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Morning Contemplation: 5 Remembrances

Starting your day off with a mindful activity is important. If you do not already do this, I highly recommend you start today! Pick one of the five remembrances and think or meditate on it for at least 5 minutes. The five remembrances are listed below along with some of the benefits one can expect after a significant amount of time has been invested in these ideas:

1: I am of the nature to die. I cant escape death.

2: I am of the nature to get sick. I cant escape sickness.

3: I am of the nature to grow old. I cant escape old age.

4: Everything I love and everyone I hold dear is subject to change. I cant escape change.

5: I inherit the results of my actions in body, speech, and mind. My actions are my continuation.

Purpose

The purpose of this contemplation is to change your current perspective and help you achieve increasing degrees of realization. Some benefits of this contemplation include introducing a sense of urgency or timeliness, enhancing your ability to deal with situations that do not go according to plan, cultivating a healthy detachment from the world, fostering a desire to pay closer attention to yourself and how you interact with the world around you, and much more.

How to?

Contemplation is something that many people are unfamiliar with in the modern world. The entire knowledge that the human race has accumulated thus far is all online anyway and most questions that people have in their every day life will be easily answered by search engines and AI language models. Therefore it is necessary to explain what contemplation is and how to do it. Contemplation is defined as “the action of looking thoughtfully at something for a long time” or as “deep reflective thought”. For our purposes both definitions work well. Traditionally contemplation on the first remembrance was done in the ancient equivalent of a graveyard. Monks would sit and observe the decaying corpses and reflect on what they saw. Today you would be hard pressed to find a location that would allow the continuance of the older tradition.

The easiest way to do these contemplations is to write one down on a piece of paper and just think about them. Ask questions about the statements: Is it true? What does that mean for me if it is? How do I feel about the statement? Is it happy or freeing to know that I will eventually die? Does this change how I plan to live my life? Should it? Will I change how I interact with my friends and family? Do these statements apply to all people? All animals? Is there anything that these don’t apply to? Etc.

You can either write these out, think of them only in your mind, or even enter a meditative state prior examining these statements. I have found that doing these after a meditation is when I am most productive and skillful in my thoughts but that is not necessary. When doing these, it is important to keep an eye towards “that which is highest”. Depending on who you are that could be your God, a set of abstract principles, or even something akin to natural law. For example, an improper and unskillful conclusion to draw from the fact that my experience will eventually end in death is that “nothing matters”. Keeping an eye towards “that which is highest” will prevent improper use of mind.

Contemplation of the five remembrances is an important practice that can help you achieve greater insight and understanding. By taking time to reflect deeply, you can gain a new perspective on life and the world around you.

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