Ready for Death

June 1, 2012 § 4 Comments

When I was young, I conjured a lot of foolish thinking- some of it about death and my mortality.  I was a wreck on my 30th birthday, thinking that death was coming according to some actuarial table and that somehow this was the beginning of the downhill slide.  So stupid.

I now understand that death does not come to us on any schedule, actuarial or otherwise.  It may take us at any moment, young or old.  We may be given some sense of its arrival or it may just swoop us up one day.

I no longer fear death.  Nor do I harbor any illusions about its schedule.  I know I have this moment, that’s all.

But it’s not enough to lose one’s fear of death.  We should be ready for death.

We become ready for death in the way that we live in each moment.  The Tao tells us how.

The Master gives himself up

To whatever the moment brings…

He doesn’t think about his actions;

They flow from the core of his being.

He holds nothing back from life;

Therefore he is ready for death,

As a man is ready for sleep

After a good day’s work.

Tao te Ching, Chap. 50 (Stephen Mitchell translation)

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§ 4 Responses to Ready for Death

  • Mark says:

    So let me ask a question… Think of that really memorable vacation with friends, family or your partner. Would you want to spend an eternity living that same experience? Doesn’t there come a point when it feels good to go home?

  • pazlo says:

    We can all believe, if we so choose, that today is as good as any day to die.


  • Carrie J. says:

    Thank you for sharing this quote from the Tao te Ching… hadn’t seen that one and it is wonderful. To be ready for death is to be full engaged in life, in each moment. Thank you for the reminder!

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