FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY*
Who doesn’t love a good sale? Why pay full price when we can get something at a discount? As long as you read the fine print and make your purchase between the allocated dates, feel free to pat yourself on the back for getting the “best bang for your buck.” From this vantage point, does it make since to sit back and wait until the next sale comes along in every day life experiences? Life is for a limited time only.* I place the asterisk there to acknowledge that there is always “fine print” in life. We are here for only a limited time. Michael Singer, author of The Untethered Soul, goes, so far as to say our greatest teacher in life is death. Death is a topic our society tends to avoid at all costs, side stepping it while running to catch a plane, pulling an all-nighter to get a project finished, or regularly missing church services.
Singer imagines a conversation with the Angel of Death who shows up at the most unexpected time: “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…’ Do you know what Death will say to you? He’ll say, ‘My gosh! 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?’”
It makes me think about the limited time only sale. Our whole life is a great deal, every waking moment of it. No one knows when he or she will take his or her last breath; death doesn’t discriminate by race, age, gender, socio-economic level, beauty, popularity or political party. I am blessed to know a few people in my life who live in this heightened state of awareness that I hope to achieve. If their lives were to end tomorrow, they wouldn’t change a thing about the way they are living. They recognize life for the gift it truly is meant to be.
Michael Singer tells the story of a great yogi living his life as if there was a sword suspended above his head by a spider web. Every single breath he took, word he spoke, action he undertook was meaningful. Ironically, Singer notes in his book, “Do you realize that what you’re doing at any moment is something that someone was doing when they died? ‘He died eating dinner…He died in a car accident, two miles from his home… She died in a plane wreck on a trip to New York…He went to bed and never woke up…’ At some point, this is how it happened to somebody. No matter what you’re doing, you can be sure somebody died that way.”
This article isn’t about living in fear of death. It’s about embracing life and living it to the fullest. Coming to terms with death will make life more precious. Springer notes, “If you are living every experience fully, then death doesn’t take anything from you. There’s nothing to take because you’re already fulfilled.” It really isn’t about what you get out of life, it’s what you do with what your given in life. It’s a win-win situation, and you can pat yourself on the back for getting the best bang for your buck.
*Living life fully may bring about spontaneous joy.
Originally printed in the Bay City Tribune on May 22, 2016.