Singing one’s own song

I first heard this story in New York. A man was knocked down in an automobile accident. While waiting for the ambulance, one of the bystanders took off her coat, rolled it up and placed it under his head.

‘Are you comfortable?’ she asked.

He replied, ‘I make a good living’.

Many make a good living, but whether they have really lived is another matter. A mother may say to her son, ‘I’d be so proud if you were a doctor’ when, perhaps, the son wants to be a carpenter. So he goes off and becomes a doctor, but at the end of his life he may say, ‘I made a good living, but I’ve never lived. I could have been such a good carpenter but my family didn’t want that’.

Each one of us has our own story to tell, one life to live, one song to sing. The deep fear of many is, I think, less that of physical death than that of dying with their song unsung. Each one of us has a unique story and we cannot discover our greatest meaning unless we learn how to live it.

It is often in the silence of our meditation that we hear the first notes of our own song. Having heard it, it is up to us, in the famous words of Joseph Campbell, to ‘follow our bliss’.

3 thoughts on “Singing one’s own song”

  1. Owen Flanagan speaks of “achieving happiness and human flourishing” in the book I am reading at the moment and one I can thoroughly recommend. It is called “The Bodhisattva’s Brain – Buddhism Naturalised.” He seems to be able to untangle so much and get to the essence of the thing!

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