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Death is Part of Life

March 8, 2013 by  
Filed under blog

 I got a very shocking and sobering email from the wife of a very dear friend a few days ago, a good friend, who is a doctor and in excellent health. His urine had turned very dark and his skin was jaundiced. At the hospital he found out he had a tumor in his bile duct that leads out of the pancreas. Not good! A few days ago he had a very complicated 9 hour surgery in which they took out part of his pancreas, stomach, duodenum and the gall bladder. It was shocking to hear this since my good friend kept himself in great shape. He has, from all his friends and family, wonderful support and encouragement. We know he’s a tough guy and are hoping and praying he’ll be ok.

Quite naturally this got me thinking about my own health and that inevitable end of the road for myself and yes, every one of you who are reading this blog. “Ouch,” you may say. “I don’t want to think about that.” But we all do—and we should—only there is a good way and a bad way to think about death. One way helps you and the other hurts you.

In the book “Super Brain” Deepak Chopra and his co-author Rudolph Tanzi write “If you are afraid of death, it is bad for your body– not because death looms so darkly but because the fear of anything is toxic.” They go on to say “Some cultures, such as Tibetan Buddhism, offer extensive preparation for death and a highly detailed theology of various heavens and hells.” Which they use to help people face and accept their own death.  The authors say the path to making peace with death might look something like this:

1. “I don’t think about death. It’s pointless.”
2. “The main thing is to live your life right this minute.”
3. “Anyway, I secretly don’t believe I will grow old and die.”
4. “To be honest, I don’t think about dying because it’s too scary.”
5. “I’ve seen death of a friend, family member, or pet. I know I have to face it someday.”
6. “I am beginning to feel calmer about the whole issue. I can look at death without running away.”
7. “Dying happens to everyone. It’s better to approach it calmly with eyes open.”
8. “I’ve felt the first serious twinges of mortality. It’s time to face it.”
9. “I find I am actually interested in what death is all about.”
10. “It’s possible to embrace dying as a natural stage of life–and I have.”

As you the read through these stages of thinking about death, try to think back to when you were young (assuming that you are no longer in that category) and notice how close these 10 stages may come to your own thinking back then and now. Have your thoughts changed dramatically?

The bottom line is you don’t need to fear death. It will come so fearing it is rather pointless. Instead, focus on the now, on what you are doing every moment of your life, filling it with purposeful, gratifying thoughts and activities. Living a good life makes fearing death unnecessary.

Next week, we’ll talk a little more about what Deepak and Rudolph have to say about keeping your mind young so you can get the most out of every moment of your life.

 

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