A year to live
- "Live every day as if it was your last ..." How many times have I heard this sentence ? And every time I hear it I get inspired again to live this moment to the full - to be aware of my breath, my heart beat, the life force within me. To ignore the thought factory up there that keeps telling me the same things over and over again. What is it really like to experience the eternal moment? Intellectually I know that there has never been anything else than this present moment "Here and Now". I 'know' past is as much a dream as future is, but to actually live this knowledge, is a very different story.
When giving meditation classes I always try to point out the preciousness of life at this very moment. At some stage of the lecture I would simply say (in very funny way) "We are all going to die ...!! " To make it really dramatic I ask the audience to imagine that we are going to die in 24 hours. "So since we know we will kick the bucket tomorrow night, the next question is what are we going to have for breakfast tomorrow? What are we going to wear? Whom are we going to see or call ....?"
A book I recently read is the reason, after quite some time, to write a post for the Inspiration Group. "Dharma Punx" by Noah Levine is the title - I can imagine some of your faces while reading these lines :) The book was recommended to me by a seeker that attended one of the classes I taught in Seattle earlier this year. It's basically the memoirs of the author who tells how his life changed from a drug addicted, suicidal 8 year old, to a sincere seeker. Written very vividly and authentic it took me less than 48 hours to finish it.
One chapter is about a book that Levines' father, a buddhist meditation teacher himself, wrote: "A Year to Live: How to Live This Year as If It Were Your Last" Although I haven't read it yet I got inspired to write about it. The idea is very simple: You have one year until you die and you are supposed to prepare for that transition. What does that mean? I allowed my imagination to run wild and immediately I fell in love with the whole idea.
I guess everyone has that kind of mental 'to do' list that we usually like to keep hidden. What's on that list? What would I want to accomplish if this was my last year on earth in this incarnation? Well, in my case I was surprised that there were less desires popping up, you know, stuff like going surfing in Hawaii or taking a Porsche for spin. I much more came across quite a few names of people that I would like to call or rather see and set a few things straight. The wish to apologize for many things that I have said or done arose in me. Years may have past since but for some reason it is still there, within me - on my 'to do' list.
Yes, I would love to make clear that I didn't mean what I have done and that I am sorry. I do understand my mistake now. But, can you imagine how hard it is to say "I am sorry ..." My imagination took me on a wild trip of what I would like to do in my 'last year'. More and more things kept popping up - nothing really serious - but still quite something. The impression it made was overwhelming...
I am getting ready now to prepare for my 'death'. Two people I have met already. They were kind of surprised about what I told them but It felt really good to speak my mind. I have decided that I will officially start my last year on August 27th- my Gurus' birthday - that will also give me some extra time. Until next year I wish to have crossed off all the things that I keep dragging along from the past. I have decided I don't need them anymore. This moment alone is real. Past is dust.
O Forgiver of all my shortcomings,
A new hope is being born in my heart.
I shall cry from today on
To grow into Perfection's beauty-delight.
- Sri Chinmoy
- Martin, That was a very inspiring post with deeply rooted feelings. Ending it with Guru's simple but deeply meaningful poem always seems the best way to extract the essence out of any of our wordy narratives.
Here is a relevant poem of Sri Chinmoy's that speaks volumes for living in the present and discarding the past as we try increase our aspiration, or 'God-Hunger'.
"Now is the time for me to do
Two most significant things:
I must say good-bye
To the failure-centuries
Of my life
And increase my God-hunger
Gratefully in the moment,
- Hello Martin,
I haven't been near my computer most of the summer, so I am reading your post for the first time today.
Very inspiring! Your year is now about a week or so shorter so I hope that all is going well.
I think adopting this idea is a great way around the tricky mind.
Keep us posted!