These passages are taken directly from the article "The Wisdom of Meditating on Mortality". Here are a few excerpts that I think are valuable. To read the full article, please click on button below.
We die every day, for every day some part of life is taken from us. Even when we are still growing, our life is shrinking. We lost our infancy, then childhood, then youth. All our time was lost in the moment of passage, right up to yesterday, and even today is divided with death as it goes by. As the water clock does not empty out its last drop only but also whatever dripped through it before, our last hour of existence is not the only time we die but just the only time we finish dying. That is when we arrive at death, but we have been a long time coming there.
The practice of remembering your death or memento mori is an aspect of what the Stoics called the premeditation of adversity. You contemplate negative things that could happen to you in advance, just for a moment. Doing so removes the sting of them should they actually happen. And one of the benefits of doing this is realizing how many things in life we actually take for granted.
Time (and Death)
In the letter titled today as Taking charge of your time, Seneca asked, “Can you show me even one person who sets a price on his time, who knows the worth of a day, who realizes that every day is a day when he is dying?
We are wrong to think that death lies ahead: much of it has passed us by already, for all our past life is in the grip of death. — Seneca
I know I sound like a broken record, but it's true.....we are a death denying society. This denial causes a lot of unnecessary pain and suffering through the end-of-life (EOL).
However, we can take the opportunity to bring EOL conversations into our lives, we can gain wisdom by truly focusing on what is important, how we treat people, repairing regret, and spending time with those we love and want to connect with.
When we bring death into the forefront of our lives, we behave differently, perhaps with more equanimity, because our focus is on the here and now, not the past nor the future, and embracing the present time.
People that are on their deathbed often share they have regrets- they want a do over to make things right, or they realize whom have been the important people in their lives and want to share with them how they feel.
Let's not wait until we are terminally ill or on our deathbed to change our behaviors. Let's take the opportunity to focus on this day, as if it were our last, and I can almost guarantee, you will act with grateful heart and act on what really is meaningful to you.
Death is hard and talking about death can be even more difficult.
This is the problem....death will happen, to each of us, most often we just don't know when or how.
If death is guaranteed, why don't we speak about it? First, our society has made death, dying, and grief taboo topics.
Why? I think because we are not familiar with it. We're, for the most part, a death phobic society.
Does this hurt us? Yes. We prepare for major life events by taking the time to investigate and to get familiar with options and to talk about what may be best for the future.
Let's do the same with death. Let's be proactive and become willing to have these difficult, yet necessary conversations. Let's empower ourselves and our journey. Let's be willing to not be too polite to speak about death, and to create communities where we can learn and become more comfortable to the absolute, 100% guaranteed life event that we will all experience.
In this article, Psychologist, Corinne Sweet, states "People find death a difficult topic to discuss as it usually brings up a lot of feelings: anxiety, fear, awkwardness, sadness. We tend to pretend, as a culture, that it's not going to happen"
"After all, the biggest benefit of talking about death is that it reminds us to appreciate life. Corinne says, Reminding ourselves that time is finite can actually help us squeeze the pips out of life. It can make every day, every sunset, every good conversation so much more enriching.”
“As a nation, we need to start embracing these conversations and promote a positive change in how we perceive and talk about this subject. We don’t expect to see change overnight, but it’s time to take action, be brave and talk about death.”