The voice that exuberantly declares, “live every day like it’s your last,” unknowingly sets a perilous stage that ultimately, removes us from a conscious way of being. Without acute self awareness to interpret the phrase, it is simply a cheerleader’s battle cry; a well intended dog chasing its tail. Why would one undertake this proposal? The answers, we are certain, are to make every second count, live the dream, have no regrets, and win all the bountiful prizes before the clock ticks down. At its core, the phrase plates a beautifully presented meal. To consume it, however, would perhaps be toxic to what is most nutritious for our internal life.
One can fill their days falling from planes or cascading down canyons of water. Extreme activities cement us in the present like hypnosis. They are grand and vital and rife with adrenaline. Outside of these momentous extremes, life is comprised of millions, if not billions of moments. As each ends, like a little death, the next is born and its worth and importance immediately assessed and compared, altered to enhance, or left forgotten or unobserved. With these assessments come the multitude of human emotion the mind enjoys, filling its vaults with the seed that put in context successive experiences.
To cease all this is to quiet the kind of thought and conditioning we’re exposed to from infancy. Observing that we are who we are, and are where we are at this moment, is to be simply living this day. Not qualifying the day with any objective, terms, or conditions, we have effortlessly calmed would could be an assault on our being. The chase creates the disturbance, if not now, then in subsequent unconscious pursuits.
The carousel we want is bright and colorful and full of music, but predictably, ends up where it started. The moments before and after the ride and the sounds between the sounds are all but missed, like shells just beneath beach sand. They are no less important than the thrills we chase, and by observing them, we shift our internal drive from having the ultimate experience to simply observing the experience. In doing so, we are doing a service to ourselves, to our families, to our creativity and professional lives, and to the world we inhabit.