A few days ago I had a brief muscle spasm in my left arm. It stopped after a short while, but not before I rememberedJill Bolte Taylor’s Stroke of Insight. I’m having a stroke (I thought!)
Anyway I’ll spare you the imagined details, but I’d momentarily convinced myself that I was probably going to die mere days after my 25th birthday.
Well, I’m still here and have regained a normal feeling arm, but there is a way that thinking about your own death can stick with you for a few days.
You can die at any moment, and it could happen at any time.
Here are a couple of meditations on death, in regards to the topics that I write about here at Far Beyond The Stars.
1. You can’t take it with you.
It’s a well known cliche at this point, when you pass on most your stuff goes in the trash. No one cares anymore. I know some people will disagree with me on this, and have stories to prove me otherwise. There will always be someone who will save a dead person’s stuff, but the majority of everyone won’t.
I’ve seen the stuff that people leave behind. Most of it only has meaning to the deceased.
2. Being safe won’t save you.
So many people live their lives in fear of dangerous things happening to them. In some cases this is justifiable fear, but in a lot of cases it’s not. Staying inside your house won’t save you from death, it will lead to you dying inside from not seeing the world.
Get out and live your life, every single day.
3. Do the best with the time you have.
You only have so much time, do your best with it. If you aren’t happy with your situation, you need to start making a change. Sitting around complaining about it won’t make a difference.
Try to spend every day working toward your ideal reality.
4. Buying stuff is not living your life.
I know, the advertisers tell you otherwise every single day. This is why you should destroy your TV, because the ads are making you feel inadequate, so you go out to the store and buy another pair of shoes. You only need one pair of shoes, make it a good pair and they’ll last you three years. In truth, your consumption is destroying the planet, so stop doing it.
Going to the store does not equal living your life. Instead, seek experiences over consumption, and you’ll be much happier with your life.
5. What would you do if you only had a week to live?
I love this exercise, even if it’s so morbid. Steve Jobs lives his life as if every day is the last, and look at what he’s managed to accomplish.
Take a moment and dreamline what you’d do, if you had only a week to live. Actually write this down. Chances are it won’t involve sitting at a desk waiting until 5pm. Can you make every day into your last week? Imagine how much happier you’d be.
6. Having less can encourage you to find peace and happiness inside yourself.
When you remove all the clutter, you have a huge opportunity to search for the depth of ordinary existence. Many people fill up their lives with junk, because we’ve been taught by advertising that buying stuff will make us happy. It doesn’t do anything but give you a momentary spark of adrenalin.
When you remove all the nonsense, you start to see the wisdom at the basis of reality. This is very hard work, but I believe that every has the ability to ask these questions of themselves. Trust me, the answers are worth seeking.
As for me, I’m going to do my best to create my ideal reality every day.
At the moment, I’m listening to a live string quartet at Tea Lounge in Brooklyn. It’s beautiful.
Today might be my last, I want it to be a good one. Don’t you?
Write a few sentences about your last week on earth and leave it in the comments, if you feel comfortable. I’d love to hear how you’ll spend it.
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