The first time I read this quote, I found it rather jarring. I guess it’s often the case that the truths we would rather not think about are that way. Yet often In order to wake up, it is only the words that slap like a splash of bracing cold water first thing in the morning that can bring us sharply to our senses. Doses of reality are commonly experienced as unpleasant. Yet, they are helpful means to rearrange our perspective right here and now.
We do live everyday. Mostly, we just do everyday. We do this and we do that. From one activity to the next text, we are getting things done. And some of this is good! It feels good to accomplish things each day, on a grand or humble scale. And it is easy to lose our balance and what we know to be true for our self if we don’t practice mindfulness along the way. We lose sight of our intentions behind the actions and our greater purposes can get pushed aside for yet another day.
Stopping daily, on purpose, to be present to what’s happening here in and around this body of ours is an antidote for this. What are the sensations and thoughts happening right now? Can you invite awareness into this moment, no matter what is happening? This discipline flowers into a subtle but profound shift in how we are in the world. If we keep at it and practice, practice, practice.
We will no longer need a two by four or thirty geese overhead or a full moon so big and iridescent it practically bowls us over to be arrested by the wonders available to us if we have the presence to be with them.
When you do die, which WILL eventually happen, as my father once said, “There will still be stuff in your inbox to do.” These items will either get done by someone else or die themselves from lack of attention. Someone else will feed the dog, answer the phone, pay the bills, and so on. Many traditions practice dying before you die meditations, which essentially encourage you to see the impermanence of all things and so to worry less and perhaps release a bit the compulsion to fit in one more thing, and live just this once.
Today, for five minutes, “die on purpose” to the big agenda, and see what’s here already, ready and waiting.