Prior to beginning this contemplation for meditation, I followed my breath, unchanged, just experiencing what it was like to be alive. In my mind I repeated this:
My breath is life
Everything I project comes to light
My inhale is precious
My exhale is precious
My intake of the world, energies, and beings around me are equally as important as the breath I exhale, the thoughts I project and the actions I create.
I then began the following meditation
The following meditation is from The New Meditation Handbook, by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso
2. DEATH AND IMPERMANENCE
Purpose: To eliminate the laziness of attachment, the main obstacle to practicing Dharma purely.
I shall definitely die. There is no way to prevent my body from finally decaying. Day by day, moment by moment, my life is slipping away. I have no idea when I shall die; the time of death is completely uncertain. Many young people die before their parents, some die the moment they are born – there is no certainty in this world. Furthermore, there are many causes of untimely death. The lives of many strong and healthy people are destroyed by accidents. There is no guarantee I shall not die today.
Repeat: “I may die today. I may die today. I may die today.”
Conclusion and determination: “Since I shall soon have to depart from this world, there is no sense in my becoming attached to the things of this life. Instead, I will devote my whole life to the practice of Dharma.”
If we lose attachment to the things we find pleasure in, what is the point of living? This part of Buddhism I find very hard to see the light in. In the Buddhist tradition, we wait are whole life to die, releasing from the attachment of life and its pleasures only makes our death more painless.
Every aspect of life I love deeply. From tragic childhood experiences to dancing to my favorite songs with friends, life is precious. I choose to acknowledge life, that each day I live may be my last. I choose to acknowledge that if today were my last, I lived it according to my inner desire. I make each decision of this waking life knowing that today may be my last, and if this is fact, I am doing everything I can to live in a way that would make my soul dance.
Not every day of my life did I see this way. My thoughts, desires, and actions were clouded. I was young but that is no excuse. I would waiver over being good to myself and soul and tragically depleting it of all its worth. But what was the point of being so perfect all the time? I’m here to live not wait for death.
I can live more fully when I am conscious of every moment, action and decision.
So as I grow into DEATH each day I choose to DIE gracefully and with honor and respect to my eternal soul.
So as I grow into LIFE each day I choose to LIVE gracefully and with honor and respect to my eternal soul.
After this meditation and reflection, I spoke with a family friend of mine. She said a great way to remember this fact was by each time you blow out a candle, think “this is my last breath”. Yes, this would be my mantra for the rest of the day.