Reflections, Inspirations and Intentions for the New Year 2015
A reflection on practice by Marcia Rose
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
Just about every human being and culture on this planet marks the passage of cyclical time in various ways. For many of us the closure of one cycle and the opening of a new cycle has just occurred via the ending of one year and the beginning of a new year. This particular marking of time often inspires reflection regarding how we’ve lived our life through the past year… how we’ve responded or reacted to what life has offered and the wisdom or folly of the decisions we’ve made. In light of our reflections, this is often also a time when we create heartful intentions and resolves towards living life more wisely, compassionately and joyfully.
As Dhamma students and maybe also as devoted practitioners, we may find that our reflections, the deep questions and yearnings…the murmurings of our heart… often show up as variants of: “Can I be happy? Can I be at ease in this life and live with an abiding sense of well-being? What do I need to be truly happy and at ease in this life? How can I live with more grace, peace and compassion with all of the challenges and difficulties in this changing world…with all of challenges and difficulties within me and all around me?”
As we move into this new cycle, rather than mulling or stewing over these questions and the various occurrences in our personal lives and in the world, we can open to and take these happenings and questions in as a motivating force and an inspiration towards connecting to and dropping more and more deeply into our practice. There’s a wonderful Pali term in the Buddha Dhamma … ‘Samvega,’ that’s often translated into English as ‘Spiritual Urgency’. The blossoming and manifestation of Samvega is directly related to our heartful intentions and resolves towards living life more wisely, compassionately and joyfully.
As this new year begins, can we respond to and be inspired by the forces, the energies…the various ‘messengers’ that stir us…and move towards a heartfelt sense of urgency to practice and to awaken… recognizing (again) that this is what will truly steer us towards the fruits of our deepest and most heartfelt wishes, intentions and resolves for ourselves and in relationship to others?
“I would like to learn, or remember how to live. I don’t think I can learn from a wild animal how to live in particular – but I might learn something of the purity of living in the physical senses and the dignity of living without bias or motive. The weasel lives in necessity and we live in choice, hating necessity and dying at the last, ignobly in its talons. I would like to live as I should. And I suspect that for me the way is like the weasel’s: open to time and death painlessly, noticing everything, remembering nothing, choosing the given with a fierce and pointed will.”
Annie Dillard, from the first chapter ‘Living Like Weasels’ in her book Teaching a Stone to Talk
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