Happy New Year everyone!
This is the time of year when everyone makes those New Years “promises” we all call “resolutions.” It’s a societal ritual. One we all feel compelled to make when we’re out with friends. “Hey, what are your New Years Resolutions?” We’re fearful to say nothing or even worse, “I don’t make/believe in making resolutions.” We become concerned if we say we don’t believe in resolutions we’ll be bombarded with the inevitable questions, eye rolls and head shakes.
You know what I’m talking about. The guilt and often alcohol driven promises which we make to others. Resolutions help reduce the amount of guilt we feel and feel better about many of the poor decisions we have made during the previous year. I Googled “New Years Resolutions” and within 0.34 seconds there were 9,280,000 results. Tell me that isn’t a popular search term! I even found a “New Years Resolution Generator.” Plug in a few terms to describe you and the website will generate resolutions for you. No work involved. One of my favorites was the website which described the New Years Resolutions made by politicians.
Change is not easy. It takes a tremendous amount of energy and focus. Many of us find it easier to make excuses at which we later sit back and laugh. This is a more socially acceptable way to go about making change. After all, no one really expects us to follow through. That’s what making a resolution now means.
I found this description of one Buddhists approach to making resolutions.
“For Buddhists, New Year’s resolutions should never be difficult to write out, the list of intentions never long: our starting line, our journey, our finish line is our meditation cushion. All of our best life practices, all possible outcomes stem from our time on the cushion. The cushion is our resolution. It is where we begin and where we return, day after day, without fear or expectation of ever crossing a finish line. It is what it is, and we are where we are. And where do we go from here? Back to the cushion. Beyond the cushion is not a journey we worry about; that journey will take very excellent care of itself – but only if we learn our long, silent lessons on the cushion. The cushion is teacher, coach, confidante, consoler, cajoler. We will sit and listen to ourselves without judgment or hope of whiter teeth, a better job, a faster marathon time, less stressful relationships. We will sit and listen to ourselves, and the quality of our lives will depend on one thing and one thing only: how closely we’re listening. It’s 2012: sit without hoping and run without measuring; sit, run, and live right where you are. It’s never over, and you’ve always just begun. On your mark. Get set. Go.”
Any thought I had of anything else to this post has been washed away by what my friend has said. Look within.