In the world but not of it. That was difficult. To have a family and a society, to provide for oneself and the family, to be safe and healthy one must be involved in the matters of the world. To be successful in the world required me to be part of it. Seems I had misinterpreted the meaning of success. Accomplishing a goal or purpose defines success. I had intertwined success with name and fame and also with pre-determined standards set by others. When I set myself up in competition with others I became part of the world. This wanting to be better than someone else pulled me in and I lost my uniqueness and so my own identity. Competition with myself - doing the best that I am capable of keeps me in the world and keeps me within myself. It helps me to go deeper into my infinite wisdom and get in touch with the Universe at large without becoming a slave to the world outside.
The moment this wisdom became apparent the world became a fun place. I have no control over outside circumstances. People will choose their ways, the environment around me will change, my life will continue on with or without me anticipating or worrying about it all. I am better off spending my time understanding my own potential. Gathering worldly knowledge and understanding its ways is for information purposes only. It is so I can be in the world. The more I know about the world the more I know Me. The more I know Me the more unaffected I am by the world.
I have heard that if one knows the date of their death their view of life changes. That got me thinking. I have been exposed to death of loved ones and I know what it does to those left behind but I have never thought of death from the perspective of the one facing it. I know with absolute certainty that I will die - but I have not given that eventuality any thought except to pay for life insurance. I was afraid of death. There is no way for me to escape my demise. I know everyone will die - there is no way to escape that either. So I must face death fearlessly. Death felt like loss of the identity that I present to the world. The reflected little self that was in competition with others. Time is important in the competing world. How soon can I achieve success and how much can I attain in my lifetime - these are the bars by which I judged my success. There is another fear associated with death. The fear of not knowing what comes after death. People who have had near death experiences refer to a brilliant white light - the scientists explain it away as a misfiring brain stimulus or something. So I really was uncertain about what happens after death. What I have seen is the body going into rigor mortis and people getting rid of it. They do it with a lot of reverence but - it still is just discarding it, getting it out of the way. The end. The realization that death is a transition just like birth, childhood, adolescence, youth, adulthood and all phases before and after, changed the fear to excitement. Since all the other transitions were so joyful then this transition must be fun too. And if death is followed by birth and if I can live better in the new birth by simply doing good in this one then let me do a ton of good and enjoy myself now and later. I no longer worry about what is awaiting me tomorrow and who is doing what when. I live my life from moment to moment - gathering knowledge, having fun, being kind, compassionate and loving and just being.
In my childhood I did not know what was in store for me as an adult - but I wanted to grow up. I saw adults around me and their life seemed good - so I wanted that. Life has not been all fun - because I chose not to enjoy every experience. No experience was responsible for me feeling pain or joy. It was my attitude that determined the emotion. All my experiences were due to a combination of many factors. Some I was responsible for, some others were responsible for and still others were unknown and often unfathomable. My reaction to each of these experiences though were completely mine. When I opened myself to this fact - I became more conscious of myself. I learnt that living vigilantly aware of myself was the only determinant of my joy. I now find joy in every experience.
How do I find joy in the death of a loved one? Do I not feel grief? Of course I do - but I do not wallow in the grief. I think of the good memories that this person created for me. I celebrate the good fortune of touching this soul and learning something from the association. I enjoy knowing that we had a regret free relationship. With this joy it becomes easier to treat others with compassion and love. I understand the pain that death creates for others for I have felt it too and I know that time will never heal the loss. But I do know that since all of us will die it is essential that I accept it and move forward living every moment in service to the joy of my own soul and the soul of others. Sorrow does not mean that joy must be replaced. Grief has a place in my life as much as joy does. Sadness is a side of my emotions that makes me love and be compassionate towards everyone around me so their absence from my life is a regret free one.
I do not anticipate my death to be any different than life. Just as I adjusted to all life transitions so far - childhood to adulthood, single to married, childless to motherhood, one house to another, one continent to another and then another - I know I will adjust to death and rebirth too.
Knowledge such as this makes me more accepting of the world around me. Not only do I respect others I have learned to respect myself. I harm no one and I let no one harm me physically, emotionally or spiritually. Everyone has a right to live their life their way - so do I. I am an imperfect being in the eyes of many - but to me I am perfect the way I am at this moment - physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. All because I am in touch with the deathless Me in this moment.