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Living Without Regrets

Posted By: Randy GageMay 31, 2011

 

Those who believe they have plenty of time get ready only at the time of death.  Then they are ravaged with regret.  But isn’t it far too late? 

Isn’t it indeed?

Those words of the great Buddhist master Padmasambhava illustrate the point I was making on last week’s post, The Joy of Death. There were some fascinating thoughts on it.  It’s tragic that so many people don’t really appreciate life until they’re at the point of dying.

I have had the wonderful opportunity to face death at a young age, not once, but twice.  (Not to mention a few close calls in car accidents, and on the racetrack.)  The first time was a deep spiritual experience, brought about by deep meditation, spiritual seeking, and prayer.  The second was brought about by violence and anger, at the point of a gun.   It took the second time for me to really learn the lesson.

I think for most people, how you face life has a lot to do with how you face (or avoid) death.

Many Buddhist masters ask only one question of potential students: Do you believe in a life after this one?  They ask that question not to see if the potential student agrees with the philosophy of the afterlife, but rather, if they know it deeply in their heart.

The reason: They feel that someone who knows of a life after their current one will view this one much different, especially in terms, of their morality, and personal responsibility.

So what about you?

How do you view death?  Do you use life to prepare for death?  What about using death to prepare for life?  Give that some real thought.  And next post we’ll pick up on the subject of death and how we face it.

-RG

29 comments on “Living Without Regrets”

  1. I believe in us as spiritual beings having an earthly experience. Still, it can be hard to live each day doing what is really important because sometimes you just have to wash the dishes and pay the bills. So I set my intention to do at least one important and joyful thing each day. Sometimes it's as simple as being kind to others and looking people in the eye.

  2. Great question and one I wanted to know your views.

    I believe in rebirth.

    First law of thermodynamics is, mass of energy is fixed and it's neither created nor destroyed, only changes
    it's form. Heat energy, electrical, mechanical, sound all interchange. Death is nothing but energy leaving the body. First law of thermodynamics states this energy changes it's form.

    Eastern religions state one's karmas and thoughts in the present life dictate the kind of life, conditions, environment,
    one is born into in the
    next life.

    My personal view is, if there is rebirth, then thoughts at the rime of death, also dictate our next birth. Of course, karmas and thoughts have to synergies amongst themselves.

    Randy, would appreciate your feedback on the above.

    And thanks as always on maintaining a great blog!

  3. RG
    I used to believe that I was either going to go to heaven or hell. Since I was such a problem I figured that I would just do what I want within reason and not worry about heaven since I wasn't going to qualify anyway. Naturally this type of thought led me to many addictions.
    In the depths of my addiction I ended up in a Baptist Church.
    I was not welcome for who I was but who I could pretend. There was much judgement, especially in the parking lot. People would say "they will pray for you" which sounded like some kind of punishment. And of course saying the 7 magic words would keep me from hell and damnation. "I accept Jesus Christ as my savior".
    This lead to more questions, more shame and more addictions. I finally surrendered to a higher power who loved me for me. I went on to believe that I do have another life or more and that I chose to come into this world to work on the things thatI wanted to experience. This was to increase my enlightenment. Now this takes a whole different approach to my thinking. Now I want to control my thoughts, feelings and actions. I want to get closer to God or the CHrist within. Heaven is no longer some place I go to it is my choice of how I chose to live. What a freeing concept. I now can go on to live live in the now and death is not something I fear.
    Jim

    1. You go Jim. We get to experience, I believe, a piece of heaven on earth, once we get the reason we are here. All makes sense once you understand that it's not all about us. The true gifts are so much more than we will ever be. Isn't it great, as Randy would say, finding them.

  4. I have not experienced death, at the close range Randy has, but I have experienced it through other experiences. I do, faithfully believe, that This earth is not my home. I am here to learn. I only wish I could put into a capsule, all that I have experienced. Love, loss, pain, happiness, grief, joy. All these experiences have taught me that life is in the moment. Who I am, What I contribute, where I focus, why I wake up, When I manifest. Why I exist. It's all a progession and process. I don't know if it can be explained until it is experienced, but I pray that my existence makes a difference. I want my life to leave something everlasting behind. Not my material wealth, though someone better f.... shine the Bentley, but how I made someone feel when I smiled at them or met a simple need that changed their lives. I want my life to live beyond me because I touched others in a way that changed how they reacted or responded. I want to be an example of what love is. I want people to know that no matter what you are, that love is the answer to everything and it is what everyone longs for.

  5. I absolutely believe in a life after this one. This belief is both based on scientific observation AND a faith in classic evangelical Christianity.

    Life appears to be extraordinarily rare. We have to go a huge number of LIGHT YEARS away before we can find planets that are even remotely likely to support carbon-based life forms. But even in an earth chock full of life...there is nothing even close to humans. Sorry to our little friends apes and dolphins, but the fact that they can do sign language or communicate via clicks still leaves them short of the amazing self awareness and moral abilities of human. It is quite possible that the most complex thing in the entire universe is the three pounds of brain in our heads. That leads me to conclude that we are clearly designed entities, with a creative purpose. For that to be limited to a single, short existence seems incompatible with the uniqueness of our design. The rest comes from faith.

  6. I don't believe in a life after this one; however, it wasn't until I came so close to death that I truly understood the meaning of the words I had been saying all my life and teaching my children about appreciating life. Now, when I can stand up straight in the morning and walk, I am thrilled. Each day is a special gift granted with responsibility; and whenever I catch myself whining I need to remind myself to get back up on my feet and start marching forward again, do something useful!

  7. "It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment..." (Hebrews 9:27)

    "Salvation is found in no one else except through Jesus Christ" (paraphrasing Acts4:11-12)

    Pretty dogmatic statements this Bible.

    Well, if Buddhism turns out to be right, then I'll be quite alright cos doing good and loving your neighbor is something the Bible encourages us to do too.

    If the Bible turns out to be right, then the Buddhists are not going to do well. I wouldn't want to be that person who is standing before God and telling God that reincarnation is right and that He is wrong.

  8. We die a little everyday. I read this meditation 12 years ago or so, it's meaning was everyday we live brings us closer to the moment of our death. It's a great reminder to live fully here and now. If I am a spirit in search of a humn experience than I'll fully partake that this experience and whenever my next journey takes me, I'll fully partake in that as well.

  9. Hey Randy,
    I believe that our physical body dies but our true essence does not. We are infinite consciousness.

    I don't think about death much until I read your post. Then it got me thinking about what is really important and what isn't.

    Trivial things don't matter to me but being a bringer of light is important to me.

    I choose to live consciously everyday and help others to do the same. What I mean by that is that as we appear to be separate individuals we are all connected to a greater whole. My job is to get others to remember that as well.

  10. I can't be certain about whether there is or isn't more life after this life. However, my working model is that something of me continues, some cohesion of energy. And this is idle speculation, of no real importance at all.
    What I have NOW is this life, these circumstances, these adventures, etc., all of which will come to an end. I am doing my best to ensure that my physical body will continue to serve me well for many many years to come. I want to be one of those 90-year-olds who enjoys physical activity. I want to live long, and die short
    It wrings my heart to see people die slowly slowly and painfully painfully, suffering for years as their bodies deteriorate around them, losing their ability to move or even breathe without painful effort, sustained by machines and drugs. Horrible!Our bodies are the most important possession we have - please take gooooood care of yours!

    Regardless of how I may be in my 90-s....I am enjoying life in this body, NOW, to the utmost of my ability. Right now, it is time to enjoy falling peacefully asleep. Goodnight friends.

  11. I don't know if there is life after death. I know, I hope there is. I believe there is one, because it is more comforting to me to think that there is "more" and that the people I love are still somehow around me, even after death.

    I guess, I am agnostic on this. For the most part though, I live my life as this is it, the only life I have been given, and if there is an afterlife it is bonus material.

    If we don't believe in an afterlife, what a gift! To have one life, so very precious we should live and love wildly, because well it ends.

    I think we have to grieve our own death, like the stages Elizabeth Khubler-Ross gave us. That way we have understood the finality of our life here.

    If you live to love and live life like it is meant to be lived with joy, then I think death does not seem so bad. If you live just to survive and have lots of fears then death just like life will seem like something just to avoid.

    When you live your life from your deepest integrity you will have no regrets, because you lived your souls destiny.

  12. A really interesting topic. Your recent postings on this topic brought to mind different people I know - some who are 100% convinced about reincarnation, others who are 100% convinced we will all be divided between heaven and hell, and then others who have been on the other side, seen the light ,got a second chance and came back to fulfill a specific mission.

    I often think that if an after life exists it could be quite an amusing place. My grandmother would often say how she was looking forward to meeting up with my grandfather who would be waiting for her in heaven which got me thinking about the people who have been married more than once. A friend of mine lost her dearly beloved second husband when they were making love! She cried for months afterwards tho' now is now happily re- married. When she gets to heaven how will she manage when she has 3 husbands to deal with in one place, not to mention the fact that 2 of them were also married before. Her current husband is also on his third marriage,( he is 80 now) and I wonder how he will manage with his two ex wives when they are all re-united?? The mind boggles!Indeed we must practise tolerance and unconditional love now, or it could get very stickey up there!

  13. As in most everything else in life, for me it so much about not fearing something ... including death.

    If I no longer fear what people think, I will not censor myself and I will dare to EXPRESS my biggest, most bold self.

    If I no longer fear losing myself or my partner in a relationship, then I can LOVE with my whole heart and hold nothing back.

    If I no longer fear my own death, then and only then am I really free to LIVE my best life ... pursuing dreams, taking chances, challenging limitations.

    For as long as I remember, I have always believed that the Spirit is eternal, but each lifetime finite. When I look at it like that, then this life I am living now becomes a precious gift. If this is one leg of a longer journey, and I am given only a brief period of time in this exact place with these certain beautiful faces in front of me, how can I not want to bless as many as possible, make a difference, experience deep emotional connections and make an impact while exploring my own bliss? How can I not want to experience Love in every moment? And, when the transition of death comes, I want to leave with a smile on my face and sweet memories tacked to my soul. Now THAT, to me, is living. 😉

    K

  14. A swami I know once posed a variation of a contemplation used by Bhuddist masters.
    In addition to contemplating our death, also contemplate our deathlessness.

  15. I have learned, that life is merely a transition. After more than 20 years as a Hospice Volunteer and dealing with dying patients, that have given me more than I have them, I have personally experienced the transition of a soul.

    One particular patient, in her last hours, of whom I shall never forget, transitioned within hours of my having been at her bedside praying and using hands on to help her energy move on, as I left the nursing home and arrived home that night I distinctly recall getting ready for bed and as I turned off the lights to go into my bed there was a rush of energy that entered the room and I heard her voice say "Thank You"

  16. Hey Randy, hope you are doing well. And maybe only if you want to, you could tell us about your softball game?

    Really loved your post. It is good to think about how the afterlife affects how we live here and now. I really liked M. Scott Pecks book, which was fiction, about a man who dies and his journey into the afterlife. I think it was called, "In Heaven, As On Earth".

    1. My team is a new one, and we were playing in a higher division to get experience. I had only one bad at bat the whole weekend, so I was very happy with that. Thanks, RG

      1. Randy, so glad you had a good game. Thanks for sharing. I was thinking about you and your game this weekend.

  17. Hi,
    I am a Hindu and the concept of Karma and eternal soul is a Hindu idea. Even though I donot practice rituals associated with religion I really appreciate the spiritual side of Hinduism which guided Buddhism.

    Karma is not just our actions that we do during our lifetime. We carry on creating our balance of good and bad points through our Karma even when we create positive and negative vibrations. So just a thoughts of sleeping with your best mate's wife is a bad karma and puts you in negative.

    Now, isn't thats what Randy and 'The Secret' guys talking about. Law of Attraction is in fact the Karma theory.

    Bless,
    Hersh

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  • 29 comments on “Living Without Regrets”

    1. I believe in us as spiritual beings having an earthly experience. Still, it can be hard to live each day doing what is really important because sometimes you just have to wash the dishes and pay the bills. So I set my intention to do at least one important and joyful thing each day. Sometimes it's as simple as being kind to others and looking people in the eye.

    2. Great question and one I wanted to know your views.

      I believe in rebirth.

      First law of thermodynamics is, mass of energy is fixed and it's neither created nor destroyed, only changes
      it's form. Heat energy, electrical, mechanical, sound all interchange. Death is nothing but energy leaving the body. First law of thermodynamics states this energy changes it's form.

      Eastern religions state one's karmas and thoughts in the present life dictate the kind of life, conditions, environment,
      one is born into in the
      next life.

      My personal view is, if there is rebirth, then thoughts at the rime of death, also dictate our next birth. Of course, karmas and thoughts have to synergies amongst themselves.

      Randy, would appreciate your feedback on the above.

      And thanks as always on maintaining a great blog!

    3. RG
      I used to believe that I was either going to go to heaven or hell. Since I was such a problem I figured that I would just do what I want within reason and not worry about heaven since I wasn't going to qualify anyway. Naturally this type of thought led me to many addictions.
      In the depths of my addiction I ended up in a Baptist Church.
      I was not welcome for who I was but who I could pretend. There was much judgement, especially in the parking lot. People would say "they will pray for you" which sounded like some kind of punishment. And of course saying the 7 magic words would keep me from hell and damnation. "I accept Jesus Christ as my savior".
      This lead to more questions, more shame and more addictions. I finally surrendered to a higher power who loved me for me. I went on to believe that I do have another life or more and that I chose to come into this world to work on the things thatI wanted to experience. This was to increase my enlightenment. Now this takes a whole different approach to my thinking. Now I want to control my thoughts, feelings and actions. I want to get closer to God or the CHrist within. Heaven is no longer some place I go to it is my choice of how I chose to live. What a freeing concept. I now can go on to live live in the now and death is not something I fear.
      Jim

      1. You go Jim. We get to experience, I believe, a piece of heaven on earth, once we get the reason we are here. All makes sense once you understand that it's not all about us. The true gifts are so much more than we will ever be. Isn't it great, as Randy would say, finding them.

    4. I have not experienced death, at the close range Randy has, but I have experienced it through other experiences. I do, faithfully believe, that This earth is not my home. I am here to learn. I only wish I could put into a capsule, all that I have experienced. Love, loss, pain, happiness, grief, joy. All these experiences have taught me that life is in the moment. Who I am, What I contribute, where I focus, why I wake up, When I manifest. Why I exist. It's all a progession and process. I don't know if it can be explained until it is experienced, but I pray that my existence makes a difference. I want my life to leave something everlasting behind. Not my material wealth, though someone better f.... shine the Bentley, but how I made someone feel when I smiled at them or met a simple need that changed their lives. I want my life to live beyond me because I touched others in a way that changed how they reacted or responded. I want to be an example of what love is. I want people to know that no matter what you are, that love is the answer to everything and it is what everyone longs for.

    5. I absolutely believe in a life after this one. This belief is both based on scientific observation AND a faith in classic evangelical Christianity.

      Life appears to be extraordinarily rare. We have to go a huge number of LIGHT YEARS away before we can find planets that are even remotely likely to support carbon-based life forms. But even in an earth chock full of life...there is nothing even close to humans. Sorry to our little friends apes and dolphins, but the fact that they can do sign language or communicate via clicks still leaves them short of the amazing self awareness and moral abilities of human. It is quite possible that the most complex thing in the entire universe is the three pounds of brain in our heads. That leads me to conclude that we are clearly designed entities, with a creative purpose. For that to be limited to a single, short existence seems incompatible with the uniqueness of our design. The rest comes from faith.

    6. I don't believe in a life after this one; however, it wasn't until I came so close to death that I truly understood the meaning of the words I had been saying all my life and teaching my children about appreciating life. Now, when I can stand up straight in the morning and walk, I am thrilled. Each day is a special gift granted with responsibility; and whenever I catch myself whining I need to remind myself to get back up on my feet and start marching forward again, do something useful!

    7. "It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment..." (Hebrews 9:27)

      "Salvation is found in no one else except through Jesus Christ" (paraphrasing Acts4:11-12)

      Pretty dogmatic statements this Bible.

      Well, if Buddhism turns out to be right, then I'll be quite alright cos doing good and loving your neighbor is something the Bible encourages us to do too.

      If the Bible turns out to be right, then the Buddhists are not going to do well. I wouldn't want to be that person who is standing before God and telling God that reincarnation is right and that He is wrong.

    8. We die a little everyday. I read this meditation 12 years ago or so, it's meaning was everyday we live brings us closer to the moment of our death. It's a great reminder to live fully here and now. If I am a spirit in search of a humn experience than I'll fully partake that this experience and whenever my next journey takes me, I'll fully partake in that as well.

    9. Hey Randy,
      I believe that our physical body dies but our true essence does not. We are infinite consciousness.

      I don't think about death much until I read your post. Then it got me thinking about what is really important and what isn't.

      Trivial things don't matter to me but being a bringer of light is important to me.

      I choose to live consciously everyday and help others to do the same. What I mean by that is that as we appear to be separate individuals we are all connected to a greater whole. My job is to get others to remember that as well.

    10. I can't be certain about whether there is or isn't more life after this life. However, my working model is that something of me continues, some cohesion of energy. And this is idle speculation, of no real importance at all.
      What I have NOW is this life, these circumstances, these adventures, etc., all of which will come to an end. I am doing my best to ensure that my physical body will continue to serve me well for many many years to come. I want to be one of those 90-year-olds who enjoys physical activity. I want to live long, and die short
      It wrings my heart to see people die slowly slowly and painfully painfully, suffering for years as their bodies deteriorate around them, losing their ability to move or even breathe without painful effort, sustained by machines and drugs. Horrible!Our bodies are the most important possession we have - please take gooooood care of yours!

