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Why Meditating on Our Mortality Makes Us More Alive

We access more light when we don’t deny darkness

Jodi Barnes, PhD
6 min readDec 23, 2019


Forget causality. Forget deserved. Forget sin and karma.

I mean, if we really want to pick any of those back up — we can do that. But for now, let’s just imagine not asking ourselves why bad things happen to people. Especially the good ones we love. (How could we love them if they weren’t good?)

Put religion down — momentarily. Deities aside, there is one unifying response we humans have to death and pain and suffering:

This happened without my knowledge or consent; this terrible thing that’s happened is out of my control.

And this makes us mad. And sad. And anxious and scared. All at the same time.

And those who love us, who are concerned about the depths of our grief, get sad and sometimes mad (at least frustrated) when we don’t accept what’s happened or heal fast enough or in the right way.

Death and pain and suffering bring out the pain and suffering in others. It’s empathy at its damned finest.



Jodi Barnes, PhD

Writer and Collaborator-in-Chief of where small acts of writing, art and conversation create multicultural connections for good.