The immediacy of the world problems are our teacher now. Many years ago during a retreat, my teacher Matt Flickstein asked me to carry a knife 24/7 for a week. I had to carry it on the toilet, in the shower, meditating, making food, brushing my teeth, at the dinner table, talking to others, and in bed all night while sleeping. He told me, “Death can come at any moment. The knife will make sure you do not forget this.” Carrying the knife made it clear that each moment could be my last, and reminded me to pray, be mindful, and express gratitude constantly that week.
In the weeks after I put the knife down, I soon forgot the fierce necessity of prayer and mindfulness. Now, with nuclear and environmental destruction so immediate, all of us have a knife by our side. It is not something we can “put away.” The knife is here while we are on the toilet, making love, at the dinner table, or in the shower. Rather than creating fear or despair, this can create a fierce reminder to be mindful, love and connect 24/7. Prayer or despair?