Understanding death improves quality of life
Our Beloved Family:
I saw a dragonfly buzzing around a cluster of flowers the other day and was amazed at how it was able to maneuver its long twig-like body with such precision. Glinting in the sun of iridescent blues and greens, it navigated what seemed like an awkward body effortlessly through the petals by flying up, down, sideways and even backwards. I later learned that dragonflies are the only insect capable of such aerial versatility.
Dragonflies were some of the very first insects to evolve and have remained virtually unchanged for millions of years because of their optimal design. The damselfly is a type of dragonfly, and one thing that has remained unchanged about it is its life cycle. Like many types of dragonflies, the damselfly lays its eggs underwater. When hatched, the damselfly larvae live off of microorganisms in the water and can remain submerged anywhere from a few months to three years, even as the water surface freezes over in winter. When the time is right, they breach the surface of the water and enter into the world in their winged form. Once out in the open air, the damselfly’s lifespan in quite short. It has only two weeks to find a mate and lay the eggs of the next generation before it dies.
I’ve sat with many patients during their final hours before making their transition, and also witnessed the miracle of birth with others. What strikes me most about the lifecycle of the damselfly is how its brief existence mirrors our own temporary journey through life. Like the damselfly that initially lives underwater for years, we too existed long before we entered this physical world. Life is so fleeting for humans, but as with the damselfly, it actually constitutes the smallest part of our existence. In its initial watery surroundings, the damselfly larvae are full of creative potential as they change, grow and move through their metamorphosis. In the same way, we initially exist in the spirit realm among infinite possibility, waiting for the perfect time to break through the veil separating the worlds into the adventure that is life.
It’s important not to be fixated on the temporary experience we call life, because like the damselfly, it’s the tiniest part of our eternal beingness. It’s easy to be fooled by what looks like the concrete nature of life and to get stuck in a very rigid, polarized way of living. In my book, The Clarity Cleanse, I refer to this as the concrete realm of limitations and judgments. Instead, we should aspire to live our lives more like the damselfly, living with a defined purpose, but never clinging to the physical world because we know that we too will soon return to that realm of possibility and change when our time comes full circle. That realm is our real home where we will spend the vast majority of our eternal existence, interrupted with brief breaks through the surface to have temporary adventures in the material world. If we can always keep in mind the awareness of where we came from and that we’re not just participants in life but constitute the process of life itself, our lives take on more meaning and a greater sense of purpose regardless of whether they last 18 or 80 years. We can live in a fuller way because in celebrating life, we also honor death and welcome the transition that will take us on to the next phase of our own metamorphosis.
Love, Light, & Clarity in the Month Ahead,
Dr. Habib Sadeghi
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