Meditations on Life

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My very first post… So what do I pick to write about first?

Death, naturally.

I want to begin by looking at the end.

Today was a sad day for me. This morning I attended the funeral of my beloved neighbour, and truly one of the greatest men I have had the priviledge to meet in my life.

Our community remembers him as a generous man who always helped other people and had a child like enthusiasm about life. The funeral home was packed with people who came to pay their last tributes to this remarkable man. Even the preacher broke down in tears when he mentioned that this was the hardest funeral he had ever conducted. He had impacted so many lives around him. He was a simple man and there was nothing extraordinary about him. He wasn’t famous or ridiculously wealthy. But he made the effort to connect with everyone he met, and help them when needed.

There was something very profound in the sermon this morning. The preacher reminded us that funerals we organize are not for the dead. They have no use for it anymore. Funerals are for the living, to remind ourselves of what is important. When there is a death of a loved one we forget all our material concerns. We forget to worry about the car we drive, the house we live in, the latest trends in the world and our petty issues. Instead, we get a moment to reflect on our own deaths. Our own lives.

We start to wonder, ‘what will my legacy be?’ What will be said at my eulogy?

When you start thinking about the end perspectives change as well. At least that is what happened to me today.

I have attended many funerals, but this was the first one I had been to where everyone actually mourned the loss of the departed. He was truly a quiet hero. Unassuming, unpretentious, and always looking out for everyone. You could sense a massive loss in the community today.

Steve Jobs famously said that death is the only end result, everthing else is a mile post. There is also an ancient Buddhist practice where they meditate with a corpse for four days to reflect on mortality and to remind themselves not to get too attached to fleeting materialistic things. The Masons follow the same idea when meditating with a skull to remind themselves to achive more with the life they were given.

Of course we don’t need to go to those extremes  to start reminding ourselves to live a life with purpose. It starts with creating a vision for yourself with the kind of life you want to lead. Sometimes it’s easy to forget about what’s important in our lives. We forget to connect with the people that matter to us or spend time on doing things that makes our hearts sing.

So, what will be on you epitaph?

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