People pull some strange faces when I tell them I have made a playlist on Spotify for my funeral. But I think it is the sensible thing to do.
All this ‘taking it easy’ time I have been fortuitously granted recently has given me the opportunity to think about the next years of my life. Getting ill certainly does make you reflect on your own uninvincibility and I’ve been pondering over four features of this. Firstly, as had already prompted me to start that playlist, I am aware that I will die. It is good to bring this to mind from time to time, not from some sort of morbid wallowing, but to help focus on not wasting the time left. Death may be certain, but the timing of it is out of my control.
Secondly, I am extremely lucky in my present circumstances, so it would be a crying shame if I was to let them slip by or waste them. I already have all the physical comforts and necessities I need right here.
The third and forth features are a pair of ideas about priorities. Knowing what are and what are not the important things to be doing is vital. Prolonged lockdown has made it clearer that it isn’t money or possessions that really matter. There is a Tibetan saying “All that may be wished for will by nature fade to nothing” So eventually what remains is simply the results of what we have done; the impact of our karma.
I read this lovely phrase this week from Joseph Goldstein that seemed to describe for me what I was looking for from all this reflection. He talked about generating “spiritual urgency” and I hope reflecting on these factors will be like giving myself a pep talk to get the mind in order and to focus my efforts and energies in the right direction.
Footnote: to be honest the playlist isn’t really connected with any spiritual endeavours. It is more to do with the fact that I don’t trust anyone else to have as good musical taste as I have. The proof is right here