Have you ever known something but not understood what it meant?
The other night while I was lying in bed I began to think about life and ultimately, death. I was struck with the realization that I am going to die; someday. Since that night I have been overcome with an almost sick feeling and I haven’t been able to shake the thought that, in fact, I will die.
It isn’t that I will die that bothers me so much as the feeling of isolation that comes with the thought of death. When I pass over the threshold, I will leave behind everything and everyone that I have ever cared about. The thought of being physically trapped in a box buried beneath the ground goes against the spirit of my being and the thought of cremation seems morbid.
I have always rejected the thought of an afterlife, though now I find myself seeking comfort in the idea that there may be something more beyond my worldly existence. In a way, these thoughts are selfish. They serve only as a way to alleviate my fears of death.
I find myself struggling to accept death as a part of life. I know death is inescapable, that we were born into a game we cannot beat, yet I find myself trying to ignore reality. At the same time, this understanding is an awakening. So many people never realize that they have never actually lived until they are already at the end of their life.
With this knowledge, I will live my life as a gift not only every day but every moment. I will follow my heart, live ambitiously, love purely, share freely and give abundantly. Only then will I live life without the concern of death.
Death is more universal than life; everyone dies but not everyone lives.
It’s the only thing we ALL share.
Some deep introspection here my friend. I’m behind on my reader but skimmed a couple articles for round-up materials. You’re running a theme on death and the journey of live in the couple recent articles I reviewed. This is good stuff and suggests a journey or process you’re experiencing in your mind or spirit. I like the raw nature with which you’re sharing this stuff and appreciate your boldness in carrying us along for the ride.
You’ve likely read enough of my stuff to know where I lean on this topic. I’m not crazy overt in my writing so I won’t be here either… other than to say that is something else out there, and it’s selfish to believe it.
Oh, and by the way, I’ve got you covered in the round-up dropping in the morning.
Thanks friend… happy holidays and new year to you.
Thanks Dave for the continued support! I think it is important that I share my thoughts and emotions in an honest and pure way, so readers understand where I stand emotionally and spiritually when I am writing about certain topics. It is easy to seperate yourself from your writing, almost like standing on a soapbox preaching to the pulpit, and I prefer to see myself alongside everyone who reads my words, struggling to make the right choices and to try and understand this crazy thing we call life.
I think in a way we have become desensitized to the reality of mortality, especially in the realm of self-improvement. We are bombarded with quotes and sayings about living life before it is over, yada yada…when you realize that you are going to die, it is like a real eye opening experience. I mean, we all know we are going to die but fully understanding what that means is a bit depressing, yet motivating. Your perspective changes in a fundamental way and you begin to appreciate the moments you share with people on this Earth.
Thanks for reading, I’ll do my best to keep it raw, pure and honest.
I stumbled across your blog tonight and this is the first post I have read so forgive me if I start talking about somethings you have already addressed.
I too think about death and it is sometimes upsetting to realize that my daughter and her one day family will be going on without me. I do believe though that we were made to think and contemplate death and the afterlife. I know that you don’t believe in an afterlife, but I do and I believe that we are born with the these thoughts in us so that we will seek and find out what occurs after death.
You are not being selfish in your thoughts of something beyond your worldly existence. This is the very reason we were made. We were made to exist beyond this life. We were made to live with and worship our creator God.
After life here on earth there are two options: those who trust in the Lord whole heartedly will live for all eternity with him and those who don’t will spend eternity separated from him.
By thinking about what occurs after death it points us in the direction of wanting to find out about how to spend eternity with our creator! What a great place to be in and what a great opportunity to truly be open to what God has in store! http://www.fathersloveletter.com is a great resource to start this journey of finding how their can be life after death.
Blessings and good luck with your hundred goals :)
Thank you for writing Amanda, it means a lot to me when my readers take time out to share their thoughts with me, especially about issues such as faith. I really think there can be a lot of good in sharing openly and honestly about what we think and believe, and I thank you for doing so in a way that is pure and without judgement of my feelings. That approach will win more hearts and minds than any other, so again, thank you.
