“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone,” – Pablo Picasso
The 4th of Atisha’s Nine Contemplations, Your Life Span, Like That of All Living Beings, Is Not Fixed has taken me for.ev.er to write about. Not because it’s a particularly difficult one but just, you know, life. The main idea is that death could come at any moment. Most of us will not know when. The way I approached this as a meditation was to sit and think through the actions I would take throughout the morning and day, and attach “I could die (doing) ___________,” Here’s a sample:
I could die doing the dishes.
I could die in the shower.
I could die on the way to the grocery store.
I could die at the grocery store.
I could die tonight in my sleep.
And so on. Anyone who knows me, knows I had way too much fun with this. And for weeks, I thought “what am I getting out of this???” I already know this. We’ve covered this. I am very creative. What is wrong with me? We don’t know when we’re going to die. I know. We don’t know when we’re going to die. I get it. We don’t know when we’re going to d….wait a minute! If we have no idea when it is going to happen, then there is no sense in worrying about when it will happen. Like, at all. Big exhale. Freedom. I’m going to say it again: if we have no idea when it is going to happen, then there is no sense in worrying about when it will happen. We just needn’t worry about it at all. Now, that doesn’t mean go drinking bleach or disobeying traffic laws but we can just go about our days and not worry about it. Because we don’t know. Let go.
Big ALSO, can I look in the mirror and acknowledge my unfixed life span and love myself as if I could die in any of the aforementioned and not mentioned ways? Properly? Can I look at those around me and acknowledge their unfixed life span and instead of sitting with the anticipated pain, love them properly? As if there may be no more opportunities to let them know how much you love them? Because there may not be. And instead of that idea prompting a minor panic attack, deep breath in, blow it all out. Let go. Freedom.
In love and peace,