I came across this passage that Furuya Sensei posted to his Daily Message on July 10, 2004 about this idea of Shisei Kan (死生観) or one's perspective on life or death.  People often erroneously think that the samurai loved death.  It is quite the contrary.  The samurai were able to find life in the face of death and that is what separates them from other warriors.

Shisei Kan:

If one is to pursue fame, fortune and power, I do not think Aikido is for you. They are two totally different paths. Even with my humble talents and poor strength, I still aspire to Aikido's ideals, but this is not easy at all. After 47 years, I have learned not to be discouraged although success and such is beyond my grasp. After all, the path to peace and harmony is a quiet and subtle one.

Today people see everything as pleasure and play. With such a mind, you will never understand the inner value of life - life itself will just pass by you like the floating clouds.

What is the great difference of the great warriors of the past and us today? In martial arts, we have forgotten "Shisei Kan" or View of Life and Death.

If we only focus on life, we begin to think that we are gods and are immortal. It we only think of death, we become desperate and lose hope.

Shisei Kan means to value Life by keeping a view of Death before us. It is this view of our own mortality that encourages us to preserve and refine our humanity within Life..