The Simplicity of Death

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simplicity of death

The Simplicity of Death

There is simplicity in death like there is simplicity in birth. The bitter truth and realisation we must all accept is that we will all die at some point. Some of us, maybe today, some maybe tomorrow, how and when – no one knows. Young or old, teenager, middle-aged, infant or child, we do not know when and how. Some say it is written, and some say it is destiny. It does not matter how much we debate on this; we will never know. What we do know is we will all die, and so will our loved ones around us, our enemies, our parents, and our children.


“The things/ people we love are like the leaves of a tree. They can fall at any moment with a gust of wind”, said the great Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Forget about tomorrow being promised; the next second is not promised. Nothing is promised, except the moment that is here and now. Everyone is going to die at some point. We can hope and wish this isn’t true, but it is the fundamental law of life. Whoever is born must die. This is not within our control, and we must accept it. Resisting this fact only makes our life more arduous, filled with chronic fear, anxiety and stress, and hence misery. Some people spend a large portion of their life and time going deep into the scriptures and philosophies of death and life. I respect that, but it does not change the fact of the simplicity and reality of death.


Should this truth about death cause us to be pessimistic about life? That will happen, only if you are resisting the truth and not accepting the reality of death. Instead, we must change our perception, and this simple truth about the simplicity of death should inspire us and motivate us to appreciate life, people, family, friends, our health, loved ones, our planet which is our home, and our fellow human beings. It should inspire us to live our life to the fullest. We cannot be happy all the time. Ups and downs are real and a part of life, but how much time, energy, and attention we give to the downs, the sadness, pain, betrayals, failures, and let downs, is how much of our precious life, headspace, and heart space we are giving to someone else or something that serves us no good or value. Remember, we are all going to die. The good people, the bad, the evil, the saints, the sinners, the naughty, and the beautiful – all will die.


This truth should inspire us to make the most of our life. Forgive, even though it is difficult. Life is difficult, who said things would be easy? Or, is it our own beliefs, mindsets, and expectations, which need change and tweaking? Remember, our expectations profoundly influence our behaviour and life experience. When we know everyone and all of us are going to die at some point, why waste our lives holding grudges, anger, hatred, and renting out our heart space and headspace and the finite time we have in this life to people, situations, and events that no longer serve us or matter to us? Does it improve our lives? Add value to us? No!


I am not saying or taking away your pain, emotions, and feelings. Do not ever become someone’s doormat. Feel the feelings, go through them, ride them, but do not become a slave to them; do not let them control you, or let them spiral you downwards into chronic depression or negativity. It is not worth it. We are all going to die, and we do not know when. Take that time, energy, and attention and put it into the things and people that matter, that bring you joy, peace, happiness, and a feeling of well-being. Knowing that our partners, children, parents, sibling, and friends will at some point die, what can we do now? What changes can we make? What action can we take? What paths can we choose? What decisions and choices should we make? All this should motivate or inspire us to think, act, and live consciously.


When we know the simplicity, truth, and reality of death, why does it seem so complicated, why does it come with so much fear and distress? Of course, one main reason is that nobody likes to lose someone they love, right? Nobody would like that. But it is real, and we must all go through the process and that emotion at some point. But now, let us go beyond that. Why does death seem so scary and complicated?


Most people’s fear of death is not just about dying. It is the fear of suffering. The positive point here is that a lot of our suffering is invented, it serves no purpose, and since it is invented, it can be changed.


What can we learn from the simplicity of death?

  • Do not postpone love.
  • Do not postpone comfort.
  • Do not postpone health.
  • Do not postpone family.
  • Do not postpone parents.
  • Do not postpone forgiveness.
  • Do not postpone happiness.
  • Do not postpone doing the things you love.
  • Do not be a fan of regret.


Do you know what you want today? Are you postponing it? What if you die today or tomorrow? Your regrets will be real and illuminated. No, we can control that by stopping to postpone things and people that matter. Beauty can be found anywhere. Why are you waiting for that perfect moment? It may be too late.


We are constantly looking for ways to avoid suffering and fear by numbing, drugging, bingeing, and over-stimulating ourselves. All this makes us miss out on living life entirely. At the end of the day, death is still inevitable.


