Hello Everyone, Welcome to the podcast “Close to the Bone.” I’m Carl Vreeland.
This is episode #46, it’s called, “We’re All Going to Die, and That’s OK.”
Yes, we’re all going to die, are you OK with that? If not, don’t you think you should be? I mean it’s going to happen? Wouldn’t it be wise to be OK with it, to be accepting of it and at peace with it? Now you might find this line of questioning morbid or inappropriate. After all, one shouldn’t speak so forwardly and frankly about death, right? Well, perhaps that’s part of the problem. Meaning, that’s at least one reason why we’re so uncomfortable discussing death. We don’t talk about it. Indeed, we are hush hush about it in our culture. So much so that we’ve created this frightening monster. Yes, death is ominous, anxiety-provoking, and a dreadful reality. We hide under the covers, daring to peek out, for death’s gatekeeper, the grim reaper, the angel-of-death, may show up at any time with his scythe and invitation.
Hold on, you might say, why not chill out, until he shows? Why not wait to deal with death when it comes? Well. . . that’s not a bad approach or mind set when waiting for the outcome of a job interview, let’s say, when worrying about it wouldn’t be helpful. Yes, one should focus on living life, work, family, etc., until you find out whether you got the job or not, in which you can deal with the outcome then. I agree with this approach. But when it comes to death, I don’t. See, when the call about the job comes in, whatever the outcome, it’s done with, we deal with it then. Death, on the other hand, is always there, in the background, in the shadows until it arrives. For certain, there’s an underlying level of anxiety and fear that exists due to the knowledge of our immortality. That is, until we find peace with it. Yes, if we befriend death, let’s say, that anxiety and fear dissipates.
But back to waiting for the call about the job interview. . . . Get honest, do you stop worrying until the call comes? Do you handle waiting well? See, if you anxiously worry as to whether the news will be good or bad, then you will likely handle finding out you have cancer gracefully? Look, I know this is uncomfortable subject matter, but I strongly feel that we need to address it and find peace with it. After all, we’re all going to die, that’s life.
Now, I’m not trying to minimize the seriousness of illness and death, no, definitely not. I’m just trying to point out the importance of preparation. No one taught us how to handle the big stuff like death, never mind the small stuff. Let’s look at the job interview call back, this is the small stuff. I learned from the Buddhist tradition to practice the small stuff to prepared for the big stuff. So, for instance, how do we get out of the habit of worrying unnecessarily so about the small stuff? Well, we know, that there’s nothing we can do to change the results of the job interview, the interview was done already. So, worrying won’t change anything. Yet, we still worry, we can’t help it. The question is why can’t we stop worrying? Is it habit? It is a strong craving for things to go our way? Or a lack of trust in the flow of things, and Nature, and God?
As we can see, it’s complicated. There are layers upon layers. Likely, we observed worrying, learned it and experienced from our family, our environment, and from TV sitcoms and soap operas. We modeled ourselves after the people in our lives and what we witnessed. Sure, there
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