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Memento Mori - Contemplation of death

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Memento Mori - Contemplation of death

  • sebastien grynko
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Memento Mori - Contemplation of death

Remember you will die. The stoics have this wonderful practice of reminding themselves of death constantly. The Buddhists also has a similar meditation called contemplation of death.

As they say, the greatest teachers in life are old age, sickness, and death. I will keep it joyful and only talk about death. I will never forget the first time I learned about death. I can’t remember how old I was but I was super young.

My mother was telling me and my brother a story and the word “death” came along. My brother and I were unfamiliar with that term. My mother had to explain it and I started crying. I was not crying because I would die. I was crying because I was scared of losing her.

When you realize that you will die and everybody you love will die, it’s not a fun day. It is what it is though. It is liberating to know that it will happen to all of us. Death is not something to be feared or to decide for oneself (i.e suicide)

Death is to be embraced as a natural part of the process of life. Pondering upon death brings about a sense of urgency for our time is limited. Whether you believe in reincarnation, eternal hell, or heaven or nothing (nihilism) we all know and believe in death.

Realizing that death comes to us all and unexpectedly should make us humble and yes also powerless because we no power over it. Death will surely come and it will come on its own accord and without any heads up.

When you really think about it, it can be infuriating. We will die and we can die at anytime and we don’t even how we will pass. How is it not maddening to have so little control over such a big event?

Once we pass that stage of anger and frustration, what we have to humbly admit is that we do not have a choice in the matter. Death is inevitable, therefore we should embrace and contemplate it. Not because it is fun but because that’s the only way we can make sense of life and gain wisdom.

How else will we know what to prioritize and what matters if we do not understand that we will die ? How can we start detaching and be equanimous if we don’t start to fathom what is death?

No matter what happens to us in life we should always have memento Mori in mind. When something great happens, good memento Mori. I will die. When something bad happens, it’s OK, this too will pass. Memento Mori.

Do you see what I mean? In the grand scheme of things, all the seemingly good and bad things don’t matter much. What truly matters most is the smaller things. The people we love. The people that love us back. The kindness, the love, the warmth, the care, the generosity, the peace, and all that good stuff.

All the struggles, failures, successes, material gains will not matter. You might have some status, fame even posterity but it does not matter much you will be dead.

Yes, it’s important to leave a legacy where others will remember you as someone who did well because truly that’s the only thing you get to bring with you when you die. Your karma.

That’s very important. Life is transient and death comes unexpectedly so make good with it and do good. Now is the time to live a wholesome life.

Don’t deluded yourself into thinking that next week, next month, next year you will change. Start now. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. Whatever happens to you now, always remind yourself memento Mori. I will die. I will die.

Why should you do that? One word: Perspective

Once you understand death you won’t take anything and anybody for granted. Last, but not least you won’t take life for granted because to truly understand death is to truly appreciate life.

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About the Author

Sebastien Grynko

As a meditation teacher, a fitness & and muay thai fanatic/enthusiast with a taste for entrepreneurship. He decided to create a business which can combine all his passions and inspire people all over the world by helping people physically, mentally and spiritually to find their purpose, well-being and health to thrive and contribute to this world.

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