We are all in basically the same situation. We're here, alive and breathing. We're wondering, trying hard (or not so much), incessantly thinking, and operating under some form of illusion or another. Perhaps most of us are searching, even if we don't know what for. We've all had glimpses of enlightened thought that we turn away from for reasons as individual as our DNA.
Funny, because we are all dealing with the same underlying, subconscious, and most times, unspoken truth that we are all ultimately going to die. I've written about impermanence before, suggesting that we recognize and embrace the reality of it. Here, I suggest that contemplating, and moreover, meditating on the impermanence of our so-called lives is the mack daddy of all spiritual tasks.
It is no small undertaking, for doing so in a dedicated way will challenge what you think you know to be important in life, as well as, who you think you are.
When you consider the people around you, what you'll notice is that we all have our place on a continuum, a path, if you will. We all think and behave in accordance with our personal vision of our life's impermanence. We've heard the clichés: "Life is too short for ..."; or referring to the pursuit of wealth: "You can't take it with you". We've also been touched in one way or another by the death of a loved one. Realizing in the most somber moments what that person's death means to you, maybe you came into new insight or inspiration of what is possible, or even desirable for your own life. Maybe you came away with a new appreciation for presence, or a new zest for redefining your life based on experiences.
Our place on that continuum changes naturally. Aging, if nothing else will move us along. But, isn't it up to us to bring energy and purpose to realizing and changing our position on that continuum? If we simply try to examine what is really true for us in this regard, isn't there something potentially life changing about that?
I suspect that the old "If you knew that you only had 6 months to live.." scenario were taken seriously, we would most likely be doing something different with our lives. I am very much included in this! The goal, if there is one, is not to simply release the fear of death, but to change our view of our lives so much so, that as a side benefit, we no longer fear death.
Remember Tupac? He's doing a show at the Beacon this weekend!
Of course, I kid. But seriously, I bring up Tupac as an example of a pitfall we can all benefit from avoiding. Tupac didn't fear death, or at least supposedly not. This wasn't true because he was a zen master, or an enlightened being. From my standpoint, Tupac boasted about this as a way of ultimate ego one-upmanship. We say to ourselves, "He must have been a bad ass if he didn't even fear death!" Right? In the same way, let's acknowledge and avoid the tendency to see ourselves as somehow better than or less than someone else because of where they are on the path.
Small example, offered up as a way to say let's avoid the ego pitfalls and come at it honestly.
Come at it with persistence. Consider your own death, as well as everyone else's around you. Come at it with a sense of gratitude, contemplating your own death until you actually believe that it can happen for you on your very next breath. Come at it with an awareness of your inner workings too. If it seems too morbid, too saddening, or a waste of time and mental energy, know that this is a part of your ego mind that we are trying to counter with daily work on acceptance.
Ultimately, when you do the work, you'll raise your vibration. You'll have a more profound appreciation for life - your life, and you'll begin to radiate that energy outwardly. People will start to comment about your positive influence. Others will start to comment on your radiance, and question your skin care regimen. Others still will begin to question how good your life must be, your sanity, or even your sincerity. Despite any of that, persist.
The Buddha said, "Of all contemplations, that of impermanence is the deepest and most supreme.”