CLOSE TO DEATH
Have you ever thought of escaping to Hawaii or the Bahamas in search of some peace, freedom, and fresh air and realize later, while lying on the golden sandy beach, that you have carried your miserable self along or the present is not delighting you the way you expected?
I am not the exotic type; I have no big plans of traveling around the world, soaking on a beach in the Caribbean, hiking the world's most famous canyon, exploring ancient ruins, eating delicious cuisine, or learning more about a significant historical site. If I bump into them, I will pause, wonder, smile, and move on. If I don't, I am FINE. My biggest vacation is freedom from my mind and the voices it creates, a kind of freedom that turns my patio with five green plants into Hawaii.
Do you believe that true freedom is freedom from oneself? I have realized that of many things that upset me, of many things that push and prick me, it is my own self that is the most bothersome. It is easy to deal with others, with situations, answer SAT questions or life questions, but the challenges 'THE SELF' throws at you are beyond comprehension. Somewhere each day, early morning, when I look at the mirror after washing off my night sleep, I see a pair of eyes looking back, and it is these very eyes I find the hardest to confront, please, appease, understand, or whatever you may call it. Who said the path of a spiritual journey is easy? Huh! here is a voice, there are many voices in my head, and I have realized two things about it-
It does not shut up. It thinks and judges everything, and it is pretty thorny too.
The steady voice that expresses worries and doubts and anxieties is not me but just an observer, the voice of my psyche but not of my soul. Reading “The Untethered Soul' by Michael A. Singer has been nothing less than a big step, a dinosaur step on my spiritual journey towards 'being whole.'
I often think about Death; I consciously think about Death. It helps me, reminds me about my precious life. Do you? If not, give it a try. It frees you from most of the tentacles that trap you, limit you, and holds you back from finding your inner peace. Isn't it the most fantastic paradox -Death brings you closer to Life.
But do we wait that long to realize? As Michael Singer puts it in his book ' The Untethered Soul,' "Let's say you're living life without the thought of death, and the Angel of Death comes to you and says, "Come, it's time to go." You say, "But no. You're supposed to give me a warning so I can decide what I want to do with my last week. I'm supposed to get one more week." Do you know what Death will say to you? He'll say, "My God! I gave you fifty-two weeks this past year alone. And look at all the other weeks I've given you. Why would you need one more? What did you do with all those?" If asked that, what are you going to say? How will you answer? "I wasn't paying attention . . . I didn't think it mattered." That's a pretty amazing thing to say about your life."
That's not how I choose to work through my life. Make every action count make every moment meaningful, do not get upright about Death; instead, let the knowledge help you towards your authentic self, the integrated self where there is only one person inside you, not many YOU's, the authentic self where your thoughts, words, and actions are in complete harmony.
“In the end, people don't view their life as merely the average of all its moments—which, after all, is mostly nothing much plus some sleep. For human beings, life is meaningful because it is a story. A story has a sense of a whole, and its arc is determined by the significant moments, the ones where something happens. Measurements of people's minute-by-minute levels of pleasure and pain miss this fundamental aspect of human existence. A seemingly happy life may be empty. A seemingly difficult life may be devoted to a great cause. We have purposes larger than ourselves.”
The last one is my absolute favorite-
“How we seek to spend our time may depend on how much time we perceive ourselves to have.”