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What You Will Learn from Death
Written by the world-renowned spiritual guru Sadhguru, Death explains the concept of death from a spiritual standpoint, questioning the negative connotations that often surround mortality. Just like life, death is made up of three important components: biological, physical, and metaphysical. While our biological and psychological understandings of death have increased, science doesn’t acknowledge the possibility that something beyond our human sense perception could precede life or succeed death. In this book, Sadhguru draws upon his inner experience to pinpoint and explore the philosophical aspects of death. Death is an eye-opening guide to understanding how we perceive grief and hopefully preparing us to make a beautiful experience out of death.
Living Well vs Dying Well
We all aspire to live well and when it’s time, die well too. In terms of living well, humans have achieved a lot – we have managed to acquire more comfort and convenience than any other generation in the past. However, when it comes to dying well, we don’t die in any way better than our ancestors. Many factors explain why humans were successful in living better but not dying better – the most significant of them is the disparity between the way we treat life and death.
Everywhere in the world, life is considered a success that is to be sung and celebrated. But death is considered a failure that is to be shunned and mourned. Death is a word whose mere utterance can hush dinner conversations. Children are taught never to say the word at home. Adults are on a quest to invent overly woke euphemisms to mask the bluntness of the event with vanity.
Humans have never been comfortable with their mortal nature. So, the success of medical science has only breathed a fresh lease of life into the historic quest for immortality. It has emboldened people to wonder if death is not just one more disease that needs to be conquered. Our growing capability to interfere with the fundamental process of life has undoubtedly increased our propensity to overdo it.
For Sadhguru, living well is if you’re able to sit in this world, in such a way that nothing matters. Whether you have something or not, even whether there is food to eat or not, it doesn’t matter to you – you are just fine. People who live in good homes, drive good cars, and wear good clothes may believe they’re living well. But that’s only because they look at other people who don’t have the same things and feel happy about it. This isn’t living well. This is a sick life. They feel happy by comparing themselves with someone who is not doing as well as them.
It’s not that you are incapable of earning your food and other things, but that doesn’t decide who you are right now. What kind of garment you’re wearing doesn’t decide who you are right now. What kind of house you’re living in doesn’t decide who you are right now. How someone else treats you doesn’t decide who you are right now. What someone says to you doesn’t decide who you are right now. How you are looked up to or looked down upon doesn’t decide who you are right now. If that’s your attitude, you are living well for sure. Wherever you sit, your experience of life will be beautiful.
On Grief & Mourning
The essential nature of grief
Overcoming grief after the death of a loved one is becoming more significant in today’s world. But you must understand that your grief isn’t caused by death. One life going away doesn’t mean anything to you. Every day thousands of people go away in the world. So many people are attending funerals and so many people are in grief, but it doesn’t leave a strong impact on your daily life. You only grieve when a particular life goes away. When someone significant is gone, one part of your life becomes empty and you aren’t able to handle that emptiness.
When you build your life around someone, you make plans in your mind. I’m going to get married to my partner and I’m going to have two children with them. But when your partner vanishes from your life, suddenly all those dreams are shattered. You are disillusioned, which means your illusions have been destroyed. This is the time to arrive at reality, but unfortunately, most people turn this into a very painful and destructive process.
Grief is just about your incompleteness, and this is why grief can happen to you even without anyone dying. People can be in grief simply because they aren’t successful. People can be in grief if their house is burned down. A child can be in grief if his dog is gone. He may even grieve for his dog much more than his grandfather, simply because the boy’s connection with the dog is greater than with the grandfather.
Going beyond grief
We don’t wish for death, but when someone we deeply love dies before us, how do we go beyond the grief? When we talk about going beyond something, it isn’t about forgetting about it. You can’t simply forget someone who means a lot to you. But the fact of life is that when something slips beyond the realm of what you call life right now, it isn’t yours anymore.
Once someone leaves their body – whether you like it or not – they have nothing to do with you anymore. When someone dies, people think they must forsake their enmity with that person or nurture their relationship. But someone who is dead is neither your friend nor your enemy. The business is over. The grief sets in only because you are unwilling to come to terms with it.
We must decide whether we want a liberating truth or fancy lies that give us solace. When death happens, you can look back and cherish the memories. After that, it’s time to accept the loss and look at what you can do with the lives that are still here. There is so much life around you that needs care, and you have a need to find expression in this love and care in you.
There is nothing that you can do about the dead. Moreover, if you believe that the person you are grieving for has enriched your life, you can show that enrichment in how you live. Acknowledge them for whatever they have done to you; don’t make it look like they poisoned your life and left.
Conclusion of Death
It isn’t right to think that someone shouldn’t die. People should die – we want them to complete their whole course and die. Even if we cannot teach the whole population a way where they can live beautifully every moment of their life, we can at least manage the last moment of their life sensibly. Then this will see them through disembodiment very beautifully.