I have always questioned my belief in God (by whatever name you wish to call Him) and coming from a religiously unstable household did little to solidify my spirituality. I’ve looked into Christianity, Wicca and Islam, ultimately deciding that any faith simply wasn’t for me. I found that organized spirituality really turned me off but still hold out for a more personal sense of spirituality, be it in God or simply in finding an inner peace (which is one of my New Year’s Resolutions). Because of my uncertainty about religion, I’ve intentionally made one of my goals to learn about a world religion. Since I was brought up in a mostly Christian society and was baptized Lutheran, I feel that I have a fairly solid appreciation for the Christian faith and am considering Islam. I personally feel that learning about Islam would open up my understanding of a large portion of the population and allow me to grow as a world citizen.
Thank you again for your comment and I look forward to seeing you around on the blog or on my Fan Page on Facebook (I’m more active there;-) ).
I’ve had some thoughts on death lately that may interest you. This is the first time I have tried to communicate this with anyone so bear with me.
I honestly do not think death exists.
We live our lives within the envelope of our consciousness, the voice in our heads, the constant flow of thoughts, intuitions, impressions, an awareness of being. I think that each of us, individually, is utterly incapable of experiencing or even imagining anything outside of life or living. We have no experience of anything other than being alive. There is no other frame of reference. We are never going to experience anything other than the experience of being alive.
Certainly at the time of death there is a diminishing in the scope of our awareness, an inward orientation, perhaps an awareness of a leave taking of sorts. It is expressed in mythology and literature as a passage across waters, a ship leaving port, an embarkation to unknown lands. I think this is about as close as the human imagination can get to expressing what we experience as we die.
This line of thought has been of great comfort to me. It removes the fear from the whole business. It is a positive, life affirming attitude, completely secular, yet in a way quite spiritual.
Hope this is helpful.
I was 9 when my Grandpa died of cancer, and that was when I first realized just how precious and amazing life is. (And strangely, the day he died was one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen outside.)
So yes, we’re all going to die, but that’s what helps us work on and enjoy this life.
I don’t know if it would help you, but for the past half year or so I have been waking through the local cemetery on my way to and from work, in all kinds of weather and at all times of the day (and night). There are a lot of very different tombstones for people of varying life spans and with very different writings on them. I am not very spiritual but find that these walks have given me twenty quiet minutes of time for thought each day, as well as a much more peaceful and accepting approach to death.
First, I’d like to say “Welcome” to all of the new commenters, it is nice to hear from everyone! All of the comments so far have been great and I appreciate everyone sharing their personal stories and thoughts.
@Jim- I like your thoughts, they make a lot of sense to me. I think you are right, even though we die, we really don’t experience death. It is an interesting way to think about death, and is comforting in its own way.
@Jackie- I’ve lost only a few people in my life, though my relationships with them were not what I would consider to be close so the emotional impact that their passing had on my own life felt minimal. Realizing that I am going to die has done a lot for my appreciation of life and the people in it.
@Holme- Cemetaries are interesting places, I’ve spent a fair amount of time wandering through them myself, though I’ve never taken the time for introspection while there. It seems like a good place to consider life while surrounded by the calm of a cemetary. I imagine it would be calming, realizing that even in death, life goes on (if only for others).
Thanks again for all of your comments, I genuinely look forward to hearing from you all again!!!
As a practicing Lutheran, I think your past and your baptism haven’t quite left you yet. It’s strange how the Hound of Heaven, so to speak, never quite lets us alone…
I enjoyed studying Islam, but I do not think you will find your peace there.
“Nigh and nigh draws the chase,
With unperturbèd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy ;
And past those noisèd Feet,
A Voice comes yet more fleet —
‘Lo ! naught contents thee, who content’st not Me.'”
You may be right that I won’t find peace in Islam but I think that in studying religion (any religion) that I will form my own beliefs based on what I come to understand from what I learn in the process. My desire to study Islam is not so much to find an answer as it is to understand the world and broaden my perspective of the people I share my home with. I believe there is great power in knowledge. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for your post. About a year ago, the reality of my eventual death started to hit me in way like it never had before. Just like you said, I had always known I was going to die, but suddenly it seemed so much more real. I thought about daily and found it bizarre and upsetting. I could see how a belief in an after life would be comforting, but I don’t have that belief. I found myself thinking and reading lots about death for months, I suppose in the hope that I could make more sense of it. Of course, I couldn’t. But I did eventually start to become more settled. Now when I think about my death, it does not produce the same intense emotional reaction that it did 12 months ago. I don’t have any more understanding, but do seem to have more acceptance. I think I have been through a process I needed to go through.