It is not coincidental that we celebrate Christmas (the birth of the Christ Consciousness), Hanukkah (the re-dedication of the temple), and the New Year as the darkness of winter turns toward light.
Mother Nature has a rhythm. In winter, she takes a pause, to refresh and renew all of creation. If we are wise, we will take Nature’s cue and look within ourselves to nurture the light and peace of our hearts. We will celebrate the opportunity of being human in the deepest ways possible, pausing to reflect on the season, on the New Year, and the unique teaching they offer us, as we open space for their miraculous blessings to enter our lives.
This is the Season of Coming Light. It has immense potential to bring forth our deepest commitment to our inner self and to cultivate greater sensitivity to where life is leading us. As we celebrate, let us take our restless mind into the calm space of meditation, so the seed of Christ Consciousness can reveal itself and take root within us. Throughout this New Year, let us transform every new day by consciously deepening our dedication to our own inner temple.
A time to dispel darkness
At this time of the year in the West, many people suffer from a malady called SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), due to lack of sunlight. The Sun is the source of light and energy for all life on this planet, including our bodies. With diminished sunlight, we humans tend to become depressed.
We can only be enduringly happy when we see another Sun, the one within us. The Sun within is the source of eternal light and energy. The Sun within never rises or sets; its light brings us eternal peace.
Your true support is within you. Contemplation, swaadhya (self-study), and seeking guidance from the lives and teachings of the enlightened masters of all traditions, you journey into the heart of the season. Enjoy and meditate on the beauty and meaning, the symbols and music, the rituals of the season, whatever your faith. Re-dedicate yourself to your inner temple and to attending to its flame. Open yourself to new light, to deeper peace in your own mind and heart. Find inspirational books to connect you to your inner self, to your inner source: the Sun of Pure Consciousness.
A time to breathe
The gateway to life is through your nostrils. Through conscious, mindful breathing, the mind effortlessly drops away. It simply disappears as it becomes fully absorbed in the quiet rhythms of the breath and in the inexplicable sweetness of life flowing purely as itself into your own body. Giving your breath your full attention, each cell, each organ, your entire being, quietly, naturally, jubilantly drink from the unfathomable source of new life.
Your breath is the key to resolving any body-mind-emotional imbalances. The more conscious you are of your breath, the more you become one with your breath, the more the mind becomes calm and clear. Your conscious breathing accesses inner happiness without relying on external props. It allows life to flow through you with its undistorted, unimpeded intelligence and inherent joy. Contentment arises. You cannot help but be happy and at peace, filled with gratitude at the mystery of the gifts that come to you through the mere act of breathing.
What we physically take into our bodies plays a role as well. During this season that is so given to feasting and sweets, we best preserve the balance and inspiration we attain through meditation by eating an abundance of fresh vegetables and fruits. By setting limits on the fat laden foods we eat, moderation allows our higher energies to continue to flow.
A time to relax
It is only in relaxing, deeply relaxing, that we sink into the infinite harmonies that are always within us. We are returning to the fullness of who we are in our spirit. The goal of all meditation, the function of all meditation, is to RELAX. We relax into the sublime happiness that is already present in our spirit.
Focusing on those things and activities that trigger your relaxation response and on those things that bring you joy, you discover what makes you happy without disturbing your balance within. You become more sensitive to your inner harmonies. You begin to notice whenever you are tensing up or falling into negativity. You discover that you need to intervene on your own behalf at such times. You need to lift your mind with your own mind.
Taking a few deep, loving breaths at such times is always healing. It returns you to your source. You are breathing life. You are breathing from the infinite, universal source of all energy, from the pure source of all that you need for whatever task is at hand. You are breathing light, the light of infinite intelligence that will reveal the path ahead. Reassure yourself inwardly that all is well, and continue to relax, focusing on your breath, if only for a few seconds. Be grateful. You were born into a body that has been given access to its infinite source. Be happy, moment to moment, participating in the divine dance of universal light and energy that comes to you in every breath. There is no need to suffer from SAD when we focus on the inner light. We naturally celebrate; we are naturally HAPPY.
Opening space for miracles
New Year’s resolutions imply an inherent need to sacrifice. Something you have or that needs to be given up for something you desire more, for a higher good.
To sacrifice is to create space for the new. A cluttered space cannot attract positive energy. The old cannot attract the new. Clutter, all that is old that no longer serves you, can only attract what is similar in vibration.
