Reflections, Inspirations & Intentions for a New Year 2016

Reflections, Inspirations & Intentions for a New Year 2016

A reflection on practice by Marcia Rose


“Early Morning, My Birthday” (excerpt)

The snails on the pink sleds of their bodies are moving
among the morning glories.
The spider is asleep among the red thumbs of the raspberries.

What shall I do, what shall I do?

The rain is slow.
The little birds are alive in it.
Even the beetles.
The green leaves lap it up.
What shall I do, what shall I do?
–Mary Oliver

Just Wet large green leafabout every human being and culture on this planet marks the passage of cyclical time in various ways. I’ve just recently marked the completion of 75 years of life. And 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. These punctuations of time often inspire reflection regarding how we’ve lived our life through the years…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, we are often inspired to create heartful intentions and resolves towards living with more gratitude along with living more wisely, compassionately and joyfully.

As Dhamma students we may find that our reflections, the murmurings of our heart…often show up as variants of: “How can I be truly happy? Can I forgive and ask to be forgiven? Can I be at ease in this life and live with an abiding sense of well-being? I want to live with more gratitude and grace, with peace, understanding, acceptance and compassion amidst all the challenges and difficulties in this changing world…amidst the challenges and difficulties within me and all around me.”

As we move into new cycles, be it through marking the years of our life via our birthday or by way of the onset of a new year, rather than mulling or stewing over the various occurrences in our personal lives and the happenings in the world, we can let the murmurings of our heart be a motivating force and an inspiration towards connecting to and dropping more and more into making this very life more deeply ‘our practice’.

There’s a wonderful Pali term that comes directly from the Buddha’s teaching …‘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, peacefully, compassionately and joyfully with gratitude.

As this new year begins, we can 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 moment by moment in this very life. As our heart takes this turn we recognize again and again that this is what truly steers us towards the fruits of our deepest and most heartfelt wishes, intentions and resolves for
ourselves and in relationship to others.

Digital composite of snowflakes and frost.

tears melting into
mountain snow

–Soen Nakagawa

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