Five Year Plan
In the year 2000, as a part of what I'd deemed my Sannyasa, I began a process of contemplation on happiness. As a part of the process, I set a date exactly 5 years later that would serve as my conclusion. Five years to find happiness or die, it seemed rather simple.
I'd sold everything I owned in '98, hopped in my car and traveled aimlessly across the country before returning completely broken from the experience.
I arrived back home with 36 cents and a quarter tank of gas. My mother gave me 30 days to get myself reestablished, which I somehow managed to achieve.
By 2000, I was financially stable, living with a roommate, working for an insurance company. I'd turned a temporary position into a solid career path in the corporate world, and worked my way into a very lucrative opportunity. My life seemed set, but I was more miserable than ever.
A coworker explained Sannyasa to me as a process of rebirth. I took a somewhat different approach to the idea, and created my own process.
I'd spent a good deal of time studying self hypnosis, and created a series of hypnotic programming to reinforce the date as a certainty in my mind.
For the 5 years that followed, I'd lived my life completely different. I focused all of my efforts on happiness, turning away from any experience that brought me suffering.
As a part of my Sannyasa, I'd chosen to follow the bodisatva's path of speaking only truth. This led me through several periods of conflict and chaos, where I cast away much of what had been causing my pain.
As November 3rd, 2005 approached, I'd faced my greatest challenges, and achieved tremendous success.
I succumbed to the idea of my death, accepted that if my life were to end, I'd lived the experience to it's fullest extent. I said goodbye to the people in my life, and took seriously the idea that my death was imminent.
When November 3rd arrived, I spent the day alone in silence, contemplating my happiness over the 5 prior years. That night, I fell asleep, expecting that I may not wake up.
The next day though, I woke up and felt a sense of life I'd never had before. I felt revived, alive, completely at ease and comfortable.
Over the years that followed, I spent the days leading up to November 3rd in contemplation of my survival, always wondering if my death would come to pass.
Every five years I spend the entire month of October in contemplation of my mortality, always keeping an eye towards the level of happiness I've achieved, and confronting the source of whatever suffering I've endured.
As I approach 20 years of doing this, I've become highly aware of the benefits the process has created. I've noticed that many people today suffer from a fear of death that keeps them from ever finding any real sense of happiness.
If my life concludes this November 3rd, please know the experience was absolutely worth the struggle. I very much found happiness, and enjoyed it immensely.