Ten lessons from death

From parents we are born. Some of us have siblings, some of us have uncles/auntys and other relatives. We grow up with these people. Along our journey of life, some of our near ones leave our hand permanently, and some new ones have birth, and new connections are born. The parents who raised us, cared for us, the siblings who played with us and teased us, and the children we are going to raise up, each and everyone of them is not here for a permanent stay. No matter how much it hurts, death is inevitable.

Last week I had a post dedicated for my vaddemamaji on my mothers side.  Tuesday 21st October my vaddemamaji from my dads side passed away – his heart suddenly stopped. In the last three months four people we know have passed away; two family-friends and two relatives. This has made me think a lot about death, so I thought of devoting this post to the lessons we can gain from death.

1) Love unconditionally.

The people we are surrounded by can leave us anytime. What do we gain by hating others? Pain. Regrets. Hardship. What do we gain by loving others? Love back. Seeing the other person smile. Happiness. But loving unconditionally is maybe not that easy. If someone does something wrong to you, hurts you, how can you still wish the betterment of this other person? Imagine you doing something wrong back to this person. One day you get a news that this person has passed away. What are you left with? Pain. Regrets of not apologizing. Why didn’t I say sorry? Why did I not do good? Why did I act that way? Now I will never meet this person again. Pain. Pain. Pain. Or the other way around – other people are not here for permanent stay, neither are you. So if you do something wrong, and the day for your death comes, you will leave with regrets of not doing enough good in your life. The wrong things will probably be more apparent in your mind than the good deeds you did. Zero satisfaction. Pain. Pain. Pain.

The constant reminder of death – that people around me are not permanent and that me, myself, I am not permanent – can help us realize that our mission is to love others uncondionally.

Sach kaho sun lehu sabhai jin prem keeo tin hee prabh paaeio – I speak Truth, all should turn their ears towards it: he, who is absorbed in True Love, he would realize the Lord.

2) Show compassion

We are living in a world where it’s easy to compete with others, and from this competition, often hate, envy, sadness, jealousy, are feelings that arise. “That person has a bigger house than me, how happy he must be! She is rich and can use her money to travel the whole world around with her family and buy expensive clothes and necklaces. What do I have? This small house, I can hardly move in this house. And no money to travel to other countries each holiday!” Often we think like this. Consciously or unconsciously. And when we feel as a loser compared to others, what do we do? We take steps to diminsh that feeling by for example saying bad things about this person. “Ah, look how she just ignored us, she is so arrogant!” “Look how he walks, he can’t walk properly!” It may be that this person you see as arrogant, has lost a near one, so she is lost in her own thoughts or want to be on her own. It may be that the other person is walking a bit differently, because of a illness like cerebral parsy. How do we know what the other person is facing? We are just seeing what the “outward”-things, like what this person has, how this person talks, behaves and so on. Can we go into the mind of this person and find out what’s happening over there? We have to remember that everyone has their own struggles. When you loose someone, you may get the opportunity to know how this person’s lifestory was, and what struggles this person has faced. Then you may regret. We should show compassion to the people around, their life is not easy, just like ours.

Shhadd viddaanee thaath moorae. Eehaa raath moorrae – Give up your envy of others, you fool! You only live here for a night, you fool!

3) Forgive

As we know we are not here for a permanent stay and neither are others, it should be easier to forgive others for their mistakes. We are humanbeings, all of us do mistakes. Just think you have done a mistake to a person, and this person leaves this world without forgiving you. What are you left with? Painful thoughts and regrets? Do you want to do this to another person? Let us forgive easily and let go. Our life quality will be better.

God forgives us. He forgives unconditionally. We should try to adopt this quality by remembering that one day we will perish.

Fareedhaa burae dhta bhalaa kar gusaa man n hadtaee. Dhaehee rog n lagee palai sabhi kishh paae –  Fareed, answer evil with goodness: do not fill your mind with anger. Your body shall not suffer from any disease, and you shall obtain everything.

4) Let go of regrets and feelings of guilt

Not easy, I know. I have my own issues which I have to let go. Everyone has. But if we have the idea in our mind that we will not stay forever, we will orient our attention to more important things in life. We will forgive ourselves easier too as it will be easier to forgive others, and I think it’s important to forgive ourself to focus on the more important things in life, such like how to spread love and become a better person. It’s not easy, but we can give it a try by having the idea of death in our minds? (By having the death in our mind, I am not saying being feared of death, that will only arise anxiety. Just having in mind that one day we will perish).

