Sometimes we feel it coming. Other times we notice it looking back. Rarely are we aware at that particular point in time when our thinking about life – ours in particular – shifts. But, if we’re paying attention at all, we eventually do notice. And, it does happen whether we notice or not – sometimes more than once.
Much of what is written about the cycle of life and dying has become trite and repetitive. Characters change, circumstances change but the message is constant. No one gets out alive. What interests me are the answers to the “so what?” question and how those answers change. What do we do with the time allotted to us? I was prompted again to think about it, and capture those thoughts, by an internet friend’s posting …
“The worst that could happen to us is that we have to die, and since that is already our unalterable fate, we are free; those who have lost everything no longer have anything to fear.” Don Juan Matus
A good reminder. Don Juan’s creator, author Carlos Casteneda, is a favorite of mine. Much of what he teaches resonates with my own views of life and living. The above quote sums it up succinctly. And for those who have faced dying up close, it carries even more relevance.
Others have observed that things come to us when we need them. Or at least we notice and give them currency at important junctures in time. I discovered Casteneda and Don Juan’s teachings at one of those junctions. In retrospect, it was arguably my ‘point in time’ when I began looking at life differently. The consequences of such a shift are not trivial, nor are they instantaneous. It takes time to internalize such a change and make it real in our daily lives. It is a cascading process, one change leads to another and then we notice we are not the same person we were – sometimes a pleasant acknowledgment, other times a rude awakening, occasionally frightening. I see this process as my mission in life. “Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished. If you’re alive, it isn’t” – Richard Bach.
The best we can do is to live our lives consciously, thoughtfully, and aware that the time we have is uncertain. Don Miguel Ruiz (‘The Four Agreements’) offers good counsel, “Always do your best.Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstances, simply do your best and you will avoid self-judgement, self-abuse and regret.”