Death isn’t about what I possess but about what I can become. Today I see myself as a child of time, but I may become a child of eternity. I see my place here on Earth, but I may be on a journey to the universe. Human beings have a deep intuition that our destiny is infinite, but we fear death because it tests our wishes and dreams.
We fear to be tested because if we turn out to be wrong, then all our aspirations feel empty. Dying isn’t more real than any other moment, but it is more definitive. No matter how rich and gifted you are, death is the great equalizer.
For the after life to have meaning, it has to be fully as satisfying as this life. Bringing money, power, sex, family, achievement, and physical pleasure to an end is not a trivial thing. Much that we love and depend on will be extinguished when this life comes to an end. And yet we can bring something to that moment.
Grace, calm, a patient acceptance of what’s to come: These are all qualities that can be cultivated, and when they are, death is a test we will not fail. Our fault is not that we fear death but that we don’t respect it as a miracle.
The most profound subjects–love, truth, compassion, birth and death–are equal. They belong to our destiny but also to our present life. Ultimately the goal here is to bring death into the present and thereby make it equal to love.
Adapted from Life After Death: The Burden of Proof, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 2006).