‘One of my favorite subjects of contemplation is this question: “Since death is certain, but the time of death is uncertain, what is the most important thing?” You know you will die, but you really don’t know how long you have to wake up from the cocoon of your habitual patterns. You don’t know how much time you have left to fulfill the potential of your precious human birth. Given this, what is the most important thing?
Every day of your life, every morning of your life, you could ask yourself, “As I go into this day, what is the most important thing? What is the best use of this day?” At my age, it’s kind of scary when I go to bed at night and I look back at the day, and it seems like it passed in the snap of a finger. That was the whole day? What did I do with it? Did I move closer to being more compassionate, loving, and caring - to being fully awake? Is my mind more open? What did I actually do? I feel how little time there is and how important it is how we spend our time.
What is the best use of each day of our lives? In one very short day, each of us could become more sane, more compassionate, more tender, more in touch with the dreamlike quality of reality. Or we could bury all these qualities more deeply and get more in touch with solid mind, retreating more into our own cocoon.’
- Pema Chodron, Waking Up to Your World, from the September 2008 issue of the Shambhala Sun.