It is a practice of mine to try to ensure that first thing in the morning, before my day gets going – before I straighten out my duvet or become suitably attired; before I open the main gate or drink my cup of sweet and strong Assam tea; before my mind is stirred by the rising currents of the day’s worries and vain desires – I calmly introduce into my awareness certain thoughts. Thoughts of death.
The fact that this could be my last day. The fact that one day I will wake up and it will be my last day, and that this could be the one. The fact that many people are waking up at this very moment who will die on this very day. The fact that my time is limited and that the time I have with those people whom I care for and value is limited. The fact that one day they won’t be here any more, and neither will I. The fact, the only fact, that I will die.
And then I smile, have a cup of tea, open the gate, get dressed (should’ve done that before I opened the gate…), straighten my duvet, and watch the little worries and desires slow and still and cease as the sobering truth of death shows me my priorities.
Teachers will now be cherished; friends and family will be loved. Strangers will be befriended; enemies will be understood. Grudges will gain no foothold; anger will be cast away. The bully fear will be cut down to size; desire will be seen for the empty promise that it is. The quest for meaning will take priority; meaningless priorities will be put aside. And I will not allow to slip away unused this delicate, fleeting life.