We would seem to be well prepared for mortality by the simple need to sleep each night. And it is certain that death affects those who remain far more than it does the actual individual who exists no longer. Yet I admit that as an elder who sees the end nearer and more clearly day by day, there is in fact something strange and dreadful about “passing away.”
Life must fight to continue each moment, and the complex beings which we are have evolved to require ourselves to project into the future. That is why the ultimate emptiness of not being affects us most. How can we contemplate a future in which we have no place?
The task is much harder for those with plans and responsibilities. So a classic solution has been to detach from all caring or ambition. All that seems to do, unfortunately, is eliminate the wonder of being fully alive.
Most of us reach a more or less happy inbetween state, very committed to continuing and striving, but also aware of all that is beyond our control. Facing mortality in such a manner is not all that different from dealing with the infinite problems of conscious life itself.
Easy to say …