1.4. Death

Let’s get death out of the way.

So the question is: do we live our life based on what we believe about death and/or an afterlife, or does our belief about death and/or an afterlife determine how we live our life?

Essentially, unanswerable, like the chicken and the egg.

For me, and I can only talk about my belief: death is nothing to be feared. Dying is different than death; another issue, which I’ll write about later.

I believe the beginning (before we are born) and end of life (after we die) is the same mystery, a mystery we cannot know. We were created out of some indefinable energy that took a material form and when our material form is no longer living, that energy, what I think if as the essence of our existence (some might call it soul or spirit) will return to that mystery.

The Tibetan Book of the Dead asks the dying to embrace death, to use the death experience as a vehicle to move beyond the screen that separates us from the mystery.

The Tibetans, as well as the Hindus, believe we live a continuous series of lives. Reincarnation's purpose is not to just keep coming back to live a life. Reincarnation is meant to be used as the step-by-step process for raising one’s consciousness (from animal to human) until we reach oneness with the mystery. Some great yogis can penetrate the screen while still alive, but for most of us, death is our chance. Everything we have ever done, everything we have ever wanted to do, pales before the death experience.

I know we are going to die. It's okay to die - in fact it's inescapable. So I am going to use my time of metastatic cancer as a stepping-stone to living my life.

When Steve Jobs died there were many articles quoting his 2005 Commencement speech at Stanford University:

 “… death is very likely the single best invention of life. It is life’s change agent."