Four Days to Get Life

You only need 4 days to change your life forever and I’m going to prove it to you.

With our lives becoming increasingly hectic, stressful, competitive and less and less remarkable for many of us, it’s very easy to forget what the rush is really all about. In fact, in spite of our financial successes, we rarely even consider that there is an “all about” we have to focus on. So to help all of you folks who are overworked, over-stressed and distracted from your bliss, I’d like to share a list of four things to do on four different days. Call it a modern life walkabout or a spiritual exercise in disciplining your focus on bliss.

You need nothing special for this exercise. You don’t need equipment, life-coaches, or the latest Firefox plugin. Just 4 days, spread out anyway you like. All you need is the gift of time given to you every moment. All you need to be is yourself. This is a lesson-test in mindfulness of all that matters.

Here are the four days that will help you get life:

  1. Pretend that you’re semi-paralyzed for a day
    • You can choose your lower limbs, your arms, or your entire body
    • Don’t cheat, remain “paralyzed” throughout the day
    • If you have to get food or go to bathroom do so fully “paralyzed”
    • For full effect: don’t plan for your paralysis day; wake up “paralyzed”
    • When your day is over, slowly bring your limbs back to motion
    • Close your eyes, take in the feeling of those first moments
    • What does it feel like to have your freedom of movement back?
    • Is there someone in the world who could use your new-found empathy?
  2. Breathe your last breath. 
    • For one day, set  a timer to go off every 15 minutes.
    • When the timer goes off, set it for another minute
    • During that minute take a breath as if it was your last breath ever.
      • Focus on nothing but the feeling of your last breath (how it feels through your lips, down your throat, in your lungs)
      • When the minute is over, exhale and take in the whole experience, as if this last exhale were the only thing happening in the universe. 
      • Pay utter attention to every moment of this last breath.
    • Do this every fifteen minutes, starting with the first quarter-hour of your day until your last “last breath”.
    • As you prepare to sleep, reflect on each of those 48 last-breaths you took.
    • Do you see how much you depend on everything else?
  3. Don’t say a single word all day.
    • Nothing, not a whisper.
    • If you have to say something, write it down.
    • Read an essay by someone you never heard of in the morning
    • Write your thoughts down about whatever inspired you in the morning in the afternoon.
    • Drink, eat, read in silence
    • Listen
    • When the day is done, say only one thing: thank you.
    • Go to sleep.
    • What do you have to say now?
    • How will you say what you have to say?
  4. Spend an entire day blessing everything.
    • Don’t worry about good people or bad people here
    • Don’t worry if your blessing achieves anything (if it does, congratulations on being a god)
    • Just bless every person you’ve every known and people you’ll never know.
    • Wish that everyone will experience freedom from pain, vengeance or wrath
    • Pretend that you are the only one left in the world who has the power to bless, and your blessing is the only thing that can save the world
    • How do you feel about your enemies and problems now?
There they are. If these have inspired you to create your own substitutions, great! You’re getting life. Feel free to work these four days into your life in whatever order or pace you’d like. These four days represent 1.1% of your year. You spend far more of your year working in a cube or office, far more on Digg, Twitter, TV, bad restaurants, and far more on stressing about the hamster wheel encasing you in your material pleasures.

Keep in mind that these exercises represent what happens to people every day. Although the benefit of this practice is within your choice and control, these things can happen to you without your choice or control. Life happens, so how much would it hurt to do these things for just one day each? And if a really bad thing happens to you, maybe the work you did on these four days will come back to hold you together.