Yesterday as the sun set, the light came through my office window in a spectacular way. The white-golden brilliance came over the edge of the mountains and shot through the dirt on the glass and bugs in the screen. It was brilliant, healing, miraculous. And now it’s gone forever.
That sunset was one more ticked off my finite list of sunsets in this lifetime. I was busy. I took the time to enjoy the light for a moment and take the picture with my phone camera, and then I turned back to this screen to finish whatever I was doing. Now it’s another day. Another day closer to death. Another day spent.
I have an image before my consciousness of a man sitting at a table with several stacks of golden coins. One stack is huge – thousands of coins. Another is medium sized, and the other is small, it has only a few dozen. I would like to think that the biggest pile represents my days. I’d like to think I have thousands of days, thousands of sunsets. But the small pile could could represent my breaths. (I spend about 20000 of those every day)
The short pile, in the best case scenario, could be my years. At 44, I might have 44 more. If I live to 88 I would live longer than any man in my family lineage. I could have just 4 more years to live. That wouldn’t be so unusual. Like the comedian Louis CK says, “There’s no candlelight vigils for 50 year old guys that die.”
But whether I have 40 more years or 14 or 1, there is certainly an impending end to the finite pile of gold coins of time.
This shall be my teaching theme for this season. As another finite golden summer comes to an end, I will be focusing on the preciousness of time. This is what the mystics mean about the “present moment”. It’s not about being “all zen” or just overcoming anxiety by focusing on your breath. All of that is just a distraction from what’s really going on. I believe those teachings are actually dis-empowering us.
Each of us sits at our own table of golden coins. Each year, each season, each day, each breath shrinks the pile a little more. How are your spending your golden coins?
How would you spend your days if you didn’t have to make money? How would you spend your life? Who would you love and how would you love them? What would you enjoy and how would you enjoy it? How would you relate to yourself? What would you invest in yourself?
This is the value of being well, being empowered, being “enlightened”. In un-wellness, in dis-empowerment, in our inner bondage, our ability to really live, really serve and thrive is restricted. It’s as simple as that. If our body is out of shape, we can’t freely walk up that wonderful hill to watch the rising sun. If we haven’t created our life of work and livelihood in a conscious way we find ourselves chained to our job, waiting for days off to rest. Waiting until we can “afford it” to really live.
If this teaching feels like pressure, good. It feels like a lot of pressure to me. If this gives you a pang of anxiety – even better. It’s totally rational and healthy to feel FOMO (fear of missing out) if you’re living under the blankets of unconsciousness. You are missing out.
My vision is one where people wake up each day fully ready, willing, and able to “swing the bat” at life. Imagine that – every day a brilliant embrace of everything good in life. Envision each meal, each hug, each song, each email done wakefully, enjoyed wholeheartedly. What would it take to get you into that kind of shape?