Here’s the 2nd half of Day 1 reflections on my meditation retreat.
During the 2nd half of the day, we were asked to contemplate death. Think about what we would do if today was the last day that we had left on this planet. I think that it’s such a powerful contemplation. I have always been someone who is semi-existential and have been contemplating my existence since I was very young. I wondered about how other people saw the world, and what was it that placed my soul into my body when I was born. Why this body? Why this life? A possible explanation is rebirth, karma, and destiny. Of course, other religions will have different believes. We all are only temporary citizens of this planet. Our life here on earth is limited. However, what we can do is learn to spend our time wisely on this planet and do things that are important to us. We cannot predict what’s going to happen in life, but what we can do is live everyday in line with what’s important to us and our values.
What would you do if today was your last day on this planet?
I think my answer would be sell all my possessions, portion some money to the poor, portion
the rest to my family and close friends. Spend as much time with my loved ones and friends. Video call those who I can’t visit, and just spend time in nature.
Another learning and teaching of the day was learning to let things go, put things down. Some times we think that if we think hard enough about something we will find a solution. However, we don’t realise that we might actually be causing ourselves more difficulties because we are thinking too hard about it and not allowing ourselves rest and space to come up with something better. Busy working people tend to get things done with higher quality when they start to put things down, take a break. If you don’t do something, it means that you don’t value it enough.
Personally, I keep thinking about my business, what do I want to do, how do I help more people? What is it that this world needs? How do I help my other therapists? I have so many questions that play in my head. This took me away from my meditation practice, took me away from fully being present with my friends, took me away from being fully present when I was cycling. I did not like it at all. Did anything change for me or did I manage to do anything better in my business? Not really.
It’s just like Ajahn Brahm said, how heavy is your cup?
If you keep holding up a cup, it will get heavier and heavier. If you put it down then pick it up later, it feels lighter because your arm is rested. Just like with work. It’s not like anything is going to disappear if we stop thinking about it for a while. Instead, when we take a break, pause, come back to it later, we might have fresh ideas, we have more energy, and the same piece of work might feel much lighter.
Compartmentalise your life.
Do 1 thing at a time, focus on 1 thing at a time. Take breaks, take a break in the morning, tea break, lunch break. Have your breaks. Meditate between your workdays. If you meditate more, you enhance your creativity, your productivity, you can gain new insights. Just thinking about it over and over, will deplete us, not help us come up with new solutions. E.g. If you keep using your phone and don’t charge it, the battery will be depleted.
Lastly, be kind.
Kind not just towards others, but towards yourself too. If you ask yourself, who in this world deserves kindness and compassion? If your answer is everyone, but you don’t think you deserve it. Maybe think about, what makes you so special? What makes you THAT different from everyone else?
Many of times, we let our ego take over us and we think that we are the only person on the planet that’s different, that’s suffering, that’s alone. However, what we don’t realise is that we are just like the other billions of people on this planet. We are born as a human being, we eat, poop, and breathe, just like everyone else. We are human, we are suffering, just like everyone else. And just like every other living creature on this planet, we want to be happy, and we can be. We just need to learn to open our hearts and let ourselves in.