Memento Mori: A Easy Follow for a Advanced Time

There may be nothing extra sure in life than the understanding of dying. It is the good equalizer of the world, and it’s blind – irrespective of if an individual is wealthy or poor, wholesome or unhealthy, good or unhealthy, clever or ignorant, any sentient being that experiences life should additionally expertise dying. It behooves anybody who needs to enhance themself to be conscious of dying and one’s mortality.




Does That Appear Somber?

It does not should be when you have the precise mindset. You’ll be able to select to reside in relative consolation, keep away from most dangers of hurt, assume the story is unheroically about you, and arrive on dying’s shore comparatively secure and intact, unmarred by the labor of nice pursuits in service to a trigger higher than your existence.


On the similar time, you might be experiencing the burden of remorse for by no means figuring out the true extent of your capabilities.


Then again, you’ll be able to select to depart behind a legacy outlined by a life lived with deep objective, that means, ethical character, convictions, compassion, and braveness, sturdy sufficient to encourage folks lengthy after your flesh and bones return to mud and particulate silence.


Innumerable folks all through human historical past have mirrored on dying as a solution to expertise life and reside it to their fullest potential. The follow has had many names in lots of languages over the millennia, however today it is most also known as Memento Mori.


A Temporary Historical past of Memento Mori

Memento Mori interprets to, “Bear in mind, you will need to die.” The follow has a really lengthy historical past that crosses cultures, continents, religions, and philosophies: from the traditional philosophers of Greece to Roman generals, Buddhist monks to Islamic Sufis – meditation on dying allowed all of them to pursue life.


In Plato’s Phaedo, the good thinker Socrates states earlier than he’s about to die:


 “…he who has lived as a real thinker has purpose to be of excellent cheer when he’s about to die, and that after dying he could hope to obtain the best good within the different world…For I deem that the true disciple of philosophy is more likely to be misunderstood by different males; they don’t understand that he’s ever pursuing dying and dying…”


The instance that Socrates set throughout his life and earlier than his execution would depart an enduring legacy on the whole lot of Western civilization and result in the beginning of many various faculties of philosophy.


One faculty specifically – Stoicism – changing into well-known as a sensible faculty of philosophy that careworn the significance of considering dying. The surviving writings of the traditional Stoics are full of admonitions to recollect dying and the three most well-known Stoics:



The slave, Epictetus The Roman statesman, Seneca The Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius


All have one thing to say about dying.


“All that you simply see will quickly perish; those that witness this perishing will quickly perish themselves. Die in excessive outdated age or die earlier than your time – it should all be the identical.”

– Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 9.33


“Maintain the prospect of dying, exile and all such obvious tragedies earlier than you daily – particularly dying – and you’ll by no means have an abject thought, or want something to extra.”

– Epictetus, Enchiridion, 21


I am endeavoring to reside daily as if it have been an entire life. I don’t certainly snatch it up as if it have been my final; I do regard it, nevertheless, as if it would even be my final. The current letter is written to you with this in thoughts as if dying have been about to name me away within the very act of writing. I’m able to depart, and I shall get pleasure from life simply because I’m not over-anxious as to the longer term date of my departure.”

– Seneca, Letters From a Stoic, Letter 61


The traditional Romans additionally practiced the contemplation of dying, Memento Mori being a Latin phrase.


Memento Mori comes from a Roman custom through which a basic would participate in a triumphal procession by way of the town, upon returning to Rome after a major victory. To be the topic of such a march was an excellent honor and the need of many formidable troopers.


Because the triumphant basic was carried by way of the town in his horse-drawn chariot to the good applause and reward of the folks of Rome, a slave would stand behind him, holding a crown over his head and whispering, “Respice submit te. Hominem te memento. Memento mori!”


“Look behind you. Bear in mind you might be mortal. Bear in mind you will need to die!”


This custom was a chance for the final to throw a grand celebration, and it allowed him some self-promotion, which might turn out to be useful ought to he resolve to run for political workplace sometime. It is a bit robust operating for workplace when no one’s heard of you, in spite of everything.


The aim of the slave whispering in his ear was to maintain the final’s ego and perspective in examine all through all the celebration, lest he forgets himself and does one thing disgraceful and offensive to the gods.


Memento Mori: A Simple Practice for a Complex Time - Fitness, fitness, meditation, motivation, focus, ego, mind-body connection, self confidence, inspiration, procrastination, mindfullness, goal planning, Life Challenges, fitness motivation, stoicism


Just a few hundred years later, in the course of the late Center Ages, Memento Mori had developed into an artwork type often known as Danse Macabre or the Dance of Loss of life.