Sacrifice involves surrender to something greater than you. Is your surrender humble, simple, sincere and complete? If you are seeking the highest, if you long for the purest, your success depends on the magnitude of your yearning. How much are you willing to sacrifice the mundane in life? To what extent are you willing to sacrifice the ruts of the mind which keep you bound by your ego?
You lay the groundwork with sacrifice. You show the Universe that you are ready to receive something higher, something true. What you give up is nothing compared to what you receive when you create the space. Nothing is a sacrifice when you know that you are creating space for Light, for the greater Good.
Discovering effortless effort
Your body is not yours; your body belongs to the Soul. When the body needs to rest, you don’t force it to sleep. Sleep just happens. In the same way, you need not force yourself. When something has to go, it will go of its own accord, without you having the slightest craving for it.
What is important is your intention to be free of egotistical, selfish desires. The more you move along the path of yoga, the more sincere your surrender to the divine, the more a sense of inner peace will dawn. With your commitment to the highest expression of your Self, you naturally begin avoiding anything that poisons you in mind, body or spirit.
You begin to see, to remind yourself: I am not this body. I am not anything that my ego is clinging to in this life. I am not the one who thinks about what is right and what is wrong. My ego is not the true Doer within. The true Doer is the One, Indivisible Divine Consciousness who decides what is going to happen to me or not happen to me.
If ego is the Doer, then ego could decide. Ask yourself honestly, inquire deeply: How much do you really decide? How much do you really control? What power do you have to decide whether or not you can see, whether or not you can walk or digest your food, what quality of the intelligence you have to work with as you move through life? Time and time again you will see that the ego is not the Doer.
The more you surrender to universal energy and light, the more it channels through you, works through you, manifests through you, flows through you. Surrender is no longer an effort. It becomes effortless effort. You are happy because it is your nature to be happy. You are happy because you are constantly being lifted to new levels of understanding and joy. Surrender brings inner Joy. The more you surrender to the Divine Consciousness, the more light dawns. Darkness disappears.
A time for more active compassion
The issues facing humanity call on us to ask ever deeper questions. What are the solutions to the collective human afflictions whereby human beings create such a self destructive process? How can we intervene in the collective pain and pathology of our shared human experience? How can we individually and collectively work to encourage spiritual friendship? How can we bring light and love, harmony, understanding, and healing wherever we go?
Since we cannot be everywhere, doing everything, addressing every human need, where do we feel most personally called to support those who are addressing the human suffering with integrity, heart and intelligence? What sacrifices can we make to support the good and important work in our world?
These are personal questions each sincere seeker must ask in his or her heart. Our compassion has to be active. We are part of the whole. Whatever wealth, whatever light, joy and wellbeing we garner in life, we are meant to share.
A time for giving, forgiving, gratitude
Whether we are Christians or not, we can open space in our heart to the Christ Consciousness, to the compassion and love, joy and light that the dawning of the Christ Consciousness brings. We can give more. We can forgive more. We can see more through the eternal eyes, with the eyes of gratitude for all we have been given.
Jesus, Buddha and Krishna are all embodiments of Supreme Consciousness. Christmas is a celebration of the spirit in union with the One who is manifested as many. Buddha is the Enlightened Consciousness. Jesus is the personification of unconditional love, surrender and self-offering. Krishna is the eternal playfulness of the Cosmic Consciousness. We deepen our conscious connection to those energies by attending to the lamp of our dedication to our own inner temple.
May the New Year come with all newness and freshness, filled with Grace showering every man, woman and child, and every sentient being on this planet. May we all resolve to open our hearts in prayer and gratitude, with renewed love and dedication to the infinite blessings that come to us. May we live every day of the New Year without regret. May we all contribute each day, each moment, toward making our life more meaningful in our service to others. May we offer at least one act of compassion each day for those who suffer in this world.
Enjoy giving; enjoy forgiving; enjoy releasing all that is old and stale. Enjoy the New Year with your mind focused on the infinite, opening the space for new miracles in your life that can flow out to others.
Sri Sri Shuddhaanandaa Brahmachari (Baba) isa renowned speaker, philosopher and author of “Baba Lokenath – The Incredible Life of a Himalayan Yogi; Words of Pure Bliss and Making Your Mind Your Best Friend.”He works for the emancipation of women and children. His Lokenath Divine Life Mission treats more than 200,000 patients every year and promotes eco-friendly agricultural products. www.babalokenath.org