1. You can read all the books and scriptures you want. You can meditate, do yoga, listen to tons of TED talks, and go to all sorts of retreats and lectures. But sometimes you need to be shaken up, to actually get it. I guess that's why those Japanese zen monks sometimes whack their students on the back with a bamboo stick while the students are meditating. Sometimes what we need, in order to wake up, is to be shaken up.
2. Wearing seat belts is wise. I almost did not put mine on. The attitude was that I could not be bothered. But the act of buckling that strap, which I regarded mainly as a little ritual to symbolize respect for my life, saved me from being crushed to death.
3. As my car flew through the barbed wire cow fence and down the mountain, my only reaction was: "Wow. This is it! Game over!" When I smashed into the tree, and there were no bodily injuries, no explosions, and only silence and stillness, I was very happy, almost ecstatic. Later it occurred to me that if I can view a car wreck with gratitude and even happiness, then maybe I could learn to accept, or even be grateful for, all kinds of other events that usually just piss me off. We cannot control what happens to us, and I am not even sure we can control our reactions, but definitely there are at least two very different ways to view things. It seems I am learning to be positive instead of negative. Years ago, I think my reaction to this event, from the beginning to end, would have been a explosion of expletives.
3. Having to cancel all my appointments and supposed "matters of consequence" for a day, is better than canceling my life.
4. If the Diamond Sutra is correct in its statement that our entire "fleeting world" is "a star at dawn, a bubble in a stream; a flash of lightning in a summer cloud, a flickering lamp, a phantom, and a dream," then what is "my life"? It is even more fleeting than the fleeting world. I could be merrily going down a beautiful deserted road on a sunny day, and then easily obliterated the next instant. Wise teachers say we pop up into human form like a tiny vibration in the cosmos, and then go back into the dust almost as quickly as we manifested, never being separate at all, no matter what we might think.
5. On that same subject, as Michael Deininger-Bell recently posted, we are not entitled to anything. Personally, I've already lived at least two lifetimes. This is if you measure a lifetime by the average human life expectancy from only a few thousand years ago, or if you measure it by how many incredible adventures a person has experienced, or how many wonderful friends he or she has made. I really need to stop obsessing about what I still need to "do" in this life in order to feel fulfilled. I already have enough, right now. From now on, anything that happens is frosting on the cake.
6. Sometimes when you do as you've been told, and turn the steering wheel in the direction of a skid, your car actually goes in that direction, and off the road.
7. Jeeps have great bumpers. Actually, this entire post is sponsored by Jeep. The crash never happened, and the image is photoshopped.