What a Corpse Taught Me about Living

“Everything else can wait, but your search for God cannot wait.” -Paramahansa Yogananda

I have been searching for God since before I knew I was. I think we all are, though we don’t all know it, and some of us who know it don’t always admit it, and even those who admit it sometimes forget it, intentionally or otherwise.

I think I came to Earth to find Him, which seems crazy because wherever I was before was probably closer to Him than here. Here I spend too much time looking under trash.

My work as an author might simply be more digging in the dirt, but in this moment it seems like a logical way to search. Read. Learn. Ponder. Discuss. Write. Share. Repeat. As Emerson reminds us, “The end of knowledge is action… but the end of that action again, is knowledge.” 

Writing is a way to make sense of existence, to establish my place in it, organize my thoughts and experiences, understand the past and shape the future—  after all, the best way to predict the future is to create it. Being an author creates the possibility for me to literally script my future.  

…  …

After my dad died, I was dumbfounded by the utter lifelessness of his corpse. It was odd to see his body so still. The energy and vitality it had possessed were gone— a reality I could feel as much as see. I was in awe with reverent appreciation for the precious, fleeting spark that animates each of us. 

I had seen corpses of people that I’d known before and it didn’t seem strange to me. But seeing my dad’s body absent its energy and vitality was particularly strange, not just because it was my dad, but because had been so powerful in life. He had been so passionate and intense about virtually everything he gave his attention to. He had been so alive. He had expressed his spark so fully.

I thought about my own life, and I realized that although we all have a spark of life, some of us possess a second spark. Seeing my dad’s corpse, it was clear to me that some people are more alive than others. In the words of William Wallace, “Every man dies. Not every man really lives.” 

Some people live so fully and freely that their lives possess a character and quality as different from those of us who are merely alive as corpses are different from the living. When I understood that, I gained a desire to fully express the spark of life I’ve been blessed with, and if I can, to access and express this second spark.

Writing is the way I have chosen to attempt this. Writing is also a way I endeavor to find and understand God. I suspect that the effort to find and access my second spark is bound up with search to know God. And I know that it cannot wait.

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The Two Hardest Things in the World

The two hardest things in the world are: 1) Living life in a way that allows you to hear the voice inside yourself that tells you what you ought to do and be in every moment, and 2) Having the strength, courage, discipline, and/or ability to follow that voice once you are able to hear it. 

Commonly we are sure about what we DON’T WANT, yet we are unable to clearly articulate exactly what it is that we DO WANT. The better we get at being able to hear our inner voice, and the more consistently we follow its guidance, the happier, healthier, and more satisfied we’ll be. 

The truth of this became clear to me a few years ago. On an early summer day I was making my daily commute on my motorcycle. I was cruising in an open lane of I-80 heading west. The sky, light with clouds and a soft breeze, merged with the hum of my Ducati’s engine and my wandering thoughts. My mind entered the sort of neutral state that occurs just before dropping into sleep, or during a long run. 

My reverie was interrupted by a sudden and perfect realization that I wanted a future vastly different from the present I was living. I didn’t know exactly what that meant, and I didn’t know precisely what changes I would make, but in that moment I resolved to consciously create a life in which I was fully alive.

 Since the day I made that commitment to myself on my motorcycle, countless good things have happened in my life. I found and married my soul mate. I started a company (Miller Inspiration) inside my family business that allows me to serve others by using my strengths, gifts and talents. I have traveled to the rainforest and for the first time understood that humans are a part of nature rather than apart from nature. I have witnessed the majesty of lions on the Serengeti and rhinos in the Ngorogoro Crater. I have found mentors and teachers who have contributed immeasurably to my growth and happiness. And though my life is far from perfect, it has never been better. 

I’ve learned that we don’t have to know exactly where we want our lives to end up- that we don’t have to be able to see the end from the beginning (though it’s great when we can). We just have to be sure we’re pointed in a good direction and strive to live so that we can hear the voice that tells us what we ought to do and be. And we have to have the courage to follow that voice when we hear it. That voice will grow stronger as we do.

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