The finiteness of life – why remembering it can help us live better

In the past six months, I’ve lost three friends who passed away unexpectedly, including an ex-boss I was close to (his passing made national news).

When you lose friends, it is very hard to accept that it is all over. With one of them (Amarnath Raja), I have still not come to accept that he will not walk into my office one day. But he won’t.

I think we should occasionally remember that our life is also finite. But you might ask, “Why dwell on these sobering thoughts instead of thinking about all the good things in life?”

Precisely because we tend to forget about all the good things in our lives – we start taking them for granted.

Caught up in our daily struggles, we forget what is important and what is trivial. We treat minor irritants like major catastrophes. We get trapped in our petty quarrels, ruminations about past mistakes, and silly little frustrations. We forget how precious each day is and instead of living, we merely cope with life.

Let me ask you: Did you think of yesterday as a special day? I certainly did not. But ask someone who only has a week to live – each day is so special!

And we forget to live not just when we have troubles, but also when we chase success and achievements. We postpone living until after we are successful, like that guy who instead of enjoying the music, is waiting to see what happens when the song ends.

The music is now – there is nothing after the song ends. But when we live unmindfully, we don’t realize that.

Don’t postpone the business of living to better times. Because life is finite.

Go on that trek. Have laughter-filled parties with your friends. Listen to music. Live well. And when worries and ruminations distract you, remind yourself of the fragility and finiteness of human life. It will bring you back to enjoying the music.

I wish you a long and happy life. And equally, I wish you a mindful life, where small troubles never rob you of the beauty of life.

With metta.


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