Consider Death as Your Goal in Life

The Samurai, a feudal Japanese sword-bearing warrior class with a philosophy incorporating Zen, BuddhismConfucianism, and Shinto, were known to meditate constantly on achieving a glorious death in the service of their masters. This single component of their incredible range of disciplines maximized courage, allowing them to take appropriate risks to achieve various objectives while reducing the emotional trauma of injury and death around them.

While survival may be the ultimate goal of all species, death is the undeniable, inevitable, and final result of a single life. An individual may have hopes for their estate, memories, burial plot, and otherwise, but they may have no real control and (arguably) no knowledge of these things after their departure. It helps to see what is inevitable as a goal rather than a hindrance. We often learn our most important lessons from our worst enemies.

This does not mean that one should hasten death. In fact, to avoid suffering, especially late in life, one must prioritize their own physical health, strength, and hygiene, as well as their own mental health, all of which staves off demise. Use death as a motivator: what can you accomplish?

With acceptance rather than morbidity, one should prepare for their own death and the deaths of all those around them, which could happen at any moment. Use your time well: make the most of every interaction and any idle time. Attempt to love all others without attachment and especially codependency that can bring so much pain. Research and practice Stoicism, Yoga, and Meditation.

Consider all the possible ways that your death and the deaths of others might occur and make efforts to reach death in an appropriate manner. Determine and document under what conditions a human life is worth letting go, and under what conditions to deny medical treatment or accept terminal medication.

Arrange possessions, physical and digital files, healthcare directive, power of attorney, will and trusts, account pins and passwords, final instructions, important contacts and contact information, and any other responsibilities in advance rather than leaving these burdens and probate to those who will be suffering loss. Healthy or unhealthy, each person must choose their own master or masters, which may include their health, their god, their friends, their family, their philosophy, and those less fortunate, over their career, their wealth, and their possessions. Those who want a funeral, cremation, organ donation, or otherwise should plan and budget accordingly. Draft your own obituary, a process which alone can reveal unfulfilled goals.

If I am conscious of my final moment, I will not look back and wish that I had drunk more alcohol, taken more drugs, had more sex, ridden more roller coasters, owned a boat, played more videogames, consumed more media, or otherwise indulged myself further.

I will wish that I had traveled more and done more for others, that I had spent more time relaxing with my family and friends, that I had somehow both read more books and interacted with more people, had a greater understanding of cultures and religions, and that I had been more present for everyone in my presence.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: