As a songwriter i find myself inspired by many different subjects that move me. Most recently Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield inspired me to write a song called ‘In the end’, and now this article, as an enquiry into what really matters in life.
These three questions are used as the contemplation:
How well did i live?
How well did i love?
How well did i learn to let go?
This article, and this song that i share below, come from a wish to remember and help others to remember in some small way that life is too short and these questions are the ones that really matter, in the end.
Death as a teacher.
Death isn’t something most of us like to think about.. trying to Ignore the fact of our mortality and the mortality of those we love out of fear is natural but i have come to see if i can use the awareness of death as a teacher that informs my life it can be a positive force.
In the past few years I’ve been faced with a lot of situations that have really made me more aware of the fragility of life. A friend passed away far too young and i was in an earthquake and in various other situations where i had to face death.
If there is anything to be taken from such events surely it has to be a wake up call to live and love more fully.
I imagine that If anyone who has died could come back to us for just one day i’m pretty sure they would tell us to do just that.
Life is precious and remembering that it’s fleeting can help us to be more present in our lives and more grateful for every moment.
Remembering death helps me to put things in perspective. In this way death can become a teacher and a companion upon the road of life.
When something bothers me i try to stop and remember that i am alive and actually non of the stress and worry matters as much as i think it does.
We walk around with so many worries and concerns weighing us down that would just vanish in the face of death! but we don’t have to wait till someone close to us dies or we get a wake up call in order to remember this.
How well did you live?
What “living well” means to us all might mean different things (or does it…? )
For me the answer to How well did i live? is the same as to How well did i love? Love is what it’s all about as far as I can see..
Deep inside i think we all feel and know that the capacity of our hearts is so much greater than we usually express or experience. The longing is within us all, to belong, to love and be loved because we know deep down that to express love to our fullest capacity would be our ultimate satisfaction. No amount of money or fame or “success” could beat that.
But i know, with the best intentions in the world it’s not easy to love everyone…luckily love is something we can cultivate and there are certainly things we can do to help our hearts along…
Practising gratitude has to be one of the biggest thing we can do. When we are able to be grateful for life, for the moment, for the people with are with, our hearts naturally open. Gratitude can be a doorway to love.
I like the way the Sufi mystic poet Rumi expresses how to cultivate love “rather than seeking for love, seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it” through seeing where we are not so loving and having a willingness to open to that we can begin to melt our hearts. In this way we learn to love more fully.
How well did you learn to let go?
I try to remind myself that one day i will have to let it ALL go. Everyone and everything. But i also know that letting go is something that i can practice right now in small ways, and in bigger ways, almost like preparation.
There are so many opportunities in life to learn to let go; we can practice letting go of holding onto past hurts, we can decide to “feel the fear and do it anyway”, to let go of the need for things to be a certain way, to let go of needing to have control over things…
These three questions have really helped me to remember what really matters in life and given me tools to not get so caught up in the dramas, reminding me to just to breath and be grateful for this precious experience.
I hope it does for you also.
May we all live and love to our fullest capacity <3
When all is said and done
whether you think you lost or won
can you tell me, my friend
what matters most in the end?
How well did you live?
How well did you love?
How well did you learn
to let go
What matters in the end
isn’t the money but the time we spent
isn’t the things you have but the things you shared
isn’t your possessions but your love and care
so tell me,
How well did we live?
How well did we love?
How well did we learn
to let go