What if there was a 70% chance you were going to die sometime at the end of the day? How would you go about your day? Would you approach it any differently?
Obviously, with a 70% chance, you couldn’t just throw it all in the wind, burn all your bridges, and go out with a bang. After all, there is still a 30% chance you would get to see the next day. But if you were given those odds, would you:
Spend a little more time the things that matter,
Hold your loved ones a little closer, or
Reflect a little more on the beautiful?
Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.
This morning I am born again. I may still hear the echo of yesterday, but I can no longer change the sound. It is buried in the past. Tomorrow has not yet arrived. As a matter of fact, tomorrow may never come at all. With yesterday gone and tomorrow not guaranteed, all I have is today. All I have is this moment right now. I can affect this. I can do all the things I should have done yesterday. I can do all the things I hoped to leave for tomorrow. I can do this now as if my next breath were to be my last.
We can blindly accept things as true. Whether it be the news, gossip, or something heard in the grapevine, we can take a path of least resistance. That way, no effort is involved, and we gladly follow along with the crowd.
Or we can take a half-measure. We can hear the news, conduct an online search, and be done with it. Our suspicions were unwarranted as confirmed by the first article listed in the search results.
The Buddha said, “There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth: not going all the way and not starting.”
Your body is a temple. Why would you put anything in your body without knowing the truth of what it is? Do you know what is in the food or medicine you consume? Did you do the research or just go along with what you were told? You only get one body.
Your mind is the Holy of Holies in your temple. This too should be protected. You do your best to prevent viruses onto your computer. Viruses carry information with the power to corrupt the operating system. Likewise, what you consume mentally can corrupt the most sacred parts of who you are. Beware and protect. Consume information but validate it. Understand what it is before you implement or spread it. Is it truth? For it is the truth we should seek. It is the truth that gives us the freedom to be our own masters.
Our path consists of choices. We choose the way we think is best and hope it works out in our favor. Sometimes our choices are bad. They may have seemed good at the time, but ultimately, they take us down a route we never intended. When our choices demand payment, we are faced with a dilemma. How do we survive? How do we navigate the current road so that we may continue to our destination?
There are times the universe gives us a nudge, often not gently. It tells us that we are not doing what we were designed to do. It tells us to stop playing it safe and go do what we were meant to do. To ignore this calling is to play a dangerous game with forces more powerful than us.
I have mentioned the prophet Jonah before. God told him to go one way; he went the other. Jonah chose not to listen to his calling. Thinking he could get away with it, he boarded a ship and fled town. God sent a storm. Not worried, Jonah decided to take a nap. But the storm was a bad one and the sailors panicked. They drew lots to find out who was to blame. Of course, it was Jonah. He was the reason for the storm. Next thing you know, Jonah was taking a salt bath. And if things couldn’t get any worse, a really big fish swallowed him up.
Have you ever found yourself in the belly of a whale? We all go through it on our hero’s journey. Our choices lead us down a path that turns to brambles and thorns. The sun goes behind the trees, and the goblins of our imagination come out to haunt us. This is the belly of Jonah’s whale. Imagine being in there. It is dark. It stinks. If you are prone to motion sickness, this is not the place for you. All you can do there is sit. Sit and wait. There is no one to talk to, so you are left alone to your thoughts. You reflect on the past and how you got there. You imagine the things you will do if you ever get out. But the past and the future are no help to you now. So, you sit. And wait. You still your mind in the present because that is all you have.
Jonah got out of the whale. He went to do the things he was supposed to do. Likewise, the sun will rise again on the morrow, and we will find our own way back onto the path.
God could have sent another to take Jonah’s place, but it was Jonah that He wanted. Nobody else could have walked his path. Only Jonah. In the same way, nobody can walk our paths. It is our journey.
It has been awhile since I did a guided meditation. Honestly, I don’t think they were working for me. More often than not, I was falling asleep listening to the voice of the guide.
Over the last month, I have begun a new habit that has been serving me well so far. When I wake up at four in the morning, I get dressed to work out. I go into the living room and lay down on the floor. I set my timer on the Insight App for ten minutes and begin my meditation. My preference is to lay on the floor rather than sit up. I think it helps to align my spine a little better to be on the hard floor.
During those ten minutes, I think about the workout I am going to do. I visualize myself doing the exercises. How hard, how long, and anything else I can think of. I try to maintain good breath control, but that is not my primary focus. When my mind wanders to other things, I go back to thinking about my workout. After the bell rings, I get up and walk to my home gym in the garage. My workout is intense and focused. What I pictured in my mind, I complete in reality. It works.
On the days that I work, I try to get to the parking lot 15-20 minutes early. I park at the back of the lot where there is less distraction and once again set my meditation timer for another ten minutes. I picture my day at work. I think of the tasks I have to do and the places I have to be. More importantly, I think about my interactions with my coworkers. I visualize having a good and productive day. More often than not, the things I picture in my mind, I complete in reality. Again, it works.
Bring it to life with action.
Enjoy your day.
All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become. –Buddha