Our Mortality – What can we learn from it?
By Duane Hewitt
The topic here regards something you know very well: Our mortality. We’re all destined to die. So just what exactly are we supposed to do with that information? There must be some value to it. Does our mortality serve a purpose?
There’s no question that our knowledge concerning death affects us. For some it creates a sense of urgency; that need to accomplish and get things done. For others, it’s a source of fear, anxiety, and even anger. For yet others, it allows for excuse making and indulging in activities and substances that dull the senses and avoid responsibility. Much of our behavior is governed by our knowledge of our mortality.
But it may help us all to bear in mind that we can create meaning based on that knowledge.
It has been said the Beethoven composed for eternity. Though only Beethoven would have known why he labored so hard at his craft, it is true that his accomplishments have blessed many and contributed enormously to music as we have it today. Putting aside his mercurial nature and other foibles of his personality, there is no question that the fruit of Beethoven’s labors has carried far for the benefit of all.
We need to look at our impermanence from a refreshing new vantage point; one of purpose. We can take our understanding of our mortality and use it for the benefit of others, ourselves; and the world – even for future generations. We sometimes see this in the way wills bequeath gifts and monies to good schools, causes, charities, and so forth. We also see it through the ultimate sacrifice, when one gives their life for another. As we walk through life with our understanding of our transience, we can acknowledge that we can make a choice; a difference. We can do things. We can take action. That action might be for our own joy and benefit, or it might be for the joy and benefit of another. Either is viable; either can be worth the effort.
Everything in the world is passing; remarkably so. Perhaps that’s something we need to remember in our efforts to make life work. We all scurry about being so concerned about life’s problems: jobs, bills, health, family, retirement, and more. Instead, when life gets you down, don’t fret; you may not have much time left anyway. And with that knowledge, you can change much. Make peace with a loved one. Help someone walk a new path. Create an opportunity where it didn’t previously exist. Say your goodbyes kindly. If time is of a plenty, help someone or something. Endeavor to heal a broken heart. Read a book. Write a book. Contribute to art, law, science, or literature… whatever. Make your presence here worthwhile if you haven’t already done so.
Life should allow us to feel alive. Fear of death shouldn’t burden us with a feeling of detachment or numbness. We owe ourselves better. Before your time is up and before you go, if you haven’t already done so, just give it some thought: Change yourself; change the world – make it all better somehow. The world changes one heartbeat at a time. Make that next heartbeat count.
Our impermanence, does it matter? Apparently, that much of this crazy equation is our decision.
Copyright 2017 Duane Hewitt. All rights reserved.