What will others say about you when you die? What will be their lasting memories of you as a person? Will they say that you were honest and considerate, or unpleasant and self-absorbed? Will they remember you as being loving and grounded, or as a tempestuous bundle of negativity that soiled the joy of others?
These end of life questions are confronting to contemplate. Being ordinarily reluctant to give much thought to our own death, we would much rather use our time to pursue our base desires and egocentric ideals. Living our lives on a metaphorical set of train tracks, we indulge the habit of busying ourselves so that we can avoid having to look up and acknowledge the train that is approaching on the horizon. With our denial being no barrier to its inevitable arrival, we would be better served by courageously facing and accepting that we will die, and consciously using the potent energy which emerges from that realization to create a legacy that the world will benefit from when we depart from this life.
One of the ways that we can infuse a sense of purpose and meaning into our lives in the present moment, is to write our own obituary. Being a summation of the legacy that we will leave behind, its crafting can direct a powerful course for how we live our lives now. Needing to be written at some time in the future, we may as well take an active role in the process, and have it reflect who we aspire to be while we are still living.
When we live unconsciously in the world, we are often blind to the effect that we are having on the lives of others. Absorbed in our own ego centred existence, we seldom enrich the lives of others, and often we leave them worse off for having encountered us. I don’t know about you, but when I die, I want to be remembered as having made a hugely positive impact in the world. When others hear my name, I want them to think fondly of their experience of me, and share stories of how I may have inspired or encouraged them to be all that they were created to be.
If you are really honest with yourself, I would guess that you want to leave the same mark. At a deep spiritual level, I believe that we all want to serve the world with the essence of who we are, and leave it, in some part, a better place than when we entered it. The good news is that this is well within our ability to achieve. Starting this day, we can begin to build our legacy consciously, and in the process add great spiritual power to it.
If you want to be remembered as someone who gave much to others, do something today, whether large or small, to fill a need that someone else has. If you want others to smile at the thought of you, then make someone laugh with your light-hearted humour. If you want to have the benefit of your learning and experience live on, then impart those lessons to those who are looking for some guidance. If you want to create something that will improve the human condition, start now so that others may enjoy the fruit of your blessed ingenuity sooner rather than later.
What we do right here and right now matters in evolving consciousness. With every breath, thought and action, we are shaping the future of generations to come. Your children, my children, are all members of a divine community that longs to unfold and prosper from the manifestation of your calling. Bring this to mind when you are tempted to believe that what you are currently doing does not matter in absolute terms.
Everything that we do and don’t do leaves its mark, even if we cannot see the ripple in eternity that we are making. Have that ripple reverberate in the realm of consciousness that is evolving. Deny no one the magnificence born of your authentic self-expression. Embody that in your statement of remembrance, and work backwards so that together we can move forward in the light that your inspired being represents. The past has power if it enables progress. Death has power if it sobers us to the reality that this moment matters more than the ignorance born of fear would have us believe. The Stoics had the right idea when they advised us to meditate on death so that we may fully live. Death is not just the partner of life. It nourishes it as well. Let you be an instrument through which this wisdom is known to the world.