This book was recommended by a friend long time back.
Finally, I started reading last night and couldn’t leave my chair until I finish reading the last page.
‘DEATH’ – The 5 letter word which can shake the strongest person on the Earth.
The language of the book is very simple and heart touching.
This is a story of professor Morrie Schwartz who is suffering from ALS* and is lying on his death bed meets his favorite student, Mitch after twenty years and together they start working on their ‘Last thesis’.
Every Tuesday, Mitch visits Morrie and the book basically describe their conversations on Death, fear, aging, greed, marriage, family, society and a meaningful life.
Mitch begins by sharing his life story where he is completely honest and says ‘I traded lots of dream for a bigger paycheck, and I never realized I was doing it’. Then Morrie tells him about ‘The tension of opposites’ where life is a series of pulls back and forth. You want to do something , but you are bound to do something else.
Only when you are facing the death, you realize that you have spent so many hours on things that meant absolutely nothing to you such as gossiping about the movie stars, supermodels, latest gadget.
Below is the synopsis of their conversations over fourteen wonderful Tuesday:
Death – Everyone knows they are going to die but nobody believes it. if we did, we would do things differently”. He further says ‘once you learn how to die, you learn how to live’ and ‘death is as natural as life. it’s part of the deal we made’.
Family: He talks about the importance of your family, your wife and your children. Friends are important but it’s the family which takes care of you during hard time. For instance, he is bed ridden, his friends came to visit him but no one will stick around to assist him towards bathroom. He frequently quotes his favorite poet, Auden – ‘Love each other or perish’.
Emotions: Here he talks about Buddhist philosophy of ‘Learn to Detach’ which means don’t cling to things, because everything is impermanent.
Fear of Aging: he says it is impossible for the old not to envy the young but the issue is to accept who you are and revel in that. He also says it’s like going back to being a child again. We all know how to be a child. It’s inside all of us. For me, it’s just remembering how to enjoy it.
Money: ‘Status will get you nowhere’. There’s a big confusion in the country over what we want versus what we need. You get respect by offering something that you have ‘which is your time’.
Love: Love is how you stay alive, even after you are gone.He says ‘I would rather put my energy into people’ when Morrie was with you, he was really with you. He looked you straight in the eyes and he listened as if you were the only person in the world. He believes in being fully present.
Marriage: He shares few rules for marriage. If you don’t respect the other person, you’re gonna have lot of troubles. If you don’t know hoe to compromise, you’re gonna have lot of troubles. If you can’t talk openly with the other person, you’re gonna have lot of troubles. If you don’t have common set of values in life, you’re gonna have lot of troubles. The most important – ‘you need to belief in the importance of your marriage’.
Culture: No matter where you live, the biggest defect we human beings have is our short shortsightedness. He still believe in the inherent good of people as he believes people are only mean when they are threatened by our culture whether it is religion, economy, fear of losing job and it’s all part of the culture.
Forgiveness: ‘Forgive yourself before you die. Then forgive others. Pride and vanity are the things, he regret in his life. He shares a story of his friendship with Norman and how his pride ruined it. he wished he had done more with his work, had written more books, and visited more places.
It is a must read book.
*Stephen Hawking,the famous physicist suffering from ALS disease)