At this level in historical past, Europe had simply been devastated by the Black Loss of life pandemic, with probably the most fatalities ever recorded in human historical past; dying was on everybody’s thoughts.


The Danse Macabre was a meditation on the universality of dying: irrespective of how wealthy or how poor one is, dying comes for us all.


The artwork would often function a personification of dying (a skeleton or corpse) main folks from completely different stations in life – sometimes a pope, king, emperor, laborer, and baby – in a dance to their graves.


Memento Mori: A Simple Practice for a Complex Time - Fitness, fitness, meditation, motivation, focus, ego, mind-body connection, self confidence, inspiration, procrastination, mindfullness, goal planning, Life Challenges, fitness motivation, stoicism


Within the 17th century, Dutch artists used a method of nonetheless life portray often known as vanitas artwork (from the primary chapter of Ecclesiastes, “All is self-importance.”) as a Memento Mori. The art work would function skulls, rotting fruit, candles, hourglasses, lifeless and wilted flowers, and extra atop tables as highly effective imagery to remind the viewer of dying.


By the 19th century, Memento Mori had moved from work to jewellery, with folks from all walks of life carrying rings that includes skulls, coffins, the phrase “Memento Mori,” or a mix of the three as a relentless reminder of the wearer’s mortality.


Although not almost as prevalent within the minds of the final populace because it as soon as was, Memento Mori is having a contemporary resurgence. Persons are shopping for Memento Mori medallions to hold with them of their pockets as a relentless reminder that they’ll sooner or later die.


Such well-known figures as Tim Ferriss, Casey Neistat, and extra carry a Memento Mori medallion with them, and even Memento Mori rings are making a comeback.


I am part of this contemporary resurgence.


Memento Mori and The Twelve Labors Undertaking

Memento Mori is the device that I exploit to beat the challenges in my life and discover the inspiration to push by way of any impediment that I see earlier than me.


After I tackle bodily challenges as a part of my Twelve Labors Undertaking, Memento Mori is what retains me grounded, centered on the current, and conscious of what actually issues in a universe that appears to be unraveling.


Memento Mori: A Simple Practice for a Complex Time - Fitness, fitness, meditation, motivation, focus, ego, mind-body connection, self confidence, inspiration, procrastination, mindfullness, goal planning, Life Challenges, fitness motivation, stoicism


In 2016, for my fifth labor, I set out alone within the barren wilderness of the northern Mojave Desert to lift consciousness of veteran suicide by pulling a 2.5-ton pickup truck throughout Loss of life Valley.


With a panorama as lovely as it’s bleak, my solely companions all through the 22-mile problem have been stones sculpted over the millennia by the desert wind and rain, dunes that mirrored the solar’s blinding mild, the searing warmth that burns something that enters the Valley, and my ideas.


Every mile that I pulled the truck by way of the desert represented one of many 22 lives which can be misplaced every day to veteran suicide.


With each step I took and each inch of floor that I gained, Loss of life Valley would attempt a bit of tougher to persuade me to take off the chest harness and stop the problem; it solely ever acquired hotter and drier because the journey progressed.


Naturally, the solitude that I skilled in the course of the problem pressured me to confront the worst of myself – my doubts, my fears, my insecurities, and the whole lot I had ever come to remorse in my life.


I might take a step and listen to a voice, “Hand over! There isn’t any disgrace in quitting.”


I might take one other step and inform myself, “Memento Mori! Bear in mind, you will need to die! Bear in mind why you might be right here!”


Reflecting on my mortality and the reminiscence of those that we have misplaced to suicide fortified my steps and made the seemingly unattainable, doable.


The dichotomy between dying and the current second turned extra obvious than ever, opening my view to views and insights that by no means earlier than occurred to me.


It was the catalyst I wanted to regain my momentum and embrace my destiny second by second with a full coronary heart and unyielding resolve.


Being alone in Loss of life Valley with a 2.5-ton pickup truck strapped to your again is a surefire solution to come nose to nose along with your mortality, and the follow of Memento Mori is what allowed me to remain centered on a purpose that was greater than myself. I wasn’t striving for recognition after I hauled a truck throughout the desert.


I wished to lift the notice of an alarming drawback that is plaguing veterans. Whether or not or not I accomplished the labor or another person did was irrelevant, as long as folks have been made conscious of the trigger that spurred the problem.


I might have died at any level throughout my trek by way of the desert – I might die at any second, actually – the popularity, the accolades, it might all be meaningless to me after that.


The trigger, nevertheless, would live-on.


