Streamlining: Heartfelt Reflections
In sorting through accumulated notes, books, journals, magazines, personal items, letters and cards, as well as CD’s – stored in boxes (unopened from several moves), drawers, cupboards – I became mindful of the following insights:
Aging: Age 70 Reached
- A new reality.
- Time in my life is running out; life is too short now to waste any of it.
- Age 70 must be a turning point.
One Focus Now
- The Path to Awakening, which has been miraculously and graciously been opened up for me now, MUST be taken advantage of!!!
- Focus on spiritual realities – the DHARMA!
“Death, like birth, is just a transition to another state of consciousness.” (Lama Ole Nydahl)
Reality of Death – Realise and Accept that Death Is Coming
- The certainty of death – death is certain; it cannot be escaped.
- Think of the uncertainty of death’s arrival and timing.
- Avoid living in denial of this reality.
Think of the journey after death (the bardo experience) – alone for a time; then, a new scenario!
Beyond Life and Death
- Focus on what goes beyond life and death — continuity of consciousness.
- Let go of illusory phenomena.
Think of the reality of a Pure Land – recite heartfelt aspirational prayer to be reborn in Dewachen (Sukhavati)!
Make the best use of my:
- Resources [physical body; mental ability]
Reality of Karma
“Samsara is a dangerous place and none of us knows what action will ripen for us next – like we do not know what we are going to dream next in our sleep. It is all pretty unpredictable and haphazard.”
Therefore, “the only solution for any of us is to use whatever circumstances arise to further our Dharma practice – for (1) learning patience, for (2) giving up selfishness, (3) giving up our grasping at a false sense of self, and (4) inspiring us to make skilful pranidhanas (aspirational prayers or wishes), so that we do not lose our way and so that we can use our suffering as a way of helping others.” (Lama Shenpen]
Four Kinds of Mindfulness
Practice the four kinds of mindfulness:
- Mindfulness of body
- Mindfulness of feeling
- Mindfulness of mind (“citta”)
- Mindfulness of phenomena (dharmas) – mental and sensory events.
Daily Life Awareness
Actively practice daily life awareness!
- There is no time to sort everything with perfectionism now!
- There is no time to go back to the past – to live in the past! To continually ruminate on the past.
Embrace Change and Impermanence
- Knowledge changes.
- Love, however, is permanent.
- Donate, for example, clothes not being used.
- Donate items that would be cherished by others.
Accept the Journey Taken
- There is no need to be guilt-ridden over the past!
- I did my best — it was my choice each step of the way. I lived the life I wished to.
- True, I have a lot of accumulated notes, magazines and books. However, much was collected during the pre-Internet era — a time of needing to keep information for future writing.
Donate the many fine books we have in our possession responsibly – don’t just throw them out.
There is always a time and need for ethical behaviour: “Any accumulation of wisdom is based on a solid accumulation of good actions. It’s unavoidable.” (Lama Ole Nydahl)
A Consumer Culture Is Not the Goal of Life!
“Making things, buying and selling them, piling them up, repairing them, then trying to figure out how to dispose of them: for sensitive people, boredom with this carnival cycle began some time ago. A consumer culture is not the goal of life.” Eknath Easwaran)
- Give while I have the opportunity and accrue merit.
- Don’t just cling on to things and hoard items!!!
- Responsibly dispose of all items that are no longer needed now.
- Responsibly dispose of all items that are not being used now.
Files of Notes
My motivation was to return home to serve others, using the knowledge I had been privileged to gain in College and University (kept via notes). This has been achieved (to a degree). So now, many can be discarded.
In other words, my motivation was always to serve in the future. (This has been achieved to a degree.) Therefore, my old notes can now be disposed of.
- Use this time of relative peace and calm to streamline and organize.
- Realize that when circumstances change (and they can change quickly) there will not be the same time available — sudden, intensive time demands can occur!
Life Is Like a Story
- Each period of time is like a chapter. Make the most of life.
- Some chapters are long, others are short.
Date: July 8, 2019
(Revised March 9, 2020)