A personal reflection about a lack of a guaranteed ‘long and happy’ life.
Because people have a false sense of security that they will lead a long and happy life, they get their priorities rather mixed up. This is a core aspect of the deluded beliefs that the Buddha spoke about. Instead of diligently working at the Noble 8 fold Path, individuals feel like they have unlimited time, and so put off doing the work – until in 99% of cases it is too late.
I’m very lucky. I have had several near death experiences, which served to jolt me out of complacency. It is quite common for people who survive, after having believed they were going to die, to completely reappraise their priorities and to live a much more fulfilling, satisfying and happy life afterwards.
This current Corona Virus, is giving the general population a taste of what it is like, to know there are no guarantees of a long and happy life. We all know this anyway – but it is like a slap in the face – it is not just a theory anymore.
I have an enduring immune disorder, which places me in the very high risk group. I say this so that you know I am not speaking theoretically, but from the pointy end of experience.
OF COURSE, one follows health advice to minimise transmission of infection – this is a fundamental part of a wise response. But it is also the easiest and most straight forward part of the response.
By far the hardest thing to do, is to react with wisdom and kindness to the entire situation. As I have said before, living with no regrets, with no remorse over ones own conduct, is of primary importance. When it really counts, with death imminent, I cannot emphasise strongly enough the suffering that comes if one has remorse and regrets. So this is a great opportunity to get things in order, to be kind, to forgive others and to forgive oneself. It is immensely comforting to be able to face death knowing that one has lived a good life.
Secondly, This is an opportunity to realign the priorities in ones life. We are very lucky to actually get a chance to do this. Most people delay the spiritual work and keep focusing on empty and unfulfilling aspects, until it is too late. How fortunate to get a wake up call.
I am quite happy and tranquil, death will come when it comes, and that is fine and expected. I don’t want it to come soon, but if it does, it is no big deal.
In the mean time, it is an extra spur, to take every opportunity to be kind to all other beings. There is great joy and contentment in this.
May all beings reduce their suffering