Today, let us make a commitment with ourselves that we will try our best to work with letting go of regrets and feelings of guilt. Whatever has passed, is not coming back.

5) Do what you really want to do in your life

As we have little time here, we should focus on the things we really want to do in our life. Days are short, we should use them wisely. Don’t waste your life on things that is not worth your attention or things that will just fill your mind with negative thoughts.

Rain gavaaee soe kai dhivas gavaaeiaa khaae. Heerae jaisaa janam hai kouddee badhlae jaae – The nights are wasted sleeping, and the days are wasted eating. Human life is such a precious jewel, but it is being lost in exchange for a mere shell.

6) Be the person you want to become NOW.

Now what does this mean? What I mean is not wait for your future to change your values and qualities into the way you want it to be, “the ideal self”. Transform yourself into your “ideal self” today. Commit to yourself that from today on, you will be the person you have always wanted to be. If your ideal self is that of one serving others selflessly, giving love to others unconditionally, then commit to yourself, that from today on, you will do that. You may have times where you experience downfalls – you are not being able to hold on the commitment, and do something that is contrary to what your “ideal self” would do. Don’t worry, make up your mind that you will always shift your attention back to that commitment. Mistakes happen, that’s completely normal.

Punnee paapee aakhan naahi. Kar kar karana likh lai jaahu – Virtue and vice do not come by mere words; Actions repeated, over and over again, are engraved on the soul.

7) Acceptance

Tony’s thought of the day (a facebook page) says that there is two types of tolerance – one is tolerance of acceptance and the other of supression. He gives an example of poor driving habit: For instance, your friend has a poor driving habit.
In tolerating this you could say two things to yourself.
1. I understand that he is such. I can tolerate this much.
2. I can’t stand his driving but I am tolerating him because I am the kinder one.

The first is a tolerence of accceptance. This kind of tolerence allows you to recognise the person for who he/she is and allows you to move on without holding anything in your mind. The second kind is the tolerence of supression. It leads you to hold a grudge in your mind about the person and eventually a burst out is bound to happen.

A death-incidence can give us the lesson of acceptance. To accept the situation around us and the personaliy people surrounding us have.

To state Tony’s thought of the day,the next time you sigh about someone’s action or character, or are annoyed by a situation; pause to think. Is it a tolerence of acceptance? Or is it a tolerence of supression?

8 ) Give to the needy

One thing I have learned from both of my vaddemamajis is that they gave unconditionally, and they were satisfied with everything they had. Remember “your” time and “your” money won’t go along you to whenever you go when you die. So use it on someone who needs it, don’t waste it away or use everything on yourself. If someone around you needs your time, give them that. You will not get smaller.

Maaeiaa kae maathae thai outh chalanaa. Raach rehiou thoo sang supanaa – You are intoxicated with Maya, but you must soon arise and depart. You are totally involved in the dream.

9) Say sorry for your mistakes

If you have done something wrong, say sorry. Don’t be affected by your ego if you have done a mistake by not admitting it. Often we know it’s our mistake, but we defend ourselves in front of the other person to not show our “defeat”. What’s better – sticking to your opinion, which clearly is wrong and thinking about that over and over again later, or saying sorry and let go?

You won’t get smaller by asking for forgiveness for your mistakes. You will only expand yourself in the domain of love

10) Remember He who created you

I will not writing anything here, just a hymn from Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji:

Behathee jaath kadhe dhrisatt n dhhaarath. Mithhiaa Moh bandhhehi nith paarach. Maadhhavae bhaj dhin nith rainee. Janam padharathh jeeth har saranee || Rehaao || Karath bikaar dhoo kar jhaarath. Raam rathan ridh thil nehee dhhaarath. Bharan pokhan sang aoudhh bihaanee. Jai Jagadhees kee gath nehee jaanee. Saran samarathh agochar suaamee. Oudhhar nanak prabh antharajaamee.

– Your life is slipping away, but you never even notice. You are constantly entangled in false attachments and conflicts. Meditate, vibrate constantly, day and night, on the Lord. You shall be victorious in this priceless human life, in the Protection of the Lord’s Sanctuary. || Pause || You eagerly commit sins and practice corruption, But you do not enshrine the jewel of the Lord’s Name within your heart, even for an instant. Feeding and pampering your body, your life is passing away, But you do not experience the state of victory of the Lord of the Universe. So enter the Sanctuary of the All-powerful, Unfathomable Lord and Master. O God, O Searcher of hearts, please save Nanak!

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