As I stand staring at the fire, slightly intoxicated, I start to get enchanted by its beauty. The flames ability to dance around with such grace and freedom yet still possessing the threat of danger made me feel at ease. I felt jealous of its power. Then it occurred to me that maybe this was not as beautiful as I had imagined. Maybe the flames, in all their unpredictability, are really trying to escape their inevitable death, trying desperately to grab the dry desert bush around the bonfire to extend their existence. The flames feeling panicked and out of control because they are blocked off from their life source. Even then I still felt at ease knowing that even Mother Nature must experience anxiety from time to time. That even Mother Nature knows life is not forever.
I was recently reading an article and read this quote:
“All anxiety, all dissatisfaction, all the reason for hoping our experience could be different are rooted in our fear of death. Fear of death is always in the background…Trungpa Rinpoche once gave a public lecture titled ‘Death in Everyday Life.’ We are raised in a culture that fears death and hides it from us. Nevertheless, we experience it all the time. We experience it in the form of disappointment, in the form of things not working out. We experience it in the form of things always being in a process of change. When the day ends, when the second ends, when we breathe out, that’s death in everyday life…” Pema Chodron
The idea that we experience death daily hit me like a flash of light. An eye opening moment filled with a release of tension. This theory could help with my sometimes debilitating anxiety. If death is more common or at least viewed that way than it loses power. It’s simple supply and demand. The more something is available the less people want it. But once it’s on every shelf, well, then it’s not as popular. Its power dies off slowly as the next big thing takes its place.
The same could be applied to death. If I were able to see death in everyday life then the thought of my own death may seem less important, no longer the center of my anxiety. Accepting that death is a part of life is sobering. Learning from those flames I’ve realized that even though death is coming that does not mean I cannot try my hardest to survive while I’m here. I need to fight for myself and my existence. Only then will I feel at ease when my flame is extinguished forever.