Three Liberating Practices

I’ve found these “Death Awareness Practices” very liberating, especially in my old age.


Because repeating “memento mori” which is “remembering you will die”, you realise  you have to ENJOY LIFE WHILE YOU HAVE IT.

I firmly believe:

Each day is a separate life to enjoy as much as possible, even with the aches and pains of old age!

Death Awareness gives me a greater appreciation for the gift of each new day.

I know to have COMPLETE PEACE I’d have to be at peace with the prospect of dying.

Points to Ponder:

Courage, Integrity, Humour–We are ultimately ALONE and these three words are values to get you through.

We are all on a journey, good or bad, and we have NO choice but to ENDURE and come to terms with what afflicts us.


Practice One:

Remembering you will die!

This could be your death day!

When I awake, I think, “This could be my last morning.”

Then a warm appreciation arises in me–appreciation for this morning in which I am very much ALIVE!

Practice Two:

Remember the time of our death is uncertain.

Thankfully, we don’t know when we will encounter death.

So, I treasure each day that I’m ALIVE and that those I love are alive.

Practice Three:

All grasping is finished at death.

What does that mean?

It means that all the things I preoccupy myself with will dissolve at death…all my opinions that I think are so important, all my worries about the future, all the material things around me that I think of as mine–all the grasping will be gone!

I find this life-affirming and liberating because I then consider what IS important to me in life.

It’s NOT opinions, worries or possessions.

What I value most, as I get older, is my relationship with other people.

Was I patient and caring?

Perhaps my blogs have helped someone live better.

All this death awareness has helped me live in the present moment and embrace the world as it’s unfolding right at this moment.

In conclusion:

Being conscious of death makes each day more precious to me.

I’m living more purposefully and I am living my present better.

Each day is a separate life!

So, get on with it…

Embrace it and accept it “AS IT IS.”

Enjoy it as much as possible with equanimity.

Makes sense doesn’t it?

Live Forever?


This is the story of a man who was given a potion that gives immortality and he drank it!!!

Now, 180 years have passed and the man figured out that he cursed himself by drinking the potion.

His wife, all his friends and lovers and relatives had grown old and died, leaving him alone, bored and weary.

Now he longed for the grave!

With no death in his future he lacked drive and ambition and curiosity because he had forever to live!!!


What do we glean from this story?

We know everybody dies.

Knowing this is liberating because it teaches us to make good use of our time and live as fully as we can.

No matter how much life we have it never is enough.

People are always hoping for more time.

If we had endless time, the concept of living fully and making full use of your time would be meaningless.

Endless life would be a pointless burden!

In conclusion:

We are RESPONSIBLE for how we use our time.

Every day we are given is precious and the older we get the more we realise this.

We should stop thinking “if only I had more time”, and think instead, “if only I made better use of the time I’ve got.”


What do you think?

Live Together With Self-Interest?

The vicar said when Tom and Jane, who were both divorced, were married:

“To make your marriage work you MUST put your collective interest first, and your individual interest second.”

They both thought this. might be difficult to ACCEPT without question, but they would try.

Tom, with his calculating brain, reasoned that if he put himself second and Jane put herself first, Jane would get the better of the marriage.

His self-interest would be lost!

Jane had similar thoughts.

Both their egos were quivering.

They didn’t trust the other to honour the bargain.

So, secretly, they both looked out for themselves.

The marriage would suffer. But was this the best rational course to take?

This is a conundrum. Two people fighting with themselves to decide what is in their best interests.

We know that cooperation is required to get a good marriage, but neither Tom or Jane can guarantee the other will do the right thing.

Because of their previous relationships their trust had been eroded.

But without trust the second marriage might fail!

What is the moral of the story?

Trust is required to get the most out of life even though we may open ourselves up to exploitation.

But if we don’t trust we close ourselves off from the good things in life.

In the final analysis:

Tom and Jane’s SAFE STRATEGY protects them from the worst of their union, but it also separates them from the best!


Two Futures

What if you had the choice of two futures!

Lets look at fictional John’s choices:

In one future John’s prospects were bleak, he had a hum drum office job which seemed to be going nowhere, his dreams of business success were slim.

