Daily Tao / 220 – Threshold


Why mourn for a cocoon
After the butterfly has flown?

Death is one of the few givens in life, and yet we fear it. We immaturely deny its presence or refuse to take it into account. In life, where so few things are stable enough to serve as true reference points, death is one of our few assurances.

Death is not an ending. It is a transformation. What dies is only our sense of identity, which was false to begin with. Death is the threshold of this life. Beyond it is something else, some mystery. We can only be sure that it is unlike this life.

Let us be unabashed in admitting that no one knows death definitely. The closest we may come is a supposed near-death experience, which, by definition, cannot be death itself. Alternately, we can examine other people who have died. We can look at a corpse. When we do, we see that whoever or whatever it was that animated that body is longer in force. Is that body our dead friend? No. Whatever it was that was the person we knew is gone. What use is there to mourn over a lifeless shell in a casket?

Death defines the limits of life. Within those limits, there is structure upon which to base one’s decisions. Whenever one deems that one’s life has been fulfilled, one can utilize death as the portal away from this existence.