At the end of the year there is a lot, too much, that I could say about the ups and downs of 2019 but at this time it seems better to focus on renewal.
This is culled from stuff that I have written elsewhere so some will catch me recycling things I’ve written conversation with them. Recycling is good.
In a couple days the extended family and friends will be crowded into the house (somehow). Sandy will have been cooking all day and I will be in the garden lighting a fire and chatting around the firepit as midnight and the new year approach. Not yet Shakespeare’s pantaloon, I have settled into my ‘fifth age’ role as ‘grandad’ playing my part like Shakespeare’s justice:
“In fair round belly with good capon lin’d,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;”
And I’m grateful for all that. For all I have been given despite being affected by the turbulent times and feeling spiritually out of balance. I look forward to challenge and change in 2020 and to seeking balance in the midst of flux.
As we approach the New Year We or rather many of us feel the need for change. But at both the level of ‘I’ and the level of ‘we’, the vast majority of us are fragmented. We have to work towards achieving personal, interpersonal and global coherence. We need to change the way we approach all the things we care about or are concerned about but we can only do this if we establish who ‘we’ are.
‘We’ needs to move through ‘you and I’, the recognition of each other’s presence (and we definitely don’t have that as a species) to ‘I and I’ a recognition of the identity of our true selves. There is a reason that Jesus said ‘love your neighbour as yourself’ rather than ‘love your neighbour as you love yourself’. The recognition goes beyond charity or altruism to identity.
This is the change of consciousness that we need. And of course it isn’t and won’t be easy. I’m not advocating any religion and yet absolutely religion in the sense of ‘reconnecting’ with each other and the source and commonality of our being. A Church beyond Christianity, an Ummah beyond Islam and a Sangha beyond Buddhism. We need to move beyond the idealisms and doctrines and divisions of the religious and the political into something rooted in the recognition of identity and the establishment of practice individually and collectively.
This requires sacrifice, acceptance and renunciation, it requires overturning old notions. If we’re not establishing communication and community, establishing practices and sacrificing then we’re not moving beyond notions of altruism and idealism which are no longer enough and which are too often inauthentic.
Where to go now? Let’s continue communicating, adopt the maxim, ‘do no harm’ for starters. Also, understanding how much we all have to change, being humble and valuing humility in others. We have to develop ourselves individually and collectively but we also have to reduce ourselves individually and collectively. Eckhart Tolle quipped that he doesn’t talk about self development, he talks about self reduction. Perhaps, and this is just a thought, in 2020 we should focus not on gaining more or on becoming more but on releasing more. In Christianity there is the theme of Sacrifice, in Islam it is Yielding and Buddhism it is Renunciation. It may benefit us to meditate on these.
“For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”Matthew 16:25 –