In the other future he would be a very successful businessman making loads of money and he was guaranteed to be happy!

The first future would be in the REAL world, the second would be in a virtual-reality environment.

Once in the virtual-reality machine you think you are in the real world but it is just that in this future you are a complete winner and everything goes right! Life is great!

BUT, John holds back from entering the machine.

He thought life in the virtual-reality world would be bogus and unreal!

But why should an AUTHENTIC REAL life, with its ups and downs, be preferable to a bogus happy one?

In the REAL world you would become someone on MERIT and LUCK, where in the VR machine you are a winner automatically!

Maybe you would be better off in the VR machine because in the REAL world success depends so much on LUCK.

Were you born in the right place and at the right time?

Were you blessed with the abilities to get your success?

Do you know the right people that could help you get ahead?

So, it probably would be better NOT to be at the mercy of Lady Luck, when you could choose to be successful and happy automatically in the VR machine. RIGHT?


When you think about it, we would rather determine our own futures by our WILL and EFFORTS.

So, in the long run, when we consider what’s in our best interests, we care for more than instant success and happiness.

We want to create our own journey!

Goodbye to the VR machine!

Bring on the HARD WORK!

Computer Government!


Computer A has just won the election and will be the new leader in the White House!

In the past leaders and cabinet ministers who knew little about economics or other subjects were trusted to make decisions.

Could a computer do better?

Computer A will be able to determine the effects of policies on the general happiness of the electorate.

It will remove humans from politics altogether!

What a scenario that is!!!

Do you find it creepy?

Well, whether we realise it or not, we put our trust in computers all the time.

Computer run our finances in the bank.

Computers run railways and plane flights.

So computers could also run our economy.

Economists rely heavily on computer models and predictions already.

Could a computer get rid of politicians altogether?

Well, getting rid of humans altogether is NOT easy.

The problem is that the GOALS need to be set for the computer and this is done by humans.

There are many grey areas in political decisions.

For example: One policy might make many people happy at the expense of a minority of the population.

Or we might prefer a less happy society where no one has to live a miserable life.

A computer can’t decide which of these outcomes is better, only we can do that.

Also, what we desire changes with circumstances.

The richer a society becomes they might feel obliged to help others in less prosperous countries.

Computers can’t decide this.

Even if a computer knew what we wished there would be questions–such as:

Should a democratic society simply follow the will of the majority or should the opinions of the minority also be taken into consideration?

Maybe someday computers will take over most of the political decision making.

BUT…I don’t see how they could decide what is best for the electorate and get rid of all the politicians forever.

What do you think?




Try To Avoid My Mistakes!

Do As I Say, Not As I Do!

An environmental activist was preparing a paper on global warming.

He was going to tell his audience that commercial flights pump more Co2 (carbon dioxide) into the atmosphere in ONE YEAR than all of Africa does.

He would tell them that ONE long-haul flight is MORE polluting than 12 months of car travel.

So, if you want to save the Earth, you have to cut down on your air travel or use other forms of transport.

Just then the air-stewardess asked him if he would like some wine.


No, says the activist.

He said his flights have a negligible impact on the environment.

What he is proposing is MASS change in air travel.

His flying around the world telling people about climate change was needed as part of the solution.

His refusing to fly would be a hollow gesture.


If individual contribution is insignificant, so it doesn’t matter on way or another BUT, it would matter if everyone felt the same way.

The activist thinks you can reconcile the two thoughts.

What you have to do is persuade a large number of people that their contributions matter.

So, the collective effort works, NOT the individual one!!!

There’s an ethical thought here: You have to apply the same rules to your own conduct as you do to others.

If he advocates reducing emissions, he cannot make exception for himself!


This reminds me of another case of “Do As I Say, And Not As I Do.”

Lets say a father tells his son:

“Don’t smoke, it’s bad for you.”

“But you smoke a pack a day!”, says the son.

“Yes, but I don’t want you to make the same mistake!”



Are Politicians and Politics Important?

Both of the above are very frustrating to say the least.

