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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Death and the spiritual life

Nothing can provide a spur to one's spiritual life like a brush with death. Facing one's mortality square in the face brings existential concerns front and center. Considering one's imminent death leads one to reflect on what one has done with one's life and what is left to do - the so called "bucket list."

For me consideration of the end of my life left me feeling full of gratitude and thinking of all the people I was grateful to and wanted to say good bye to. It dawned on me that getting to the end of one's life and being full of gratitude is the sign and largest criterion for what we call "the good life."

The "good life" is one, the philosopher's tell us, comprised of virtue. Has one lived a life based on honesty, kindness, compassion, effort, good work, appreciation of beauty, recognition of evil, and awareness of one's Higher Power?

A life of reverence is better than a life of cynicism although cynicism has its place. "Don't mistake my being kind for being a fool," is an important principle. However, love and forgiveness trumps everything else.

Facing one's imminent death focuses one's attention and priority setting becomes much more desired. What is really important? "Will this make a difference after I am dead for the world left behind" becomes the navigational North Star by which one can make decisions.

People have said that they never started living until they were faced with their imminent death. Nothing focuses one's attention as well on what is really important.

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