"If death is certain and the time until death is uncertain, what's the most important thing?"
I used to be able to tell you exactly what I'd be doing year on year to the day simply because I always did what I'd always done. I was bored of this, I needed change, I needed to completely change my situation.
The thing I said the most at that time was, "I'd rather look back on my life and regret having done something than wonder what might have happened if I had."
One of the latest revelations I've had from all this meditation practice I get up to is that we don't figure something out and then put it aside. Wisdom is incremental and it gets deeper with practice. We will revisit the same thing again and again and each time - because of experience, new ways of thinking, knowing our minds better than before - we will get something new out of it.
Death doesn't scare me. I told my mum it did when I was little and she said that simply wasn't true because if it was I'd never do anything. I'd stay up in my room and avoid any situation that might be remotely dangerous.
I remember this as the first time I encountered the idea of living life to the fullest. I've come back to it again and again and each time it shifts and my understanding gains more depth.
When I first moved to London I wanted new experiences because I was terrified of not doing enough with my life. I've often remarked that I'm allergic to procrastination because I feel a bit sick if I put off that which I can do now.
Well, that's changed quite a bit recently. Not because I do put stuff off now, I certainly don't. I actually seem to be doing more now than ever - but the feeling sick bit happens less and less.
There was a frantic energy to a lot of what I did. A sense of striving and getting things done so that eventually I'd get everything done and then maybe, maybe I could relax.
It wasn't very comfortable. It's a strong habit though and one I'm still working with. But now the frantic energy has gone out of it because the present is just a single moment and in a single moment, we can only accomplish so much anyway. I take it as it comes, and I carry out a single task with great care and mindfulness before moving to the next.
Interestingly I seem to get a lot more done, in a calmer fashion, and it gives me more time to do absolutely nothing beyond being - which is helpful since I love meditating so much.
The less I try to 'do' the more I can 'be' and the more I can be the more I appreciate the time I have. Less and less of what I do is about getting somewhere or finishing something or ticking off a list. Now it's about experiencing the moment, enjoying the process, and waiting for what comes next patiently, without forcing it or driving for it.