In a book of Buddhist teachings, I came across a quote by Buddah that really intrigued me: “we are already dead, the rest of our life is just a bonus.” What an interesting thought–everything I do, whatever I experience is extra and free–this sure does relieve me of a lot of stress. If I were truly to take this to heart no longer should I be shackled by my ambition, always striving for better, planning, calculating, worrying about money, or any other of these extremely western ideals. I would be much more apt to practice mindfulness, and live present and engaged with the now. I most likely wouldn’t even be taking this time to reflect and write; I would be out sky diving, street racing, or eating a whole cheesecake–indulging in the bonus I have been granted of a post mortal existence.

Yet, somehow this quote resonates differently with me; it curiously induces a stronger sense of guilt and indecision. If I have earned extra credit on my life before death than this induces 3 main channels of thought 1. Let me pat myself on the back–I must of done a really nice job in my past life to deserve this. 2. Oh shit, this is probably my last chance I’m being given to make up for past mistakes before some sort of judgement. And 3. I better make the most of this gift, because I don’t know how much more I have left. So here is where the stress begins to build up again.

So what did Buddah teach me when he told me I was already dead? What am I supposed to learn from the idea of mortal and post mortal becoming indiscernible? That I have no idea what in the world Buddah is talking about? Or that what we are experiencing, whether it is life or after life, is a bonus, beautiful, and we should be present and take advantage of it. I think that lesson is one I can live with. Yikes, does that saying even make any sense if I am already dead?