What’s Really Important?

Tarantula Nebula

“We do not know where death awaits us: so let us wait for it everywhere. To practice death is to practice freedom. A man who has learned how to die has unlearned how to be a slave.” ~ Michel de Montaigne

I have a game of the imagination I’ve played since I was a child that, for the most part, I’ve kept secret. What is it like to die? What comes after? And what is important to our spirit in the afterlife?

I’m not sure what made me begin playing this game. It may have been going to see Bambi at a young age. Bambi’s mother’s death was quite a blow. Or maybe it was when my paternal grandfather died the October after our summer visit when I was nine.

When my grandfather died, somehow I didn’t feel he was gone. It’s like he was hovering around me. And finally he revealed himself when I was going through some tough times in my twenties. I realized I’d been right. His loving spirit had been with me since his passing.

I’ve been with a few people through their dying process and what is important to them has nothing to do with the possessions or status they are going to leave behind. It’s all about their family relationships and the lessons they’ve learned or left unfinished.

I’ve rarely shared my contemplations on death. If I’d talked about them openly, people would have suggested I go see a psychiatrist. But I knew I wasn’t crazy.

Death is a part of life, but most of us don’t want to think about our own deaths. It’s hard enough to contemplate the deaths of loved ones. So we push death away. It’s dark and scary. We can’t see what’s on the other side and most of us have a hard time living with the uncertainty of that fact.

I kept practicing death through the stories I watched and read. When a key character died, I’d think about what they left behind. Was it good or bad? Did their death affect a change for the better? Two stories I read early in life that touched me in this regard were A Tale of Two Cities, and The Crucible. Sometimes choosing to die is the only way to wake people up or bring about a much needed change.

A few years ago I read the book Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser, the founder of The Omega Institute. The book’s subtitle is, How Difficult Times Can Help us Grow. For some reason I remembered this book a few days ago and in particular the chapter “Practicing Death”.

Lesser has developed a role-play game and meditation where people imagine their own death. When I read the book, I decided to try imagining my death. I mean after all, I’d been contemplating death for a long time. But I had never imagined what life after my death would be like. It was a profound experience.

When I sank into the stillness, I imagined that I had died and an amazing thing happened to me. All the things I had been worrying about and holding onto fell away. I was dead. I didn’t need those earthly cares anymore. It was a most exhilarating and freeing feeling. None of the stuff I’d been holding onto was of ultimate importance.

What was important was who I chose to be, the relationships I chose to nurture, the love and care I shared, and the lessons I chose to learn, or not. I had free will. I could resist life’s lessons and live in the dark. But if I chose that, the after life would be filled with learning and healing all the things I’d refused to do during my life on Earth. It was my choice.

Another interesting thing happened. It didn’t really matter which path I chose, because I’d be going back to pure love. And what I’d done here on Earth was all part of a huge tapestry of knowledge being collected. Still, I did choose to seek out the light in this incarnation, rather than the darkness.

Lesser writes about the above quote by Michel de Montaigne, “He means that we can practice death by becoming conscious of the ways in which we resist life; we can practice death by approaching endings and partings and changes with more ease and faith.”

We’re in a time of endings, partings, and huge changes. Maybe practicing death means to examine what is most important to us. What do we want to keep, what can we let go of, and what can we create anew?

I’d be interested to hear what you think is of ultimate importance. Please feel free to share in the comments below.

Thanks for reading, liking, commenting, and sharing my posts. I appreciate it.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2020

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards.

Have you ever experienced life shattering events? Yeah, most of us have. In The Space Between Time, Jenna Holden gets slammed by her fiancé walking out, her mother’s untimely death, and losing her job all in one week. But she receives unexpected help when she finds her three-times great-grandmother’s journals and begins the adventure of a lifetime.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published.