We could consider one day to be a whole lifetime. When we wake up, we are born; when we wash ourselves, we’re cleansing a newborn; when we eat breakfast, we’re drinking our mother’s milk. As the day passes, we go through every stage of life: growing into an adult, becoming old, and when we go to sleep, dying. The next morning we are born again.
This way of thinking has three benefits. We learn to value one day in our life, which we usually waste.
Secondly, when we die, we could think that’s the end; there’s darkness and we’re done. But actually, every moment is an opportunity, so there’s hope. If we have done something wrong or have not been a good person, we have the chance to change.
Fourthly, thinking about impermanence becomes a preparation for death itself. If we can do it repeatedly, then death doesn’t come suddenly as a great surprise. We’ve thought about it, have some experience of how changes happen, and developed a certain fearlessness.
~ Gyalwang Karmapa’s teaching on The Torch of Certainty : Session Three