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Understanding death as a refuge

Updated: Jul 17, 2021



Introduction:

This article is not one romanticising the concept of death or seeking it as an ultimatum for escaping struggles or describing it as a reason to be depressed or provoking any suicidal act to end our problems. But rather exploring this natural phenomenon as a notion of embracing it to act as a refuge from our mental battles. This may sound tricky or hopeless or insane, but let’s explore this inch by inch.


Our natural ways:




We humans as a basic nature, always try to seek pleasure and avoid pain or any kind of sadness. And what’s sadder than death itself. On a superficial level, death always seems to be like an end, an extreme irrecoverable pain and a horrific thing, which everyone seems to avoid. All of the above things are universally true and valid feelings.

But like any other natural event, death is also natural, it’s just it doesn’t fall for the likes of us. So this thing can never be denied, and it’s perfectly natural for all humans to feel this way about death. But this article is not about describing anything wrong with that feeling or provoking to move towards death, abandoning this life. But it’s more of a metaphorical one, of understanding the concept of death as a refuge, and thinking about it in a way to kind of escape our anxious and situation-induced unhappy feelings.


Our Problems:




Most of the problems, which are very different from our actual existing physical problems, are due to the mental scenarios we often build, by thinking about the worst-case possibilities of our actual issues. Rather than trying to think logically or bravely about how to solve the real conundrums at hand, we often indulge in panicking by generating a series of imagined worse outcomes, which most of the time don’t happen. It’s natural to be worried if faced with a serious issue, but this anxiousness doesn’t take us anywhere. So when we think about the worst, why not think about the ultimate end - i.e. death, which awaits us anyway, and is this worry during brief living all worth it?


Changing perception:




Not all problems we face can be mentally solved or made peace with by perceiving death, but surely some worrisome thoughts can be dealt with. For example, often most of the issues come up from comparison or thinking too much about society’s perceptions of us. But even this is also natural. We as humans by default seek social acceptance, need validation from others and avoid rejection. But when this validation need exceeds a certain limit, it can cause a great amount of mental haywire. As from the famous quote “Nothing in life is as important as you think it is, while you’re thinking about it”, by Daniel Kahneman from his famous book, Thinking fast and slow, as he talks about the focusing illusion; where it is explained how our minds have capabilities of showing the enhanced version of any actual bad scenario happening if enough focus is given to that, and our brains don’t have the ability to differentiate between real and imaginary pain, and so we’re trapped in the endless depressive vicious thoughts cycle.



And what better way to escape this focusing illusion, than grasping the concept of death. If all are destined to die one day, and no matter how well off or worse they currently are, in the end, it never really matters, as they’ll all be washed away by the universal waters of death. And no matter how badly we want anything in life, or want it to happen our way, or seek approval, ultimately those things are never permanent and anyways death will end it someday.


Forever is a myth:




The death’s antonym of birth is celebrated universally, but we are also aware of the fact that a child is born, with no memories. If we consider the concept of rebirth, irrespective of the achievements or situations faced by that child in the previous birth, it definitely doesn’t matter now and everything is set to reset. And even if we don’t consider this rebirth belief, then anyhow, death, one day will end our current living scenario irrespective of how happy or sad we are with it. So the next time we think of something super seriously and become depressed building mental scenarios, we can circle back to thinking about the basic rule, i.e. death of life, as to how temporary and brief our time and the current situations are, so we might as well worry at an adequate and required amount.


Embracing life:




Death, if perceived as a haven, can act as a tool to detach ourselves from these worldly problems, which we think are extremely important, but usually are actually not. So, the next time you are very worried and anxious about anything, pause and ponder, Is it actually that important, to be given that much mental energy? And even if it is and seems inescapable, then taking refuge in death’s concept, the final destination of everything, might relieve some pain and surely bring some glimmer of peace within. But this doesn’t mean to be lifeless, thinking that this is the ultimate thing so why even try or explore or solve anything; rather this means to experience the brevity of life to the fullest with all its flavours be it good or bad.


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