      Regardless of how I may be in my 90-s....I am enjoying life in this body, NOW, to the utmost of my ability. Right now, it is time to enjoy falling peacefully asleep. Goodnight friends.

    11. I don't know if there is life after death. I know, I hope there is. I believe there is one, because it is more comforting to me to think that there is "more" and that the people I love are still somehow around me, even after death.

      I guess, I am agnostic on this. For the most part though, I live my life as this is it, the only life I have been given, and if there is an afterlife it is bonus material.

      If we don't believe in an afterlife, what a gift! To have one life, so very precious we should live and love wildly, because well it ends.

      I think we have to grieve our own death, like the stages Elizabeth Khubler-Ross gave us. That way we have understood the finality of our life here.

      If you live to love and live life like it is meant to be lived with joy, then I think death does not seem so bad. If you live just to survive and have lots of fears then death just like life will seem like something just to avoid.

      When you live your life from your deepest integrity you will have no regrets, because you lived your souls destiny.

    12. A really interesting topic. Your recent postings on this topic brought to mind different people I know - some who are 100% convinced about reincarnation, others who are 100% convinced we will all be divided between heaven and hell, and then others who have been on the other side, seen the light ,got a second chance and came back to fulfill a specific mission.

      I often think that if an after life exists it could be quite an amusing place. My grandmother would often say how she was looking forward to meeting up with my grandfather who would be waiting for her in heaven which got me thinking about the people who have been married more than once. A friend of mine lost her dearly beloved second husband when they were making love! She cried for months afterwards tho' now is now happily re- married. When she gets to heaven how will she manage when she has 3 husbands to deal with in one place, not to mention the fact that 2 of them were also married before. Her current husband is also on his third marriage,( he is 80 now) and I wonder how he will manage with his two ex wives when they are all re-united?? The mind boggles!Indeed we must practise tolerance and unconditional love now, or it could get very stickey up there!

    13. As in most everything else in life, for me it so much about not fearing something ... including death.

      If I no longer fear what people think, I will not censor myself and I will dare to EXPRESS my biggest, most bold self.

      If I no longer fear losing myself or my partner in a relationship, then I can LOVE with my whole heart and hold nothing back.

      If I no longer fear my own death, then and only then am I really free to LIVE my best life ... pursuing dreams, taking chances, challenging limitations.

      For as long as I remember, I have always believed that the Spirit is eternal, but each lifetime finite. When I look at it like that, then this life I am living now becomes a precious gift. If this is one leg of a longer journey, and I am given only a brief period of time in this exact place with these certain beautiful faces in front of me, how can I not want to bless as many as possible, make a difference, experience deep emotional connections and make an impact while exploring my own bliss? How can I not want to experience Love in every moment? And, when the transition of death comes, I want to leave with a smile on my face and sweet memories tacked to my soul. Now THAT, to me, is living. 😉

      K

    14. A swami I know once posed a variation of a contemplation used by Bhuddist masters.
      In addition to contemplating our death, also contemplate our deathlessness.

    15. I have learned, that life is merely a transition. After more than 20 years as a Hospice Volunteer and dealing with dying patients, that have given me more than I have them, I have personally experienced the transition of a soul.

      One particular patient, in her last hours, of whom I shall never forget, transitioned within hours of my having been at her bedside praying and using hands on to help her energy move on, as I left the nursing home and arrived home that night I distinctly recall getting ready for bed and as I turned off the lights to go into my bed there was a rush of energy that entered the room and I heard her voice say "Thank You"

    16. Hey Randy, hope you are doing well. And maybe only if you want to, you could tell us about your softball game?

      Really loved your post. It is good to think about how the afterlife affects how we live here and now. I really liked M. Scott Pecks book, which was fiction, about a man who dies and his journey into the afterlife. I think it was called, "In Heaven, As On Earth".

      1. My team is a new one, and we were playing in a higher division to get experience. I had only one bad at bat the whole weekend, so I was very happy with that. Thanks, RG

        1. Randy, so glad you had a good game. Thanks for sharing. I was thinking about you and your game this weekend.

    17. Hi,
      I am a Hindu and the concept of Karma and eternal soul is a Hindu idea. Even though I donot practice rituals associated with religion I really appreciate the spiritual side of Hinduism which guided Buddhism.

      Karma is not just our actions that we do during our lifetime. We carry on creating our balance of good and bad points through our Karma even when we create positive and negative vibrations. So just a thoughts of sleeping with your best mate's wife is a bad karma and puts you in negative.

      Now, isn't thats what Randy and 'The Secret' guys talking about. Law of Attraction is in fact the Karma theory.

      Bless,
      Hersh

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