German philosopher Martin Heidegger concerned himself with the relationship between death-awareness and leading a fulfilling life. He argued that being aware of our own passing makes us desire to make our life worthwhile and give it meaning and value.
This awareness that we are going to die is important because it reminds us to live our life to the full every day and avoid experiencing unnecessary regret.
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Death and disease are unavoidable aspects of life. However, in the West, we've developed a delusional denial of this. We pour billions into prolonging life, most employed in our final years, but fail to value life. The most regrets of the dying are cited as follows:
Most Eastern philosophical traditions appreciate the importance of death-awareness for a well-lived life. The Buddha saw desire as the cause of all suffering and counseled not to get too attached to worldly pleasures but to focus on loving others, developing a calm mind, and staying in the present.
An awareness of our mortality can move us to seek and create the meaning we crave.
Make room in this season to turn inward and become still.
Are you overcoming your fears and go after your dreams? When we can acknowledge your impermanence without letting feelings take over your awareness, such thought can also be inspiring.
Time is the most precious resource. Death gives a sense of urgency, as any moment could be your last. It humbles you and should also deeply motivate you to not spend your time thoughtlessly.
Every moment is an opportunity to improve, and to appreciate your capabilities and responsibility to do so.
If we realized and came to grips with the impermanence of all things, it would make no sense to become attached to them.
Ignorance of the impermanence of all things, especially our own life, leads to craving happiness through things that will all come to an end. Thus, we are like zombies stumbling mindlessly through life, denying our mortality, striving for fulfillment, finding what we achieve unsatisfying, and seeking more.