I spent the last hour of 2010 in silent meditation. The year had been a tough one. John and I had each suffered from serious illnesses that took time and patience to recover from. It had also been a very emotional year for me - a time of looking deeply inward to investigate and come face-to-face with some things that needed to shift and change. So, it was fitting for me last New Year's Eve to end the year in the sweetness of solitude and introspection. In the quiet, waning hours of 2010, I sat in silent meditation and found clarity. In the stillness, I set my intention(s) for 2011. They were simply to love more and to let go.
It's funny, looking back through the days and months of 2011 to see how, as a result of setting these intentions, the universe provided everything I needed and more to manifest them. This doesn't mean that the going was easy. There were times that were downright painful, but each experience brought me a little closer to realizing my vision for the new year.
The "loving more" part of my intention was nurtured easily through connecting more with others, cultivating community, and finding clarity in my practice through time spent with an amazing teacher. Loving more also had its painful moments when presented with challenging situations that called for cultivating a great deal of compassion - both for myself and for others.
The "letting go" part of my intention arrived slowly, with a lot of introspection, and not at all as I had envisioned, but somehow more beautifully than I could have imagined. Funny how that happens, isn't it?
The new year is a natural time to think of starting fresh. I like to think of it as if we've been given a fertile patch of freshly sown earth that's free of weeds, stones, and all the blockages that keep us from living our deepest purpose. It's there just waiting to provide us with abundance and fullness. As we unfold into the new year, we cultivate that patch of earth by planting and watering the seeds of our intentions with our awareness, our actions, compassion and mindfulness. The more we water and nurture our garden, the more we can reap the rewards of its bounty.
Wishing you a fertile and bountiful new year.
Until next time...
To Students and Friends
Paramhansa Yogananda, Inner Culture, January 1937
The New Year has come to greet you with new hopes, new determination, new will-to-achieve, new activities. In the Temple of the New Year renew your reverence for the unlimited hidden power of God within you. The trails of trials and the yawning chasms of woe have been left behind in the dark night of the past–now you are entering the daylight of a new-born hope of the New Year. Cast off the coil of the decayed thoughts of the past years; be reincarnated into vital living of the New Year.
Every regret for shattered hopes of success must be transformed into the joy of new achievements during the New Year. Old sorrows and disappointments must be buried beneath the sepulcher of the past year. Those dark bandits of discouragement must not remain any longer to steal the wealth of your desire to succeed.
Every day in the New Year must become an altar for the God of new living, new achievements in wisdom, and new joy. Every day in the New Year must bring hope and cheer to yourself and all humanity.
Take all the salvaged treasures of good experiences from the sea of past experience and use them to buy new accomplishments in the New Year. In the garden of the New Year culture the seeds of well-planned new activities until they grow into fragrant flowering plants of diverse successes. Let every day in the New Year become a step upward on the ladder of your Self-Realization. Make every day of the New Year a better day than the previous one for greater effort to succeed in business, family happiness, and increasing the ever-new joy-contact of God in meditation. The old year has gone, but the New Year is full of treasures for you to use.
Bury the bad habit of failure in the tomb of the old year and reincarnate your life energy in the vitality of the New Year. May the New Year spread the example and message of your renewed life and renewed power unto all Creation.