The Last Step

“Imagine that you are taking your last step. And someday you will be taking your last step. You’ll eventually have one last breath.”

I was practicing walking meditation downstairs of the dharma center during a day long retreat meditation this weekend, taking the teacher’s words of advice into every stride.

I could feel the soft carpet below my feet and the cool basement air on my skin. My gaze was watching each careful step that I took as I cradled one hand in the other just below my belly. I could hear my jeans brush together as one leg passed in front of the other.

With each step, I felt my heel land then slowly roll onto my mid foot. Then onto the balls of my feet. I sensed each toe plant before my heel would rise. As my foot lifted off, I could feel my knee rise and bend, the extension of my fascia, my bones creaking in my ankle and the second toe being the last contact with the ground.

My eyes blinked gently. My breath was easy.

The room still had that brand new smell of a new building with fresh furnishings.

The more aware I became, the slower my steps became. I was mindful of every movement and everything my senses could detect.

If this were my last step, I wanted to grasp everything in the moment that I could. I wanted to be submissive to the whole experience and I wanted to appreciate all that I could.

Looking back on this practice, what would you think or do if you were to actually take your last step or your last breath? How would you feel? Would you take everything in with pleasure or would you have an immediate regret take hold? Would you wish you had done things differently or wish you had said something you never did? Would you wish you were somewhere else? Would you be happy? Would you feel accomplished with your life? Would you feel fulfilled?

It could be a morbid thought but it could also be an eye opening realization. My recommendation is to reflect on your life and to imagine taking your last breath.

Be alive and mindful with everything you do. The purpose of your life is this moment and each moment that follows. Appreciate all that is around you and never take anything for granted. If you aren’t happy and fulfilled, then make a change.

Each unfulfilled step you take is one less you could be taking in the life you want. And you only get so many steps in life.

Wherever you are right now, take a step. Observe everything around you. Would you be okay if it were your last or will your next step be the first in a new direction, a new life, a new beginning?

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