The greatest teacher of all time: Death!

Teacher | Time | Death | 18th January 2022 | Virtual Wire


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Death indeed is the greatest teacher of all time. Why do we fear death so much?

Yes, death does mean in its rawest form: the ending of being alive. Chapters of a life coming to an end, a person or organism reaching the end line. I too was once a person who felt awkward and uncomfortable talking about the idea of death. I pondered for a long time, why or rather what exactly about death made me so uncomfortable. It did take a while for me to realise this but the answer was fairly simple. Death is unpredictable. It’s the unpredictability and uncertainty that has most people on the edge feeling uneasy and anxious.

I changed my outlook about death a couple of months back. This change in perspective happened due to two books I read, one fiction and the other a non-fiction. The fiction book I read is titled “The Midnight Library” by Matt Haig. The story revolves around the protagonist who recently died and is stuck in the in-between space of life and death, The Library. The idea of the Library is to give a chance for people to live a different variation of their life if they had made a different decision. All the books in the library are a version of their life, and each depends on what kind of decision they took in the life they had been living.

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The idea to have variations of your life that you could have lived if you had made another decision is what caught my eye in the entire book. The emphasis on the small actions that can have a big impact on your overall life is an eye-opener, especially when you are experiencing death just around the corner. You could have been something different, doing something different, saying something different all if you had made the choice while you were alive and in your root life. The second book was the non-fiction titled “The Untethered Soul” by Michael A. Singer was another book that left me thinking and contemplating and analysing for a long period of time. This book put death in a position where life/the act of living was a friend rather than a foe.

The chapter that was specifically dedicated to death talked about how death should be the reason why you choose to live every day. It should be your motivation to accomplish all that you have set out for yourself. It paints a picture of death where today if death were to arrive at your doorstep there would be no regrets or wishes that have been left unfulfilled. The idea of that fear of uncertainty was made to be seen in a way where the idea of missing out or not accomplishing everything made you want it more. Both these books had very similar yet intertwining insights for me. It was an instant takeaway that the idea of Death can give you perspective. It can create a space for you to slow down, pause and re-evaluate what you want in life or how you want your life to look like in the future.

It gave me clarity. Everything is uncertain, there are but a few things I can control, the rest, I am just meant to experience. So, instead of trying to control everything, just choosing to live and experience is better than fretting over things that are not in my control. The uncertainty of death is truly a great way to start pushing yourself to live your life to the fullest. Not knowing what will happen and when it will happen just pushes you to seize the day and live it like it is the last. It gives you a chance to do what you thought you couldn’t or thought wasn’t meant for you. It is a great force to help you push through your own boundaries and hurdles and achieve what you thought was just a dream.

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Not only that, the simple idea of doing one thing differently can have a totally polar opposite effect of your current reality is a chance I seem to be slowly willing to take. What if. I don’t want to think back on the good old days and wish I had done things differently, I want to do them differently so that when I am reminiscing, I think back and look at those memories with fondness and zero regret. I am willing to let the idea of death, the idea that the unpredictability of endings and the chance to do things differently, to have no regrets and live every day to its fullest; be my guide and motivation to create the reality that I want to experience.

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