The Deeper Wisdom Of Memento Mori

The Deeper Wisdom Of Memento Mori

How often do you think of the phrase "Memento Mori"? 

This solemn reminder, "remember that you will die," has reverberated through the ages, becoming a cornerstone of Stoic thought. Yet, these words are often only pondered when we think of death, neglecting the phrase’s deeper wisdom.

Memento Mori's mainstream interpretation is but a single facet of a more profound truth. We must broaden our understanding to see that “impermanence” is really the core message. Life and death are not binary states, but rather an ever-evolving act of transformation. In each moment, our cells are dying and being reborn; our thoughts, emotions, and beliefs wax and wane like tides. Within these cycles of change, we uncover the true essence of Memento Mori.

Consider the countless times you have faced a symbolic death — a relationship's demise, the loss of a job. In these moments, you have undoubtedly grieved and mourned the passing of what once was. But did you also recognize the opportunity for rebirth, the potential for new life to emerge from the ashes?

When we expand our understanding of Memento Mori to encompass the inevitable beginnings and ends in our life, we open ourselves to the wisdom of the Stoic philosophers in a more profound way. We can draw inspiration from Marcus Aurelius, who wrote,

"Loss is nothing else but change, and change is Nature's delight."

By embracing the concept of impermanence, we align ourselves with the very essence of nature, of life itself.

Let us cultivate an awareness of the ever-changing nature of our existence. By doing so, we free ourselves from the shackles of attachment and aversion, the dual tyrants of the human experience. We learn to welcome each moment, both the joyous and the sorrowful, with equanimity and grace.

Meditate on this expanded notion of Memento Mori, to consider the instances of life and death you encounter each day. Embrace impermanence, and you will find a spring of wisdom hidden within this ancient Stoic phrase.