Thursday, July 3, 2008


It always seems that when you are driving towards a mountain range, they stay forever at the same distance from you no matter how long you are heading towards them; You drive and drive and drive... and the mountains float out there in the distance, never seeming to get much bigger.. or much closer...


You hit some predetermined distance point, and WHAM!! The mountain is right in your face!! And HUGE!! And suddenly, messing around with mountains doesn't seem like quite the great idea that it started out to be....

But.. you find a way through, as long as you pick your way carefully, and refrain from acting foolish.

Well.. most of the time, anyway...

Today my dying practice hit that predetermined distant point, and suddenly that practice that was floating out there in the distance looking small and harmless was suddenly right up in my face!!

It occurs to me that whether I die at the end of my year of practice, or whether I live to be 105 years old, I have, at best, maybe 56 years of life left. And that's if I live to be 105 years old!!

So... really, 56 or less... and much more likely to be less..

The average lifespan for a Caucasian male in the U.S. is what?? 72 years of age?? If I die at age 72, then I realistically have something like 23 years left of my life!

If I take an average of the two, it averages out to around 39.5 years... which is probably a somewhat reasonable estimate, I guess... or at least as good as any... This would mean that I live to be around 88-and-a-half years old (apparently, those half-years come back as you get older, and become very, *very* important again!).

So what does it mean?? Well.. to me, it means that time is passing, and life is precious! I can't afford to squander it... it's the only life that I have.. (At least that I know of... and if I *don't* know of some other hypothetical life... it sort of doesn't really count, as far as I'm concerned... so I have to work at getting this one right... well, it makes sense to me, anyway...)

I can tell that this dying practice is going to be a tough practice, but that I should benefit from it a great deal. Now that I have an 'expiration date' as somewhat of a focus point, I am very much aware of time passing... breaths passing... heartbeats passing.... each breath and each heartbeat being one less that I will ever experience.

A very close friend recently ended up in the hospital. Initially, it appeared that he had had a heart attack. This was frightening to all of us; He is only 41 years old! His father died of a heart attack at around the same age... it brought to light the fact that I am now of an age where this sort of thing can actually happen and not be such an anomaly.. and it can happen at any given moment. It is good enough reason to appreciate each healthy moment that I have.

I haven't even *started* this practice yet, and I am already beginning to appreciate my life... just the fact that I *HAVE* a life.. so very much more.

Tuesday formally starts the practice. I am partly looking forward to it (well, mostly looking forward to it...) but part of me wants to hide in bed with the covers pulled over my head...

I will post the meditations or activities that will be working on, probably on a weekly basis... and I will post my journal entries when they seem appropriate to post... I want to avoid posting repetitive entries, etc. I really only intend to memorialize my mind set, my thoughts, and my experiences when they are fresh in my mind.

The thought of *actually* having only one more year to live in this breathtakingly beautiful world is almost heartbreaking... but sooner or later I know that that moment will have to come; whether or not I am aware of it when it does....

Now *that* is something to think about.

1 comment:

Mr. Guinness said...

I am enjoying your new blog greatly. I am 63, and the 23 years you may have left to your 72 are massive compared to the nine I have til 72. But the older I get the more the quality of that time becomes important, not the secular measures, but the time I can help others, the time I can just listen, and not talk, the time, finally, where the world is revealing itself to me, not I to it.
So I hope you don't mind that I tag along, ...for my time at least.