…so, I decided to write my own eulogy today.
I was sort of thinking (this is what I call it when I am not formally meditating but kind of just being) when the topic of death arose in my mind. No, I am not a “morbid” kind of guy, but recently I have had a few friends and acquaintances pass on, and the issue of why we always seem to have nice things to say about someone AFTER they die came up in a casual conversation. I guess that conversation sparked something in my soul because as I sat in informal stillness something popped up in my head. Allow me to explain in detail as to why I feel it is necessary to write my own eulogy.
Why We Speak Kindly of Those Who Have Died
It dawned on me that we aren’t being hypocrites when we speak kindly of those who have passed away even if we disliked them when they were “alive”. Rather, it is an act of forgiveness. It seems to me as I review my experiences with this, that we are simply forgiving those who have passed for whatever sins they may have committed while alive. It’s a fundamental spiritual activity to me. When someone passes, something deep inside us takes hold and we instantly REMOVE those ideas of separation that once dominated our relationship with the now departed. Fear and ego lose their grip on our understanding, and the essence of love, which we call “forgiveness”, takes over.
Simply put, we want to Love, and in that desire we forgive. This isn’t a subconscious activity. Rather it is one that is much deeper, possibly within that which CREATES the subconscious. It is that part of us so deep we often lose sight of it; that part of us that creates all other parts of us. The soul, our Being, the Holy Spirit, God. Whatever you want to call it, it is there fully realized the moment you forgive even if you don’t know why you are doing the forgiving.
Of course, for most the ego takes over shortly afterward. It then suggests that you are being a hypocrite for being nice about someone you disliked while alive or, as most of us will, forget about those ideas of separation we created between us and the person we are eulogizing. The ego doesn’t want you to realize your True Self, so it judges you, calls you names, labels you so that you fall back in line. It’s the ego regaining control. Ignore it and bask in the light of YOU, the Forgiver, the Lover, the Peacemaker.
That leads me to why I want to write my own eulogy now.
My Eulogy, A Statement of Forgiveness
I know, many reading this were probably thinking that my writing my own eulogy was an exercise in ego. I needed it to state how great I am, how wonderful I am because, after all, eulogies are just that. Yet, I have much more sinister reasons in mind. At least my ego thinks so!
First, I consider a eulogy to be a statement of the forgiveness we offer those who have passed away. Yes, we need to forgive everyone in our lives because, frankly, we are wronged by everyone at some point in our journey whether we choose to admit it or not. At some point in our relationship we create a moment of separation, an idea that separates us from our beloved, from each other or from ourselves. It could be something from “damn, her dress is cut so low I can see her belly button from the top” to “why did I eat that ice cream”. It could be something much more serious, or something far more benign. Yet, it’s there, an idea by which we have created some separation.
When we eulogize someone, either in a formal setting or in a private conversation, we somehow forget those ideas of separation and gain an understanding of the Oneness that is the Truth. The affronts to our person are forgiven, and we focus on those things that truly matter. It’s a moment of transformation where fear dies and Love resurrects. The stone is rolled back and Love emanates from the cave. Focus on that moment, and know your True Self.
My eulogy begins as a method of removing my ideas of separation about myself so that, one day, others may be able to remove those ideas of separation they have about me as well. Not a bad premise, huh? So, in writing my own eulogy, I am forgiving myself. I am allowing Love to radiate and fear to fall away. It may be something we all want to do.
My Eulogy, A Statement of Intention
Secondly, when I eulogize others it is a pure statement of forgiveness. When I eulogize myself and bask in that glow of self-forgiveness, I am also issuing a statement of intention. I am stating a “higher vision of myself”, and it could become a physical manifestation of my spiritual intention.
See, my writing my own eulogy is a spiritual exercise designed to help me understand my higher vision of who I am and then put that vision into action so that I may enrich the world. Yes, I see my intention as that powerful. Also, it is not about what I have done, but how I want my Self to be seen when my time here is finally over. Even though I see my intention as that powerful, I understand it only gets its power when it is put into action.
For instance, if I say “Tom was a great father, a loving husband, and a helping hand to all who needed it”, aren’t I stating an intention that I was to be a great father, a loving husband and a helping hand to all who needed it? If that is my “higher vision of self”, aren’t I in fact stating to the Universe my intentions to be that higher vision? If I state, “Tom worked tirelessly to feed the hungry”, hadn’t I better start working to feed the hungry in order to make that statement true? See, my eulogy is NOT a statement of the past, or at least it shouldn’t be, it should be a statement of intention. Your eulogy of me, however, will be a statement of how my intentions became real within your perspective of forgiveness.
Putting my eulogy together reminded me of something. There are very few people who have achieved “greatness” who haven’t lived up to their eulogy. Mother Teresa, Gandhi, Jesus, Buddha (among others) all lived their eulogies and then some. They fulfilled their intention and in doing so became greatness among us. They so understood their intention and were so focused on working it that they became “great” people in the process. We all have that power, that ability, if only we would stop creating ideas that separate us from that power.
Using the Mother Teresa, Gandhi, Jesus and Buddha example, their ideas of separation (religion, for example) became irrelevant when perusing their intention. For example, even though Mother Teresa expressed moments of deep spiritual loss and blackness, she was living her intention which was, for all intents and purposes, her true spirituality. Remember this important component when writing your eulogy: Your eulogy should not be a statement of who you are, but what you intend to do. When I suggested that I was a “loving father”, I was not stating who I was, but rather what I did. In this exercise, “loving father” was a verb, not an adjective.
It’s (Almost) Never Too Late to be Great
Do me a favor. Inhale deeply. Now exhale fully. Do it again and repeat if necessary.
As long as you can do that simple exercise it is not too late to be great. Keep that in mind here.
You don’t have to have books written about you or become a famous guru or spiritual master to be great. You need simply live out your highest vision of self, your intention, and the Universe will answer. It’s that simple. Want to work with children? Work with them. Want to feed the hungry? Feed them. Want to make a difference? Make a difference. State the intention, work the intention and become great in the process.
I do, however, have one qualifier. Your statement of intention and work should never be another’s burden. If YOU wish to clean up the street, then clean it up. Don’t send letters to your neighbors telling them THEY have to clean it up. If you start picking up trash, others may follow you in acting upon THEIR intention, but then it is theirs, not yours. You may even tell others you are going to do it, and suggest that they may help you, but that is where it should stop. If I want to feed the hungry, I can state the intention for others to hear, but I can’t force them into my intention in any way. It is mine, and they have their own. Period.
My eulogy should never read “forced others to feed the poor”. That is not a higher vision I have for myself!
Fortunately, I have time to to say I lo….
A bit of sarcasm here and I apologize for it. It was necessary to make my point. You don’t have time. You have now. Make it happen now, not tomorrow or next week. It should NOT be hard regardless of the issues your ego creates to keep you from your dream. If you LOVE that vision you have, then that love will smooth the waves and allow you to walk on water.
Remember, the ideas you plant in that mind of yours will lead you to your vision. What you think you are you are, and what you think I am I am until that moment when forgiveness happens. I trust you will make the right choice because you can’t help yourself. There is no wrong here except in the ideas I have created that make it wrong.
I would tell you to read my eulogy now but it is a private affair. Rather, I want you to see my eulogy in action. I am making it happen now, and it may take time for it to flow to you, but I assure you the words are meaningless compared to the action. Enjoy it, relish in it, and live it.