As you may know, my father passed away very suddenly on April 26th. He was riding a motorcycle after just visiting the Hoover Dam. I was the first to find out.. and I was still in the airport having just gotten back from my month long trip in India.
It’s been exactly two months since that day. And as the time goes by, I do my best to constantly search for the lessons I am meant to learn throughout this process. Hopefully these reflections can benefit you in some way.
Up until now, during my relatively short time on the planet, I’ve had a very positive and perhaps sometimes naive outlook on life. Things have been relatively smooth for me. I’ve been given quite a lot, and have lived a privileged life. And so, I feel that perhaps the real way to discover oneself, to discover one’s authentic self, is to face the ultimate obstacles. The real me, or you, is who shows up during the hard times… it’s the getting back up when we’ve fallen. It’s how we rise, how we stand, and the choosing to truly walk and even run again.
With this in mind, I have realized that one of the greatest lessons that death can teach us is how to dig deeper, and get closer to the essence of who we truly are.
I have also done a great deal of contemplating about the perception of death in our society - mostly the western society. It is something that is feared. We fear it for ourselves and we fear it for our loved ones. Part of the reason for that is because our relationship to being alive is primarily dependent on our physical presence.
See, when I was in India, I noticed a fundamental difference in their way of being. There seemed to be a lightness and freedom about their overall energy. In general, they seemed to lack the significance that we place on on our physical life and possessions.
In their culture, death is not something to be feared. It’s meant to be celebrated… because a soul is lucky to move into a higher realm. It made me think of a time when I have woken up from a really great dream. In the dream I was hugging my father… and after I woke up, I closed my eyes again because I just want to go back into it and keep dreaming.
Maybe that’s what it like. Maybe that’s the place where the soul goes to be free and to be happy. Maybe this place called death, is that feeling in the dream.
So when we learn to place less significance on the physical body and realize that we are innately spiritual beings, the transition to death is not so significant. And we realize that “death” is merely a word we made up to describe the absence of the physical body.
Now, I don’t pretend to know the truth about any of this, but I do know that believing this and exploring this way of thinking has given me access to dealing with my father’s death, and my own humanity from a place of ease and of peace.
This life on earth as we know it may only be the beginning, or a mere snapshot in the midst of eternity. I think we are here in order to experience being human as fully as we can. And in order to do that, it’s important that we realize that death is never very far away. Remembering this, helps us take action in areas of our life that truly matter to us.
I’m teaching a course with Deepak Chopra on October 17th. In our course, we ask that everyone take time to write down their legacy and bring it with them. Last year, I wrote mine (except I wrote it as a eulogy). It was long and very detailed. I pictured someone reading it at my memorial. I thought about who would show up to my funeral, what people would say about how I treated them, and the way I lived. The eulogy described adventures, accomplishments, and the relationships I had. I have re-read it many many times since then. It has helped me stay present to what’s most important to me. Give it a try and let me know what you think :)
With that said, I appreciate all of the love and support I’ve gotten over these past 2 months. I’m lucky to have had an endless amount of adventures with my father. There’s nothing I would change. And I know that he is here with me, in a new way, teaching me now more than ever.
I hope this note provides you with some insight or helps you see any challenge in a new light.