Why You Already Have Everything You’ll Ever Need.

Via Chris Lemig
on Nov 2, 2011
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This life is precious.

I don’t realize that too often but I’m better at it than I used to be. I used to not think that at all. In fact, just a few years ago when I was still drinking and using, I used to wish this life would just end as quickly as possible.

In Buddhist terms we call this life a Precious Human Life. Yes, in capitals. When we take some time to think about what we really have, we realize how rare and special our lives are. We also realize how fleeting they are, how they can be extinguished in a moment. As a result, we are motivated to use this life with more intention and purpose.

Don’t take my word for it. Take a few deep breaths, come into the present moment and look at your life closely. Maybe you haven’t done this in a while, so take your time with it.

At the very least you will find that you’re alive and breathing. (This is good. Rejoice at this!) You’re able to read, think and make choices. You have enough food, clothing and shelter or else you probably wouldn’t be reading this in the first place. You live in a free country. You aren’t a slave or someone’s property (working 9-5 doesn’t count!). You can study and practice whatever spiritual path you choose. You have many privileges, leisure and opportunities that not everyone has.

When I was in India a few years ago, I was speeding down the road in the back seat of a hired cab. We blew through village after village and every one looked poorer than the last. What I realized was that if I had been born there, I wouldn’t have any of the opportunities I have now. There would have been no coming out to family and friends. No “finding Buddha”. No working hard to save enough money to go on a pilgrimage to a far away place. My life and my choices would have been already decided for me.

So think about this for a few minutes. It’s not about taking yourself on a guilt trip. But you can cultivate a sense of gratitude for what you do have. Once you do that, you can make an effort to use what life you have left to benefit others. It doesn’t have to be the whole world all at once. Start small. Start at home.  You can make life better for your family, your children, your friends, your co-workers. In that way, little by little, you willmake the world a better place.


Bonus: (added by editor):


About Chris Lemig

Chris Lemig isn't afraid of the dark. He dreams in full color and lives out loud. Sometimes, when he sees that your heart is broken, his heart breaks, too. But then he puts all the pieces back together and lets out a great, guffawing laugh that shakes the world to its bones. He loves you even though he's never met you and he wants you to know that you are brighter than the brightest guiding star. He is the author of The Narrow Way: A Memoir of Coming Out, Getting Clean and Finding Buddha.


12 Responses to “Why You Already Have Everything You’ll Ever Need.”

  1. Thanks for writing this Chris – exactly what I needed to read this morning. Life is so precious!

  2. Chris Lemig says:

    You are welcome, Kate. Thank you so much for reading!

  3. Tatum says:

    A lovely reminder. Beautifully, simply put. If I ever go to CO I would very much like to hug you for sharing this gentle reminder.

  4. Daisy says:

    Lovely article, thanks Chris.

  5. Chris Lemig says:

    Thank you 🙂

  6. Chris Lemig says:

    You're welcome, Daisy. Thanks for reading!

  7. SisterShamu says:

    Life IS precious. Thank you so much for sharing this reminder! I have spent a long time trying to make the world a better place, only to realize that my idea of better is not necessarily the next person's idea of better. I am truly seeking the answer to a question that has recently been driving me: Is there more wisdom in allowing things and people to be as they are or in trying to help make them become "better"? I would love to hear your thoughts.

  8. […] will get out there pretty well. As a final “treat” for our readers, yesterday being Samhain—this conversation about honoring lineage and teachers seems appropriate—would you offer a brief […]

  9. Chris Lemig says:

    You're right of course. What is better for me is not always better for you. I think the best we can do is be an example to others, showing them how we are working actively to improve our own condition in a wise and skillful way. That way we are not forcing our judgement values on others. This is really hard to do and I find myself failing at it often. But as long as we have this as at least an aspiration, I think we're on the right track. Hope that helped a little and thank you so much for reading!

  10. Chris Lemig says:

    Actually, I've thought about it a little more.. <a href="http://.http://www.thenarrowwaybook.com/?p=952” target=”_blank”>.http://www.thenarrowwaybook.com/?p=952

  11. SisterShamu says:

    Very, very thought provoking! It is so hard sometimes to accept paradox when we bump into it, often forgetting that it is at the core of everything we are and everything we do. To do nothing and to do something may simply be different paths to the same place. I wonder if enlightenment might be about seeing through duality to the oneness in all things… Thank you!