Karmic Muscle Group: Awareness & Contemplation
Today’s Exercise: Write Your Epitaph
[Preparatory Note: this exercise requires very little preparation other than to set aside the time to do it and to understand the meaning of an epitaph. While epitaphs can serve many purposes including the making of jokes or to recite ancestry, this exercise is designed to have you contemplate what you life has meant so far. One could say that such a description of meaning is entirely subjective and it is in many ways. If your epitaph would read "here lies a pretty nice guy", presumably there would be some people who would agree and others who would not.
There are certain elements of our character that most people would agree are present and representative of us. If you are quiet and shy, no one would likely say "here lies the life of the party".
An epitaph for the living is chance to do a reality check on what is really showing up in your vapor trail. Like Ebeneezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, it is an opportunity to take a look at the course of our lives before they are over and while we still can change what will ultimately be the last words said about us.]
- Find a quite place where you can think to yourself and will not be disturbed. This exercise will take between 5 minutes and an hour depending on whether you struggle with it or not.
- Make a list of the 6 most important things that you feel could be say about your life it so far. (You can make you list longer if you would like.)
- Select 3 of the things on your list and write them into a definitive summation of your existence to date. You selections must ring true int he ears of people who know you.
- Read your epitaph to 2 close friends and get their feedback. (This part of the exercise is designed to limit self-delusion.)
- What The Heck Are You Doing Here? Attempting to sum up your life in a few sentences forces you to dig into the most apparent meaning of you life. ”Apparent” is an important distinction here because only the meaning that communicates to others really counts. People do not see participate in your self-image. They have their own image of you. If your internal image does not match how others see you then it is safe to say that either you are not actually creating that meaning for others that you think you are or you are not expressing it such that others know about it. This does not mean that others do not sometimes make up pretty twisted ideas about who we are. They do. They tend to be more objective, however, in their assessment of others, just like you are.
- What They Say About You When Your Dead Is One Of The Most Profound Indicators Of How You Lived: we often fool ourselves that we know ourselves better than the people around us and in some ways this is true. But the story we keep about ourselves that is not shared by others mostly a fantasy. It is our impact on others that is the measure of our life as far as the world is concerned. Getting the internal version of ourselves to match the external version of ourselves can often be a challenge.
- You Are Your Vapor Trail: your description of yourself is not nearly as accurate a the record of your life left behind in your vapor trail. The trail of impact you leave in the world as a consequence of your thought and action is the ”reality” of your existence. Many a child beater saw himself a charitable being. While this is an extreme example, the truth is that we do not spend much time considering the impact that we have on others nor do we often view our lives from the outside in. When we do, however, our perception ourselves both inside our minds and in the outside world starts to align.
It May Be Fiction, But It Is One Heck Of A Karmic Workout.
Read The Lotus Blossom, D. M. Kenyon’s fictional account of a teenage girl who turns off her cellphone and enters the very real, but mystical world of Budo warriors. Humorous, irreverent and heart-wrenching, The Lotus Blossom is an unforgettable tale of a Midwestern teenage girl’s transformation into a budo warrior in the midst of the turmoil of the Information Age. Available in all digital formats, paperback and soon to be released in hardcover.
Share Your Experience:
Leave a comment when you have completed the exercise.