Friday, January 1, 2016

The First Time Again

"Like the First Morning"
- 2016 -

As the sun rose on a new day of a new year this morning, I was reminded of a very important truth: everything is always changing and so I need to look at each moment with fresh new eyes as if I am seeing it for the first time once again.

When I went out to greet the dawn on this New Year’s Day everything looked pretty much the same as it did yesterday and so I could be easily tricked into believing that it was the same old familiar world that I had come to know so well in the past; but I didn’t fall into that trap of thinking that nothing had changed because everything is change.

As this New Year dawns I reflect upon one of the major tenets of Buddhist wisdom - the impermanence of all being. In every single moment of every single day everything and everyone is in a process of becoming something else. The Buddha taught:

This existence of ours is as transient as the clouds.
To watch the birth and death of beings is like looking at the movement of a dance.
A lifetime is like a flash of lighting in the sky,
rushing by like a torrent down a steep mountain.

Interestingly enough thousands of years after the Buddha, the contemporary “new scientists” of the 21st century would say something very similar about the nature of this world as their discoveries led them to claim that the entire cosmos (from the tiniest particle to massive galaxies) is a swirling mass of chaotic energy dancing in a pattern – all being is a process of becoming something different.

When I woke up this morning and looked out at the rising sun of 2016 I realized that I needed to look at it as if it was all brand new because it was all brand new. What was in 2015, what was only yesterday, no longer is. The world has changed and so have I. So I embrace it all with open arms and look at it with eyes of wonder because I am seeing it again for the very first time.

There is a Zen teaching that the goal of the journey of wisdom is to cultivate a Beginner’s Mind.  When a person becomes wise enough to embrace each moment with an uncluttered mind and an open heart as if they are seeing it all for the first time, they are growing in the wisdom of a Beginner’s Mind:

If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything, it is open to everything.
In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities
But in the expert’s mind there are few.

The dance of 2016 has begun- a whole new year in a brand new world. As I sit in the dawn of this new day I am filled with wonder at all the surprises that await me.

Alan Watts once said:

The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it,
move with it and join the dance.

2016 has begun - time to plunge into it and join the dance.

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