We are all going to die. You, me, all of us. As The Doors’ Jim Morrison sang so prophetically in the song Five to One, “No one here gets out alive.” Once you understand you aren’t immortal, the next question many of us have is, “What’s next?” With seven billion human beings living on the planet, there are seven billion different answers for that one. Congratulations if you’re certain of your outcome based on your beliefs. However, there’s another question that may be even more relevant to humanity: What are you leaving behind?
As we experience being human, there is no mistake that we reap the benefits of those who asked and answered this question while alive. I am personally humbled beyond words and comprehension of the gift of life in every form. For thousands of years, billions of human beings have lived on earth. We are miraculously inter and intra-connected, both physically and spiritually to one another, so deeply that the folly of thinking we are different from each other is both hilarious and absurd.
We certainly need each other, but it’s so much more than that. Our human experience is entirely formed by the input of those who came before us. Their content frames our thinking and understanding of the world around us.
What you know (or believe you know), you learned. You learned it from your mother, father, brothers, sisters, grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, teachers, coaches, friends, mentors and community. No surprise here, guess where they learned it? Our entire recorded history is one of others leaving something behind so someone else could reap the benefits of that knowledge. Jesus, Buddha, Confucius, Allah, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Shakespeare, Franklin, Washington, Lincoln, Einstein, Ford, Edison, Rockefeller, King, Kennedy, Gandhi, Falk—the list contains millions of contributors to our current way of thinking and quality of life.
Our individual faiths give us a belief system as to what we believe happens to us after we die. The reality of it is that no one really knows. What we consciously experience on a daily basis is a result of what someone else has left behind for us to benefit from. The car you drive, home you live in, food you eat, schools you attend, books you read, shows you watch, etc. are exactly that…someone else’s gift left behind. While alive, they consciously thought about manifesting their gifts so that what they left behind would be their legacy to humanity. What will be yours? I say focus on what’s happening now and how you’re contributing to those who come after you. There’s no better reason for living powerfully and with purpose!