Start with the end in mind...
So what happens in the end? We become dirt. We may be buried, cremated, or as in the case of Zoroastrianism left to be fed to birds of prey and then become bird poop. Either way, the end is dirt. So why are we, the walking pile of ‘eventual’ dirt, so consumed by our individuality. We will mix in with the same dirt like everyone else. Yet we stress our importance and our insecurities like we are at the center of the universe! It is quite something. If we start to look at not just our problems but also simple joys with this lens we will see that what ‘matters’ to us doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. Our attachment to our physicality, mental problems, and material possessions lead to much sorrow but to what end.
But knowing this isn’t enough of course. There is an entire life to be lived until...well when we become dirt. But in another sense, it is over in a blink. The key is to regularly meditate on the end...to remember the temporariness of it all. No matter who we are this one single truth cannot be denied or ignored. Too often out of fear we shy away from this topic but focusing on the end can be very therapeutic. It may sound daunting but when done regularly it will not depress but bring you the kind of liberation and peace that is hard to describe in words. Bhutan is considered one of the ‘happiest’ places in the world by several measures but the reality is that Bhutanese peoples train to meditate on death from very early on in their lives.
We want to admit it or not, choose to see it or not, the end is coming. We can hide or prepare by focusing on it regularly. The concept to embrace here is that there is life after death...not necessarily in the context of reincarnation but the fact that consciousness survives and as much as we will become dirt we will facilitate life after we are gone. Our physical individuality will merge with the very elements it was created from.