For the past few days, "amazon.com" has been promoting a series of books to be read for the New Year. I was especially struck by the title of one particular "New Year" book: "Mindfulness: An Eight Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World." The book promotes a plan for a daily 10 minute meditation, and the author promises that at the end of the 8 week period, "you'll be amazed at how these techniques will have you enjoying life again."
As 2014 dawns upon the world today, I am sure that people everywhere are engaging in all sorts of plans and employing a wide array of "quick-fix" techniques for finding deep peace and serenity in a frantic world.
On a New Year's day all the resolutions are kicking-in, the diets, the daily exercise regimens, the 10 minute meditations. As 2014 dawns, people everywhere are no doubt looking to find something they need or want but don''t yet have- a healthy body, a sound mind, a calm spirit.
And since, nowadays, you can press a key on your computer or take a pill to instantly find or fix just about anything, why not 10 minutes a day for 8 weeks and there you have it: deep peace and serenity in a frantic world. I'm already feeling better.
The problem of course is that there is no "quick-fix," no easy formula for finding peace or feeling whole. And while I believe that a spirit of "mindfulness" is a path to wholeness, I find it almost ludicrous to suggest a 10 minute technique in an 8 week "mindfulness" plan to be the key for achieving some sort of spiritual success in life.
As I get up this morning and step into 2014, I don't believe there is anything I seek or want or desire that I don't already have within me.
I "am" a connection with the entire cosmos. A Holy Presence of abiding love is "sparking" within me and within every other human being (within every other being) - connecting us all together in an amazingly beautiful, mysterious and mystical web of dynamic interrelationship.
The problem is that at times, "I" put up walls and thick barriers, refusing to allow that universal energy of love to emerge into my consciousness. I hide within the fortress of my ego, cutting myself off from the world, from others, from "God." Life lived within the ego is lonely and the world does indeed seem frantic.
Of course people search for something more - something beyond the guarded walls of the ego. However, that "something more" is already there. It's just a matter of accepting and acknowledging it.
As 2014 begins, I commit again to walk a path of mindfulness, but it's not 10 minutes of awareness for 8 weeks so I can control and predict the outcomes. My path of mindfulness is a path of ongoing open-hearted awareness, awake in and present to the moment. My daily path of mindfulness pulls me out of my ego and into relationships.
Deep peace is already there -it's just a matter of accepting it.
2014 has dawned - a new day, a new year. As always I sit in my garden and start the day in the way I try to live my life. I actually don't have much of an agenda or plan - not for 8 weeks, not for any weeks.
I open my heart and my mind. I open my arms to embrace what comes my way.
In 2014 I may encounter life and health. I may encounter pain, suffering, death. In 2014, a dark shadow may cross my path or it may be a time of brilliant light. But I simply embrace whatever it is that comes my way knowing that I am never alone and will never be abandoned. So I can live boldly, in a spirit of trust.
As 2014 dawns, I know that "it is what it is and it will be what it will be;" and I embrace it all. I trust it all.
On this New Year's Day I call out to the universe dancing with a blazing love, I open my heart to the abiding Holy Presence, and I offer my New Year prayer:
my book on amazon