skip to Main Content
Thoughts About Life And Death

Thoughts about life and death

“Life is like stepping onto a boat which is about to sail out to sea and sink.”

– Suzuki Roshi

What is death? How to deal with something that we have not experienced ourselves? How do we define death? There is a saying stating that, “When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. When you die, the world cries but you might find the great liberation.” 

What is life and what is death? Death exist as an opposite to life, the same as with happy and sad, good and evil, hot and cold and so on. As long as we are born, death eventually will follow. If we had not been born, would death still exist? Our next question might be who is born, and who dies?

We know that at some point our body stops functioning. We can measure the heart rate slowing down and eventually fading away. The blood circulation will stop as a result of the heart not beating. We know that oxygen is transported with the assistance of blood cells. Without oxygen, we slowly lose consciousness. Beyond that point we can only rely on outside observations. The main point is that all of this has to do with the physical body. It does not necessarily provide a satisfying answer to the question who is dying. Once more the attention is brought back to the eternal question who am I?

I remember watching movies in my childhood. The plot was a set in the middle ages, and the battle was to be fought at noon. When the morning sun rose, everyone agreed that it was a good day to die. I remember being puzzled by this statement. How could they say something like that? Did they honestly think it was a good day to die? How could something as frightening as death be treated so lightly? 

This morning it struck me that perhaps it is a pointer to something important. I read somewhere (think it was one of the books by Carlos Castaneda) that death is always seated on our left shoulder. If we could make friends with death, what would happen with our fear of it? How would it affect our thoughts around it? Realizing that life and death goes hand in hand?

In the same way the tree resides inside the seed, we carry death within us from the day our bodies are born. Death is never far away. No one knows when our time is up. If this is the reality – how to relate to it in a manner that does not restrict our self-expression while we are here?

“Think of yourself as dead. You have lived your life. Now – take what is left and live it properly.”

– Marcus Aurelius

Back To Top