The importance of a consistent contemplation practice became an experiential realization in the past year. I vaguely recall reading a passage from ‘Words of My Perfect Teacher‘ in the past year about the how critical the teaching on impermanence is. When I picked up the books many years ago, I knew it was a ‘classic’ Vajrayana text and enjoyed reading it but I wasn’t actually practicing ngondro at that time. In the past year, I have revisited the book as part of my practice and the teachings are coming to ‘life’ so to speak. Since I am still on the ‘outer’ preliminaries of the practice, the teaching on impermanence and death is one of the 4 thoughts that turn the mind towards dharma. As I have reflected on my life and especially this past year during the pandemic, the teaching has undoubtedly given much motivation to deepen my practice. Although it may seem trivial to think about impermanence on a daily basis, the constant reminder and filtering life’s event through that teaching has given the veracity to the teaching. When i think about the 20 years of building my business and then to have it crumple within a few months, it really hit home the significance of how I have spent my time.
Closer to my heart, the relationship with my daughter has deteriorate to a surreal level within the past year as well. In keeping with the teaching, I am also reminded that this deteriorated state with my daughter is also temporary and to continue my practice. About a month ago, the death of my dog/companion of 10 years was another exclamation point on impermanence. I knew his health was failing for the last several months and I remember waking up each day wondering if he has pass away during the night. I part of me wanted him to die naturally in the night and not have to put him to sleep at the vet. On the day of his death, I was holding him in my arms to comfort him because he was having a hard time breathing. During those moments, I recited the only mantra I knew by heart as I witness him actually dying in my arms. Of course I had deep sense of sadness but at the same time, I felt relived that I had a practice that allowed me to support this sentient being through its next life. My sense is that this experience was a small taste on the confident that is gained through the practice when it comes for my time. To honor Jonsi and let my emotions run it’s course, i put together a little tribute video for the little guy that taught me so much.