Day 16 of Lent

I think of times when I come alive
and the times when I am dead.

I ponder the features I assume
in moments of aliveness
and in times when I am dead.

Life abhors security:
for life means taking risks,
exposing self to danger,
even death.
Jesus says that those who wish to be safe will lose their lives;
those who are prepared to lose their lives will keep them.

I think of times
when I drew back from taking risks,
when I was comfortable and safe;
those were times when I stagnated.

I think of other times
when I dared to take a chance,
to make mistakes,
to be a failure
and a fool,
to be criticized by others,
when I dared to risk being hurt
and to cause pain to others.
I was alive!

Life is for the gambler.
The coward dies.

Life is at variance with my perception
of what is good and bad:
these things are good and to be sought;
these things are bad and to be shunned.
To eat of the Tree of Knowing Good and Bad
is to fall from paradise.
I must learn to accept whatever life may bring,
pleasure and pain, sorrow and joy.
For if I close myself to pain
my capacity for pleasure dies
- I harden myself
and repress what I regard as unpleasant and undesirable,
and in that hardness, that repression,
is rigidity and death.

So I decide to taste in all its fullness
the experience of the present moment,
calling no experience good or bad.
Those experiences that I dread - I think of them,
and, inasmnuch as I am able, I let them come
and stop resisting them.

Life goeshand in hand with change.
Whatever does not change is dead.
I think of people who are fossils.
I think of times when I was fossilized:
no change, no newness,
the same old worn-out concepts
and patterns of behavior,
the same mentality, neuroses,
habits, prejudices.

Dead people have a built-in fear of change.
What changes have there been in me
over the past six months?
What changes will there be today?

I end this exercise
by watching nature all around me:
so flexible,
so flowing,
so fragile,
exposed to death
- and so alive!

(Anthony De Mello)