To the well organised mind, death is but the next adventure. – J. K. Rowling
My View on Death
Death is something that scared me for a long time.
I guess it was the prospect of the unknown.
Where will I go? What will it look like? Who will be there?
It was a cold rainy December evening, and after a long day of hitchhiking, I was tucked up in my hostel bed watching Steve Jobs’ commencement speech at Stanford University.
In what is a remarkably inspiring and touching speech, Steve Jobs illustrates the importance of death:
“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life…
Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
It was the first time I’d considered death in this way. I decided to research death a bit more and came across a powerful phrase which would stick with me from that day on.
The phrase was the Latin “Memento Mori” which translates to “Remember you are going to die.”
I stuck this phrase on my wall , and every morning, without fail, I remind myself that I am going to die.
I’ve found incredible strength in this, and I want to use the rest of this article to explore the power of death what death can teach us all.
The Power of Death And What Death Can Teach
1 – Time
Death reinforces the importance of time and that life is brief, precious and fragile. When we’re young, fit and healthy, death is not something that that often fills our minds, and we may take time and life for granted. By reminding ourselves of our impermanence, it encourages us to value the importance of our time.
2 – Accept It
Thinking about death can remind you that you can’t escape it. Not only is impossible to escape death, but throughout your life you will witness loved ones dying (unless you go and sit in a forest for the rest of your life). There’s a lot of liberation in the impermanence of life if we choose to accept that it’s a natural thing. You can’t control your destiny, and you don’t know when it’s your time to go, but by letting go of and not trying to fight the prospect of death is powerful. Isn’t it more useful to spend your time laughing and loving more. Paradoxically, there’s great strength and power in letting go and acceptance.
3 – Society’s View On Death
Western Society holds a negative view on death often accompanied by sadness and sorrow. We all wear black, turn up to a funeral, grieve for our loved ones, carry the pain into the future with hope that in time it will subside. There’s nothing wrong with this process, but what about if we switch the perspective and learn to celebrate death? What if we look for the light and positivity in death? (Some cultures actually celebrate death).
Death is natural and makes way for fresh life which is necessary for progressing humanity and the continuation of our planet.
With a positive outlook on death, it can become something we embrace rather than trying to avoid.
4 – Doing What’s Important
Reminding ourselves of death can give us that “oh well, I might as well try feeling”. Death holds the seeds for transformation, and by contemplating death it encourages us to “grab on to life.”
Death reminds us that all feelings of embarrassment, failure, jealousy, opinions of others will all fade away as soon as we go. There’s great strength to be taken from this, because death can bring new meaning to our lives and encourage us to start pushing forward towards our fears and dreams.
In a world where there’s lots of distractions eating at our time, death can be a useful reminder to help us focus on the things that are important in life.
We are not immortal, we will not live forever and death is something that we can’t ignore.
Nothing helps you understand what is important in life more than death, and it’s crucial to spend some time thinking about what death might actually be like.
Pondering death is humbling, allows us to step outside of our ego and explore something bigger than ourselves.
In the end, a good life is about how much you loved, laughed and smiled with the people who matter to you.
Thanks for reading!
All the best,
Daniel Beaumont, 19th July 2017
About the Author
Hello everyone, I’m Dan – a 28-year-old social entrepreneur and writer from the north of England, living in Bucharest, Romania. I’m currently writing my first book about my 4-year journey around the world seeking wisdom and life-lessons from everyday people I met hitchhiking and Couchsurfing.
I discovered that travel, if approached with the right mindset, can be life-changing, and a trip combining travel, purpose and introspection is a great way to learn, challenge oneself and change for the better. Now my mission in life is to share what I’ve learned to inspire others to embark on their own journey of self-discovery and use travel, entrepreneurship and technology as a means to make the world a better place.
I’m also the founder of Podstel – a vision to help humanity belong and grow by creating a worldwide network of ‘homes’ that bring locals and travellers together to share their stories, passions and skills. The first two Podstels are open and thriving in Bucharest, so if you’re passing through, be sure to come and say hi, or stay the night with us.
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