Understanding Death as a Process of Transformation
Today, I want to delve into a topic that tends to make us feel uneasy: death.
Not just the physical act but the concept of death as a day-to-day occurrence and as an ultimate vehicle of transformation. Ironically, while death is such an integral part of the life cycle, we often shy away from discussing it.
We may find it too painful or too uncomfortable, particularly in instances where it pertains to the loss of a loved one or an aspect of our identity.
With this piece, I hope to destigmatize the conversation around death, reshifting our focus towards its transformative potential.
Why Address Death?
Firstly, let’s address the central question: why talk about death at all? Life, as we navigate it daily, encompasses both birth and death in equal measures. Both are vital processes, deserving of our respect and understanding.
Just as we celebrate life, it is important to embrace and honor death. Addressing death allows us to process and cope with unexpected changes, painful losses, and necessary transformations.
Identifying Death: External vs Internal Causes
Now, when I mention death, I don’t restrict myself to physical mortality. Instead, I refer to any part of our identity or reality that is transforming, a segment that is “dying” to facilitate change.
There are mainly two causes that spark this metaphorical death: **external causes** and **internal causes**.
External Causes of Death
External causes, as the name suggests, come from situations outside of our control that urge us to adapt. This could be losing a job, ending a relationship, or even suffering from an accident. These external circumstances push us to let go of certain identities, adapt to the new normal, and ultimately, bring about an essential part of us that must “die” to coincide with the altered reality.
“External causes of death are essentially elements outside our control that forces us to adapt and invoke changes within our self-identity.”
Internal Causes of Death
Then, we have the internal causes, where we consciously decide to let go of certain facets of our identity, make significant changes, and be reborn in a sense. These could be a result of moments of introspection, self-realization, or a conscious bid to improve oneself, signifying a more self-triggered transformation process.
“With internal causes, we make the decision to change, initiating a rebirth through self-driven transformation.”
No matter what sparks the metaphorical death, the process itself is powerful and transformative. It enables us to let go of our former selves, evolve, and adapt to new circumstances. From every significant shift in our lives, we emerge changed, transformed, and hopefully, matured. Embracing this process, this cycle of life and death, allows us to cope with change and the ‘deaths’ that come with it in a healthier and more enriching way.
We often view death as an ending, something negative, or a dreaded eventuality.
However, when we start perceiving it as a process of transformation, it becomes less daunting. It serves as a reminder that letting go of old facets can be liberating, paving the way for change and growth. Death in this sense, is a beautiful process, ensuring evolution and change, and a fundamental part of life.
Embracing Death as a Catalyst for Transformation
Change is difficult for many of us yet it is something that life thrusts upon us, often without prior notice. One sanguine way to perceive change is to echo nature’s cyclical flow of life and death — contemplating on death, not as an end, but as a transformation into something novel and often, remarkably radiant.
Embracing change and the observance of death as a part of self-transformation is a very beautiful and powerful thing.
The Metaphorical Death
What exactly does it signify to embrace death? It certainly does not entail a physical expiration. Rather, it’s about moving past old conditionings, outworn patterns, and stuck behaviors that no longer contribute vital value to our lives.
Unfortunately, many of us tend to cling to these archaic aspects of ourselves due to the fear of the unknown, thus hindering progress and causing undue suffering. But the key to liberating ourselves lies in honoring the metaphorical death of these aspects of our identity.
Understanding and embracing the cycle of mortality and rebirth, enables a perceptual transformation, leading to a new identity with every iteration.
A Sticky Point of Resistance: Change
One pivotal aspect of this process is the resistance to change. Sometimes, it’s the old patternings that keep us stuck, which can get very ‘sticky’ when we are on the cusp of necessary alteration. Our innate instinct may fight against it, causing deep distress and discomfort.
As life doggedly pushes us toward change, embracing this shift instead of resisting it can make the journey smoother and more rewarding. In other words, the more we resist, the more we suffer.
“Just as water smoothly winds around obstacles, embracing change helps us navigate life’s unexpected turns with grace and ease.”
The Splendid Process of Rebirth
At the heart of any transformation, death holds a central, albeit intangible role. It’s about allowing death, or the cessation of old patterns, to unfold with consciousness and awareness. This makes way for stability and sets the stage for a beautiful rebirth.
By welcoming change, and understanding that death rests only in the metaphorical sense, we pave the way for a new, reinvigorated version of ourselves. Mustering the tenacity to let parts of our old identity die can lead to the nuanced emergence of a stronger, more adaptable self.
This cyclical process of death and rebirth brings to mind the transformation of a cocoon into a butterfly. It does not demand external support or interference to emerge from the cocoon; the butterfly depends wholly on its inherent power to transform.
“Understanding and embracing death in its metaphorical sense, as a transformative process, is a healthy and helpful approach to life’s many changes and challenges.”
Let’s embrace the cyclical nature of life and death, recognizing the inherent potential each has to trigger growth and transformation. Both bring about change, urging us to adapt and navigate through life with resilience and grace.
Photo by Kylli Sparre.