I spent a lot of time thinking about death last year.
I think about war, and how thousands of people my age can die, and seemingly are just reduced to numbers. Then I think about one man like Nelson Mandela when he died, and the entire world seemed to stand still.
When it comes down to it, what is the gravity of loss? Does the loss of a solider mean less than a world leader? Do they have the same thoughts just moments before passing?
One of my favorite movies repeats the same quote from Gandhi – “Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.” This is a really huge idea.
To me, it helps if I think of life as a board game. ‘Sorry!’ for example. Every card fate gives us, decisions made, and pieces moved are inconsequential to our lives in the grand scheme of things.
Now, think of life as the game of ‘Sorry!’ We are often left at fates hands, make decisions daily, and move our pieces around. We can win the game, but does it really matter? Do Nelson Mandella’s life accomplishments follow him outside our limited world?
Life ends eventually, so what’s the bigger picture it fits into?
A couple times last year this idea was presented to me: we are spiritual beings having a physical experience. It’s kind of a weird thing to think about. Our ability to think at such an elevated level compared to any other life we know plants the seeds of asking where did this planet come from and why?
A friend introduced a thought that’s grown into a full blown fascination. Her idea that we will never see the inside of our bodies, everything that encompasses us, has me obsessing over the disconnect between our bodies and our minds.
You are your body, but how much do we really know about ourselves? Think of all the crazy things that goes on inside without us even knowing: how far along the digestive process the food we just ate was, the bacteria and infections being fight off, even cancers that grow inside of us, we just have no idea. We need doctors to tell us what our own bodies are doing.
I’ve read somewhere that we as humans only use a fraction of our brains. I have no idea if that’s actually true, but what if there is a piece in our heads that is just waiting to be activated that allows our minds and bodies to communicate?
Shouldn’t we have a deeper connection with ourselves outside of basic touch and feeling pain and pleasure? Or are we spiritual entities that are just being housed in this physical world and continue to struggle to understand how it works?
Does it matter if I get up and go to work everyday, want to see every part of the country, and splurge on ice cream every once in a while? In the grand scheme of life and death, does obeying a traffic signal really make a difference?
No, but as Gandhi says, it is very important I do it.