Would you be living differently if you knew that you were going to die in 2 years? I had a conversation with a co-worker today who's husband has cancer. He's currently on some experimental treatment that seems to be helping him but yesterday he asked the doctor how much time he has. The doctor told him 2 - 5 years.
Yoga philosophy tells us that our final thoughts determine our next incarnation. If our final thoughts are of God, when we die, we will be united with God and be free from the cycle rebirth. The scriptures tell us that we should always think of God since we never know when are time in this incarnation will end. But what if you knew; at least had some idea of when your time would end. What would you be doing differently?
Would you still lose your temper? Would you still speak harshly to people? Would you choose sleeping in rather than doing sadhana? Would you rush off to finish Christmas shopping instead of inviting a friend to dinner?
These are the questions I've been asking myself today. My co-worker was saying that at least her husband has time to prepare. How do you prepare for the end of your life? Aside from the practical matters like funeral arrangements and I suppose there are financial arrangements you make. What I thought of when she said he has time to prepare was how will he choose to live his remaining days?
What would you do with your time? What would be important to me is spending time with the people I love. Simply spending time with them telling them all the things that are in my heart that I have so much trouble letting out. I would spend time doing things that I love. I certainly would choose more carefully how I spend my days. I would choose my words more carefully. I would choose my thoughts more carefully.
Even though I try to live my life consciously I still sometimes get swept up in the drama of life. I find myself getting impatient with the cashier who is moving too slow or the driver that cut me off on the road or getting upset with my son who spilled his cereal all over the floor for the second time that day. Would any of that matter if I knew that my time in this life was coming to an end? Probably not.
We all know that we should be living as if each day is our last but do we really? For most of us, I'd venture to say the answer is no. The reality is that none of us have a guarantee of tomorrow. Stop for a moment and think about the things you'd want to do or say to someone if you were given the news that you'd have only 2 - 5 years to live.
Perhaps this Christmas sharing a cup of chai with a friend will be more important than standing in line at the Target buying more junk for people who will have to stand in line at the Target to return that same junk after Christmas.