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:
- Unrealistic view of time: That time would just go on endlessly!
- Ignoring and avoiding the reality of death. No true concept or realization of the end of life:
- Shortness of life – that my life will come to an end.
- Certainty of death – there is a day coming when I simply will no longer be here.
- Uncertainty of death! – the unpredictability of life.
- A sobering quote: “Death does not wait to see what has been done or is still to be done.” (Shantideva)
- 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:
- No effect without a cause
- Effect will be similar to a cause
- Never a loss of an effect
- Effects expand
- Consequences ignored. Did not think of the cost of:
- Lack of discipline
- Lack of diligence
- Lack of character
- 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.
- False security: There is a false sense of security, and comfort, in accumulating and hoarding!
- The folly of hoarding!
- What for? Why hoard so much?
- Learn to give instead!
- Be generous – now, while I have the opportunity.
- 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:
- Focus on that which goes beyond life and death – the continuity of consciousness (the mind).
- Focus now on what is really important, in view of death and future life (or lives).
- 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!!!
- 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.
- Do not overlook the Reality within – that which is timeless and precious within. This I have totally neglected.
- Avoid a misperception of time. Have a realistic concept of:
- Preciousness of time
- Life’s shortness
- Priorities in life
- Realize that one cannot take ANYTHING with oneself when the time of death arrives!
- Understand deeply and fully comprehend that everything I have is only on loan only, so to speak – for a relatively short time.
- Remember that I’m only a steward of the possessions I have – be a good steward.
- Know that I am only a temporary guest on this earth!
- Realize that I am not permanently here on earth – I am not permanent, and not an indefinite owner of my possessions!
- WAKE UP to the realities described in this document!!!
- Strive to be a good steward of:
- Look for opportunities for giving from now on! See what I can give, instead of always seeking to get.
- 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.
- 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!
- Realize that there is no need to hoard – learn to give, to be generous while I have this precious opportunity!!!
- Remember that when the time is up for me, I will just have to go!
Here are my closing contemplations:
- 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:
- My priorities will be more easily established.
- I will in fact cherish the preciousness of life more than ever.
- Soberly realize that there is not much time left for me on this earth.
- Therefore, there is no longer a need for the many things I have accumulated and hoarded.
- Now is the time to be truly generous toward others!
- 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:
- Late Life Insights
- Vital Insights
- Heartfelt Reflections
- More Reflections
- Guiding Principles
- Lessons Learnt
- Aging, Changing, Dying
Alexander Peck (October 21, 2019)
(Revised March 10, 2020)