Only My Opinions

Why Do People Die (Revision 2)

The most important thing about any decision we make in life, even more important than realising what we are deciding on, is the fact that we could change our minds at any point between deciding on a goal and achieving it. This is how we change direction at any point in our lives and then go in a new direction of our happiness. What makes us the happiest at any point in our lives, is what motivates us the most, to a point of beginning to create in its direction. Just like with changing an entrenched habit, being sufficiently motivated is the key to strengthening our will to work towards achieving any goal we set. This motivation comes from within, in a form of perceiving the empowerment we stand to realise from achieving any beautiful goal that we set. We choose to die when death is the best thing we are motivated to achieve; we also choose to live when we are motivated by the happiness that life makes possible. Any choice that we make is made possible by our motivation to achieve it. Feeling strong and able to pursue any form of happiness in life, is all the motivation that urges us to continue to sustain our lives, because, as The Course In Miracles puts it,” There is no power in the whole universe that is strong enough to direct us than the power of our own will”. Why one would ever choose to die, is directly related to the reason why we ever live in the first place. We live for only one purpose – to be happy and to share this happiness. We only choose to die when we perceive some permanent inhibition to this continued ability to be or share happiness.

The inhibitions that keep us from experiencing happiness do not necessarily have to be real. Actually, they are never real at all but instead, are based on forgetting that happiness in life, comes in more ways than the few ways and situations that we prefer to have it in. In other words, there are more ways of experiencing any one thing in life, beyond any one way through which we tend to insist on experiencing it. The choice to die is therefore a result of a perpetual inability to perceive happiness from life, and not the actual absence of happiness itself. The inability is mostly self-created, in the form of beliefs we hold on to, or habits that we have developed over time, while other obstructions to our happiness are created by other people in a constant state of life competition borne of scarcity. However, the primary causes of our inability to perceive happiness are from within ourselves. Most of them are misperceptions, such as someone who may be in the middle of a proverbial heaven but still be unaware of it –  unable to appreciate that – usually because they are hoping for something else that they consider better than what they already  have.

Maybe the most primary cause of unhappiness in life, is lack of appreciation of the things we already have; the problems we have already resolved. It is important to acknowledge the beautiful things we already have around us, our health, relationships, the little things we have, accommodation, some food, the ability to laugh at a funny joke, among others. In fact, the state of being alive in itself is the greatest appreciation we need to have, because regardless of our bank balance, whether we have a house or not, food to eat or any possessions, being alive is what automatically gives us the potential to realise all that we may hope for, and the very presence of life in the body is the beginning of every possibility of happiness in life.

To focus too much of our waking time and effort on any one unhappy aspect of our lives, narrows our perceptions to only the unhappiness it causes. For that long, we are unable to see and appreciate the different other ways in which happiness continues to prevail around us, in the other areas of our lives where things are not as bad as in the situation we are focusing on. A prolonged state of perceiving ourselves as unable and helpless, is where we begin to lose the meaning of life and the will to sustain the body and is what ultimately leads to the state of self-defeat.

Behind the choice to die, is some hope for salvation, borne of a belief in another life that we have been taught to perceive as being better than the one we are living. Religion has for many years, contributed to the establishment of a belief in a life beyond the one we are living. The beauty by which places and states  like heaven, nirvana, paradise, ascension and even enlightenment – among others – are depicted in some religious and spiritual literature, is what has turned them, for many people, into becoming attractive alternatives to aspire for, than confronting the  challenges of everyday living in the world. The greatest challenge that these states pose to human living, could only be found in the distance at which they are placed, often away at a place so far, one has to die in order to reach them. If they were placed within an individual, then reaching them would be a journey without any distance. However, if they are placed at places where one has to die in order to reach their salvation, then to aspire for their salvation serves only as a means to make death more attractive than living. This is a cause of death for many who would feel too burdened and for some reason, oblivious to the salvation that the current life already provides. Of all the benefits of religion, this would stand as its most unfortunate, unintended consequence.

Many people have chosen to surrender their earthly life in favour of the afterlife, while many more live through earthly life with a perpetual anticipation of the time when they would also proceed to the life they have been taught to believe is better than what they have and even inevitable. It is precisely for this reason that even the choice to die, is also a choice to be happy, even when the choice in this case is between the proverbial rock and the hard place – the lessor of two evils – between the problem we find ourselves in, and the salvation we hope to derive from dying. This is a false choice that we force ourselves into, simply because of our single-minded focus on what is not working well and not seeing what already does. It is a misuse of our will power, where we direct our time and effort towards our own demise, simply because in that case, we cannot see something better or more inspiring than what our own demise would help us achieve.

Our salvation always lies in the things that inspire us. If at the moment of our demise, we could raise our heads, even if only for a moment, and catch a glimpse of the vast possibilities for happiness that life presents, its beauty would always make us change our minds and choose again in a better way. However small a form of happiness we may perceive at a particular point in our lives, it would still be big enough to save our lives, if we choose to see its meaning and to appreciate the different ways in which other important aspects of our lives depend on it.

In the face of death, our salvation is not death itself, but the presence of mind that would allow us to shift our focus from a limited situation to the vast choices that life makes possible. Only by perceiving these possibilities, would we realise that life is the only emphatic choice we have. What we need is to be wilful and strong minded enough to refuse any two choices we are presented with and insist on the broader options that life always presents. This is where we would perceive the evidence we always need to see, of our strength, abilities and the countless and beautiful reasons why there is no better place to be, than in this life where we are.  In the end, our refusal to succumb to death, or to any one limiting situation of life, would always depend on our ability to see and find something better, something happier, a more beautiful reason to live for; and the best place to find it, is right where we are – below the surface of the things we usually see, every day.

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