As we enter the holiday season another chance to wipe the slate clean and begin fresh presents itself. The concept of “New Year’s Resolutions” represents our annual attempt to commit to new habits, healthier ones than those we’ve struggled with for the past year. In just a few weeks many people will be vowing to lose weight, to achieve more, to stop or start doing something. But, as most of us know, this is much easier said than done.
Long-term commitment is a challenge. Experts say that it takes 21 days to install new habits, but that ignores one fundamental principle, which we wrote about in my last book when we clarified what it means to make a spiritual commitment. “This is not commitment to a cause. This is commitment to the primary intention in consciousness: to evolve. This is commitment to go where consciousness has not gone before. Here is the distinction: Your commitment at this level is not egocentric, it’s trans-egocentric. Post awakening, you recognize that consciousness is orchestrating the show and you are but an instrument. Consciousness is the song and you are the singer. What kind of song will you choose to sing?”
Making a true spiritual commitment means that we get with the program! It may seem like a big deal… when we are not doing it. But all of nature already is. All life forms are committed to… to what? To being governed by the laws of life. Humans think differently. We’re proud of our success, ignoring natural laws, except that our wonderful civilization is beginning to seriously unravel. Increasingly, human progress is looking like a plane running out of fuel that can’t land without crashing.
There’s a new world available, new to us, when we make a commitment to align in consciousness with the way things are. This is hardly a new concept! Go with the flow, don’t push the river, be here now… how many times have we heard such advice? Yet, how many times do we forget it and get overwhelmed by busyness? Then, out come the resolutions: “I will spend more time with my kids…” Or, “I’m going to the gym twice a week.” Or, “I will meditate for twenty minutes every morning.” This kind of awareness – knowing something is off in your life but being unable to change it – indicates a kind of slavery to old habits that can grow to become insurmountable as the years pass.
Just making a new year’s resolution won’t likely change things for long. What’s needed is something deeper, a soul commitment. How does that happen? First, by wanting it. Nothing happens without desire of some kind. If, within the complexity of your daily life, you can fully embrace your own desire for something different, better, more aligned, more enlightened, then you can stop being divided within yourself. That’s the first step… take a personal stand, make a commitment to yourself.
But there’s a second step which can make the difference between success and failure. Honor the very natural desire to find others like yourself. All of us need support when we are making life changes. The weight of old habits will drag us back down unless we have the lift of inspiring friends. There are many ways to create a “sangha,” a community of supportive friends. One is our Synchronicity website and the various offerings that keep you in contact with other like-minded individuals.
Another is meditation. Many people assume that meditation is a solitary activity. It often is a practice one does alone. But, is one really alone? In fact, every moment of meditation is practiced in the company of all others who are meditating at the same time anywhere on the face of the earth. And, not just using a meditation technique but being in the meditative state. This is a shared meditative field that is active and persistent beyond space and time. When we drop in, closing our eyes to the physical world and opening our hearts to this unbounded field, we find that we belong. Instantly and unconditionally.
How does that feel? Here’s how St. John of the Cross described it:
Oh, living flame of love, how tenderly you penetrate the deepest core of my being! Finish what you began. Tear the veil from this sweet encounter.
Oh, gentle fiery blade! Oh, beautiful wound! You soothe me with your blazing caress. You pay off all my old debts, and offer me a taste of the eternal. In slaying me you transform death into life.
Oh, flaming lantern! You illuminate the darkest pockets of my soul. Where once I wallowed in bitter separation now, with exquisite intensity, I radiate warmth and light to my Beloved.
How peacefully, how lovingly you awaken my heart, that secret place where you alone dwell within me! Your breath on my face is delicious, calming and galvanizing at once. How delicately, how lucidly you make me crazy with love for you!
- Tags: Soul Food