Written by Suraj Shah, inspired by the enlightened.
How would you live if this day was your last?
For the past few days I’ve been living just like that and I’m loving it. I feel great, relationships are so much fuller, and the most ordinary of tasks are intensely engaging.
Our mundane lives and routines
So many days we waste and so much time we throw away living our mundane lives.
Our days are fixed with routine, jam-packed with activities, loaded with reality-numbing habits of too much food and far too much TV.
We indulge in regrets of the past and we scheme plans for the future – but what about the right here, right now?
Our days tend to be spent getting jolted out of bed, sleepily getting ready, commuting to the office, working just enough to stay out of trouble, commuting back home, sitting in front of the TV all evening while inhaling down masses of food, and then drifting off to sleep. Weekends are almost the same, perhaps minus the work part.
We’re constantly wired on the net and on our phones, trying to keep up with our ‘friends’. Yet we know, deep down, that it is all a distraction — a way to shelter us from facing up to our mundane lives.
So what’s the alternative?
Throw away the TV, switch off the net, sell your house and all your possessions, leave your spouse and kids, drop all duties and go spend a few dozen months in some ashram in Rishikesh?
No, that’s not the answer.
Duty comes first. Matters of the home and the family take priority.
Why duty takes priority
We are bound by the karma of our past actions. This bound karma comes to fruition as situations and relationships in our day-to-day experience.
Everything we perceive and experience is down to karma we have previously bound. There is no getting away from it. All we can do is face up to the situations that arise, calmly, patiently, lovingly. That calm response contributes to more fruitful future situations.
So how do we have a great time, regardless of the situations that we find ourselves in?
Joy within a duty-bound life
In amongst the seemingly ordinary family life, there is a way to love and enjoy every single moment of it.
When you wake up, realise that this day is your last — and live accordingly.
So does that mean drop everything, indulge in all kinds of sensual pleasures, and say “to hell with the consequences”?
Well, it didn’t work that way for me.
In fact, when I thought that this day may be my very last, I thought less about all the things that I would want to see and achieve and do.
Instead, I had a strong yearning for seeing what came up, who called for my attention, and I put my focus on that.
And something magical happened. My thoughts, attention and love honed in on that person, that situation, that event.
It was an unusually gorgeous sunny day in London, so I prepared three delicious vegan meals to enjoy in the garden with my wife.
The next day, the fridge was almost bare (after all the homecooked meals!) so I went grocery shopping. After a long day at the office, I was hungry and tired, but found myself playfully attending to the usually mundane task of shopping.
Throughout the day in the office, I was flooded with inbound emails and requests for support — but worked through them one by one, enjoying collaborating and troubleshooting with my colleague. The work day flew by and I loved every minute of it.
During the drive home from work there were patches of traffic, but I turned the radio up (I usually drive in silence) and cruised through enjoying the journey home.
Last day living
When you spend each day living as though it’s your last:
- you willl prepare your meals lovingly, and then slowly enjoy the feast.
- you will gladly wash the dishes after dinner and enjoy a clean kitchen sink.
- everyday routines will feel brand new each time.
- work, nomatter how boring you thought it was, will become fulfilling.
- home life will transform into a warm energy-filled environment.
- day-to-day tasks such as grocery shopping will become joyful.
- your relationships, all of them, from the most intimate through to casual interactions with colleagues, will feel effortless.
Are you prepared to live today as though it’s your last?