Monday Musings Part Eighteen: Life before Death

Monday Musings Banner


Life before Death


If you’ve read my previous musings, you will have seen that I spent far too many years in a dead zone. I got so busy worrying about coping in general, and judging myself as unworthy, that I forgot to live … even forgot what it felt like to be truly alive. Until, in the end, I didn’t realise that I had anything missing.

Ironically, not until I had achieved all my goals (owned my house, had a partner I loved, and enjoyed my job immensely) did I notice the great gaping hole in my day-to-day existence.

While full of material things, my life lacked something essential: fulfilment.

Without that fulfilment, I would never find contentment. Nor real peace.

Today, as hard as the ensuing thirteen years proved, I feel so inexpressively grateful for that small inner voice that persisted in nagging me. If not for that, I would never have made the changes that I so desperately needed to make.

Listen to your small inner voice; it’s who you truly are.

The problem lay not with externals, but within me.

If not for that inner prompting, it’s likely that I would have met death without ever having lived.Zen Stones for Monday Musings

As with last week’s Monday Musing, we mustn’t feel too afraid of making mistakes to live our lives. In the same vein, we don’t want to dwell in the past or wonder about all the ‘what ifs’ that the future holds. Too much of that and we miss what we have right now.

Mindfulness is simply about seeing what we have right here, right now, in this moment. It’s about noticing the myriad of small things that make our lives whole. And about catching the stories we tell ourselves. Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way right in the present moment.

Don’t just look, observe.

Don’t just swallow, taste.

Don’t just think, feel …

question … explore.

Don’t just exist, live.

The other day, a gorgeous view struck me afresh and I commented upon it. My companion chuckled and said, ‘You noticed that same view the other day.’

To which, I replied, ‘I’m allowed to notice it again, aren’t I?’

In fact, noticing it again and again is essential to a full and content life. It is when we take things for granted and stop seeing them that we feel a lack or that we don’t have enough.

The easiest way to notice as much as possible is to live each moment of your life as though it were the last moment of your life. Or the first.

In the wise words of Zen:

‘The real question is not whether life exists after death. The real question is whether you are alive before death.’

If you’ve missed my previous Monday Musings, you can find the links here: 🙂