“On fame. Have a look at their minds, the character of their thought and what they search or keep away from. And see how, simply as drifting sands always overlay the earlier sand, so in our lives what we as soon as did may be very rapidly lined over by subsequent layers.”

– Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 7.34


How Memento Mori can Spur motion

Memento Mori is not only a device to inspire your self to tug a truck by way of a hellish panorama – it could additionally act as a catalyst for motivation and productiveness daily.


Procrastination is a problem that most individuals face every day, and I am no exception. Why trouble getting off the bed each morning to face an uncomfortable world when consolation could be discovered already below the blankets? Why trouble doing something in any respect?


What sort of life would that be?


“So it’s: we aren’t given a brief life however we make it brief, and we aren’t ill-supplied however wasteful of it.”

– Seneca, On the Shortness of Life


Seneca knew that we so typically waste life clinging to idleness and comforts that solely serve to distract us from fulfilling our highest potential.


A life lived in pursuit of consolation whereas laying aside our responsibility is a life spent losing the finite period of time we’ve got. Discover consolation within the uncomfortable, and keep in mind you will need to die: why waste your time on trivia when your time is brief?


If you wish to meet particular health objectives, Memento Mori is the motivator you want to get to the fitness center (or maybe your own home fitness center for now) and achieve these objectives.


If you get up within the morning, set an affirmation for your self that you’ll do what you want to do to fulfill your objectives, whatever the obstacles you might face.


Remind your self of your mortality and that you’d relatively not spend the dear time you will have left watching tv or sleeping.


That is what I inform myself every day earlier than I prepare, and it is what you’ll be able to say to your self, too.


In case your purpose is to have a more healthy food plan, Memento Mori might help you to develop more healthy consuming and ingesting habits. Life is brief – would you like your closing moments spent in a drunken haze? I doubt it.


Certain, we’re all fated to die sooner or later, however that does not imply that we should always use each second we’ve got in hedonistic pursuits. The cake is sweet, however ought to we eat it for each meal? In fact not.


Overindulgence in unhealthy consuming and ingesting will solely carry dying quicker, whereas wholesome habits will serve to maintain life lengthy and provide help to attain your fullest potential.


A wholesome physique makes for a wholesome thoughts, in spite of everything.


Memento Mori and World Occasions

The world is at present experiencing turbulence that hasn’t been felt in a very long time. Local weather change is inflicting extremes in climate circumstances which have led to intense droughts, large forest and bush fires, and hurricanes, the like of which humanity has not seen since biblical instances.


We’re in the course of a worldwide pandemic, with COVID-19 spreading by way of cities harking back to the Black Plague of the medieval interval. Governments are utilizing the concern and distraction attributable to the pandemic to push agendas on each ends of the political spectrum.


American regulation enforcement is below magnified scrutiny resulting from instances the place extreme makes use of of pressure and lack of human decency resulted in undue dying. These items are occurring inside an environment of violent riots and peaceable protests in opposition to racial injustice and police brutality.


Some social points are being conflated with broader ones to embolden actions and assaults in opposition to sure teams. In distinction, different essential points are being drowned out by a deafening silence solely for his or her lack of utility or mere comfort throughout the widespread narrative.


As an American with deep love and hope for this nation, who additionally occurs to be an individual of colour, allow us to tread by way of these troubled waters collectively.


I imagine that the best adversary to justice and inequality for all individuals are the unacknowledged unions between indifference and management, ignorance and energy, and apathy and concern.


Within the phrases of the American novelist and activist, James Baldwin:


“Not the whole lot that’s confronted could be modified, however nothing could be modified till it’s confronted.”


We should have the braveness to battle and disintegrate these shadow alliances right now and hereafter, lengthy after the media strikes on from it, and it’s now not trending.


As Og Mandino as soon as wrote:


“Tomorrow is barely discovered within the calendar of fools.”


Memento Mori, as a follow throughout this sophisticated time in historical past, permits us to face our fears, flaws, and failures individually and as a rustic. These occasions compel purposeful motion with a way of urgency, not from a spot of hate or vengeance, however from a spot of empathy and compassion below the premise that this present day, this hour, this second is all we’ve got.


Tomorrow isn’t a promise however a mere thought—an assumption of an unsure future time and place arising within the current.


These actions embrace defending folks’s proper to criticize our nation’s shortcomings and peacefully protest them whereas supporting the constitutional rules upon which America stands—all throughout the similar breath of ardour and wholehearted conviction.


We’re all dying from a continual situation referred to as life. In fact, each second, we lose to laziness, procrastination, or indifference ceaselessly belongs to dying.


Each alternative to do good on this planet, no matter an individual’s race, politics, faith, or social class, turns into a present once we embrace the truth that each human on earth will sooner or later expertise the identical lack of family members and struggling such as you.


