February 28
If my doctor told me I only
had six months to live, I
wouldn't brood.  I'd type
a little faster.

Isaac Asimov


Today's Meditation:

Here's a man who knows what he loves to do and does it, but who also is very realistic about the fact that we're all going to be leaving this planet one day.  It would be very tempting to start feeling sorry for ourselves if we were to find out our time is more limited than we think it is, but from a healthy perspective, it's much more important to simply accept the fact that our lives will end, and then cram every moment we have with real living, while we can do so.

Not only was he realistic about death, but Isaac also knew what he loved to do with his time.  His particular way of contributing to the world was through writing, so he knew that he would stick to his writing until the day he died.  He had accomplished many things in life, but most of the real contributions he made to other people came through the words he composed, and he knew that the best contribution he could make in his last six months would be to continue with his writing.

I think the feeling that comes to us sometimes that there's "more" to life, that we should be traveling or doing some other work or jumping out of airplanes comes from the fact that we really haven't found the things that we truly love--or at least that we haven't made them a major part of our lives yet.  But if we are doing what we love--even if it's part time when we're not working at our jobs or with our families--we know that we would be content to continue contributing to this world in that way until our last day on the planet.

I teach, and I know that one of the driving forces behind teachers is the desire to pass on knowledge, to help others to grow and learn.  If I were to find out that I would die in six months, I can't think of any places that I'd go to instead of teaching more.  It fulfills me in a very genuine way.  My weekends may be filled with more hikes and more overnight stays at bed and breakfasts, but I definitely can't say that I would feel the need to do anything different.

Have you found what you love to do?  Are you doing it?  If not, why not?  Doing what you love and what you know contributes to others is one of the most amazing blessings of this life, and when you do find it and pursue it--on any level--you can reach the level of peace and equanimity that Isaac showed.

Questions to consider:

Why do so many people feel that it's important to cram a lot of living into their last few months if they find out they're going to die?

What kinds of things do you truly love to do?  How do those things contribute to others? 

What do you think you would do if you found out you had six more months to live?  What do you think those choices tell you about yourself?

For further thought:

St. Francis of Assisi was hoeing his garden when someone asked
what he would do if he were suddenly to learn that he would die
before sunset that very day. "I would finish hoeing my garden," he replied.
Louis Fischer


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