When elections arrive, we have to make choices and even NOT making a choice is itself a choice!

If you are a member of the electorate in a democracy, lucky you.

That means you are in POWER all the time and no election can get rid of you.

The downside is that you are always on duty!

Isn’t it wonderful that we are able to elect representatives to do some of the worrying for us!

Maybe they are important after all! Your Call.

By the end of this blog you can make your decision!



The activities associated with the governance of a country or area.

Debates between parties having power.

Elected representatives making decisions that apply to members of a group.


People who are professionally involved in politics, a holder of an elected office.


The purpose of politics is to distribute power among all of the politicians in a party.

What is the “balance of power?”

It is an equilibrium of power sufficient to discourage or prevent one nation or party from imposing its will on another or interfering with another’s interests.

Why is politics important in a society?

When people live together in groups, they must agree on a set of rules because conflicts arise.

Politics is the mechanism in which people can set those rules, or modify them as circumstances change.

So politics is important in society because the people’s rival views and interests must be reconciled by compromise and negotiation.

Politics help people get along under various constraints.

In a group there is diversity (we are NOT all alike) and scarcity (there is never enough to go around), so politics tries to sort it out.

Politics has evolved from monarchy and dictatorship to democracy, where people vote.

Now everyone knows they have rights and politics is a way to get those rights.

Politics is the science of optimum allocation of resources for the benefit of everyone.

Sounds good!

How does politics affect individual life?

The individual has to be educated and informed about the issues of the day because they affect them.

There is a lot of political manipulation and deception going on.

This happens when politicians promote their own agenda which l lot of the time is not good for the ordinary person.

The common man pays taxes and the government uses the money hopefully to improve the individuals life.

We need to know how our money is being spent.

That’s why the individual has to involve themselves in politics.

What’s important to know about politics?

A lot of politicians are elected on their personality, NOT on the words they speak or the promises they make.

So, politics is a popularity contest instead of an intelligence contest, although saying that, I believe and hope most candidates for political office have above-average intelligence.

Some points to remember about politics:

Politics can’t work without COMPROMISE, if a person is unable or unwilling to compromise, they shouldn’t go into politics.

There is NEVER going to be a SOLUTION which makes everyone happy.

Doing the most that can be done with the least cost to others is the most you can hope for.

The BEST people for the job rarely go into politics.

The strains and demands of the job plus a public that is rarely satisfied is too much for most people.

Some corruption will exist in any political system.

There is NO such thing as a “perfect political system.”

In conclusion:

I’ve thrown a lot of thoughts about politics. into the pot.

What do you think, IS THE POT BOILING?

Can we trust politicians of the political process?

Are politicians masters of the Dark Arts, conniving and stirring up trouble for their own ends and expecting us to swallow the concoction OR do they switch between white hats and black hats? Your call.




The Changing World

Since 2005 the world has changed in four key areas:

Today, the world is: Young, Urban, Wired and Hot.

URBAN–Now more people live in cities than the countryside.

Take Brazil for example, 85% of Brazilians live in cities.

YOUNG–Most of the above are young. 62% of Brazilians are under 29.

Half of Indians are under 25.

Two thirds of Africa’s population is under 35.

Only North America, Western Europe and Japan are aging.

WIRED–The third area is CONNECTIVITY. Over a third of the world’s

population has access to the Internet.

This is Worldwide Mass Media.

HOT–The planet is changing before our eyes!

Because we burn fossil fuels for energy which pollutes.

Carbon dioxide has just passed 400 parts per million in the atmosphere.

This figure is an abstraction, it is invisible, but it sets in motion big changes.

We need to put it into concrete terms for real understanding.

With more carbon dioxide, warm air holds more moisture.

Ice caps melt and that means more water in the oceans.

Sea levels rise so there is more flooding around the world.

As oceans warm there is more energy for extreme storms.

Many places, instead of rain, are experiencing drought.

These physical and visual changes are climate change in concrete terms.

Animals and plants are becoming extinct, rainforests are being cut down, storms, droughts  and floods plus higher temperatures are all physical visible changes.

What we are seeing are worldwide changes since the Industrial Revolution which began in 1750.


