Excellence Reporter: Anne, what is the meaning of life?
Anne Van De Water: I feel the question “What is the meaning of life?” is one that most people do not ask themselves until the end of their lives.
I have been asking myself this question since the beginning of my life because when I die I want to know that I lived in alignment with my answer to the question.
For me the meaning of life is to stay aligned with two of my core values: Truth and Love.
Ram Das asked his guru, Neem Karoli Baba,
“How can I become enlightened?”
and he replied,
“Love everyone and tell the Truth.”
Truth for me means to be authentic, to be who I truly am and to tell the Truth.
By Love, I mean Universal Love, which is my higher Heart Center’s capacity for living in harmony with everyone and everything in existence because we are all connected to each other.
I study death and dying because it is part of the art of living well.
I live every day with the end of my life in mind.
Remembering every day that one day these bodies of ours will die helps us to live fully every day because today could be our last day. Every day is a miraculous gift.
Bronnie Ware who worked in palliative care and was with her patients for the last 3 to 12 weeks of their lives learned the most common regrets of the dying.
Their #1 regret is that they wished they’d had the courage to live a life true to themselves, not the life others expected of them. In a world that can project how we are “supposed” to be and expectations about what we “should” be upon us, it is a great victory to be true to yourself and live an authentic life.
Their #2 regret is that they wished they’d had the courage to express their feelings as they felt they had suppressed their true feelings in order to keep peace with others. They felt like they had settled for a life half lived and never embodied who they were truly capable of becoming.
Mark Twain said, “The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time. When you feel as though every day you lived as your authentic Self and told the Truth to yourself and everyone in your presence, then as the Lakota Sioux leader Crazy Horse said, “It’s a good day to die.”
At the end of your life don’t you want to feel like you lived in alignment with Truth?
The #3 regret of the dying is that they wish they hadn’t worked so hard and had spent more time being present with their loved ones.
Their #4 regret is that they wish they had stayed in touch with their friends. They realized in the end that all of life simply comes down to Love and relationships. In their final weeks of life as their bodies and minds were fading away, they realized that all that remains is Love. At the end of your life don’t you want to feel like you lived in alignment with Love?
The #5 regret of the dying is that they wish they had let themselves be happier. I feel that at the end of our lives, we will all realize that the key to happiness and living a life of true meaning is Love and Truth.
I love you and I support you.
~Anne Van De Water
Yoga Teacher, Meditation Teacher, Pranayama Teacher, Life Coach, Spiritual Teacher, Hands on Healer, Singer, Song Writer, Musician, Sound Therapist, and Kirtan Leader. Anne is an Inspirational Speaker, Self-Published Author and Gourmet Raw Food Alchemist, Chef and Nutritionist.
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