It is sensible to be type to each particular person we encounter throughout these advanced instances once we remind ourselves that dying is the ultimate arbiter.


Out of the 4 Stoic virtues of knowledge, braveness, temperance, and justice, Marcus Aurelius felt that justice was crucial of all of them.


“And a dedication to justice in your personal acts. Which suggests: thought and motion ensuing within the widespread good. What you have been born to do.”

– Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 9.31


When confronted with a sort of turmoil that we’ve not seen for generations, Memento Mori could be the information that helps us navigate by way of the current local weather.


Each time you watch present occasions on the information or witness injustice taking place in entrance of you, you will have a alternative between motion or inaction.


Reflection on our mortality can permit us to see the larger image, face injustice like a real Stoic, and current options based mostly on purpose and sound judgment.


We should die, it is true, however should we die having carried out nothing for the good thing about the higher good? No. Our lives have that means once we reside in accordance with our rules and rise up for what is correct and good on this planet.


Loss of life involves everybody, that is for certain – there is no level in worrying about when or the way it will come when probably the most unsure a part of life is how we select to reside it.


In spite of everything, dying is barely the tip below the presumption that the story is solely about you. Our good deeds and power of character are immortal, standing as residing monuments in these we encourage—extra highly effective than mere phrases on a tombstone can ever be.


There is a Greek proverb that I really feel fantastically exemplifies the purpose I’m attempting to make:


“A society grows nice when outdated males plant timber whose shade they know they shall by no means sit in.”


Perhaps we’re not all outdated but, but when we would like our society to develop, then we should plant the seeds of justice and love in order that future generations can benefit from the shade of those timber.


Doing so is a alternative that we should make, totally conscious of the truth that dying involves us all ultimately, however the penalties of our selections reside on on this planet and have an effect on the generations that observe.


“You might depart this life at any second; have this risk in your thoughts in all that you simply do or say or suppose.”

– Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 2.11


Taking the recommendation of Marcus Aurelius, we will let the inevitability of our demise inform our lifestyle. With each single alternative we make and each single motion we take, we will view it in mild of our dying earlier than we make that alternative or take that motion. Ask your self these questions:


“Do I wish to be remembered as the one that turned away from injustice?”

“Am I okay with being the reason for inequality and struggling?”

“Do I really really feel detached to the plight of the oppressed?”


When society lacks correct management, you will need to study to look to your rules to steer your self.


Residing in accordance with your rules could trigger you to face alone in opposition to a crowd; it could result in concern and doubt, and can nearly definitely carry the strain down on you from particular person members of society – however you will need to stand resolute.


If you cannot stand agency in your convictions whereas attempting to enhance society and crumple on the first signal of pushback or be a part of the group when it acts in opposition to your rules, then you have not stood for something in any respect. In chapter 24 of the Enchiridion, Epictetus has the next to say about benefitting communities:


“Effectively, what is going to my occupation locally be?’ No matter place you might be outfitted to fill, as long as you protect the person of belief and integrity. In case you lose that in your zeal to be a public benefactor, what use in the long run will you be to the group upon getting been rendered shameless and corrupt?”


To that finish, we should stand as much as human indecency within the type of violence and rioting.


What would you hear for those who went round your group and instructed folks that you simply robbed their companies for his or her profit and destroyed their properties to guard their rights? It is unlikely that you’d face gratitude from victims of violence and theft, do not you suppose?


Memento Mori could be the catalyst for motion, however it will also be the catalyst for restraint. Use it to remind your self of what kind of conduct you need folks to recollect. Simply as you’ll be able to ask your self questions that can assist you take motion, you may as well ask questions that promote restraint:


“Do I wish to be remembered as the one that destroyed somebody’s livelihood?”

“Am I prepared to sacrifice my convictions simply to fulfill the mob’s lust for violence?”

“Will this assist my case or harm it?”


Memento Mori would be the information that reminds you that there’s at all times an even bigger image and that it’s not at all times clever to behave, simply as it’s not at all times clever to stay inactive. Epictetus in chapter 33 of the Enchiridion as soon as once more admonishes us to be agency in our convictions:


“Choose the kind of particular person you wish to be and follow it, whether or not alone or in firm.”


When you will have determined who you wish to be, Memento Mori will provide help to to stay to it, reminding you when to behave and when to not.


It takes braveness and sacrifice to do one thing for a trigger higher than your self, however you will not lose your self to the baser instincts of the ego as long as you keep in mind this:


“Look behind you. Bear in mind you might be mortal. Bear in mind you will need to die!”

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