Questions to Ask at the End of Your Life

“I wish I had worked harder.”  Said no one ever on his or her deathbed.

Isn’t it ironic how there seems to be a consensus on how not to live one’s life, and yet; very few of us really live our lives according to that wisdom. It is as if we have two identities: one, which revolves around playing the game, chasing the dream, helping corporations and governments move capital around like piles of sand from one place to the other, paying taxes, chasing passions, using the right apps, wearing the right clothes, and rooting for the right team. And then, there is the other identity, which wryly observes all of this madness and is deeply fulfilled instead by love, connections, service, spirituality, and beauty. Eckhart Tolle explains these two identities clearly in his book “The Power of Now.” The first identity, he says, is the ego, and is created from all of the mental thinking that we do when we focus our attention on the past and on the future. The second identity is our true Being, the individuated consciousness that is connected to everything else, to “all that there is,” which we find when we focus on the present.

So it got me thinking about what questions I would ask at the end of my life, as I look back and assess how well I did this time around. I came up with a few:

  • How well did I learn to love, forgive, and be compassionate?
  • How much of a positive impact did I make on other living entities?
  • How well did I learn the life lessons that I was supposed to, in order to evolve my consciousness?
  • How well did I attain happiness?
  • How well did I eradicate fear from my driving forces?

Questions I would not ask:

  • Did I work hard enough?
  • Was I punctual?
  • Did I follow the rules?

Still, I know that I am expending more energy following the ego’s plan, but it is ever so slowly shifting.

I would love to hear what questions others would ask and not ask.

questions

5 Responses to Questions to Ask at the End of Your Life

  1. Ben Brujo says:

    Excellent post, Jim. I’ve been thinking about these things lately and I’ve come to the conclusion (that is when anxiety and slight depression don’t get in the way) that your first 5 bullet points pretty much cover it all. To give it an 8 Circuit Brain analogy the first would be to love yourself. The second would be to love those that you would call family and friends. The third I suppose would be to try to help Humanity as a whole as much as you can. 4 through 8? I guess I’m not there yet? I guess I would ask if I did enough to help us all get back to the Godhead/Great Programmer/Moksha?

  2. Dave K78 says:

    Ask: Did I matter to anyone? Is the world a little better because of me? Will this be painful?
    Not ask: Can you grab my mail for a few days? What’s the balance of my checking account? Did I leave the stove on?

  3. RogerV says:

    Mine wouldn’t so much be a question as an exclamation – “Seriously, Elvis is still back down on the Earth plane?!!!”

  4. Keith Harris says:

    Truly a relevant post, perhaps highlighting the most relevant issues of all as per Gauguin’s painting, “Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?”

    Tasks for the present, in preparation for those end-of-life questions:

    1. To reach the most reasonable conclusions about one’s individual purpose.
    2. To identify one’s areas needing work — fear or hesitation? anger? lack of compassion? Etc.
    3. To use #s 1 & 2 to design one’s plan for personal growth and evolution.

    (Of course a significant proportion of people are so busy with everyday life that they seem unconcerned with such issues.)

  5. keithsharris says:

    Truly a relevant post, perhaps highlighting the most relevant issues of all as per Gauguin’s painting, “Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?”

    Tasks for the present, in preparation for those end-of-life questions:

    1. To reach the most reasonable conclusions about one’s individual purpose.
    2. To identify one’s own areas needing work — fear or hesitation? anger? lack of compassion?
    3. To use #s 1 & 2 to design one’s plan for personal growth and evolution.

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