"When understood, the Buddha’s universe..is anything but alien and inhibiting. It is a world full of hope, where everything we need to do can be done and everything that matters is within human reach. It is a world where kindness, unselfishness, non-violence, and compassion achieve what self-interest and arrogance cannot. It is a world where any human can be happy in goodness and the fullness of giving." ❦ Eknath Easwara

September 8, 2011

Cherish this Precious Life!

When a friend or loved one dies, one is so poignantly reminded of how precious and fragile this life is that we all share together.  We cannot assume that any of us will be here tomorrow, just because we are here today.  We cannot live in constant fear of death, and yet without mindfulness of the impermanence of all things, I don’t think we really grasp the preciousness of this life.

To free us from the suffering of impermanence, the Buddha taught how to look deeply into the arising and passing away of fabricated things.  He showed how insight into the nature of things could help us break free of belief in "existence" and "non-existence" and to see the Deathless and Unconditioned.

As we work to free our minds from suffering, the fact remains that mortality sucks—big time.  And yet if the price of life is mortality, I gladly pay it for the chance to have "shown up" here with all of you in this amazing world.  I am supremely grateful to have had the opportunity just to be—to live, to love, and to wonder.

Maybe, in this world, we are just hatching, sprouting unseen wings, and learning how to fly beyond the limitations of our origins.

Maybe there's more to us and more to this world than just the fabricated and impermanent.  I hope so!  But if not, that makes the gift of consciousness all the more precious, does it not?

Maybe there's more than a clue in Joseph Campbell's observation:
"Eternity is not the hereafter...this is it.  If you don't get it here, you won't get it anywhere."  
Can we find the timeless, the deathless, in the here and now?  To find out, we have to "show up," don't we?  Without mindfulness and presence, our precious life slips through our hands like sand, and we don't even know it's happening.

In whatever time we have here together on this amazing planet, in this amazing universe, may we cherish ourselves, may we cherish one another, may we cherish this world and the beings of this world. May we cherish this precious life!

Steven Goodheart
For more in-depth dharma articles and instruction, visit:  METTA REFUGE

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