We’re All Going to Die

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This past year, I have attended more funerals of people I know and love than I had attended in the past decade. I am always amazed at how thoughts of death and mortality become so real to me when I am faced with the death of someone I love. The part that amazes me most is that, when I’m not faced with death in this way, I tend to forget about it and live as if I will always be on this Earth. And, every reminder of death is another rude awakening.

We live in a world where everything is constantly changing and everything is temporary. Everything and everyone we know will be gone someday. Our lives and everything that we perceive as material reality is just a flash in the history of the universe, including the huge maple tree in my front yard that was a seedling 70 years before I was born.

28,000 Days Above the Ground

On average, our bodies will spend about 28,000 days breathing and moving around on the Earth. Then, they will probably spend hundreds of millions of days dissolving into the Earth.

It may seem morbid to think about this, but when we remind ourselves of our mortality, we are less likely to take our human selves too seriously. Almost all of the things that we worry about today will have no significance when our bones are dirt. In fact, most of the things that we worry about won’t even matter tomorrow, or even an hour from now.

What Comes With Us?

Everything that we collect, the career advances we make, the skills we learn and all our material possessions will be left behind someday. It is likely that if we do bring anything with us to the next life, it will be our spiritual assets.

For some reason, this is hard for most of us to accept. We are often in denial of the fact that we will die, because for many of us, the reality of mortality makes our priorities look silly.

The collection of material wealth, the advancement of careers and the improvement of our homes seems exciting, and we want to place these things high on our priority list. We identify ourselves and our personal value with these things.

What Matters?

Like our bodies, these things are all temporary. But, we are not. Our existence as spiritual souls is unchanging and permanent. No temporary material items or earthly accomplishments can define who we are. We are a part of something much greater than this planet can offer.

Whether or not you hold a belief in soul permanence or “after life”, when this life nears its end, fond memories of love and joy will probably mean much more to us than memories of the car we owned or the new carpeting we had installed several years back. And, the most powerful legacy we will leave behind is how we inspire others.

Daily Action

Consider your priorities in light of your mortality. Knowing with absolute certainty that your body will die someday, what is really important to you?

5 responses to “We’re All Going to Die”

  1. Bob Avatar

    Have you read the medieval morality play “Everyman?” It explores this concept. See if you can pick up a fairly modernized version and give it a read. I think you would enjoy it.

  2. Danny Avatar

    I haven’t read that one, Bob, but I just read the synopsis at wikipedia. It has a link to the complete text which is not modernized.
    It looks like an interesting read with a lot of very literal symbolism. It’s definitely on my list of things to read now.
    Thanks for pointing it out.

  3. Shirley - Fun Spirit Avatar

    Somewhere I read that by meditating on your own death and picturing the scene at your funeral it will allow you to forgive those that have hurt you, recognize what is important and be more grateful for what you have. I’ve only done it once before, but it was very enlightening and enabled me to forgive grudges I had been holding.

    P.S. Love the Lemony Snickett quote on your Rose Colored Glasses posts. His humor is great!

  4. […] theme keeps coming up unintentionally in my posts lately. In We’re All Going to Die and We Are the Earth I pointed out that we are a part of the Earth. And today, I have been tagged […]

  5. none Avatar

    I’ve thought the same things you say here countless times. I’m glad at least some people realize these things, while the majority live like 2 legged beasts, strolling down the sidewalk with no meaning or self-conscience.

    I remember reading many years ago a quote by Heraclitus, something like this:

    Gods are mortal, men are immortal
    Living their deaths, dying their lifes