How much of your life have you missed?
How much of life has passed you by when you weren’t present – when you were distracted, numbing yourself, ruminating about the past or worrying about the future?
It’s a profound thought.
As the years go by, the deeper my thoughts become. I can’t seem to stop them. I don’t want to stop them.
It feels as if they well up from the depths of my being.
I was listening to a meditation recently. I’ve been in the midst of a special project I will be sharing with you soon – a project that has been deeply transformational. This particular meditation was part of the program. The teacher leading the meditation was Sam Harris, a highly respected leader at the forefront of mindfulness meditation.
It has been some time since I’ve listened to a mindfulness meditation. Having been trained in Transcendental Meditation a long time ago, I generally gravitate toward mantra meditation.
This particular mindfulness meditation brought me to tears within moments. Sam’s words were like an arrow straight to my heart. The meditation began with a series of profound questions about how present we are to our lives and ultimately, the million dollar question: “How much of your life have you missed … because you weren’t there to live it … because you weren’t present.”
And, within moments, down a rabbit hole this weepy, shell shocked human went.
The spiritual path has always been one of self-inquiry and self-realization. To realize the Self requires heavy duty inquiry by asking ourselves in depth questions. These questions can be uncomfortable. It’s the job of the ego to stealthily steer our attention away from these difficult questions. The ego loves nothing more than to keep our true SELF carefully tucked away in the shadows. The ego detests self-inquiry. And … it deplores truth.
The spiritual path requires truth. It requires one to be brutally honest with oneself.
Truth and honesty bring light to the darkness.
Of course, that requires being fully present.
Present to everything … the good, the bad, the laughter, the tears, the pain, the pleasure, the joy and the sadness. Present to the Yin and to the Yang … to the darkness and the light.
It’s easy to be present to the light.
The tricky part is staying present during the challenging and more painful times of our lives. That’s the time, many of us humans, are most likely to tune out, as we numb our pain and turn away from the present moment. We turn away from our truth. We turn away from discovering who we truly are that’s hidden behind the shadows. Like a thief in the night, the ego steals our precious present moments with our sleepy, unconscious selves as accomplices.
That is precisely how we miss much of our lives.
I have a love/hate relationship with social media. I struggle with it almost every single day. The struggle is real. What I love are the genuine connections I’ve made – connections that wouldn’t have been possible without the medium of social media. I love the incredible friendships and bonds I’ve developed. I love opening my heart and sharing the deepest parts of my being. I love creating.
What I don’t love about social media is that it’s designed to distract us, to numb us, to advertise to us, and some of the time, to make us feel pretty shitty about ourselves. It’s insidiously intended to keep us away from the present moment. Think about that for a moment. The crazy algorithms reward and punish us based upon the time we spend online. The more time away from the present moment, the greater the reward. With the steady rush of dopamine, we go back for more and more, leaving life by the wayside.
Yup. The more we miss out on living our lives, the greater our reward.
Our souls call for us to be fully present to our lives.
The older we become, the stronger that inner pull becomes. With every passing day, the voice of our soul gets louder and louder.
Sam Harris wrote a book called, “Waking Up.” He is passionate about helping kooky humans wake up and stay awake so that we don’t miss another moment of our lives. He believes that the quality of our mind determines the quality of our life. Being mindful and present to our lives translates into a much higher quality of life … oh, and in turn, and into happier, less neurotic humans.
You may know that I turned 61 this summer. What that means is that I’ve lived 735 months, almost 3,198 weeks, 22,387 days, 537,288 hours, and 32,237,280 minutes.
What you may not know is that my favorite song in the entire world (and I have a lot of favorite songs!) is Seasons of Love from the musical Rent. I hear the first verse and I’m an absolute puddle:
Five hundred, twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes
Five hundred, twenty-five thousand moments so dear
Five hundred, twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?
Wow. Like, WOW!
Ponder that for a moment, Beauties.
Here we are – Me & You – most of us are women at midlife & beyond (and a few brave men too!)
That means the greater part of our life is behind us, firmly in the rear-view mirror.
The life we have remaining is all we have left to live. How many minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years do we have left to live?
Well, at 61, if I live the typical lifespan of about 20 more years, that means I have approximately 240 months, 1042 weeks, 7300 days and just over 10 million minutes to live this precious life.
That’s it. That’s all.
What I know for sure is that I don’t want to miss a single minute.
I want to be fully present to every last moment of my life.
I intend to turn down the dial on the kookiness and turn up the dial on living life full out.
Every breath. Every tear. Every smile. Every hug. Every rainstorm. Every warm puppy kiss. Every rainbow. Every sadness. Every everything.
It’s the greatest gift we can give ourselves.
It’s also the greatest gift we can give to the ones we love.
What I’m realizing is that it isn’t the number of days we have left that matters. It’s how we live those days. It’s how present we are to the moments of our lives that matters most. It’s the quality of our life that matters most.
Our life is a string of moments.
The more present we are in those moments, the more precious our life becomes.
And that requires …
It’s a beautiful thing.
I’m on a mission. To be fully present. To be mindful. To be less hurried, worried and kooky.
To be here. NOW.
It would mean the world if you would join me.
Will you, Beauties?
PS – Here’s a couple of helpers for you!
Check out Waking Up App—a new operating system for your mind. Here’s a free month (no credit card required)! I am not affiliated in any way.
Meditations to Be More Present: 40 Days of Meditation by Davidji