By Andrea M. Winn, MEd
Popular wisdom teaches us to keep busy… fill our lives up with anything that might keep us entertained with a superficial promise of fulfillment… smooth over the raw moments and then promptly forget they ever happened –> to crawl into a comfortable dark cave of ignoring what is happening and slip peacefully into a blissful hibernation. And that is how it becomes possible to miss our lives. Although we have all had the good fortune to hear advice from great teachers such as Christ, Mohammed, Buddha, and a host of others, when it comes down to it, it is always a personal choice of whether to live in the brilliance of this moment or to crawl into our cave and sleep. The New Year is always a particularly potent time in which we make this choice.
In Tibetan Buddhism we say protector chants at dusk – chants that call enlightened protective energy to us. The reason for this is because the time of changing from day into night is a particularly powerful time in which we are more open-minded and there is more potential to grow and change; because it is such a powerful time, we are also more vulnerable to the attraction of hiding away in our cave. Therefore, we call in enlightened protective energies to come and be with us and to guard our mindfulness. It is an important and powerful practice… and a practice that is OH so easy to neglect in a busy Toronto lifestyle!
Similarly, the year end is potentially a powerful time to open ourselves to deeper awareness, growth and change. I would like to take this opportunity to call on the Wisdom Awareness Protectors to leap into action for everyone who connects with this article, and to bring their wise compassion to protecting the minds of these folks as they approach the end of this year and enter into the powerful next year.
Buddhism encourages us to live our lives fully – to value the opportunity we have in this life to develop our wisdom and to contribute to the welfare of this world. It can be easy to forget this and get caught up in meaningless minutiae, collecting material things, and focusing on the external rather than cultivating the internal. Just as in meditation, when we realize this has happened, all we need to do is bring ourselves back to our core purpose in life, take a deep breath, and take the next step forward.
So I would like to encourage all of you to take an hour to harvest the crops you planted and tended in the past year, to honour your work and your accomplishments this year, to mourn the things that didn’t work out the way you wanted, to re-discover what is truly meaningful to you, and identify your goals for the coming year. This is an important part of living life joyfully, mindfully, and true to the course of your life mission. If you are the kind of person that likes a good writing exercise, I offer you a link to the exercise , “Seven steps to spending more time planning your life than planning your vacation.” I love this title because vacations are nice, but living a joyful, mindful life is so much more fulfilling! This includes things like working in a job that resonates with who you are and your gifts; investing in the relationships that truly matter to you; living in a home that is genuine, warm and comfortable; and last but not least… pursuing your core heart dreams!
So on that note, I make a heartfelt wish that all of you may receive both blessings and protection as we transition into rockin’ 2012. There are so many people predicting that 2012 will be a year of mind blowing transition. And I say, “Bring it on!”. This world needs a whole lot of healing, and my heart is open wide to 2012 being the year that we welcome that Great Ocean of Love into our hearts to heal old wounds, make us whole, so we can all participate in creating a beautiful world – together. Where there IS peace. Where there IS joy. Where people care for themselves and each other and this precious earth. Thank you for being here, and may our connection grow in mutually empowering ways in the coming year. Cheerful New Year to you all!