I was participating in a weekly Satsang this morning with Mooji and a woman came up and was telling her story of recently going to India. She mentioned that upon returning and being in a happy state she had a heart attack and was now very disturbed and wanted so much to return to the previous happy place. Mooji very skillfully helped her drop the story of the previous state of mind and illuminated how she was not being present in the here and now. She was holding onto something from the past, clinging to it and wanting things to be different and so she was suffering. This really struck me because this women had just come back from such a transformative trip and she looked about my age perhaps even a bit younger and she had a heart attack, her life came within a blink of ending. Yet she was still clinging to a mental/emotional story of suffering rather than enjoying the beauty and power of the present moment, in Satsang.
In my years of Buddhist practice we would often contemplate death to remind us of impermanence and to dissolve the irrational fear that surrounds it. In contemplating death there are two key elements, one is that we are most certainly going to die, everyone always does. When we die the body and the mind will come to an end because they are temporary conditioned phenomena subject to birth, decay and death. We will also loose every material possession we have, every bit of status and prestige and even our relationships, we can take nothing with us when we die. The other key element is that the time of death is uncertain. No one knows when death will come, it may be in 50 years or it may be tomorrow or it may very well be in the next moment. These are not things we typically like to think about but denial will not change the reality of it however there is an incredible benefit in contemplating death in this way.
Sometimes people who have a terminal illness are told by a doctor that they have a certain amount of time left, perhaps its 3 months or just a month. Imagine being told you had 30 days left to live at most, what would change in your mind? How would you live those days compared to how you live now? Would the problems and irritations and conflicts you experience now still matter so much to you?
Most of us would consider being told we had 30 days left to live very bad news and we would probably go through a period of shock and disbelief followed by a period of grieving. Why? Because we live in a delusional state regarding who and what we are and how we exist. We take ourselves to be this body/mind. We think we have time. The problem is that there is ultimately no such thing. In fact we are in a much more urgent situation than the person who has been given 30 days to live. We don’t know how long we have, your life could end before you finish reading this sentence. Indeed in the time it takes you to read this article hundreds of people will have died. Some of those people had no idea or warning their life was about to end, it was completely unexpected. This is a reality. The mind likes to say – yeah but not me that won’t happen to me. Well I imagine the people it does happen to may have thought the same thing until it happened to them. Yet we act as if we have time. We put things off until tomorrow and we wait to engage many of the things that truly matter to us. We wait to say the truth of our hearts to the ones we love. We spend so much time obsessed with petty problems related to money, work and relationships. So much time brooding over things from the past, stories of “poor me” and worrying about the future. The past only exists right now as memories and the future exists only right now as imagination. Neither are real outside of your mind, only the eternal now is truly real and so often we do everything we can to distract ourselves from it, avoiding it at any cost.
My point here is that all we have is right now and this incredibly fortunate existence in a human body is so incredibly fragile and temporary. Why in the name of Goddess would we throw it away by wasting our attention and energy on ridiculous nonsense? When we live for the future and wait to do what matters we become little more than walking corpses, so many people have died to life long before their bodies die. However what if we dropped all the stories of the past and let go of the need to try and know and predict the future and just lived fully right now? What if we stopped trying to live life or figure things out and instead relaxed and allowed life to live us? What if we lived as if this moment were our very last moment and cherished every moment of life as if it was the greatest gift in the universe? What would be different in your life, how would you live it? What would your state of mind be and what problems would you still cling to?
This is precisely what I am inviting, no, challenging you to do right this very moment. What you truly are is right here right now and stepping out of the known into the unknown opens up life beyond anyones imagination. If you take yourself to be the body/mind you will die but what if thats not who and what you really are? What if you are something much deeper and vast? NOW is the time to find out! NOW is the time to live! Thats all you will ever have….