The only way to reflect on our purpose is to free ourselves from the culture of consumption and indulgence. Thinking about death makes it possible.
Do you ever think about death? Your death? Most of us don’t. Why should we?
We know living things die — humans die. It’s a fact and we acknowledge it. Yet, we don’t think about it that much. Some people don’t think about death at all.
Over time, we’ve come to terms with it, and through engineering, technology, and creativity we’re trying to make the most out of our short lives.
However, we should take a second look at the consumer-centric society that we’re living in, and the culture of consumption that we’re reproducing each day —one that turns everything into commodities, and gratifies disposability and progress.
It seems that another, untapped, reality exists in the unconscious of the modern world.
What if we’re mostly moving through life just to avoid thinking about death?
Our society and the culture’s insistence on progress, innovation, and sustenance of our fast-paced lifestyle as values, have created an ethos of how to think about death. We think of death by enjoying life to the fullest.
However, with time we drift away from this realization (of how happiness and enjoyment is connected with our mortality), and become enveloped in the day-to-day activities of earning and consuming.
It’s time to reflect on our mortality and realize the good that comes from thinking of death.
Why Thinking of Death Often is a Good Thing
Thinking of death can help us assess our values and redefine our goals in life. It makes us realize our finitude, slowly expanding our consciousness.
We often sacrifice our present without knowing how it connects to the future, to our purpose, and to what creates meaning in our lives: our values and goals, our loved ones, and our lives together.
The immediate result of thinking about our death is broadening of our perspective and focusing our attention on the present moment.
As a result:
We Avoid and Easily Unburden Ourselves of Negativity
Thinking about our own mortality makes us realize that with every passing breath we come closer to our end. Consequently, we reprioritize our time and increase its value.
There is no point in wasting it with people who needlessly drain our energy. The same time can be spent in the company of people who would make our days worth living, who push us to better ourselves, and who reciprocate our time invested in them.
We gain a new principle: anyone and anything that devalues, disrespects, and is inconsiderate of our time, is not welcomed.
Once our prioritization process is principled, it becomes easier to remove toxic people from our lives.
We Do the Right Things
Thinking about our death brings us closer to how we would want to look back at our lives in our final moments.
Thinking of our own mortality makes us realize that the only things that will survive us are the values that we had inculcated and the legacy we’re leaving.
Hence, death makes us reconsider the way we live: with moral principles, values, and doing things that actually matter.
We Internalize Our Motivations
Thinking about death makes us reassess our self-worth. Once we find out what truly matters in life, we align ourselves with our true values.
As a result, we internalize our source of motivation and can easily lift our spirits whenever we may feel drained.
We Do Things That We Want To Do
Thinking about death is also a powerful form of self-reflection. Meditating on our mortality allows us to connect to our heart’s true calling.
Hence, thinking of death can clear the smokescreen created by social pressure, and we can redefining what it means to be successful (for example, having a happy and united family is more important than having a lot of possessions or a career that constantly keeps us away from our loved ones).
Since your aspirations are internalized and come from within you, you will not find the need (or the pressure) of having to explain to others what you want to do with your life.