And it could very well be your last heart attack!
If you are young, which I am not, then you may think a heart attack is irrelevant to you. But I actually had a good childhood friend of mine die at 15 years old of a massive heart attack. His parents walked into his room one morning and found him dead on the floor.
But the topic here is really more about impermanence, and the reality of it for each of us. And while many people may view the Buddha’s teachings about impermanence as negative or pessimistic, they are actually highly empowering and motivational.
It is by our growing understanding and awareness of all things being transitory that we are able to become more present and alive. We begin to see that suffering is not just part of this life, but that it too is impermanent. This happy moment will pass, just as our saddest moments will pass. Our physical pains will come and go, just as our life will come and go. And any attempt to circumvent this is futile and only a source of further dissatisfaction in our lives.
So why think about that heart attack? Because it is one way that we can all understand that this life is fragile and has no guarantee of another moment. No other chance to be present, loving and kind. There is no other time for generosity or compassion, no future to accept or forgive. This is the moment to make the very most of, with wisdom and bliss that we have this life right now.
Letting go of the stories, the drama, the past injuries and any desire for more than what exists right here and now. All that is right before you, all that is present in this breath. Becoming more and more of this breath, and gaining a present awareness that is mindful with complete comprehension, there exists a peace. Peace that does not require anything else to complete it. No need for more or less of anything, only the clarity to see that you are blessed.
Negativity has no place in this practice, only the optimism that is gained by witnessing your own progress along the path. Not by faith or hope or fantasy, but by direct experience that each of us can find through diligent meditation, and the practice of loving kindness. Suffering is not a bad or a good thing, it is our mind which tries to label these thoughts and feelings thereby producing suffering and discouragement. And understanding this reality allows us to be free of these bonds, that we may accept the nature of our life with bliss. Gradually becoming more and more well, content and peaceful, with no need to worry about that heart attack. And perhaps the next time someone speaks to you about death, instead of being sad, you will be thinking “I’m OK with that!”.