By Sharon Moore
“The trouble is, you think you have time.” – The Buddha
Western culture lends itself to the belief that if we plan for tomorrow, tomorrow will come and we will be alive and well to meet it. Although the concepts of time and the future are useful for organizing our lives to some degree, we must be cautious not to allow our busy planning to lead to the belief that death is only a distant and abstract idea that can be addressed “later.” Author Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, in her groundbreaking book On Death and Dying, wrote that “It is inconceivable for our unconscious to imagine an actual ending of our own life here on earth…”
However, the voices of our ancestors and those who have walked the Earth before us can attest to the fragility and impermanence of human existence. We truly never know the date and manner of our death and to assume that it is in the distant future denies us and our families the opportunity to prepare for and explore this transformative and sacred process.
Choosing today to embrace the inevitability of our transition from human existence offers us deep freedom. Through acknowledging and embracing our mortality, death is no longer seen as a daunting shadow waiting to ruin our lives at some random point in the future. Instead, we give ourselves time to contemplate our living and dying. This process not only promotes a peaceful relationship with death as a natural step in our life cycle, but provides the space and knowledge to choose, where possible, how our final days will be spent and how we will be honored by our beloveds.