Thinking About Death Tests Our Priorities
As westerners, we are conditioned to be achievement machines. We calendarize our meetings, our appointments and praise those rise the cooperate and cultural bar of success. But most people do not schedule time to make amends with loved ones, reflect and meditate on how far we've come and assess why we are doing what we are doing.
Religions offer some amazing rituals and values that are designed to remember what is most important - from the day of atonement, a day in the calendar year where the jewish people would stop work and reflect on who they may have wronged in the year and make amends. Giving thanks before a meal to be grateful for our lives, our provision and company.
Death is one of the topics in our culture we avoid bringing up and struggle to make sense of. We are all going to die. The question is then how do we want to live? The fear of death has been considered the greatest fear of all. What if we could use this fear to help us realign our priorities?
In a world where moral relativism is the push where there are no absolutes, death will always trigger our innate awareness that there is an order of loves. The ancients believed that love had an order, that it was part of our moral duty to prioritise some loves above others. Is success sinful? Is money bad? No of course not. But when you measure it against death, on your funeral day, will we be focusing on how much money you made or the virtues we all experienced?
So no matter what you go through, think about death. Death bring things back into it's right size, it helps us test if what we are doing is worth it.