There is no greater gift that can be given than to be what we already are. It’s hard to imagine that is true especially if we’re suffering from something that we think is very important. But life here is a very precious gift, and it doesn’t last very long.
We have been given a gift of this form which lives in a context of time. What we truly are is timeless, but that’s another story. This form that we have is living in time. It’s a finite concept. It comes. And it passes quickly.
We talk about spending money. Money is a tremendous asset. People accumulate money and they spend money. Money is very important. In this society we need money to do things. So we have money and we have time. But time is more valuable. It passes. And we cannot regain it.
Time is more valuable than money.
We can regain money but we cannot regain time.
Not understanding and not appreciating the gift of time is a big, big mistake. Every second of our life time is being spent just like a commodity. If we could make dollar bills out of time, every day 24 time-dollars are gone. With each day, I have 24 less and I’m not getting them back. Maybe some of us who are a lot younger than I will be able to buy back more time. It’s very possible with science. But thus far time spent is spent. That being the case, we have to make a decision as to how we are going to spend this time.
We are very good at knowing how to spend money. I’m going to buy this. I’m going to buy that. So we have to figure out how we are going to spend this time-money. Or we could look at time as if it were energy and we have to figure out how to spend our energy. What is of importance to us? What is not so important? What is it we are going to allow ourselves to be bothered by or not bothered by? What kind of plans are we going to make or not make?
But the awesome gift that goes along with all these questions is that each and every one of us has a different idea and a different concept about how we are going to spend time. That’s another magnificent gift that we have.
We don’t have to make identical decisions.
There is no set formula.
My way of spending time isn’t yours and vice-versa. That’s what makes it so beautiful here. Everybody can do what he or she wants with this thing called time.
But as time passes and we get older, we start to get opinions on these subjects. Then we get even wiser and keep those opinions to ourselves because nobody wants to hear them. In that regard, a lot depends on what society we are living insome societies want to hear from experienced beings; other societies do not.
It is helpful to take the concept of time and give ourselves a certain amount of time that we think we are going to be here. It is natural and good to think we are somewhat infinite so that we won’t worry about facing death two seconds from now. It is natural to hope that things are going to continue as they are for the foreseeable future. Using the concept of time in this way is a very good thing that helps keep us alive. But the down side of all that is that it tends to make us postpone life. It makes us postpone the consideration of how we are really spending this time-money.
We feel that because we are going to be here for a long time it doesn’t matter if we do or don’t do something today or tomorrow. We’re going to be here a long time, so next year is just as good as todayit can wait. When he used to talk about taking action, about doing things, Poonja-ji used to say, “Do it now. Do not delay a moment.” He went to the extreme of saying do it immediately. He’s right because there is no guarantee that I will even be able to continue this sentence.
I don’t have a guarantee that I will be here by the end of satsang. I would like to be here. Most likely I will be here. But the problem we have in our lives is waiting too long to do what we think we want to do.
It’s not so important what we want to do,
the important thing is doing it.
I have tried different time frames to deal with this problem. I could set up a week time frame and say, “My life is coming to an end a week from now. So I will live from now on knowing I am only going to be here a weekor only a month, six months, or ten years, or whatever. Everybody picks his or her own number. Obviously, the bigger the number we pick, the more ability we have to postpone things. So I don’t recommend a ten year number. Ten years is basically saying I don’t want to deal with this conversation at all. One year is reasonable. For myself, I pick six months. Basically I say, “What would I be doing in my life if, in fact, I’m not going to be here in six months?”
This process puts many things into perspective. We may not like the answer to the question because sometimes we many have to do some things that are not very pleasant. But it doesn’t mean that we have to complete them within our time frame. It means we have to start them. It means we have to contemplate what really matters to us. Doing this makes life seem much more meaningful and much more important.
Life becomes much more vibrant
when we begin doing the things that matter to us.
I’m saying this because many, many times when I meet with people who are dying within the next hour or so, I hear over and over again that they wish they had done something or another. It doesn’t matter what it is. The wishes are different for all of us. We all have our own unique life and our wishes are most important for us. The variations of these unfulfilled wishes are so extreme. One would think that people would always be saying something of great substance. Many times I hear some things and think, “That was so easy. Why didn’t you do it?”
I don’t hear that I wish I were the greatest scientist in the world or I wish I had won the Nobel Prize. Once in a while I hear big things, but most of the time I just hear things such as I wish I had gone to the Bahamas on a vacation. Or I wish I had done more reading. I wish I had been kinder to my daughter, to my father, to my son. I wish I had done different kinds of work. These things are not so complicated. So what does this mean? This means that their lives have passed without having been lived!
But if we have six months, and hopefully we have dozens and dozens more of six months, how about doing just one of these things Or maybe a couple of them! When I go through the list of things that can take place in a six month period of time, I start to notice that the most important things in these spans of time are pertaining to relationships, often pertaining to not facing up to someone and saying either we love them or we apologize.
It weighs a lot upon us to carry that kind of a burden.
And it’s not necessary because it could be taken care of very quickly.
So I think living in six month increments gives us the ability to live in the now, to live in the future, and to take into consideration the past. It allows us to spend time in a good way if we want to help and be of assistance to others. If we want things in our lives to be different from what they are now, then we have to start doing these things.
We talk about suffering in this life.
One of the greatest sufferings that takes place
is when beings know they are facing death
and they feel they have not lived.