Here is my answer. Then I will explain how I got there:
Embracing death is important because things need to change.
It just so happens that death is likely the biggest challenge we all have to face in our lives – death of a loved one, or our own. Putting it another way death is the biggest change we all will face one day or another. You may be thinking, “Well yes it is and what has that got to do with anything else?” So here is how I have come to think and feel about it.
I work in the death and dying business, at a crematorium and I have noticed some interesting things:
One of the most interesting is the attachment the funeral business has to tradition. The second thing I noticed was the tendency to focus on logistical details.
Here’s my thinking. Death represents the most significant change all of us face. In the funeral business this is all we deal with – death after death after death. And death, after all is uncontrollable. To survive in an environment filled with death, a most uncontrollable event, folks in the business have a tendency to go to the opposite pole – control. Logistical details are controllable! When dealing with the unknown, people tend to rely on the known – tradition.
It makes sense when you look at it through the lenses of opposites and the strong, often unconscious, human urge for balance. By holding things tight, resisting change by holding to tradition, the details, or the known we seem able to survive and stay balanced and safe. We tend to drop our natural curiousness, of joy of adventure, and our love of the yet to be known settling instead for trying to control our lives and stay secure.
Things need to change here on planet earth. Some old traditions (habits like consuming ‘til we drop) must die into the unknown if we are to find new ways to answer old problems. By accepting death we energetically open ourselves to change, to allowing what needs to die to do so thus creating the space for new and unknown solutions. Accepting death in this manner may pave the way for unique, creative ideas that would take on age-old systemic problems like poverty, hierarchy, measuring success by dollars, and power politics.
In nature compost, dead plant and animal material, is necessary to revitalize the soil and produce healthy food. Human life is very similar, the old needs to die in order for the new to be infused with the richness that once was.