26 Sep A few thoughts for Boomers on dealing with death (and life)
Psychological Articles on Elderly Problems
A great mystic once said, “A man who is afraid of death will be afraid of life also, because life brings death. If you are afraid of the enemy and you close your door, the friend will also be prohibited.”
Baby boomers are plagued with a number of fears – fear of isolation, fear of not having enough money, fear of change, fear of old age and the fear of losing the lime light are just to name a few. But the root of all these fears is definitely the fear of death. All other fears seem to be just by-products of the fear of death.
The basic idea here is that even though we boomers intellectually know that we are going to die someday; very few of us truly believe it. The reason I say that is because, had we truly believed it; we would be living life very differently.
The bitter truth is that we live a sleepwalker’s existence by doing things automatically without thinking about whether it’s really essential or not – we do things and say things in certain ways just because its how we have always done it. Thinking about death breaks the shackles of this sleepwalker’s existence and forces us to think of the essentials.
The Buddhists recommend imagining a little bird on your shoulder that asks the question, “Is today the day? Am I ready and doing all that I need to do by being the person I ought to be today?” this little practice will not only eliminate the fear of death, but it will also eliminate the fear of life – somehow remembering death tends to cleanse our life by reminding us of what’s really important and freeing us from all that’s not important.
Understanding death is essential in understanding life. Embracing death equals embracing life. Leaning to die equals learning to live. This thought is summed up beautifully by the Lebanese poet, Khalil Gibran,
“You would know the secret of death. But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life? The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light. If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life. For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.”
It is futile for boomers to try to trick themselves into believing that we are not going to grow old and die. Wanting to be young again simply means that one is not in awe of the wisdom that comes with being old. Instead of wanting to be young again, isn’t it a better idea to relish in the wisdom that comes with old age. After all growing old isn’t simply about white hair and wrinkly skin; it’s about a mental, emotional and spiritual transcendence of everything that’s not important – it’s about moving away from the fear of death to an understanding of life and death; and then to live a better life based on that understanding.
Remeber to practice Positive Psychology and ask yourself “Is today the day, little bird… is it today?”
The Psychological Article on A few thoughts for Boomers on dealing with death (and life) is part of Boomer Yearbook’s continuing series of baby boomers psychological coaching tips and how to alleviate elderly problems. We believe knowledge is power. We’d love to hear what you think.
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