Let me begin by sharing with you something personal. Not too long ago, I had a dream. In it I saw someone walking with steady steps towards some place far, far away. For some reason, he didn’t look left or right, though I must say all around him was Nothingness. On one shoulder he balanced a sturdy stick at the end of which, hang a load in a sack. On and on he walked, until the dream faded away.
It took me a while to realize what the dream meant. Everyone of us is on a journey called Life. Slowly but surely, whether we wish or not, we are all moving towards a certainty called Death, the door to the Other Side.
As we move along towards Death, at every moment in Life, you and I decide what to put into the load we carry on our shoulder. Nobody knows how long his journey will be, when he will pass through Death’s Door. Wouldn’t it make sense to lighten the load, to only choose things that really matter, that can help you in the long run? Treasures like courage, honesty, wisdom, kindness, forgiveness, compassion; these should go right in. On the contrary, isn’t it logical that we remove or leave behind stuff that can only hurt or weigh us down, like hatred, envy, jealousy, enmity?
Question is, what are we teaching our children about Death and the legacy each of us are leaving behind? It might seem like too heavy a matter to talk about with children. But believe me, given the right words, tone and approach, any parent could teach their children these lessons, and help them see the transient nature of Life, and focus on Things That Really Matter.
A son of mine once said, “One lesson sorely missing from our education is Philosophy.” I tend to agree, although it might not be the same where you come from; different countries have distinct education systems. But on the whole, we do tend to sidestep issues like Purpose of Life and Death, when these are so important for us to understand growing up. Never mind if Death sounds so grim!
I remember when my mother passed away, it initially brought me so much grief, despite knowing full well it was inevitable, given her prognosis. My father’s passing several years earlier was not easy for me either. Today, not a day goes by without me thinking of them, of their sacrifices. But instead of sadness, I am motivated to do whatever I can in memory of them. I never knew that the death of a beloved can have such a positive impact on one’s life.
Imagine, if we were to be more comfortable discussing the Purpose of Life and Death in the open, despite the seriousness of the concepts of Life and Death. We would be more at peace in our daily lives, more accepting of personal losses, more grateful for the blessings, no matter how little they are. If we were to ponder more on Death, perhaps we might be less anxious about the future. We would rather focus on what we can do now, more than spending hours of sleepless nights worrying about the uncertain tomorrow. Or blaming someone else for something that fails to work, rather than taking an honest look at ourselves and searching deep inside, to see what we could do to help make things a little better.
That, I believe, would be a kinder way to live, for ourselves and everyone who happens to cross paths with us in this journey called Life.
Thought of the Moment
“A good leader takes a little more of his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit.” – attributed to Arnold H.Glasgow