The Invisible Elephant in the Room: Death

What is humanity’s greatest problem? It’s not global warming, not nuclear weapons, not environmental degradation, not even war.

We die. 150,000 people die daily, 56 million people die annually, a number greater than the population of Canada.

But we package everything in our society as if death does not exist, as if everything lasts forever.

The young professional puts in ungodly hours in the hopes of a bigger promotion, forgetting to eat or exercise, the environmentalist stresses and throws temper tantrums while strategizing the next protest, the celebrity athlete consumes hormones or undergoes surgery to suppress any sign of age.

Transcending the cycle birth and death means we avoid the possibility of repeating this bug-like existence (such as in the Metamorphosis). To do so, we must accept death as imminent. Life is short, so we treasure every moment, every person and every resource.

We change the world by changing ourselves, particularly by transforming our mind. Mind training sustains compassionate action. Instead of hedonism in the face of imminent death, we use the brief time available to us to develop insight and kindness.

Resolution for death lies in:

*Facing it;

*Accepting it and becoming comfortable with the idea that death is eventual;

*Using it as a reminder for life while we have it;

*Transcending it. The assumption that births and deaths repeat in a cycle can refer to the microcosmic death and birth of a thought, an emotion, or an impulse, or the macrocosmic death and birth of a life in this time and space. Time and space are relative and in fact an illusion as Einstein pointed out. Hence, it is also possible that the micro and macro are very much related.

Either way, salvation arrives upon awakening. And in short, the real solution to resolving the problem of death is to wake up to it.