Discourse on Living our Life
“We have two lives, and the second begins when we realize we only have one.” – Confucius
Seeker: I wonder if this refers to one realizing what they really are and everything else is illusion,
or when one dies the realization of existence without the body ?
Maladkar: Good observation. The statement is deep and can have multiple interpretations. One, it can refer to what you say. That a person realizes he is ‘That’ and rest of all is ‘this’. ‘This’ means momentary, temporary things which never truly last. So once we realize our Divine Light, then the worldly matters are of no essence. And then our second life begins. There is deep realization that one is living in the world of illusion. Hence, as the person is aware he focuses on being ‘That’ rather than this. The other interpretation is more practical where we often lose ourself in our daily mundane matters, only to realize that we have wasted our lives and then we start to correct it and live life as it is meant to be lived in freedom, love and laughter. But only if you die to the first life, then your second life will begin. For that will be your actual life. That will be a realized life. That will be a life full of awareness. You often miss out on living your actual life. You get caught in the rut of life and when death will come, you may wonder whether you actually lived at all ? But then it will be too late. By then you may have lost on your youth and your health which was your true wealth. Your children would have left you for far off lands. All that now you have been left are memories of your children in pictures and left with no option but to remember their childhood. So before time takes a toll on your ‘everything’, you should enjoy all the time that is available with you in this present moment. We should learn to live fully and totally and not get lost in the daily nitty gritties of life. Carry out your responsibilities responsibly but don’t forget your own personal goal. So when we actually realize that our time is limited, then begins our race to live life fully. So whenever that realization drops in, then you can live a ‘second’ life fully and completely.
As to your another interpretation which could be the third one, where one realizes existence without the body (after dying), well that too can be said to be a second life. But then that stage is too late, too far for us to rectify. St. Francis of Assisi has so beautifully said, “Grant that I may not so much seek / To be consoled as to console / To be understood as to understand / To be loved as to love / For it is in giving that we receive / It is in pardoning that we are pardoned / And it is in dying that / We are born to eternal life.” Yes, that is a possibility, but then without a body (at least for the time being), you will get the realization that one should have lived more fully but then it is meaningless, since bodily existence is not there. That realization then will help to take a better decision for the after life choices but what matters and should matter is the present when you are alive. When present is in your hands, why think of the future. So let us focus on first two interpretations and live life fully only once, instead of living twice. I rest my thoughts to contemplate on T.S. Eliot poem “Where is the life we have lost in living? / Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? / Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?”