Saturday, January 24, 2009

Conscious Living

I have been working slowly through the Life-Review process over the past weeks and months. I suppose the routine has served to lull my mind into believing that this would simply go on forever.. but, as we all know; nothing lasts forever..

This past 201 days of this practice have been clearer ... and I have been much more present since I decided to undertake this practice.

Lately, fear has come crashing back... unheralded, and unprepared for.. Not so much fear of dying, but a fear of losing the relationships that I so treasure by way of dying. What I have decided to do, therefore, starting perhaps a week ago, is to continue my life review, but to play out the parting with each individual as though it is a final parting... and I will never see them again. This has resulted in spontaneous crying a couple of times... but, I am learning a little bit about calm detachment, while still feeling love. I would not say that I have mastered this... but, I can almost see where it is that I have to go in order to get there.

I have been doing everything but bending over backwards to avoid physically involving myself in the next stage of this practice. I must go through all of my personal papers, all of my belongings, everything... and discard whatever has no immediate use. I must also compile all of my personal papers into one neat package; as a courtesy to whoever must make the arrangements for me after I have died, and I must also write letters to each of my loved ones. Although I know that it is important, I have simply been avoiding it through the most stealthy and deceitful of methods.... but, it will have to stop very soon, and I will just have to get on with it.

I can say that this practice has very much increased my sense of gratitude. Living as though there will be no tomorrow enhances ones experience of everything, and the air has never been so fresh and cool... nor has the sky ever seemed so blue!! When I use any sort of article or tool, I am viscerally aware of all of the effort that went into its production, by so many different people, and how intricately all of our lives are intertwined with one another.. the drabbest and grayest of days seem to me to be a shining gift to be treasured and appreciated. And I *DO* appreciate each and every day.

I have always experienced a sympathetic joy at other people's triumphs and happiness... but never so much as now. It is a sweet cruelty that we learn to appreciate all that we have only when we come to realize that we are soon to lose it.

As this practice has unfolded over the past months, I have put less and less value on trying to feign or pretend anything... I am learning to live my life with authenticity. I don't really have the verbal capacity to properly communicate what a difference this makes.... and what a burden it is to try to 'fit in' or 'feign' something that we do not feel or experience. I would not have thought that I was one to do this, and had I been asked, I would have denied it most vociferously! However, in retrospect, I was much more pliable than I realized. Of course, this is not to say that I go about insulting people or being deliberately disagreeable.. not at all! I simply respond to life honestly, and I find that for the most part people respond to this with much more acceptance than I would have thought. As a people, we have quite a capacity to spot truth, and to spot bullshit. We know which is which, and it seems that we prefer a disagreeable truth to a comfortable load of lies, half-truths, and out-and-out bullshit. So, I am being much more straightforward with others, and, more importantly.. much more straightforward and honest with myself.

I would have thought that living with death 'just over my shoulder' would have been a frightening experience... and, in a way, it is... but no more so than it has ever been... because, after all, don't we all live in the shadow of our own death with every breath that we take? Instead, what I have learned is that to face whatever comes, whatever unfolds in my life squarely and directly, and to undertake even the most seemingly insignificant of tasks as though they are the most important undertaking of my life (.. although, at that precise moment, they are!!), I have begun to truly live in a more conscious manner. I am more present than I have ever been before. It is less important to me now to impress my importance, or even my existence upon others... and I have begun to put as much importance in the harmony of existing among other beings as I do upon my own comfort and preference.

The truth is that my situation and circumstances is absolutely no different than the situation and circumstances of every other being who is alive today. We are here, together, for as long as we remain alive... and we have no idea how long that might be.

I am feeling a yearning... and a striving... towards living an even more simple lifestyle than I do currently. To wake up... to breathe... to feel the sun on my face... the earth under my feet.... these are truly gifts to be appreciated and enjoyed!! What more does one truly need??


Paul said...

Amazing...I am so glad to have found this blog!

I started the Year to Live practice on Jan 1 of this has been amazing so far. Terrifying at times, challenging at others, and beautiful as well.

Thank you so much for documenting your experience. I am doing the same on my blog at , if you care to check it out. Comments and advice are always welcome and deeply appreciated.

Bunan Unsui said...

I am so glad that you stopped by, Paul... I will come and visit to see how you are doing! Perhaps we might be of help to one another by way of sharing our experiences with this practice!?!