​The following are essential realizations for streamlining that have occurred so late in life for me – now at 70 years of age!

In the Past

In the past, I had many unrealistic views:

  1. Unrealistic view of time: That time would just go on endlessly!
  2. Ignoring and avoiding the reality of death. No true concept or realization of the end of life:
    1. Shortness of life – that my life will come to an end.
    2. Certainty of death – there is a day coming when I simply will no longer be here.
    3. Uncertainty of death! – the unpredictability of life.
  3. A sobering quote: “Death does not wait to see what has been done or is still to be done.” (Shantideva)
  4. Disrespect for the law of cause and effect – that is, no heartfelt understanding of karma, and so hoarding and clutter have occurred over a lifetime! Did not realize: 
    1. No effect without a cause
    2. Effect will be similar to a cause
    3. Never a loss of an effect
    4. Effects expand
  5. Consequences ignored. Did not think of the cost of:
    1. Lack of discipline
    2. Lack of diligence
    3. Lack of character
  6. Internet revolution! Did not account for the computer revolution, where all information can be stored on-line – and so there is no need to keep so many boxes of files.
  7. False security: There is a false sense of security, and comfort, in accumulating and hoarding!
  8. The folly of hoarding!
    1. What for? Why hoard so much?
    2. Learn to give instead!
    3. Be generous – now, while I have the opportunity.
  9. Brevity of life: Think deeply about how quickly the days, weeks, and months slip by.

In the Present

The following are what is important now:

  1. Focus on that which goes beyond life and death – the continuity of consciousness (the mind).
  2. Focus now on what is really important, in view of death and future life (or lives).
  3. Understand that this HABITUAL TENDENCY of hoarding has its roots in childhood! I saved all my school exercise books in boxes, hidden deep in the cellar at home!!!
  4. Recognize an unnecessary low self-esteem: “I’m incomplete; I’m not good enough” – so then I need to always be striving to achieve perfection, always looking for a solution outside of myself. And so, I am continuing to acquire books, to enrol in courses, etc.
  5. Do not overlook the Reality within – that which is timeless and precious within. This I have totally neglected.
  6. Avoid a misperception of time. Have a realistic concept of:
    1. Preciousness of time
    2. Life’s shortness
    3. Priorities in life
  7. Realize that one cannot take ANYTHING with oneself when the time of death arrives!
  8. Understand deeply and fully comprehend that everything I have is only on loan only, so to speak – for a relatively short time. 
  9. Remember that I’m only a steward of the possessions I have – be a good steward.
  10. Know that I am only a temporary guest on this earth!
  11. Realize that I am not permanently here on earth – I am not permanent, and not an indefinite owner of my possessions!
  12. WAKE UP to the realities described in this document!!!
  13. Strive to be a good steward of:
    1. Time
    2. Energy
    3. Resources
  14. Look for opportunities for giving from now on! See what I can give, instead of always seeking to get.
  15. Learn from my father’s example: He lovingly built our family home in a country town in Victoria, Australia. He enjoyed it for a time – in fact, he was blessed to do so for many years. Then, the day came when he had to walk away from it – to leave it all, and go to a nursing home. There he died about two short years later.
  16. Learn from my mother’s life: Suddenly left everything one June afternoon after lunch – when she died of a heart attack in the living-room armchair of our home!
  17. Realize that there is no need to hoard – learn to give, to be generous while I have this precious opportunity!!!
  18. Remember that when the time is up for me, I will just have to go!

Final Reflections

Here are my closing contemplations:

  1. At 70 years of age, focus on the end of life – have a realistic view of dying and death. This is far removed from a depressing and morbid view. Then:
    1. My priorities will be more easily established.
    2. I will in fact cherish the preciousness of life more than ever.
  2. Soberly realize that there is not much time left for me on this earth.
  3. Therefore, there is no longer a need for the many things I have accumulated and hoarded.
  4. Now is the time to be truly generous toward others!
  5. Remember that death is totally uncertain!

In sorting through accumulated notes, books, journals, magazines, personal items, letters and cards, as well as CD’s – stored in boxes (as a result of several moves), drawers, cabinets, and cupboards – I became mindful of a number of deeper reflections and insights which I captured in note form. After taking notes, I have now organized my reflections and insights into the following pages:

Alexander Peck (October 21, 2019)

(Revised March 10, 2020)

This life passes as quickly as autumn clouds; Family and friends are like passers-by in a market; The demon of death approaches like twilight’s shadows; What the future holds is like a translucent fish in cloudy waters; Life’s experiences are like last night’s dreams; The pleasures of the senses, like an imaginary party. Meaningless activities are like waves lapping on the surface of the water.