Make a list of things that make you happy, truly happy, and make you feel good. Do those things over and over again, and then make a list of people who truly make you feel good and spend more time with them.


Dying is a mandatory fact of life. Accept this fact with grace and no resistance, and move on to live your best life day after day. There is nothing more to know about or complicate the subject of death.


We have to commit to the process of living life. That process will contain the good, the bad, the happy, the sad, the evil, the ups and downs, health and sickness, love and betrayal, abundance and scarcity, and the bright and the dark. It is how we make the most of what we are given on this life path and life journey. It is how we respond and react to people, situations, and events that determine our emotions and quality of life.

Prioritize what is important to you, not what society dictates to you is important. Do not prioritize things and people based on their opinions, or what they say, but instead, your own true feelings, desires, and your gut instinct.


We grieve when our loved ones die. It is a beautiful yet sad process to grieve and feel our pain and emotions, as they will soon pass and will enable us to move on, but those who hold back on their grief will go through emotional ups and downs, and highs and lows until they face and finish the grieving process.


Remember, the irony of grief in many cases is that the very person you need to talk to about how you feel is the person that is no longer with you. Do not postpone anything. At the same time, do not live in fear.


Remember these powerful lines by Paulo Coelho – “The fear of suffering is worse than the suffering.” There is no point in fearing anything that is inevitable.


Understanding the simplicity of death does not take away the pain of loss we go through when our loved ones die. It is to help us move forward and make the most of all we have right now. While many deaths are caused by poor lifestyle, human behaviour, vices and addictions, environmental and other factors, accidents and so on, we must commit to the process of living in a way wherein we can eradicate, or reduce risk factors that bring on an early death, or a shockingly sudden death. Do your part in a simple, non complicated manner to honour and respect this gift of human life, and our beautiful body, mind, heart, and soul.


As we make the most of our lives, we must never forget to eat well, nourish our body, move more, sleep deeply, look after our emotional wellness, our emotions, our feelings, and protect the environment that protects and provides for us. What we abuse and do not use, we lose.


At the end of the day, knowing that death is real and will happen, we must be inspired to live our best lives, and for that, we need to look after the source, i.e., us. You may eat well and exercise well, and still die an untimely death. You may be super religious, praying daily, doing your rituals and ceremonies, and still die an untimely death. You may be chanting, meditating, work for the poor, give back, and still die an untimely death. People around you may drink alcohol, eat junk, smoke, but still live longer than the others.


Whatever the case may be, it should not shift us from our commitment to the process of living our life to the best of our ability. A lot of people are already living dead. They are dead inside, but living lives without hope, without faith, have already given up, and waiting for their time to come. Do not be dead while living. Even as we reach our senior years, keep busy, in a nice way. Stay involved in things that make you happy and keeps your mind alive. Old age does not mean we should do less. All the more, we should be active, sleep well, meditate, find our spiritual path, and eat enough at the right time.


Never give up. You may have a deadly disease that is known to take away lives. But, it does not have to be your life that is taken away. Never give up, never stop trying, and never lose faith. If it is not your time or destiny to die, you will overcome the most severe illness; and recover from the most disastrous accident, whatever the misfortune may be. We do not know if it is our destiny or time, so never give up. Never let that flame of hope die in you, for then you are already dead.


This is all we need to know about death. The simplicity of death! Know this truth now, do what you have to do to make the process better and more meaningful. All the philosophy in the world will not change the truth and reality of death. Embrace your health and embrace your life.


I will leave you with one powerful question to begin your journey.


If you were told, that someone you really love will die in two weeks, what changes would you make, what action would you take? You will find that your thoughts and actions are driven by this sad news. What will you do, how will you be? Sympathy and empathy fills you. All this is already in you, within you, only clouded by our own busy lives, the attitude of taking life and time for granted, thinking we are invincible, our ego, pride, and the bitter truth that we take human life, especially our loved ones for granted.

Live mindfully. We have finite time. This is the simplicity of death. Your solution is also simple. Action, right action, timely action, and conscious living – all of this needs to be done NOW!


  • Luke Coutinho

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