Summary: In our three January posts on new year’s resolutions, we have seen that we must resolve to evolve. At any point in our lives we must know what wants to emerge in our development—the one or two critical things we must learn if we are to grow into our next level of potential. Then we will marshal abundant energy around our personal change agenda by engaging learning partners for mutual benefit.
We were fully awake when we resolved to make a change. We knew what was keeping us in an eddy, going round and round but going nowhere. We had identified what we must learn in order to make a breakthrough.
We made a resolution to move into the potential we know awaits our attention.
We may even have enlisted a learning partner or partners to add energy to the change process and to build some accountability.
And then we went back to sleep.
There is nothing that cannot be put off in the ordinary life, even urgent action that we have committed to pursuing. Thinking we have time, we hesitate, we allow distractions, and we defer action until later, a later that never seems to arrive.
Believing that we have plenty of time, we delude ourselves, diluting the urgency we felt originally. We are failing in our endeavor to learn, to change, and to realize our potential.
But our potential keeps calling to us. Now we remember our resolution and renew our commitment and effort, but with less confidence than we brought to our resolve originally.
We stay awake for a while. We try.
And then we go back to sleep.
The ultimate adviser can keep us awake
The warrior’s supreme achievement is to understand the energetic fact that we are all going to die.
The ordinary person knows that we will die, of course, but only in a vague way: death is not a close presence but far away, not a threat right now.
There is plenty of time, so this moment is not so important. There will be more moments, we assume.
The key to a warrior’s success with resolutions is the knowledge that we may not have any more moments.
Using death as the backdrop for every day of our life is not a morbid preoccupation, but a great advantage. Using death as my always-reliable adviser, I stay awake.
Do I have any time to waste today, I ask death? The answer is always no. With the power of death’s advice, the warrior is vibrantly alive, and every resolution will create an exciting adventure of learning and change. Advised by death, the warrior makes and pursues commitments with clarity and power.
Paradoxically, living with the energetic fact of death is the only way we can stay fully awake.
How to gain death as your ally
If we aren’t currently enlisting death as our adviser, we can invite it closer so that we can become more consistently awake, more impeccable with our commitments to ourselves, more agile in our learning, and more powerful in our actions.
The warriors of Carlos Castaneda’s lineage have a metaphor that might be helpful to you. They picture death sitting on a mat just behind your left shoulder. Death will reach out and touch you at some point, and your awareness will be taken away from you. The only question is when?
Knowledge of my impending death brings me into a state of heightened awareness. This moment, perhaps my last, is now everything. Knowing that this precious moment may be my last, I am poised. I am fully present, connected, grateful, creative, light-hearted.
Knowledge of death illuminates a larger life
Without a knowledge of death, the ordinary life can be careless, unfocused, a life of vicissitudes, a life of slow learning. The ordinary life lacks power.
But our life expands exponentially when we understand the energetic fact that we will die.
Now we are much more likely to be impeccable, to give our best.
Now we are focused, shaping the life that calls us.
With death as our adviser, we learn efficiently and quickly.
Our resolutions open the door to an infinitely expanding life in an infinitely expanding universe.