If this topic makes you uncomfortable, then it is even more important that you heed its advice.
I began exploring this idea when I first started gaining a serious interest in the martial arts. I think I heard this quote from the Hagakure (“Book of the Samurai”) in the movie Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai:
“Meditation on inevitable death should be performed daily. Every day when one’s body and mind are at peace, one should meditate upon being ripped apart by arrows, rifles, spears and swords, being carried away by surging waves, being thrown into the midst of a great fire, being struck by lightning, being shaken to death by a great earthquake, falling from thousand-foot cliffs, dying of disease or committing seppuku at the death of one’s master. And every day without fail one should consider himself as dead.”
I began this type of meditation and it proved to be an interesting exercise…. Here are 3 reasons why I think it is a beneficial practice:
1) It fosters an appreciation of life and a sense of perspective. Consider for a moment if you were about to die in just a few seconds. Whatever thoughts went through your head, I doubt they were the frivolous worries that people commonly engage in all throughout the day. Suddenly, the school midterm you have due tomorrow or car payments you have to make become meaningless. Maybe they meaningless and maybe they’re not. But EITHER WAY they are much less important in that moment than they usually were. And the fact that they CAN be less important in your mind, can be a powerful revelation in and of itself. The things you do feel are important when meditating on a an imminent death are what is TRULY IMPORTANT in life. Don’t be on your ACTUAL death bed before you realize this! Also, meditating on a painful death can remind you how blessed you are to be in the state of health that you are.
2) It prepares you death. Death is inevitable and nothing to be afraid of. Check out religion if you don’t believe me :). Coping with your fear of death before you face it will allow you to be more accepting of it when the time comes.
3) It makes you a badass warrior. Maybe some people don’t care about this point, but if you are a martial artist it is important. You can never fight with your truest spirit if you go into battle with a fear of pain or death. And if you don’t fight with you utmost spirit not only will you be cut down, but you will be cut down knowing that you held back, that you did not use all the resources you could have to achieve victory.
May God have mercy on the souls of those no longer with us on this earth…
Have fun with this one guys, and if you’re hesitant to try this remember: it’s all in your head.