In the end, these things matter most: How well did you love? How fully did you live? How deeply did you let go? - Siddhartha Gautama
Off and on, I turn my attention to dying. I have heard it said that our entire life in a preparation for our death, and I see the truth in that. If you believe that we are a spiritual being having a human experience, then we will return to soul, and the life we spent in human form was a learning playground to return to awareness of our spiritual nature.
There is a metaphysical mythology that says we are souls come in to bodies to be able to experience things you cannot experience in a spiritual form, such as pleasure, touch, movement, etc. The myth says we used to take our bodies off like clothing, and go back in when we wanted to play again. A little like the movie Avatar. But, we became so engrossed in the human experience, we lost our ability to let go of the body, and over-identified with the physical form. In time, we forgot we are spirits at all, says the mythology. And so we do not stay trapped in human form, we each die, to ensure that we will return to our spiritual nature if we do not remember how to do it while we are in human form. I like that idea very much.
I believe that the Siddhartha quotation is big part of preparing to die. It is very important to me to live a life free of regret. In many ways, those three principles are the guiding values of my life. I love loving. There is a quotation in Les Miserables "To love another person is to see the face of God." It is through loving others that I feel most connected to the Divine. So much so that I sometimes forget that the soul I can see in the person also has a layer of humanity over top, and that layer of humanity sometimes creates struggle. It is true of me too - my layer of humanity, my pain body, gets in the way of loving purely and fully from my Divine nature. But the goal still is to love well.
How fully did I live? I do not feel I have lived fully. I devoted myself to caring for others, taking on responsibilities and commitments, and I fear I have not lived as fully as I would like. I am changing that this year. I denied myself freedom, and set priorities that were "shoulds" instead of the truth of my soul. I was struck yesterday in speaking to my mentor that he could see the struggle between my calling and my responsibilities, and that if I do not resolve that by taking a risk and follow my calling, I may wither and wane inside. And I have set amazing creation in place, so I know I am on the path to living my fullest life.
How deeply did I let go? After many decades, I am learning to forgive and let go. There is so much to let go, and as I excavate my true soul from under the layers of rubble and scar tissue, I am sometimes overwhelmed by the work I have yet to do. But it is in the letting go that the work ceases to overwhelm and the burden is lifted. So my only real work is to let go deeply. This may be the hardest of all three questions for me to face. And in the end, those are the three things on which I will measure my life's success.