“The wound is the place where the light enters you.” – Rumi
But only if you let it.
Death is certain and all around us. Yet we go through life pretending we will live forever. Nature gives us chances to remember the frailty of life – with the passing of an aunt, a natural calamity in some part of the World, or word of an acquaintance in a tragic accident. Momentarily, the endless stirring stops and we see clearly as the daily pettiness settles and we rise above it. Soon enough, as if the weight of daily life is tied around our ankles, we rapidly sink back into our old lives till we reach a familiar place with a thud that jerks us into hypnosis – the belief that we will live forever.
I imagine death to be white. Not the eggshell dull white, but the blinding kind that makes everything else hazy and your eyes watery. It can be apocalyptic or cleansing – depends on how you choose to see it.
When death knocks, we have the choice to rise, fall, break, shatter or simply wither away. Some unfortunate among us die numerous times in our imagination before we do in reality. This fierce warrior has a deadly stiffness from the stress of anticipation. I think these are the ones that break because the blow hits them the hardest. Fear that they have lived with their whole life grips them inside out and they break like porcelain.
The others survive. They understand the certainty of the uncertainty of life, but they carry on anyways. They don’t let fear paralyse them. They flow, bend and move on like a gushing stream moving up and down with every bump in their path. They are certain of their continuity. When the blow falls, they splatter and spill, but soon enough the splintered stream finds a way to be whole again.
Here are my 5 way of dealing with your worst fear
- Want to be happy. We don’t mind a little bit of sadness every once in a while. We think we owe it to the happy week we had, to have a sad day in between. It’s the gambler’s fallacy that makes us bet on the red in roulette just because the last 5 times was black. We forget that each event is independent of the last. No one is keeping track and life won’t become fair if you have too many happy days – there is no such thing.
- Kick the fear and step outside your comfort zone, even if it means speaking to someone you were avoiding this week. Stepping outside a little each day will one day make you forget the boundary of your comfort zone. Even in moments that are well rehearsed in life, a fear nags you and tells you that you won’t be able to pull it off. Stepping outside your comfort zone is a practice to silence this fear. If you do it enough times, fear knows it doesn’t have a chance with you.
- Be grateful for days that are not unhappy. I cannot get myself to live each day as my last. I have my petty days when small talk is what I need. Although it is gratifying for that moment, it makes me feel unnourished at the end of the day, like fast food. Besides petty days, there will be unhappy days – when you lose a friendship or a beautiful memory. Shed a tear, mourn these days, and stand up on your feet again but be sure to celebrate, appreciate and kiss kinder days passionately on the mouth when they come.
- Appreciate and express yourself to those who mean anything to you and help them see themselves as magnificently as you see them. In my book, there is no such thing as spoiling someone with too much love. Give them so much love that they are filled with the abundance of it, so that the next form they inhabit knows how to be loved and love in return. Your love will pay off, in this life or the next.
- Stop trying to inspire. Be inspired instead. Most of us are trying to be someone and only a very few of us are trying to be better at who we are. Inspiration needn’t involve a life transformation, only a lease of new life, and a new possibility. So spend your limited time joyfully and try to be the best version of yourself. Reading a book first thing in the morning, drop the kids off at moms to enjoy a quite cup of coffee, remember school and college days over endless glasses of wine, and laugh hysterically even if the joke doesn’t validate it.
It is a thought that death is just a stepping-stone to the next form we inhabit. If we think that our miseries and desires end with death, think again. Whatever our tendencies in this life, continue in the next. The direction we have chosen continues in another form, life, time and place but the consciousness perceiving that life will still be you, it will always be you. So stop the fear and breathe. Today. Now.
As Eckhart Tolle says, “death is not the opposite of life, life does not have an opposite because it is eternal. The opposite of death, is in fact, birth.”
Death is our chance to live again, but the amount of baggage that we bring from the life before determines the trajectory of our new life. So ease the baggage for yourself and your loved ones. Nature will make sure that you end the journey enlightened, whether you spend one lifetime or a few doing it.
Acknowledgement: The credit of the stunning feature photograph used in this post goes to Arfa Mirza, a creative genius and creator of CreatiWittyBlog.