Global Resilience Solutions > Category:remembrance of death

How to "Live Each Day as Your Last"

You’ll remember from last time that we said the biggest advantages to living each day as your last are:

1. If you live each day as your last, you’ll never succumb to petty emotional reactions


2. You’ll do nothing carelessly ever again – your actions will be increasingly filled with power


3. And because you’re increasingly conscious of the eternal consequences of your choices, you’ll stop wasting this precious life and start making spiritual progress

You may have noticed there’s a big difference between “remembering your death” and “living each day as if it were your last”.  It’s easy to remember intellectually that your time in this world is limited.  Everyone of us 6+ billion people is aware of that fact.  But that’s a far cry from the power that comes from living each day as your last.

To harvest the benefits of “living each day as your last”, you have to commit to training yourself to do just that.  There are no short-cuts here.  This means focusing all your efforts on living deliberately, on disengaging the autopilot of habit and taking full responsibility for even the smallest decision you make. 

Spiritual traditions, like Orthodox Christianity or Tibetan Buddhism teach this principle so that people will avoid self-destructive actions and use their limited time for spiritual advancement.  Martial traditions, like the Samurai, promoted it because this practice gives you greatly heightened situational awareness, and in the Samurai’s world, situational awareness was just about the only thing standing between you and your last day. 

The bottom line, though, is this practice is central to developing your resilience.  Back in 1982, a certain British soldier on the remote Falkland Islands watched in horror as a massive  Argentinian force invaded.  As he tells the story, his initial reaction was sheer terror.  Then, for some reason, he experienced a sudden inner shift.  He accepted the fact he was about to die, and from that moment on he was able to take positive action.  Of course, he ended up surviving the war, but having learned a priceless lesson that no classroon could ever teach.

Some lessons in life can’t be taught; they can only be learned.  And living each day as your last is just such a lesson.  For more information, go have a look at pages 247-8 of The 5 Pillars of Life.  Great info?  Yes.  However it’s nothing more than an interesting read unless you put it into practice. 

So go try it out and have some fun.  Fun??  Yes, fun!  Make a game out of it.  The same way you change your physical diet to see if your stomach feels better, you can change your mental diet to see how adopting a different focus, like “living each day as your last”, makes you feel.  At first it’ll be hard to stay focused, of course, so don’t beat yourself up.  Just have fun with it and see what happens. 

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger




















Live Each Day as Your Last

They say only two things in life are absolute certainties – death and taxes.  Despite the fact it’s tax time, my mind was more on the other thing yesterday.  You see…

…that Polish aircrash over the weekend, where dozens of people in the higher echelons of the Polish government lost their lives trying to land in western Russia, well… turns out a friend of mine was one of the fatalities. 

He was a young bishop in the Polish Orthodox Church, Bishop Miron.  Despite being Orthodox and not Roman Catholic, he was a top official in his country’s military chaplaincy program and actually held the rank of Brigadier General.  We met three years ago when he came to Canada for a military chaplains’ conference.  We celebrated a Sunday liturgy together at church and I had the honor of translating for him (from Russian, not Polish)  in a Q & A session afterwards.  He was a very kind, unpretentious man interested in everyone and a joy to be with.  He will be missed.

As one of my kids always says, you can never say someone’s middle aged because you don’t know when they’ll die.  And the tragic and far too early departure of Bishop Miron is just one reminder that we don’t know how much time we have.

Most people in our society would probably consider that a morbid thought and try to push it out of their minds.  Big mistake!  Authentic Ancient Traditions knew a huge advantage and tremendous RESILIENCE is hidden within this mysterious “remembrance of death”.  How so?

1. If you live each day as your last, you’ll never succumb to petty emotional reactions

How seriously would you take your own emotional ups and downs if you suddenly found yourself in a life and death situation?  Not at all.  So when you start to live each day as your last, the emotional grip the world has on you begins to lose its power.

2. You’ll do nothing carelessly ever again – your actions will be increasingly filled with power

You start to realize there are no unimportant decisions.  Every decision you make is now made in the face of life and death, so everything is important.  All your actions become deliberate actions and take on a powerful quality.

3. And because you’re increasingly conscious of the eternal consequences of your choices, you’ll stop wasting this precious life and start making spiritual progress

All Authentic Ancient Traditions tell us that our whole life is merely a preparation for what comes next.  Once you live each day as your last, you begin to realize that you don’t know when that “next” phase of your existence will begin. 

As to exactly how you can leverage the awsome power of the “remembrance of death”, we’ll get to that next time šŸ˜‰

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger




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