“We have a tendency to think in terms of doing and not in terms of being. We think that when we are not doing anything, we are wasting our time. But that is not true. Our time is first of all for us to be. To be what? To be alive, to be peaceful, to be joyful, to be loving. And that is what the world needs most.”
–Thich Nhat Hahn
Happy New Year, my friends!!
What will the year ahead hold? Who knows? But no matter what happens, this year will offer us many moments of being. Many moments when we can stop all our doing and just sit there. Just for a moment, we stop and allow some deep, unspoken part of ourselves, some grief or fear or love, to move through us. Just that. Doing nothing about it.
Perhaps in a moment of sweet fatigue we let go of the fight to control and let ourselves just sink into the sensation of being alive. Perhaps, letting go of doing, we noticed that everything changes. The storm of fear passes. Our deepest sorrow gives way to softness. Contraction eases open.
What if this year you stop striving to be a NEW AND BETTER YOU. “Right View,” the stern-sounding first step of the Buddha’s famous Eightfold Path out of Suffering, attaching yourself to a particular political or world view. It means opening to a new perspective.
And “Right Intention,” the second step–intention, that often steely New Year’s Word! Gently consider that it is about adopting a different approach: focusing on being in the world rather than doing. It’s about letting go of control and being receptive. It’s about dropping the knife, the sword, all our defenses, and daring to be harmless, starting with being harmless towards our suffering selves. Just think of how often we raise the knife of self-criticism!
“Right Intention,” in the classical teachings, also includes an attitude of good will. What if we conceived of this as willingness to see the good in ourselves, starting with that little moment of willingness to not just do something, but be.
What might we see? What might we be?
“And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been.” –Rilke