In my living room lives a large canvas with the following quote:
“It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live”
This is a quote from Marcus Aurelius book “Meditations” which is essentially a war journal. I read this when I was sixteen years old, and have gone back to it several times.
I think about this quote often. I wander if having a fear of living disguises itself as the fear of death. Perhaps we are not afraid to die, but we are more so terrified to live. Terrified to make choices that might cause a little uncertainty.
You might be in a situation where you want to start a business or find a new life partner but think about all of the possible reasons you could fail on your quest. You fear the infinite possibilities that your choices can bring.
So those dreams and goals get filed away into the back of your mind and slowly fade. The problem although is; they don’t disappear – you can constantly hear them and see them in the background. They eat away at you slowly and often.
You ask yourself “what if?”- Your life is not aligned with your spirit and when the end comes you will be unprepared.
How then do you start living?
I contemplate on my mortality frequently. In conversations with friends I often bring up the topic of death and those in my company begin to suspect that I suffer from some depression that I keep at bay with a positive exterior.
I think about the fact that I will soon die. One the most impactful authors and spiritual teachers I’ve had the privilege to learn from has been Wayne Dyer. He expressed a sentiment that more eloquently captured the essence of Marcus Aurelius’ message:
Don’t die with your music still inside you.
Take action towards the fulfillment of your dreams, and if you meet failure along the path, that’s OK. Consider that the speed of your failure determines the probability of your success. The faster you fail – the more quickly you can learn, retool, and try again, bringing you one step closer to your goal.
My biggest fear is to die with my music still inside of me.
I want you to think about what your music is – what is the dream that’s calling you?
Contemplate for a moment about what a great shame it would be for you to die with that beautiful dream, and that joyful music still inside of you.