Thinking about Death – the best way to be mindful about Life

Today, I woke up to the news of the death of a close relative – someone who was living close to us, someone with whom we have had a lot of interactions – the news came as a shock and a sense of sadness engulfed me. Deep in my heart, I wanted to be back in India to attend his funeral prayer and to supplicate to the Almighty to enter this Uncle into His mercy. Intellectually, I understand death and I do think of death often, but even then it is a very different experience when someone close to me died.

Death is something that we take for granted. We see people die and we attend the funerals and talk about what caused the death, trying to find a way to justify to us why that person has died so that we can continue to be in a state of heedlessness – heedless about our own death, forgetting that we could be in the grave very soon.

When we think of death, almost everything seems meaningless – most of us are running behind something – something that would seem so trivial in the face of death. We chase money, positions, power and many a times, in the process, we lose our minds and ignore the precious things in our life. Sad reality of our existence is that we tend to value some things only when we lose it or about to lose it.

If you are reading this blog, I ask you to do this simple visualization, if you are mature enough to handle it – close your eyes and visualize yourself in your deathbed, surrounded by your loved ones, be it your children, your wife or mother, etc. What thoughts come to your mind? What are your children saying to you – how do they react to your death? What about your wife or your mother? And any other loved ones. Don’t be in a hurry to get this exercise done and move into a state of heedlessness. If you are undertake this exercise sincerely, you will have a lot of lessons that can literally change your life.

Now, here is another visualization you can do – think about someone that you love the most in this world – visualize them in their deathbed. What do you feel?

I have done the first visualization just few weeks go and the memory from that is still very strong in my mind. I stopped writing just now and did both the visualizations. My eyes swelled up with tears – I could see my young children crying with very little idea of what is happening to me. I could see and feel how each of my children would react to my death. I am reminded of this question that would be on the mind of every dying parent – Who would take care of my children and my loved ones after I am gone? Whatever I am running behind in the name of work or business will not take care of them even for a few months. Even if the money aspect is taken care of, what about the other aspects? There is only one whose help can be sought in this case – it is the loving Lord who created me, my children and my loved ones. The Creator of life and death and in whose Infinite mercy and wisdom, we come into the world at a chosen time and leave at an appointed time.

During this time in Switzerland, I have received a lot of reminders about death. One of the colleagues at the client office has passed away during this year due to Cancer. Another colleague who wrote mails to me to discuss a project during this visit got hospitalized suddenly and I heard today that he will not be returning to work. What is surprising is that how fast we are forgotten at our workplace! We had a meeting at my client place where colleagues from all over the world were assembled for a workshop and there was not even a mention of this colleague who passed away last year. I felt very sad overall. I am not complaining about anyone here, but I am just pointing to the reality of this life – the very environment that makes many of us do many things that we would regret in our deathbed will not even be disturbed one bit when we move on.

So, let us take a deeper look at our goals and task list. Will they matter if death approaches us tomorrow? Think about the building and other assets that we have gathered or in the process of gathering – what meaning would they have to us if death approaches us tomorrow? Think about our loved ones and think about the people that we want to spend meaningful time with but never gotten around to doing it because of our distractions with our work, emails, phones and social media – what would we feel if death approaches us or one of our loved ones tomorrow?

More importantly – what is the meaning of life to you? What would happen to you after death? Have you thought about it? Is it some vague theory that you have heard about or read about? Is it something that you gave given some thought? May the Almighty help all of us to use this great reminder – DEATH – to become mindful of the greatest gift that we have been given – LIFE and to use it to make this world a better place. So that when we die we could go with the feeling that we have made some positive contribution to the world. That we have made a difference to the lives of people around us. And that we have brought out the goodness inherent in us and suppressed the evil inherent in us. And that we would be admitted into the mercy of the All-merciful and All-wise!

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