It only takes a moment for your life to change. Crossing the street, eating something too fast, stepping on someone’s shoes, slipping, while walking on a cliff wearing the wrong shoes. A brush with death can occur at any moment, awakening us to the fact that life is short and tommorrow not promised. How do you react to such moments? Do you break out in a cold sweat, recount what just happened and then just as quickly relegate it to the back of your mind? Do you think of your loved ones, of the life that you live, of the people you haven’t seen in months or years, that you wish you hadn’t fallen out of contact with? Or do you relish the moment, thank Divinity for your continued presence on this world and offer up a quick prayer of thanksgiving before going on about your business.
Some of us do all of the above, I am sure. The point is that such moments are reminders to us that life is to be cherished, that our loved ones are just that, the ones we love and that each moment that we spend on this earth is a gift, to be honored and cherished by conscious living. The past few days I’ve been exploring food again. And I’ve confirmed what the Mastercleanse taught me, that most food is nasty. Remember that fried burrito and nachos that I kept mentioning in the Mastercleanse Day 8 thread? Well I had it last night and it was not all that. Quite the contrary, the cheese caused my belly to have a coniption fit. It has complained pretty regularly for the past few days as I’ve returned partially to my old diet. For two successive nights, Ive eaten the things that I craved during the fast only to find that they did not satisfy me at all. Quite the contrary, in fact. It is strange how something as mundane as eating can put you in mind of your own mortality.
Even though it may kill us slower, the food that we eat does indeed contribute to our well-being, our health and welfare and the quality of our lives. Sugar-born diabetes, heart attacks caused by clogged arteries, cancer caused by rancid meat moving too slowly through our systems. We don’t take the time to think about these realities like we do those quick brushes with mortality, do we.
Just as important, if not moreso, than the food that we ingest, are the emotions that we harbor. Do you find yourself beset with resentment or anger, disappointment or depression? Do the passing moods that you experience register, in your mind, as being impactful upon your health? In watching the television medical drama House tonight, an entire epidemic that affected a flight full of people turned out to be psychosomatic, meaning that everybody was making themselves sick mentally, just by thinking that they were sick.
In the same way, our emotions can either strengthen us or weaken us, making us impervious to random sickness or susceptible to whatever bug happens to be loose within our bodies at that particular time. It only takes a moment, and the full possession of our senses by a negative emotional state for a state of weakness to pervade our bodies, opening us up to external and internal influences that may do us harm, in the short or long term. And, of course, the foods we eat can either augment – like the green vegetables, fruits and nuts – or detract – such as the various bacteria-containing members of the milk family, meats and processed foods – from our health, conspiring with our moods to either elevate or depress us.
Mood, food and random brushes with mortality. The very stuff of life, right? Not a day passes where we are not challenged by life itself in one way or another. Either through seeming chance encounters with our environments or random experiences with family, friends and strangers that give rise to mental and emotional migrations of spirit that indicate the state of our souls at a particular moment in time. It is hard to believe that disease can be good for the soul, or that the crazy old person that almost ran your car down earlier today by running a stoplight was doing you a favor by reminding you of something you’d, we’d, rather forget. Namely, our immminent deaths.
Taking these reminders to heart is difficult. Remembering, all day every day what the m&m’s, the brisket, ice cream and nachoes are doing to us internally is difficult. Remembering to control your emotions, even more difficult, especially in the immediacy of the Now. Being mindful, then, is key to everything. Mindfulness, the ability to cultivate consciousness continuously, is a skill that takes time and consistent effort. Introspection, meditation, prayer, time spent being present, living in the Now, all conspire to create conditions of mindfulness in our lives that pass all too quickly, it seems.
Such states of mind are our inheritance, the condition of our incarnation. The banal mundanities of daily life the gift, the promise of our salvation. Self-witnessing, bearing witness to the blessing of pain, the intimate communication of Self and Divinity in experiential harmony despite the subjectivity of our interpretations, the wilfulness of our desires. Joy is our birthright. Suffering, our choice. Coffin nails and belly burning satisfaction, cussing out the meter maid or railing against life itself, rage turned inward, dwelling on the past and worrying about the future, decisions that we make fully aware that we are choosing death over life. When you look at it that way, how long do you think it will take for you to make the decision to change your life? A moment? Or a lifetime?