Trick teachings

After you die, you will be asked two question: How much have you loved? How much did you open up to receive love?

Someone told me that story, perhaps a little differently. It is a beautiful story aimed at motivating us and inviting us to see how we are living our lives here now.

Told in this way, as something that may happen in the future, it has a certain poignancy. But it is also a “trick” teaching, and it can backfire.

If we take it too literally, it can fuel our tendency to motivate ourselves through fear. And we can get into stories such as I must love more for my life to pass the test or even I haven’t loved enough, lived a sad life, and now I am going to fail in this way too. If received in this way, it becomes a cruel teaching.

So instead of or in addition to that story, it is good to include a reminder that it all happens here now. The story is here now. And more importantly, we are invited to apply the pointer here now.

As with any story about the past, future, or present, and any cosmology – grand, or a fragment as this one – it is a projection.


  • trick teachings
    • karma, what happens after death etc.
    • intended to motivate, guide etc.
    • can easily backfire
    • ex. “we are judged by how much we loved”, as a pointer for us here now, but can easily backfire into fear (“I must love more for my life to pass the test”) or hopelessness (“I didn’t love, lived a miserable life, and now failed in this way too”), and in that way becomes a cruel teaching
    • so instead/in addition find it here now, recognize the story as a projection, apply the message/pointer/guidance here now

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