A Conversation About Death

The recent earthquake in Nepal, the Germanwings flight that flew into the side of a mountain, and AirAsia flight QZ8501 that crashed, are three situations where people woke up one morning and expected the day to end with them tucked up in bed. Maybe they were excited to be a tourist or maybe it was just another trip. But what happened to the victims involved in those three situations was terrible and horrifying.

But for most people who died in each of the three situations, there was no countdown, no waking up that morning thinking “oh, today is my death day”. For the victims involved it was a massive shock and surprise that this life was about to end.

Death is just waiting for me around a corner. I will walk around that corner one day and walk into my own death. Death might take one of many forms, like one drunken miss-step, one of a million diseases and viruses, one bad driver, one building fire, one earthquake or another natural disaster, and so on.

Conversations about death can be morbid unless they have some positive outcome. They can help to focus the conversation on one thing:

(a) What do you want your death to be like? Not in the “I want to die from overdosing on hookers and blow”, I mean do you want to reflect on your life with contentment or with regret that you wasted it on hookers and blow? This could be considered in the following two ways:

(i) What sort of life do you want to live and reflect upon at the time of death? This asks what about priorities and how you want to spend your life. Is it a life of self focus and self indulgence or are you willing to look beyond that?

(ii) What preparations will you make in this life for your next life? This asks what priority are you willing to place on your future life and having the causes and conditions in place for a positive future life. This naturally refers to the law of cause and effect, but also the progress that can be made on the path to Enlightenment.

After focusing the conversation on this one thing then everything else becomes background noise, not relevant to the main conversation.