Posted by: Michael Rickicki | 07/18/2018

Heart Attack

Samsara never fails. Monday afternoon my wife texted me to let me know that her father was in the hospital for chest pain. We would later find out that he had had a major heart attack and would live but at that time, we had no real clue what was happening.

It was one of those moments of terrifying clarity when you see just how delicate and fragile these lives and bodies really are. And, even though he’s “fine” now he really isn’t and neither are we. I could just as easily slip and fall down a four foot staircase or get hit by a car. My kids could suddenly get sick and die. My wife could be killed in a car accident. There’s nothing to prevent these things and, eventually, something will occur to bring about the end of this life for each of us.

So, what is it that I’m doing on the cushion every morning? Am I planning my office or trying to break the will of this beast? And, furthermore, how can I be disappointed with my progress when I realistically spend no more than an hour each day training the mind?

One day this body will lie cold and lifeless and it will be too late. May I make the aditthana to meditate formally (for the nth time) for three hours each day. To do so I will need to wake at 0330 hours every day and begin meditation promptly at 0400 ( that is the important part). If I meditate until 0600 I then only have one hour left which I can do from 2100 or 2200.

It honestly seems like a tall order but what else is this life to be used for? Sleeping? Eating? Am I a cow, cat or have I been blessed with a human mind and body in this life?

And, while we’re on the subject of aditthana, I’m giving up sweets for the next three months and embarking once more on dry fasts on Mondays and Thursdays and 4:20 or 8:16 intermittent fasting the rest of the days. I’m doing this for both the health benefits and as a spiritual exercise. May I succeed.


  1. ..only some thoughts to share…dear Dhamma friend, please don’t forget that the pali word for meditation is Bhavana…means cultivating, developing etc.Dhamma 24 hours… a householder its sometimes not possible to force yourself in the formal practise for long hours.Result can be disappointment if you can’t fulfill your high ecpectations…then hatred ( self or others) is inevitable…

    Better to go soft forwards..kind and helpful towards yourself and whole family. Such an event could be a great chance to be a really good (buddhist) example in staying calm, friendly and helpful .

    • Thank you Ayya for your wisdom and advice. I will attempt to use this aditthana as a spur and remember not to beat myself with it if I fall short. Blessings to you!

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