25th November 2015
By Gavin Whyte
Guest Writer for Wake Up World
Okay, I know the title is a little odd but hear me out, because what I have to say about dying only makes living all the more incredible.
We have been conditioned not to think about death and dying. If we do think about it and voice our thoughts then people, our family and close friends especially, might get a little worried, fearing for our mental health.
But what if — and this is where we make the grim reaper look like prince charming — what if by understanding death and how it’s connected to life, we learn how to live in peace, joy, wonder and love? Have you ever wondered whether all those things we’re seeking might be hiding in the very place we fear the most?
I’ve been fascinated with death and dying since I was around six years old. I can remember going to the school library, and while all my classmates went to get their comics and books based on their favourite cartoons, I settled down in the non-fiction area where I happily flicked through the pages of books on ghost sightings, poltergeists and angels.
My Great-Grandma died around that time, so maybe it was because of her passing that I began to be curious about such things. Six years later, my Grandad died. Now that definitely had an impact on me because he was like a best friend. I just couldn’t fathom how one minute he was here and then the next he was gone. I remember asking my mum why he had to die and she said, “It was just his time”, but that left me asking even bigger questions about the nature of existence.
I’m now 32 and it is evident that death and dying have shaped the last 20 years of my life, and I’m certain will continue to do so. My own personal philosophy uses it as a foundation and anything that I write, you can guarantee, will be inspired by it.
I long to change the way we perceive death and dying, for I believe that it holds a vital key for us to live in peace.
We have cloaked death with a grim satire for too long. We have attached so many negative connotations to a natural process that we now fear it and avoid it at all costs. Imagine a leaf spending all of spring and summer fearing autumn, only for winter to come and the leaf sees that, not only is it in safe hands, but that it missed nature’s beautiful dance because of fear.
Accepting death and dying into your life colours your world like you wouldn’t believe. Accept that you’re dying right now and see what happens. I mean it. Do it. You’ve got nothing to be afraid of. It’s totally natural and organic. As Ram Dass said:
“Death is safe… it’s like taking off a tight shoe.”
How amazing is that!
When you admit to yourself you’re dying, it’s important to question the ‘you’ you’re referring to. And this is where it gets really juicy. We could say our fear of death and dying has stemmed from social conditioning; from family, friends, teachers and whoever else, but the deeper underlying cause of this conditioning is a wrong identification with that which we are not. We have wrongly identified with that which we are told is us, but isn’t.
Which brings me to something that, when fully grasped, will change your life forever…
You are not your body.
Please, don’t just take my word for it. Investigate. Look. Pay close attention to your senses and your thoughts. See them. Observe them. Know you are not them. Begin to ask the only important question: Who Am I?
I’m telling you, when you see you are not your body, you will fall in love. I mean it. You will fall in love with everyone and everything because you’ll see that there’s no separation. When you see you’re not who you thought you were, you will laugh your socks off; all those years of identifying with baggage that probably doesn’t serve you anymore, you can let go of. You can die to it all right now.
When all of this occurs to you, you will see you are beyond death and you cannot be harmed, and your loved ones who have ‘gone’ before you are here because there’s nowhere to go. How wonderful is that! And what’s more, every moment from now on is a process of dying to the moment, which makes life amazingly beautiful — and that’s how dying can change your life.
About the author:
Gavin Whyte an author and public speaker based in the UK. He is an active spiritual seeker, having meditated since he was a teenager. He has written for magazines such as Kindred Spirit and Watkins Mind Body Spirit.
Gavin helped run the first Death Cafe in his hometown of Huddersfield. Its sole purpose was to shine a light on an area of living that is often taboo; an area he is passionate about.
You can contact Gavin via:
- Facebook author page: www.facebook.com/gavinwhyteauthor
Top image: Meek DeMeo – Near Death.