I was told that before he died, Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs wrote a letter where he reflected on life. According to the letter, he wrote, “Treasure love for your family, love for your spouse, love for your friends. … God gave us the senses to let us feel the love in everyone’s heart, not the illusions brought about by wealth. The wealth I have won in my life, I cannot bring with me. What I can bring is only the memories precipitated by love. That’s the true riches that will follow you, accompany you giving you strength and light to go on.”
Indeed, before a person dies, he begins to feel something of the truth. The approaching death makes him give up his ego and enables him to see the truth.
There is a boundary between caring for oneself and emerging into an entirely different realm where there is overflowing love. The ego prevents us from finding it because it is always looking inward—at what I have and what I can gain, rather than at what is really out there. Therefore, when it steps aside, we realize what we have been missing all our lives: a world full of love that exists all around us.
The ego “dies” just before the person dies. Freed from its shackles, we can now realize that we have not really loved before and do not know what true love is. It is a sad moment of reckoning when we realize that all our lives we have thought only of ourselves.
There are those who advise people on their deathbed—and I have witnessed it myself—that in that state we should drink, smoke, enjoy ourselves and take as much as we can from life while we still can. This approach may be honest, but I do not think it brings happiness.
We must remember that the soul never stops evolving; it continues to develop even after a person’s physical demise. Therefore, realizing the true meaning of love, that love is not about feeling my own existence, but that I exist for the sake of others and that satisfying them makes me happy, that realization is priceless and eternal.