A meditation to realize your purpose

It might sound a bit morbid, but one of my favorite meditations is to meditate on death. In Buddhist practice, it is common to meditate on your own death in order to realize how you should be living, and it’s something that I find extremely eye-opening (figuratively speaking). During this meditation, you should remind yourself of 2 facts:

  1. Death is certain
  2. The time of your death is uncertain

With these facts in mind, you can contemplate important life questions like “What should I do with my time?” and let the answer emerge from your inner silence.

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., who said the above quote to encourage us to care for others during our time on Earth, I want to mention one specific meditation I did once that really touched me.

–> Imagine you are at the end of your life, sometime in the near future (next week or next month). Now cast your memory back across your whole life and bring to mind 2 good deeds that you have done, 2 things you did that were good. They don’t need to be huge, just see what comes to mind. As you picture them, notice how they change your feelings and mental state.

*PAUSE TO DO THE MEDITATION- TAKE A FEW MINUTES TO REFLECT*

NOW that you’ve done this, look at the quality of the deeds you chose. Almost everyone who does this finds the deeds to be remarkably simple. They are rarely the deeds one would put on a resume. For example, mine were: 1. buying a Christmas gift for the young girl I babysat for, and 2. making smoothies for my aunt when she was undergoing chemo

I think a lot of people (including myself) question what they should be doing with their time, and whether or not they’re living a life with purpose. To me, this exercise brings to light the things that make life truly fulfilling: the small acts of kindness you do for others. 

One of my favorite authors, Jack Kornfield, writes in A Path with Heart:

The things that matter most in our lives are not fantastical or grand. They are the moments when we touch one another, when we are there in the most attentive or caring way. This simple and profound intimacy is the love that we all long for. These moments of touching and being touched can become a foundation for a path with heart, and they take place in the most immediate and direct way. Mother Teresa put it like this: “In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.”

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