Recently, many analyses have surfaced showing the excess mortality that Covid-19 has wrought. Even with the existence of vaccines, the virus is still spreading and in many countries, claims hundreds, and even thousands of lives each day. This grim reality has prompted some students to ask me about the meaning of life and death.
Indeed, we treat life as something very important, and for a good reason, but on condition that we act on this reason. If we go through our lives just passing the time, then all we get out of it is the few ounces of pain we have collected. However, if we use it to make the most of the opportunity we have received to approach, or even achieve the spiritual realm of life, namely to connect with other people to the point where we feel them in our hearts, then life is precious.
Inherently, we feel that we do not owe anything to anyone and should only please ourselves. However, we do not realize that this is just our starting point in life. If we end life at the same point where we started, then we have wasted our chance to make progress. From thinking of nothing but ourselves, we should spend our lives trying to extend ourselves and connect to others, to develop care for others. By doing so, we become similar to the connectivity that permeates all of nature and our consciousness expands proportionally.
A newborn baby doesn’t know anything of its environment except for the existence of its own mother, and even that awareness only pertains to the sides of her that relate to the baby. As the baby grows, it begins to realize that there are other things and people around, and begins to communicate with them.
The same process should happen internally. We should evolve from knowing and feeling only ourselves to knowing and feeling our whole environment—people, animals, and objects. This can happen only if we care about them. If we only seek to use them to please ourselves, we will know about them as much as the newly born knows about its mother. What a shame it is to die without having learned more about the reality we live in.
If we want to give our lives meaning, we should spend it connecting to other people—not in order to use them, but in order to care about them. This is what makes life precious.