What if everything you might consider as your life’s purpose was nothing? What if all your accomplishments, when you arrived for your reckoning in heaven, nirvana, beyond the veil, wherever you believe you are going…what if these were taken out and examined and found to be nothing – no longer shiny and bright but drab and shabby, as if collected and carted in an old grocery bag?
What if they were looked at – all your pretty things – and then discarded to float away on the breeze, the bright white tail of one particularly favorite accomplishment sent flapping, pale and gentle as a kite rising. Everything taken out and looked at and discarded, until, when you reached the bottom of the bag, there was nothing left.
Nothing counted enough to be considered your finest accomplishment. Nothing counted enough to be considered your finest achievement. Your whole illustrious, successful, important, rewarded life, was determined a wash. Nothing counted. You arrived with nothing.
And still they let you in.
There may or may not be a pearly gate to heaven’s door, guarded by St. Peter. There may or may not be a time of reckoning, with points tallied up and sins examined under a celestial microscope. It is your choice to believe in this version of the afterlife or not – for really, what does anyone know?
Few have crossed the line and returned to tell. And what they do tell – of white tunnels, bright light and angels – doesn’t seem to cover a ledger in the clouds for naughty or nice.
When you lift off from the idea of right or wrong, good or bad…when you take the punitive moralistic views out of the equation, and focus instead on heart’s opening into compassion, into connection, into love…this becomes the true measure of our lives.
Not what job we had, but how much we cared for others. Not how much money we made, but how much we loved. Not how many trips we took, but how much we enjoyed.
If you were to look at your life this way, outside of the usual bucket list of achievements and experiences, how does your life measure? How much has your heart opened, thus far? How much more would you like it to open into gratitude, for what you have experienced thus far? Start today by simply asking for this opening into thanks.
Excerpted from Living a Life of Gratitude: Your Journey to Grace, Healing & Joy (Llewellyn), by Sara Wiseman. Printed here with permission.
Spiritual teacher and intuitive Sara Wiseman is the author of six insightful books on spirituality and intuition, including Living a Life of Gratitude and Becoming Your Best Self. She hosts the popular radio show Ask Sara, and is a top contributor to DailyOM, Vivid Life and others. She has released four healing music CDs with her band, Martyrs of Sound. Visit her online at sarawiseman.com.