived his life to the max, and died in his 80s.
The lesson is here for us to take, if we wish to.
Death Is the Best Lesson Out There
To me, death is the best lesson out there. Every single time I am touched by death, I breathe a little deeper. I see my hands and legs moving me through the world, and I am in awe. I hear my heart beating when I run, and I can’t believe that I am alive. Gratitude, so much gratitude fills my heart.
I don’t know how much longer I have to live. I might be dead tomorrow. Or I might stay alive for another 40 years. There is no knowing when we will go away. There are no guarantees of life or death.
We know we will die. We don’t know when.
That means that one day you could be laughing, eating, and cheering on your cricket team. And the next, your family is burning your body, and taking your ashes to be floated away in one of the holy rivers of India. That’s what happened to my uncle, and that’s what happens to hundreds of thousands of people every day.
People die. It’s not a big deal. It happens every day. But it is, of course, a big deal.
Because it reminds us we are alive, and they are not. It reminds us that things change in a blink of an eye.
Meditate on Death Daily to Become More Aware of Its Lessons
One of the main teachings of Tibetan Buddhism is impermanence. Nothing is permanent, even the Earth and the Stars are always changing, and here for a few brief moments.
If the Earth which has been here for billions of years is ethereal, and impermanent, then what about us, who only live a maximum of 70 years? We are even more so.
The more we meditate on death and impermanence, the more we realize death has a lot to teach us. Not only about the fact our time here is fleeting, but how to live so that this life counts.
Most of us are living on Someday Isle. Someday, we tell ourselves, we will live the life that we want. Someday, we shall do those things we have always wanted to do. Someday, we will live our life to the max.
But not now. For now, we waste it. We work on useless things that don’t really matter. We live a life filled with moments where we are always looking towards the future, towards the past, never present in the moment.
If we take the lesson that impermanence gives us, we realize we don’t have that much time left. We will start, hopefully, living life in a way where we aren’t postponing anything to some unforeseeable future.
You might never get there – to that 65th birthday after which your life will start. You might never get to that 35th birthday, after which you will quit your job and start living your passion of writing novels.
We think we can wait forever, but the end comes faster than we realize.
Are You Appreciating Your Life Enough?
The lesson I always take from this is asking myself the question, “Am I appreciating my life enough?” Am I appreciating each breath enough? Each heartbeat? Each smile?
It’s so important to me to ask this question. Because, unfortunately, almost every single time, I realize, “No, I am not appreciating each iota of my life enough.”
That is a terrible thing to realize. But a fortunate thing. I am alive. I realize that now.
Even if it’s for a few seconds, and then I will slip back into my normal way of doing things, where I hate everything, and I don’t appreciate my life enough. Even if that’s the case, at least for those few moments, I am alive. Everything tastes better. The sights are cleaner, greener, and more vivid. My heartbeats faster at every moment, thankful that it can beat for a few more days.
I am so grateful to be here. It could have been me. I could have been dead. But I am not dead. I am here, still. Writing these words, feeling the breeze on my skin, hearing the beat of my heart, and the twitter of birds outside my window.
I’m still here, as are you.
Let’s be thankful together for small and big mercies. For each breath and each heartbeat. We are still here, whilst many people out there are not. They are not here. We need to appreciate our lives so we can appreciate them not being here all the more.