Saturday, March 9, 2019

Stoic philosophy - Seneca: Dying well

Stoic philosophy is a regular feature of the UU A Way Of Life ministries blog which appears on Saturdays.


"It's not a bad life if you know how to live it," is a phrase I have been muttering to myself since I was a boy. I don't know where I learned it but it has been a theme of my life to which I turn when I feel unhappy.

Now getting to the end of my life at age 73, I am more aware than previously of coming to the end of my life. Since I was in my 50s, I think of death on a regular basis. To become aware of one's motality is normal, and not only normal, but a good thing because the awareness of one's mortality helps a person live more mindfully.

The covenant of Unitarian Univeralism helps a person overcome the separation and join with others on the path of the Spirit where we are reminded that Unconditional Love is immortal and doesn't die but is One with the Creator of which we are a part.

It says in A Course In Miracles, in the introduction, "The course does not aim at teaching the meaning of love, for that is beyond what can be taught. It does aim, however, at removing the blocks to the awareness of love's presence, which is your natural inheritance. The opposite of love is fear, but what is all encompassing can have no opposite."

And so what I have been learning as I have lived my life is how to get back home from whence I came. Shedding the body, the creation and home of the ego, will be the last thing I have to do to experience the Divine Love that I faintly remember and have spent my life, most of the time unconsciously, pursuing.

Does Unitarian Univeralism with its covenant to affirm and promote seven principles help us die well? Yes. The covenant is a manifestation that we are all in this thing called Life together and none of us gets our bodies out alive. As the spirit is pried lose we embrace the interdependent web of all existence of which we have reminded ourselves regularly that we are a part. While our bodies die, our spirit is healed as we return once again to become one with our Loving Creator and to experience at the primal level the inherent worth and dignity which we all share.

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