Thank you India
Chapman University produces a ‘top fears’ survey. It indicates that we live in a perpetual state of worry and anxiety. The number one fear factor in the US currently is ‘corrupt government officials’ followed by a long list that includes ‘pollution of oceans and rivers,’ ‘pollution of drinking water,’ ‘global warming and climate change,’ ‘volcanic eruption,’ ‘credit card fraud,’ ‘heights,’ ‘sharks,’ ‘rats,’ ‘public speaking’ and ‘waking up with a snake in your bed’ crawling up your body. Being a yoga teacher on a tropical island in Asia it seems could be considered kinda scary rather than the definition of a dream-job in paradise!
In a vinyasa class I shared what happened to my friend last week, here in Asia. She woke up at the middle of the night with the sensation of someone lightly stroking her upper arm… when she finally got up, she realized that the intruder in her bed was in fact a one metre long snake with distinctive black and yellow stripes. Terrified, she ran out of the room, locked the door and tried to sleep in the living room. When the landlord finally cleared the room he was in shock – the snake was extremely poisonous! If she had turned in her sleep and been bitten she would have died in 5 minutes.
So, we speculated that my friend got a second chance of sorts and did go through a kind of rebirth. Nothing seemed the same to her anymore. She now sees the little wonders of life with different eyes. She pays attention and appreciates everything around her. She realized that it was her ( snake ) ‘wake up call’ to live here and now and be grateful for everyday things . Every day is a blessing.
In my own family, my hubby had two lucky breaks with snakes. Once in India he walked right past a king cobra on a wall without even noticing it. He also had a thin deadly poisonous green snake suddenly appear out of his moped seat while he was driving along Ubud high street…..
These tales of the unexpected from the tropics lead me to my thought for the day – gratitude and impermanence!
As Deepak Chopra once said
‘ we’re all on death row. We just don’t know the place, time and method of execution.‘
In the Buddhist tradition, it is often recommended to start the day with a short ‘death meditation’ the purpose of which is to be thankful for the opportunity to be here right now and to reflect on the fact that every moment of every day is precious. Set intentions of what you intend to do with the day that has been gifted to you.
Hopefully you’ll never wake up to anything as horrific as a snake in your bed. But even if you do, it might just be a timely reminder that life is precious and fleeting. Take it as an opportunity to celebrate your leisure and fortune! Fears, anxieties, obstacles and difficult situations will always arise and they will be challenging. They also represent an opportunity and a gift to remember and to become more grateful. ‘It’s not happiness that makes us grateful, it’s gratitude that makes us happy.’ For that last quote I express my gratitude to the wise Lama Marut.