For many, death is like a dark shadow, lurking just over the next hill. These people feel its touch, even if they cannot see its presence. Ironically, the more we fear death, the more we forget to live.

In talking with the members of our community, I have learned that true peace comes from understanding our place in the world and this is impossible without accepting our own mortality.

Accepting death does not mean that we want it to come any sooner than it has too. On the contrary, coming to terms with our own mortality helps us to live better here on Earth. Most people never take the time to appreciate the gift of life for what it is. Even if they know that they are going to die one day, they never fully accept it.

So, do not fear your eventual death. Fear for a life not lived. Fear for your dreams left unrealized and your passions unexplored. I hope that the following words help you to live the life that you deserve – without fear of death, but, with a full and healthy respect for your own life.

Here are 3 reasons that death is an essential part of life.

Our Mortality Reminds Us to Live Fully

Take a moment to think about what living forever would really be like. Imagine what it would feel like to know that, no matter what you do, your consciousness will go on forever. Want to jump out of a plane without a parachute? No problem. Enjoy eating chocolate cake for breakfast? Go for it! Want to be a millionaire? Easy – just put $10 in the bank for a million years and, voila, “instant” wealth.

One reason that death is such an important part of life is that it reminds us to live. When we face our mortality, even from a distance, our lives are bound in time and have meaning. Now, I’m not saying that each of us lives up to our potential. Far from it! But, there can be little doubt that life gains special meaning because it is finite.

Thinking about our own mortality helps us to live well. It reminds us to be grateful for the time that we have been given. As you go about your day, try to appreciate the small things. How does the warm water feel on your body when you take a shower? How much do you appreciate the gifts that you have been given – a body to move, a mind to tell it where to go and a soul to tell it why?

Without death, life would be a pale shadow of what it is. So, do not fear your mortality. Celebrate it. Use it to live a better life.

Death is Essential to the Natural Cycle

Life is efficient. When we die, our bodies become the soil, which becomes the plants, which become the animals, which become other people. Death is an essential part of the natural cycle. Without it, it is not even clear that life could exist at all – at least not biological life.

Of course, it is natural to question what happens to our consciousness after we die? Is there life after death? Do our souls go to heaven? Are we reincarnated? But, the eventual death of our body is nothing to be feared. Indeed, it is essential to the natural cycle.

I for one want to live as long as I can, in good health and with a peaceful mind. But, when the time comes to pass from this world to the next, I hope that I look upon death as one more chapter in my story.

As my soul continues on its journey, my body will become food for the universe. Cities will rise from my bones and animals will feed on my energy. What was one will become a part of many and my soul will be at peace.

Death is Nature’s Way of Improving Itself

Life is a dynamic process. In the natural world, nothing sits still. From generation to generation, creatures engage in a desperate struggle to improve themselves faster than their competitors. From the earliest single-celled organisms to humans, and everything in-between, all animals rely on the cycle of life and death to adapt.

Without death, there would be no natural selection. Life as we know it would freeze in place. As the world changed, we would be unable to adapt. We would be like stone statues, surrounded by an angry ocean. We would gain immortality, but, lose our purpose for living. After all, the purpose of life on earth is to live; we are here to grow, raise children, follow our dreams and, eventually, die. It is the contract that we signed before we were born and it is a fair one.

As you go about your day, do not fear the approaching hand of death. Instead, bid it wait just a little longer so that you can experience everything life has to offer. Life a long and passionate life. Hold on to every single moment, for it is precious.

Go out into the world and shape it in your image. That is the purpose of life.

Do you have a fear of dying? Or, does the concept of death only serve to remind you to life every day as if it could be your last?