My Snow Leopard Guardian Angel
Today, I want to talk a bit about friendship. There are a few reasons for this. First, as many of you know, beginning January 1 of this year, I made a commitment to meet death every day for a year. And I did this not in a morbid sense but rather to let my reflection of death shine a light on the preciousness of this life and of each day I am given. I decided to reflect on the inevitability of not only my own death but of everyone I hold dear to let it bring clarity to my priorities and aims. I did it to soften and open my heart, to let go of fear, so that I can truly be present for each relationship, for each encounter with another human or creature. I decided to meet death so that I could live a more awake and compassionate life.
Now, one of the most obvious insights I’ve gained from this daily reflection, as I imagine myself on my deathbed looking back at my life, is that all the possessions I’ve gathered, all the accolades I’ve pinned to my name, all the time I’ve spent playing video games, watching movies, or masturbating — all of this means essentially nothing when I examine my life through this lens. When I imagine myself on my deathbed, taking my last breaths, what really matters is how I showed up in relationship — how I showed up for the world as a positive force for love, as a living expression of compassion, and how I showed up for all those around me, for all those I hold dear.
Did I love fully? Did I let my work overshadow my children? Did my own self-concern distract me from the unconditional space that I truly am, the unconditional space that allows my partner and kids to be known, to be felt, heard, seen, and understood? Did pride keep me hidden and closed off to others? Did fear prevent me from revealing the depths of my tender human heart? Did my baser desires and aversions cloud my vision and cause me to live only on the surface level of appearances? Did lust deny me from seeing in people more than just a body, more than just a face? Did it prevent me from seeing their true beauty, their divine unbounded nature? Did anger fool me into believing that I am superior to others? Did it deceive me into believing that the person across from me is somehow apart from me, that he or she is outside of me? In conversation, did I get…