It’s bad enough losing a loved one. It sucks. But for them to die before their time — it’s unjust.

The newly retired grandmother who was looking forward to playing with her grandchildren but got struck by a deadly virus.

The recently unemployed father killed by the police officer who was meant to protect him.

The depressed young professional who lost his job and jumped in front of a train.

The excited mother-to-be who died during childbirth.

The teenager who got knocked over by a reckless driver in a speeding car.

The playful infant who drowned when he fell in the pool.

The stillborn baby girl who had her whole life ahead of her.

It doesn’t make sense. How can this world be so cruel? It doesn’t seem fair.

On the face of it, it’s not fair.

Contemplating on the true nature of this world

Why should someone die at such as young age? Did they not deserve to live a long healthy life? Did I not deserve to have more time with them?

As we go through life, we discover that loss is inevitable. No matter how much we might want someone to come into our life or to stay with us forever, the reality is that when it’s our time, or their time, that will be it.

We see again and again how anything which comes to form will inevitably fall away. All things that I can see, hear, taste, touch and smell — all this will at some point break, melt, evaporate, burn, disintegrate or in some way no longer remain as what I might know it to be.

I could become furious about this loss, this injustice. I could shout and scream. But will it change what was meant to be? What I realise is that it will just hurt me further.

What if I was to become so numb and heartless that the series of losses in life need never hurt me again? Well, that might appear to work for a while, but it saps all energy. What a waste of life, a missed opportunity for self-realisation, for deep growth and to unleash the soul.

Applying the lens of kindness to myself and to the world

So what’s the alternative?

Let me cultivate a zest for life and compassion within.

Let me see the reality of the situation and be kind to myself.

Let me focus on that which can make a positive difference to me and the world around me.

Let me relentlessly pursue the quest to discover that which is permanent, that which is dependable, that which will bring rise to great calm and true joy.

The world is suffering, yet we have the power to heal ourselves and the world around us. By contemplating on the true nature of reality and recognising the transitory nature of this world, may I become empowered to lead a calm and purposeful life.

The gentle smiling magician

The elders in our community are magicians. When we lose one, the community feels the loss, massively.

We recently lost one of our beloved community elders, Keshubhai, and I have deep remorse that I didn’t spend enough time with him.

Consistently, in every single interaction I’ve had with him in the past decade that I recall knowing him, he would gently look towards me, hold my gaze and smile with such heart and joviality that all my stresses would melt away in that moment. He might share a few brief words, but with each word uttered, his eyes would glisten with mischief.

And it’s not just Keshubhai. So many of our elders have worked incredibly hard, over the decades, to cultivate inner stillness so that their light may shine bright. It’s a light that embraces, that disarms, that illuminates and can fill you, all parts of you, with love.

As each of our elders continue to leave, one by one, I realise just how much of the magic we are letting slip through our fingers. As I get older, year by year, day by day, moment to moment, I endeavour to absorb this magic embodied by our elders. I seek, with all my heart, to be worthy of becoming such a gentle, loving, joyful elder in the community when I reach later life.

Keshubhai’s departure has hit me harder than I would have cared to admit. While he might no longer be around for me to interact with, this gentle smiling magician lives on in my heart.