Saturday, July 11, 2009
Looking back over the past year of this practice, I can see that I have learned a great deal about myself, about mindfulness, and about more skillfully navigating the situations and circumstances that life offers me, and responding to them more appropriately.
During the course of this practice, I have visited and re-visited many people that have been a part of my life up to this point; some of whom are no longer an active part of my life... and some who are.
I have examined both pleasant and unpleasant memories, and I have forgiven others... and learned to forgive myself for the mistakes and failures that plague us as humans.
Mostly, however, I learned that life is what I make of it. I am here. Things cannot bring me happiness, and people cannot bring me happiness. I can share my happiness with others, and they can share their happiness with me... for a time.... but, there must be dark and light, up and down, high and low. So, I have also learned that there are many things in life that I must simply accept.
I have lived a year ... or did my best to live a year's time, as though I had only a one year period of time left to live... I did not travel the world... make a wishlist of things to do... or do most of the things that one might expect. Instead, I tried to make my practice a practice of accepting and responding to my life 'as it is'.
I have quieted down internally... I can feel a sense of calm that is even deeper and more profound than I am used to having; and this is saying quite a bit, as I am generally calm and tranquil as a rule.
The most important lesson that I have learned, I think, is that Dying Practice (which should more accurately be called Living Practice) doesn't ever really end. Whether you make an announcement or not... each day is Dying Practice. Each breath... each moment. For all of us.
My year of practice has ended... but, I find that I am still practicing...
I considered continuing this journal.. making it a kind of personal journal... and continuing... however, I think it would be a bit like carrying the bridge along with me after using it to cross the river in the event that I may come upon another river which must be crossed.
Instead, I will simply end here.
I am grateful to have had the opportunity to experience all that I have experienced during this past year. May the wisdom that I have gained, if any, be used to identify my weaknesses and faults and transform them into strengths and attributes... may these in turn be used to benefit all sentient beings.
Thank you, and goodbye.
May you be peaceful.
May you be happy.
May you be safe.
May you awaken to the light of your true nature.
May you be free.
In Peace & Brotherhood,
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
My countdown reads 22 minutes and 23 seconds left to live.
When it reaches zero, it will mark the culmination of a year long practice in how to live fully and authentically by living under the premise that I had only a year left to live.
It has been both a wonderful and grueling practice, but I feel that it has changed me in many ways.
This last day was a stream of intense and poignant experiences... *direct* experiences of living through a day... first hand... and not through the 'multiple plys' that modern day life often forces upon us.
There is little left to do save to surrender to death, and accept it in much the same way as every other moment is accepted.
It has been a good life. A good 49 years. I have done and seen much, I have learned more..
The first 50 years have been an expansion... an in breath... it is now time to begin the contraction... the out breath..... for we must both breath in and out.
This moment.. right now. Is perfect.. just as it is!
Thank you for letting me share my practice with you.
I go now to sit quietly and wait for my 'death' to arrive. I will greet it with a gentle smile.. as an old friend.
We die and are reborn in every moment... each breath is a new breath... so it shouldn't come as a surprise that I will be reborn the instant that I die.
We are always arriving.. every moment... over and over... in a stream of rebirths...
This is just one more... but it is important because I will be *mindful* of it.
I will die.
Tomorrow, perhaps I will awake. I will stand and take the very first step of the second half of my life... fresh, new, reborn... and ready to accept whatever life offers.
I am a monk, but you dont have to be a monk to follow this practice and to learn what it may have to offer you. You just have to open your heart and let each moment fill you completely.
In a few days, I will sit and write a summary of my experience in following this practice... this one year long life experiment. I will compare what I expected with what I experienced, and most likely I will have a few more words to say than anybody cares to here... but I will put them down with care, and with love.
In Peace & Brotherhood,
My countdown reads 23 hours and 43 minutes left to live.
I will live as mindfully, authentically, and as fully as I am able over these last hours....
This practice has been instructive, insightful, challenging... and life-changing.
I don't view the world through quite the same eyes that I did when I embarked upon this practice.
I am not sure what I expected it to be... but, the reality was much different than what I *thought* I was getting involved in.
The practice was much more *real* than I expected it to be.
At first, the countdown unnerved me... now, it is only a countdown... we all have one.. in our heartbeat... our breaths... each step that we take... each moment. This one simply has numbers attached to it.
Of all of the various emotions that I feel as this year comes to a close... as my life of the past 50 years ends.. the one I feel most strongly as I write this now is gratitude.
There is so much more than I realized... and I didnt have to DO anything to access it... other than simply to do it. It was just like this all along... the entire time... and wonder how I didnt realize it for so long when it is all so simple.
I will go to sleep now... and sleep soundly... waking up to my last day on earth in a few hours.
I have an entire day left of this practice... and I will make every second count!
Monday, July 6, 2009
Over the past few days, but most noticeable to me today; I am perceiving the passage of time differently - by which I mean that I seem to have more time than I normally do, or that I am somehow finding pockets of time within moments where I have not done so in the past...
This is kind of hard to explain. It falls flat when I actually explicitly verbalize it.
Nevertheless, today seemed to me to be longer, fuller, brighter, and deeper... if deeper can be applied as an adjective to describe a day.
I am not sure if this perception is just a temporary anomaly... a product of a strange day... or whether it is caused by some shift in my perception, or what.
It makes me wonder what I was doing with my time in the past if all days are like this one... it seems a pity to me that I would have missed it. So much time in a day to enjoy. I have always noticed this... but not quite so much as today.
I expected to feel sadness or trepidation when my time got short.. but, I don't. Instead, I just want to be here... completely... and just soak in the moment like a sponge... good, bad, all of it.
I was trying to explain to my wife how everything was so perfect in its 'just-so suchness' and she looked at me like I was out of my gourd. I don't have the verbal capability of expressing this... and it is a bit frustrating. I can't understand why she, or anyone, can't already just see this... it is as plain as can be!
A tree doesn't know it is a tree... or that it is an apple tree, or a pine tree... nobody tells it what to do... and if we have expectations for it, it doesn't care. It is just a tree. That's all. No matter what... it is a tree. And, when it isn't a tree any more... it just isn't... it doesn't lament over the fact... it just... goes away... changes.... *everything* is like that... it is like somebody putting their hands into a bucket of liquid and stirring it up... its the same liquid; but the waves are all different all the time... if you look beneath the waves, though - it is all the same liquid. It is just like that!! HA! Isn't that *awesome*??!! Do you see?! (*grins!!*)