Death teaches us that in the long run nothing belongs to us. Even if we desire to form permanent attachments or possess, we in truth cannot. Things will break in spite of us. People will depart when it is their time no matter how loudly we protest. A knowledge of death can give one a deep feeling of freedom – both from attachment to self, as well as attachment to others and things. The less we are attached to, the less we have to worry about.
Death also teaches us the impermanence of all things. All things change. All things die. This is true in nature as well as in human life. Even granite mountains crumble into dust just as the most beautiful of past kingdoms have left only silent stones to surround their mystery. To be attached to things or people, both of which will surely vanish, can only bring despair, for eventually one is left with only a handful of dust or a frail memory.
When we can embrace death as simply another aspect of the life cycle, we will give appreciation and value to each life encounter knowing that it will never occur again. And each of these moments will be the source of what we shall know as our lifetime.
Death is the greatest of life’s teachers. It is only the ignorant and those who are afraid to live who fear it. The wise accept Death as their intimate friend and most gracious teacher. To be fully active an fully functioning as a person we must make death a life long friend.
We can think of death as something that stalks us all our lives or we can see it as a reminder that our time is precious.
- Leo Buscaglia