“Memento Mori” is a statement made by the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Translated, it means “remember (your) mortality”.
What comes up inside you when you think of your own mortality? When you realize that you will have to leave this planet in a relatively short time?
One possibility would be: panic, fear, sadness, maybe even anger. In other words: Low vibrational emotions. Many people feel this way. Already Sigmund Freud was of the opinion that the fear of death is the ultimate fear of all people and that all other fears can be traced back to it.
But what would life be like without death? Would we humans appreciate it at all? Isn’t the finite nature of life also a huge motivation to do the things that are really dear to our hearts right now? This is how the stoics, among whom Marcus Aurelius counted himself, would see it.
For this realization many people need a wake-up call. For me personally, this wake-up call was a car accident that almost killed me. After the accident, I gave myself permission to really allow myself to honor my desires and dreams and to pursue them. Being in contact with physical death, with the other side, gave me an incredible amount of strength.
Have you ever though about what legacy will you leave ? What you contributed to this world after you have left it? What you want to be remembered for that you haven’t done yet until now?
In the last few days another perspective came to me about “Memento Mori” Does it really only talk about our physical death? Or is it perhaps also about a completely different kind of death? What if it also talks about the death of our “ego”. So about the death of the part in us, which defines itself completely through externals like the body, skin color, possessions, sexuality, status, knowledge and special abilities and clings to these?
“The secret of life is to die before you die, and find that there is no death.”– Eckhart Tolle –
Many spiritual teachers, such as Eckhart Tolle, consider this death an essential event on the way to a free life. A life in which we draw our strength from a higher purpose and our internal wisdom – and no longer from successes or relationships.
For me, this does not mean that we should and must life our lives ignoring everything “on the outside”. After all, it is a gift that we can experience such things. The key, in my opinion, is to enjoy these things and experiences WITHOUT “attachment”.
“Attachment” can be expressed, for example, as :
“I need this and that to feel such and such. There is no way I can live without this or that. If I lose this or that, my life is forfeit and over. If I don’t bring my dream and my purpose to success, I can no longer look myself in the eye …”
Evelyne Brink (2012) illustrates attachment in her book “The Artrepreneur. Financial Success for Artistic Souls” using a metaphor:
“You tie your well-being and feeling of safety and happiness around the bone and throw it as far away as you possibly can and then you run after it like a good dog. When you get it, when you achieve your goal, you wag your tail. Good doggy, happy doggy. That sensation lasts for a little while, but it wears off and then you want another hit of good feeling. So you throw the bone again and with it goes your well-being and happiness. You start running again and, more often than not, the bone lands in the bushes and you have a pretty adventurous hunt ahead. Trying to find your happiness somewhere, out there. We tie our well-being, our happiness, around the financial bone and try to get it. We throw the bone by setting higher and higher financial goals and expectations. “I need a house. I have a family to feed. I need a new car. I want a high definition super whatever TV” – and then we run and try to fetch the bone. And we get it and we can gnaw on it for a while and then we throw it again. When we don’t get it fast enough, we get really upset and ask, “Will I ever be happy?” Fetch is a fun game if you are a dog.”
What things do you tie your happiness to? What do you let define your self-worth? From where are you getting your sense of security?
Are your strategies for this really sustainable?
I am happy to get into a conversation about this with you.
Much Love, Georg