LAST SPRING, I had a vivid dream that the world would end on January 25, 2011. That date is coming up. This might sound like a nightmare, but the effect on me was just the opposite. In the dream, In the middle of taking in this horrible news I had an insight: if the world is ending–and all of human life with it–then I can’t leave a legacy or save the white dolphins from extinction. There’s no time for any of us to reach our so-called full potential. I might as well drop all my guilty stories about what I need to do and all my earnest agendas for what needs to happen in the world. There just isn’t time for that. If the world is ending, the only thing left to do is to love and appreciate it while it’s here.
I woke up from what should have been a nightmare with a lightness and tender joy that lasted for days. I walked down the road thinking, This could be the last time I ever do this. The colors of the leaves became vivid, the people’s faces each so utterly distinct. Everything vibrated with precious life. Instead of leaving me in despair and nihilism, letting go of all of my agendas for myself and for the world freed everything to be as beautiful and precious as it really is. And it opened even the hardest corners of my heart.
I vowed to continue living as though that date were real–as though this were the last nine months of my life–but I couldn’t do it. The colors faded back to ordinary. I couldn’t stop it from happening, much as I tried.
But the date never left me. And now here it is, just around the corner, and I feel as though I am preparing for a great transition of some kind. I hope this is true, because all these nine months I’ve been noticing with painful clarity how my agendas keep getting in the way, blocking my heart and my clear seeing. So now I find myself praying that on January 25, 2011 the world as I know it ends when all of my ideas about how things should be vaporize in a fiery cosmic explosion. And I hope your agendas burn up right along with mine.
This could be the last time I ever do this.
May we live with that thought as our constant companion.
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