Wednesday, November 4, 2009

One Single Thought Guaranteed to Improve Your Life

“A warrior thinks of [their] death when things become unclear. The idea of death is the only thing that tempers our spirit.”[1]

I suspect there are some people who get sick of people like me, raving on about life and spirituality, meaning and purpose; bashing our gums toward the evangelising of the ‘good life,’ as if that were the only thing of true importance.

Well, I and others like me don’t apologise. We see that there’s a great deal more to life than what’s readily apparent and this is manifested most often by the problems and opportunities that come and go all the time in every person’s life.

There are those who don’t want to be reminded and there are those who do; the ones like me who’re incessantly on the search for ‘the meaning to life.’

“A GOOD name is better than precious perfume, and the day of death better than the day of one’s birth.”

—Ecclesiastes 7:1 (Amplified Version).

There’s one thing anyone can do to improve their quality of and outlook upon life. This one thing—a thought—is so easy; but there’s one condition—we’ve got to approach this thought positively, always.

This simple thing will ensure our lives continue to gain more and more context; that meaningfulness will build and build and joy will be the result, apart from a bunch of other spin-off virtues. We’ll become more patient and our priorities and relationships will begin to make more sense and will inevitably become easier to manage.

This simple yet powerful thing is a close attendance to the key fact of life.

“None of us can hold back our spirit from departing. None of us has the power to prevent the day of our death. There is no escaping that obligation, that dark battle.”

—Ecclesiastes 8:8 (NLT).

This one single thought is: to reflect over the circumstances, the impacts, the meaning, and the cost of our death. Each day, every day, we should spend some solemn moments considering the thought of our imminent death i.e. as if we were to die this day; to-day.

Death is truth; justice is balance. Until we commit to taste-testing our death on a regular basis we won’t really know what life is really about; what life could be like. We start doing this and we connect suddenly to a real world—the suffering world. Our gifts of compassion grow in this seed-bed of thought. Our mind informs our heart.

The vast majority of humanity run from the idea of death—scared to death, pardon the pun! So, let’s add one more virtue for the person reflecting often over their death—courage. This one can’t be far from the top of the character tree.

Something from the biblical sage Qoheleth to close:

“A wise person thinks a lot about death, while a fool thinks only about having a good time.”

—Ecclesiastes 7:4 (NLT).

© S. J. Wickham, 2009.

[1] Carlos Castaneda, The Wheel of Time: The Shamans of Ancient Mexico, Their Thoughts about Life, Death and the Universe (Los Angeles, California: LA Eidolona Press, 1971, 1998), p. 39.

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