I live in Northern India and we have just had two days are very cold, driving rain. One of my students, Arun, looked out of his window and saw a young man sitting under a tree. He was soaking wet and shivering. Arun tried to encourage him to take shelter, but due to his mental health issues he didn’t respond. Arun brought him food, a hot drink and a plastic sheet. The next morning Arun again looked out of his window and the young man was still sitting exactly were he had left him last night. Compassion arose in Arun and he finally understood just how precious his life is.

Sometimes it takes an incident like this to make us realise just how fortunate we really are. We just go through life taking it for granted. In fact, we even take breathing for granted. Breathing in and out, day after day, year after year, we forget how amazing that truly is. Just think if we had to pay for the air we breathe, I am sure we wouldn’t be able to afford it. We might think we do not have much in our life, but when we consider it, to be able to breathe is a great fortune.

Baby's small fingers grasping father's thumbEven when we have things we are never satisfied. We have clothes to wear, but that isn’t enough for us, we want the best clothes. We have food to eat, but again that isn’t enough, we want the most delicious food. We are never satisfied. We never count our blessings.

Our life span is short, it is like dewdrops on the tip of a blade of grass. If you think about it, there are very few causes of life, but an enormous amount of causes of death. So we should not be over confident that we are going to be alive tomorrow.

Some may think this is depressing and not very helpful, but I beg to differ. If we understand how precious our life is we will become contented, compassionate and, dare I say it, happier.

Your life is precious, so, at this time of year, please spare a thought for those who are not as fortunate as you.

I will let Dalai Lama have the last say on this subject:
Today I am fortunate to have woken up,
I am alive, I have a precious human life,
I am not going to waste it,
I am going to use all my energies to develop myself.
To expand my heart out to others,
To achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings,
I am going to have kind thoughts towards others,
I am not going to get angry, or think badly about others.
I am going to benefit others as much as I can.”

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