Fear of Life vs. Fear of Death

I just completed reading Into the Wild and naturally it has brought many things to my attention. I can’t help but feel a kindredness and see many similarities between myself and McCandless. A fan of Tolstoy and Thoreau, many may consider him an ideological, dreamer. He was too green or ignorant about survival in the Alaskan bush and had it coming to him, is what many of his critics proclaim (how easy it is to judge from the outside, to see flaws and determine how best to solve or live a seemed problem, when it is not actually happening to us and we’re not in someone Else’s shoes).  I don’t see this at all. I get his perspective (I live in a freaking shed with no electricity for crying out loud). I’ve frequently been testing myself with little adventures. For me its about breaking down resistance and conditioned thinking. Finding and staying true to myself, not following the rules of how I think others want me to be or in fitting societal norms or rules (any fool can make a rule and any fool can follow it- Thoreau). I’ve talked about solitude and believe this is where me and McCandless differ. I perceived (based on my interpretation of the book) that he seemed to be fleeing intimacy (he wasn’t a loner, but he would go before getting too close. Although I also believe, that based on his highlighting, that he came around at the end to see life is also about love and service), whereas I’ve already discovered the importance of love and relationships and adventures are a way to reconnect with this not to escape it, but appreciate what I do have more. What some may not understand is that he chose to live the way he did and was seemingly happy. He wasn’t trying to fit a mold. It wasn’t about money or possessions (he donated $24,000 to charity out of college and at one point in the book burns the remainder of his money, as he abandons his car), he was living in the moment, never knowing where he’d end up or hitch a ride to next. He was doing what we should all aspire to do and that is to just BE. He tested himself. He went to Alaska to test his survival and dealing with ‘suffering’ and what one’s body could take. He was aware that he may die. This brings the main point of this post, death. My friends get on me for my trips (similar to how people would judge McCandless)- you have it coming. The thing is that we’re not afraid of dying. People can judge him for how he lived, but the truth was that he was LIVING. I think it is far worse to be afraid of living than death. What’s to fear about death? For one it’s something out of your control (in most cases), so how can you worry or stress about something you have no control over. Plus once you’re dead how are you supposed to worry about things-you’re dead. Well he’s selfish, look at what he’s done to his family. Again once you’re dead how can you worry about how others cope. How people grief and view death is their own opinion. This is another memes or excuse for not living, concerned with others (I came into this world alone and I’ll die alone). I am of the Tao mind,where I come from an infinite energy source that does not end with the death of my physical body, which is merely a vessel while on this plane of existence. Death is a part of the cycle, it may seem sad when people die young, but you can’t change what is (things happen for a reason). You can change your perspective and let their spirit/soul carry on, however. Now that we’ve covered dying, I think the problem is that many fear living (like my tattoo say: Don’t Fear Dearth Fear Life Unlived). We get wrapped up in mundane schedules and have several safety nets in place. We have the job that, although we may not love it or its not our passion, we keep for financial safety. We may have people in our lives who are a negative force, but they’re there (or we feel we have no one else or place to go), so we allow ourselves to be mistreated. We get cushy, never wanting or afraid to take risk. We’re afraid of not knowing, of not having a plan, of failure, of breaking with the character we feel we’re supposed to be. We have five and ten year plans. When we retire we’ll travel and live our lives. But whose to say you’ll ever get there? Why not live life now? Why not act and BE now? Because we’re afraid and we have a plethora of excuses and memes in our arsenal, ready to fire at the thought of actually doing something, or crossing the line of what we’re supposed to do. We coax ourselves that death is to be feared and dreaded, when really we’re avoiding life and staying ‘safe’. Fear of death is so silly. Don’t worry about what may happen, but focus on what is happening right now! Don’t just dream about life, but live the life you dream (New tattoo: Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake-Thoreau). Take a risk, break the cycle and free yourself from all these safety nets, let yourself fall (just pick yourself up. Falling isn’t failing!) The only important moment is the moment we’re in right NOW! make your vessel’s journeys worthwhile; BE YOU!

BE, Love, Illuminate

Brittany

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