Friday, August 1, 2008


Being aware of the impermanence of my life on such a deep level and on such a constant basis has made me think deeply about what is truly important. I don't think that it is likely that I can create a list of what is important for all of humanity, or even for a relatively high percentage of humanity since we all tend to inject our own meaning into life. What is important to some is meaningless to others.

However, I must confront my own life and death; and, when faced with the inevitability of my own death; I find that my priorities tend to become something that I am more or less constantly examining and fine-tuning.

Honestly, there are no major changes in my priorities; my monastic practice is, by extension, a form of dying practice. I think most monastics would tend to agree with this assertion. What I am discovering is that I am becoming more intimately acquainted with my thoughts, my perceptions, and the ebb and flow of my emotions. This is helping me a great deal in the task of articulating to myself, and, I suppose, to others, what is going on in the interior of my heart and my mind. Particularly regarding this question of priorities.

To my mind, I really only own three things. When I say this, what I am attempting to convey, or at least to imply, is that there are only three attributes or qualities or 'things' (if you can call them things..) that cannot be taken from me by force. I have to give them away by choice... or sell them.

Everything else that I "have" (or delude myself into believing that I have), including my life, my sense of self, my memories, my sight, hearing and other senses... even my very identity or awareness of myself as a person... *everything* can be taken. Except for three treasures.

These three treasures are;

  1. My Love.

  2. My Generosity.

  3. My Integrity.

These are the only 'things' that I truly own.

Most of what we use to define ourselves is, eventually, rendered meaningless.

Naturally, I don't mean to say that we should all quit working and being productive members of society... things wouldn't work out so well... but, at least for me, balance is best achieved, I think, when I know what is most important, and what is merely 'important'.

Love. Generosity. Integrity.

If I had a choice, I don't think I would change a thing.

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