Dying to Live, or Living to Die?
There are few things in life you can be sure of— like finding a Starbucks in every city, or hearing Uptown Funk on the radio. While these statements are most often correct, they are not certain. In life, there’s only one thing we can be certain of: we’re all going to die.
Weren’t expecting that, were ya? What’s with this sudden morbidity from someone who is usually so cheery and upbeat?
The truth is, the acceptance of life and its guaranteed end are what pushed me to live a different way. Growing up, my life was restricted by anxiety. I was always worrying about something that was not guaranteed to ever happen. In fact, as they say, worrying is like praying for what you DON’T want!
It was after reading “The Four Agreements” when I finally started seeing things for what they really are, rather than what I was afraid they may or may not be. One of the final chapters of the book spoke about accepting “The Angel of Death.”
“The angel of death comes to us and says, ‘You see everything that exists here is mine; it is not yours. Your house, your spouse, your children, your car, your career, your money–everything is mine and I can take it away when I want to, but for now you can use it.’ If we surrender to the angel of death we will be happy forever and ever. Why? Because the angel of death takes the past away in order to make it possible for life to continue… When are we going to live in the present? That is what the angel of death teaches us to do.” – Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements
None of us are making it out of here alive. I promise you that. So, while you’re here, what is it that you will do? What do you want to accomplish? What do you want to see? What kind of person do you want to be?
There is no arguing with the angel of death. We are all guaranteed a visit. Instead of thinking about this fearfully, look at the world of opportunities that lie beneath.
The Dalai Lama has said, “If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.”
Death is one of those “not-fixable” situations. Accepting it does not mean to live recklessly. The purpose of accepting your eventual demise is to free yourself of that heavy, dark, raincloud called “worry.”
Many of our goals, hopes and dreams are married to “somedays”, “bucket lists” and “maybe tomorrows.” The thing about the angel of death; she work on her own schedule, not yours. Those “somedays” may be nevers. So if there is something your heart yearns for, get Out There and make it happen!