Presence. What is the first thing you’d do if you had 1 year of life left? One month? One day? This is a lost question in our culture, extinct. Last I checked 10/10 people die. But how does this affect our lives? How do we embrace this dark truth and continue to live? Some respond with the “hermit syndrome” (hiding), some respond with agnosticism and apathy (depression), others see the uncertainty of life as a challenge, a pulse that propels us into each day with more vigor and gusto than the day before.
Enter Crazy Horse, leader of the Lakota Sioux tribe.
“Hokahey, today is a good day to die.”
Legend has it that the warriors of the Lakota repeated this to themselves every day. Things brings the questions, How did this practice affect their lives? What does it mean to be not only receptive to death but to embrace it, consume it as a part of who we are?
Enter Naval Ravikant…
We are infinitesimal in comparison to this life. Our bodies will fade. Our iPhones will fade. Our parents will fade. Our galaxy will fade. But the universe, matter, will carry on. We even remember whole civilizations with only one word (e.g. Babylon).
“Whatever your natural state is, its probably not this, your living state, your natural state, is true over a much longer time frame…you can’t take it too seriously you cant get too hung up over it you cant make yourself miserable or unhappy over it…Nothing you do will matter that much in the long run. Don’t take yourself so seriously.”-Naval Ravikant
If you were to live with the mindset of “today is a good day to die”, what is 1 thing you would change? I like to split this into different areas. How would it affect your diet? How would it affect your sleep? How would it affect you music choice? How would it affect your schoolwork? These are questions I am constantly asking myself.
I often wonder if those who see my scar think I received brain surgery for a tumor. This leads me to wonder how my life would be if I got diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. What if I had 6 months left? I began planning exactly what I would do differently, the exact bucket list I would put together, the rules I would break, all the childhood crushes I would kiss, the puppies I would save. But I caught myself in this web of fantasies. Is that really how I would spend it? What if I were too sick to save the world? In fact, this list sounds exhausting. On second thought, I began to realize that I might just chill. I must just let the good times roll with friends and family with the occasional cookie peppered in here and there. I asked myself, why am I not living this way now? Should it be different?
So I present you all with a question, how can we embrace death, shed the false shackles of the “future” that weigh us down, while still maintaining a sustainable lifestyle? Ask yourself this often, and answer it with courage.
You cannot truly LIVE until you begin to view death as a future gift, not a present fear.
To see the video by Naval Ravikant, click: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfSPO_jZJmU
To learn more about Crazy Horse, read a history book.