Back to Michael Singer and "The Untethered Soul" today. I'm almost finished with the book.
"Death is your Liberator" -- the title of today's blog is from p. 162. Chapter 17 is all about death, and as usual, Michael had some great insights and new ways of looking at it. The more complete quote from which I got the title is this:
"[D]eath actually gives meaning to life. Death is your friend. Death is your liberator....If you live each moment completely, you will have a fuller life and you will not have to fear death. You fear death because you crave life. You fear death because you think there's something to get that you haven't experienced yet," (p. 162).
I hadn't thought about it like that, but I find it very true... We fear death because we crave life. We don't want to die because there's stuff here that we haven't done yet. Or things we need or want to take care of first. But if we live our lives to the fullest -- actually doing whatever it is we want and need to do, instead of putting it off -- then when death comes we'll know we're ready. We'll have lived our lives. We'll have done the stuff we wanted to do. We won't be (as) afraid.
Michael's suggestion is to "[l]earn to live as though you are facing death at all times, and you'll become bolder and more open....There is no reason to be afraid of life," (p 161).
So basically, don't be afraid of life or death. Fear. It all comes back to fear. When we live in fear... whether it's fear of dying, fear of living, fear of anything, we're limiting ourselves. We're holding ourselves back. We're not realizing our full potential and purpose for being here.
"Imagine if you knew you were going to die within a week or a month....Think honestly about what you would do with your last week....Then ponder this question: If that's really what you would do with your last week, what are you doing with the rest of your time? Wasting it? Throwing it away? Treating it like it's not something precious? What are you doing with your life? That is what death asks you."
This part of the chapter was funny to me (funny-interesting, funny-odd). Because the first novel I wrote was about this very topic. It's a fiction novel and the main character has this dream where he sees the date different people will die. He doesn't know how, but he sees the date. Then the book is about what he does with that information, and what other people do with it. Certainly knowing when you'll die will affect how you live. But how? What would you change exactly? How would you live your life differently? This isn't a ploy to sell my book (though it is available on Amazon, called "The Time of Your Life"). When I read the line, "Imagine if you knew you were going to die within a week or a month," I just thought it was weird, the connection.
So what would you change? What I think is difficult about this is if I knew, for sure, that I had only a week to live I'd treat money differently. For one, I'd stop saving. I'd spend it all (or give it away and donate it). I'd probably spend a little more time with the people closest to me (though I'm pretty happy with the amount of time I already spend with them).
I suppose it's a good question to ponder... how you'd live if you had a week left... just so you know your priorities. Then you can make those priorities more of a priority in your life right now. But certain things obviously aren't wise to do -- like give away all your money.
Michael talks about this further:
"Let's say you're living life without the thought of death, and the Angel of Death comes to you and says, 'Come, it's time to go.' You say, 'But no. You're supposed to give me a warning so I can decide what I want to do with my last week. I'm supposed to get one more week.' Do you know what Death will say to you? He'll say, 'My God! I gave you fifty-two weeks this past year alone. And look at all the other weeks I've given you. Why would you need one more? What did you do with all those?'" (p. 159).
I love that little story. Everyone always wants more. More money. More time. More... whatever. But look at what you do with what you have already.
Gratitude. Gratitude is key. Being grateful for what you have, whatever you have, is an imperative first step to not only being happy and content, but to living in abundance.
Elsewhere in the chapter, Michael addresses fears in relationships, and how contemplating death can help solve those. He talks about jealousy. How in our lives some of us (ahem...me) can be insecure and jealous. We don't want our partners to have relationships with or even talk to certain other people. But Singer suggests thinking about how your partner will live when you're no longer here. Certainly you don't want them living in solitude, depressed and missing you with all their days. Surely you want the person you love to be happy and live a full life, right? So why don't you want that for them now?
This further solidified my letting go of my insecurities in regards to my boyfriend's ex-wife... or anyone else. If we truly, genuinely love someone, we want them to be happy and live full lives. We are a part of their lives, an important part, but having a full life consists of many different aspects. Different people. Different experiences. It's not all about us.
Letting go. Just let go and be happy. Enjoy the experiences Life brings to us. Love the people in our lives. Follow our passions and follow our hearts. Be patient, kind, and Open to Love at all times.
There's nothing to be afraid of. Neither life nor death. We are here to Live and experience it all. It's all FOR us.