As the world stumbles towards a climate catastrophe, the differing national attitudes toward climate change highlight why there has NOT been an effective global response.

The world needs to be UNITED in putting a solution into place.

The climate is a Global Problem!


What needs to be done is:

A Independent body of scientists, engineers and environmental experts needs to be set up. They would be committed to resolving climate change that overrides nationalistic loyalties. Every nation would have to sign up to it.

They could be funded by a % of every nation’s GDP.

It’s remit would be to generate policies and action plans to limit or remove carbon emissions.

This would result in CONSISTENT action around the world.


The problem is that ACCEPTANCE of climate change has yet to be worldwide.

We’ve done a terrific job of screwing up the planet, NOW WE NEED TO RECTIFY IT!

Ice caps melt, gases that were frozen years ago are now released into the atmosphere.

Things are out of joint!!!

We have to try to STOP greenhouse emissions ASAP!

Climate change protesters will never succeed until all countries work together!

Britains reduction of carbon emissions is just like a grain of sand compared to the pollution caused by other countries.

China is building coal-fired power stations at an alarming rate to meet the consumerism of the Western world. Should we STOP buying cheap Chinese products?

Everyone wants something done, but don’t interfere with their choices, convenience or wallets.

So, that’s the sad story of climate change.



2000 years ago the population of the world was 250 million.

In the 1600’s it was 500 million.

By 1800 it was ONE billion.

Now it is 7 billion!

With overpopulation available resources diminish.

Over. population creates unrest in underdeveloped countries which leads to dictatorship and centralised totalitarianism.

Overpopulation stops small countries from developing and that creates a crisis.

With crisis comes governments that want CONTROL over everybody and everything.

Unrest and insecurity leads to more control by central governments and an increase in their power


There are over 50 countries in the world that have dictatorial, authoritarian regimes.

That is about a THIRD of the world’s countries!

If the underdeveloped and overpopulated authoritarian countries align themselves with Russia or China than the military position of the US and UK would be less secure and the defence preparation would have to be intensified.

Most of the dictatorial countries are on full or semi war footing which promotes crisis and that justifies permanent control of everybody and everything by a central government.

Thinking about this overpopulation problem in the world maybe more countries would become authoritarian.


The problem of numbers in relation to available resources might well become troublesome by the next 50 years!








The Self

A person is but a walking shadow, a poor player,

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,

And then is heard of NO more. It is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying Nothing!

Paraphrasing Shakespeare!!!


A walking shadow=Impermenance, No Fixed Self.

A poor player=No self direction, does not create or direct his role in life.

Struts and frets his life on stage=Life is full of limits.

Heard of no more=Death

A tale told by an idiot=Our language based life.

Full of sound and fury=Jumping up and down making noise but signifying Nothing.

So, did Shakespeare tell us the whole story?

Question–Who Am I?

Well, lets start with the body.

Your body can move, touch, see, taste, hear and smell.

What’s another aspect of you?

The aspect that thinks and feels. Words such as mind, heart and soul come to mind.

Also consciousness.

But these aspects are constantly changing, so I’m never exactly the same me that I was before!

So, who are you?

You are a physical body and a psychological being.

You have flaws and good points.

You are a social animal that likes to be with people but you are also unique!

What is your First Person Point of View?

Your life story, the life events that has brought you to this present moment.

What Do You See In The Mirror?

The face that stares back at me, is me, but it does NOT correspond to what I feel I am!

I was thrown into this world and my face resinates with sadness and hostility.

Do I really know this face in the mirror???


Who am I?

I am many things..

I am a congenial human being.

I am a worker.

I am a competitor.

I am an intimate being.

I am an actor.


Do you ever lose your sense of Self?

At times It seems I am in a dream world.

My body is functioning without my mind being in control!

I am tomorrow, what I establish today.

I am today, what I have established yesterday.


Are You Like A Book?

Yes, because we have life stories.

I am me because of my stories.

You are you because of your stories of life.

We all have similar selves BUT I’m a one of a kind story!!!


Who Am I?

The conclusion I come to is:

I am unique, but I am also like others!