Have you ever noticed how your mood can change with a single sentence or piece of music? Today I learned of the death of someone who I briefly met a few months ago. She was swimming with the dolphins and had an accident, entered a coma and died the very next day.

As I thought of her this morning, I remembered her goodness, her enthusiasm, and her brilliantly creative mind. I found myself in tears. However, I am not feeling sad, I just feel that this is one of those moments or opportunities to look at what is important in life.

When my mother passed away I wondered where all her knowledge and where her incredible personality went. She had a love of nature, and so I like to say that, according to her beliefs, she is just part of the natural world she so loved.

My mother said, at the end of her life, that she was happy with her life as she had lived it. I think that my father was as well, although I regret that they both had such painful last days.

What is the common denominator in the stories of all these people? That they lived their lives according to their highest motivations. My mother felt her duty as a mother to be the overriding value in her life; being a mother was her definition, her role, and her life path. She dedicated most of her thoughts and energy to her mission.

My father was a deep thinker, a philosopher, a scientist and a father. He achieved his life dream and exceeded his own ideas of what he could do. He had very strong values and he lived a truly moral life in the purest sense of the word.

Christianne was a filmmaker and storyteller who loved animals. She lived her craft, and was kind and supportive to everyone she met. Upon reflection, I think that dying in the ocean surrounded by a pod of incredible dolphins, is a very good way to go.

In all, this life can be a long life of “quiet desperation” or it can be a short life filled with all the good things you can imagine: love, passion, interests, puzzles, and ideas.

It’s an enigma to me why people are so afraid of dying. Is it because death represents the final “bill” to be paid upon receipt, or because they cannot imagine themselves ending? After all, it is hard for us to imagine something without end. What is indeed at the end of the universe? Does it end where the light ends as the scientists say? From this end of materialistic reality it seems to be that we cannot imagine with a mind that is so grounded in the concrete reality of hard edges.

But I think now that the reason people are so afraid of death is because they realize that death represents the bell at the end of school recess. Did you have all the fun you wanted and did you learn everything you wanted to learn? Or did you fritter away your time worrying about the material illusions that this life loves to put in front of our eyes?

When my mother was dying, I realized that she was committing a sublime act, a lesson just for me. All my pettiness dropped away, as I realized what was important in life: love, and the expression of love.

The world is a universe of feelings, not things and not even ideas. What is the world you live in? Are you happy now? What can you change in your thoughts to allow your highest feelings to come through?

What world are you creating right now with your feelings? Could you die this moment in completion? Or are you putting off your joy until an undefined date in the future that never comes?

Yesterday, as I was surfing I almost had an accident that could have been fatal. As I saw my board race headfirst for the sand in shallow water, I was reminded of the intuitive hit I had had just before entering the water that warned me of a potential danger in the water that day. I had wondered if the danger would come from my fellow surfers or from the ocean. I had not guessed it would be the sand on which I walked.

I knew I had passed by a potential “exit” point for my life, and got out of the water. I am recounting this story because I know I have passed this exit ramp a few times before in my life, and each time decided to stay on the highway.

It’s a good time to understand why you might choose to stay in a life that is sometimes very difficult. I like to say that I have found that I have a purpose, but it is more of a feeling that I have. That feeling is the vehicle that carries me forward. I won’t leave yet because I love this feeling. What is the feeling, you ask. It’s a love for life that isn’t even mine, but likes to express itself through me. Life loves love, and death is not an ending or beginning or even a transition, but like everything else in a creative universe, it is simply an expression of love.

We may not understand that expression because we have such a veil of illusion in front of our eyes: we see only change and loss. This is the “maya” of which the philosophers speak. It is related to a linear concept of time, and this concept is what gives us the feelings of loss.

It is up to us to focus on what is important. If death has to come around a few times to remind us of that, so be it. I don’t intend to imply that our thoughts should be morbid, but that the occasional reminders are to free us to do what we want to do now. Use the idea of death as a friendly adviser to be in your highest creative self. The time to create your “future” self is not tomorrow, not yesterday, but now.

Create the feeling of the world you want to live in, and your life will follow.

Copyright 2009 Aliyah Marr

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