Few things are as painful as death. Be it of a loved one or your favorite pet. Even the end of a relationship can feel like death.
Knowing that new life always emerges from death isn’t much of a consolation, either. In nature, death fuels life. It is the mechanism by which life continues and ensures there is a balance.
But that doesn’t change the fact that it hurts. As a human, you form attachments. You get used to things and people being there. They reflect who you are, so they become part of your identity. They become the objects you make your happiness dependent on. When things change, your happiness suffers. No change is more permanent than death, and that scares you.
One of the primary reasons death scares you is because you keep pushing thoughts of it away. There are few feelings in life you so consistently avoid feeling, than those related to loss and dying. Especially in Western cultures, death is hidden away from sight. The elderly are relegated to retirement communities and nursing homes. The sick are put into hospitals. You never see a burial ceremony on public television, or corpses paraded through the streets, the way it is done in Eastern cultures, where death is more integrated, even celebrated. In the West, dying is seen as tragic and devastating. You rarely get exposed to it, other than when it happens to someone close to you, or you hear about it on the news in the context of crime.
All this aversion to death amounts to massive judgment. You judge dying to be a terrible, terrible thing. You spend no time familiarizing yourself with it, other than when it’s about to happen. Soon after, you push it away again. It’s not death that is traumatizing, but your reaction to it.
A grieving period after loss is vital to your emotional well-being. No matter how much at peace you are with death, you are flesh and bones, so some grieving is always necessary. But grief can easily turn into a loop if the underlying judgments aren’t dissolved.
It is even more important to be at peace is when it comes to your own impending death. Every bit of struggle and resistance you put up is the energy you leave in the physical realm. If not for yourself, do the people around you a favor and leave them with the peace you find in your passing.
How at peace are you?