We all spend some part of the late half of the wintertime recovering from our holidays and during New Year’s it seems our minds turn toward New Year’s Resolutions. This is a tempting thing to do, given our yearly clock cycle programmed into us by living on this Earth with it’s particular rhythms. New Year’s Resolutions tempt us to think in terms of urgency, and I agree with that portion of it, yet it can also produce a feeling of overwhelm and passion that fades quickly.
One thing that greatly appeals to me about Yoga as a way of living daily life is that it takes The Ultimate Perspective into account in daily life. Gaining perspective and practicing it in all situations that arise in life is an extremely valuable mental and life tool. All serious forms of spiritual practice take this into account.
I would like to suggest to the readers that we take this long view with us around in our daily lives. Making ‘taking perspective’ practice a habit one can and rightly ought to feel urgency about. Adopting a quick fix in lieu of one’s previously poor habits is not commendable.
By doing so, it reduces our steps from being overwhelming to simpler, more lasting, and much more powerful transformations in our lives. Making small and common changes to our lives consistently over time, then those changes will take on an amazing force in our lives to the positive. I have experienced this for myself to a great degree in the last few years, as they seemingly fly by.
If one is to gain peace in life, one’s ups and downs must merge into a more natural feeling of ebb and flow of energy that is unclaimed and merely IS. This view of energy coming and going then helps tremendously because one moves away from likes and dislikes and one begins to rather see a flow of energy that is not judged as it passes, like a river and one is standing on the bank witnessing its progression. The next year’s coming and going, will, I hope for you be in this spirit, and I would like to encourage you to move this habit into your moment to moment awareness.
From the perspective of a spiritual teacher, one is encouraged to find the teacher within them from the wholeness and silently vast knowing we ALL possess. One way to do so is to look at the long processes and changes one sees in the physical world, and trace those energies back to their source. In modern life, we often can do so through media.
Since our bodies are essentially star-stuff from the transformational causation (for an explanation of this gohere) of hydrogen. This new book I am reading agrees with this fact.
If you would like a further perspective on how calm you can be about the changes in your relatively short life, check out this excellently perspective-giving video, showing 12 billion years in the life of a star in 6 minutes :
and then think about how short a time you have available to you.
Buddhists have a meditation on suffering that allows a perspective to be gained similarly. When one is enduring some suffering, one considers himself to somehow be a proxy or a substitute for all those who might have to endure similar suffering. “May my suffering in this way somehow relieve someone else of their own suffering.” I believe that all those who would pursue spiritual teaching in some way are following this principle and using it to their own benefit. I would hope that you, dear reader, might adopt this perspective-giving attitude. So, for me in my personal and professional life, I attempt to make the longest viewpoint on whatever I am dealing with in the now, as this flattens out the ups and downs of life. I have thus experienced a real shift in how my perception of problems has accompanied this change in viewpoint. It has allowed me to gain a quiet certitude about the opportunity that is surely revealing itself to me in the guise of a problem. My eyes open to the constancy and positive flow of life around me is not subject any longer to the whim of circumstance, and neither is my attitude and perspective on life.
In making our New Year’s Resolutions, I would suggest flattening out your ambitions to make them more easily palatable and make the changes more long lasting. This applies in large, potentially life-changing ways in the same manner as it would the most mundane of examples I could give. The example I always use of this is one of how when I came to the ashram to live initially, I didn’t really brush my teeth all that reliably. I did it once a day when I woke up whether I needed it or not!
Now I brush, floss, scape my tongue with a tongue scraper, and clean my nose, throat and sinuses with a neti pot every day. This didn’t happen overnight, but energy was put into it and little by little I added more and more mouth care habits into my daily routine without making a big thing of it, either for myself or people around me. Small changes, taken over time to establish good habits.
So what I would suggest then this New Year is that you take a small, silent, and almost invisible approach to your resolutions; keeping your silent intention to yourself so as not to disperse the energy of them. Make a small promise and keep it daily. Nothing anyone would notice. When this is successful- and ONLY then- add another. Keep track of your successes inside yourself, or in your diary that no one else can read. One success will build upon another, and I think you may find it a better 2009 than you may have imagined- one small and silent intention at a time.