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There is one inevitable truth in our lives.  One truth that is without debate.  We will all die, some sooner than others.  I am reminded of this thought today as my niece’s husband is laid to rest.  Thirty years old is to soon to leave this planet.  As my heart aches for his family and my niece, I think of death and our impermanence in this body.

Indifferent to the east, death is a thought we avoid in the west.  We are not present to the transcience of this life and the blip that it is within this universe.  We fill our thoughts with things- new cars, tv shows, wasting time, making money.  In the west, we are very good at burning our hours and being busy.  For what…..more things?

If we are lucky and we have time to reflect before our hour of passing we will come to realize these things are meaningless.  As the saying goes, we cannot take any of these with us so why wait for this moment of ephipany.  All we have is RIGHT NOW….and RIGHT NOW….and RIGHT NOW.   Our life consists of these RIGHT NOW moments.  These moments are OURS.  No one else can create them.  They come from YOU…..You choose what to create and who to create them with.  This is all you have.  Everything else is inconsequentual.

One of my favorite spiritual books is The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche.  Rinpoche tells us that the Tibetan word for body is Lu which  roughly translates to luggage.  What a perfect metaphor for this body that wraps itself around our beautiful being.  This flesh if you will is simply luggage carry our being through this brief moment on this planet.

In order to gain freedom in this body we must understand first that this body is not the true YOU.  When we let go of this we gain freedom from this attachment to our flesh and bones and can then have a spiritual existence vs. a human existence.  When we begin to have a spiritual existence our superficial existence begins to dissipate.  It becomes meaningless.  When we lose the superficialities and begin to see life in every moment we can then begin to see the beauty and truth in every moment, right in front of us.  We can then live life to the fullest as if it is our last.  We no longer have time for wasting, or material things.  Each moment, each breathe is complete and full.

There is a moment in the movie and book Shogun where Anjin loses all fear of death.  He tries to kill himself in the Japanese way when he is suddenly stopped.  In his mind however, he had lost all fear and thus freed himself.  From this moment on the world spoke to him in vivid colors and sounds.  Life seemed to be in slow motion for him as he saw such beauty that was not there before.

My brave niece stated after her husbands passing, “My husband always took the opportunity to tell me he loved me and how much he appreciated me, please do not forget to do this for your loved ones as you never know when it may be the last.”

Remember the impermanence in this body.  Live life to the fullest each moment.

Call to Action:

  • Pretend you are fortunate enough to know your last day and write out what you would do with these last moments.  Tape this to the refrigerator and look at it every day.
  • Make and list and be present to where you are wasting.  Wasting time, wasting moments, wasting relationships….wasting.  Get present to how often this happens and create something different for these people and moments.
  • Get PRESENT to this moment RIGHT NOW.  This is all you have….remember this.

Be well…Be Love

Thomas D. Craig

Author of A Cup of Buddha