Living a healthy, happy life is an art, a balancing act. It also requires practice. The new year is a good time to evaluate and make resolutions. But in fact, anytime is a good time for evaluating where we are at with our life. What do you want to practice this year?
Time for a check on our resolutions, if you have any to begin with. Often resolutions don’t work very well, and they are just a set up for failure. Maybe it is too hard to get a clean fresh start because we drag our burdens of the past with us into the new year.
A week ago I went to the monthly guided meditation and dhamma talk by Ajahn Sona. He comes to Kamloops every month from the Birken Monastery to enlighten us with his wisdom. This time, he talked about serenity and peace, and renunciation. Freeing yourself from burdens is a liberating act. Especially at the beginning of a new year, it can give you a fresh start.
To 'renounce,' in English, means to give away or relinquish, to reject, or to disown.
In the Buddhist tradition, renunciation can be understood as a letting go of whatever binds us to suffering. Instead of asking yourself what you want to accomplish with resolutions, ask yourself: ‘What do I want to drop and let go off?’
Write your burdens down on a piece of paper, and then burn the paper. If your burden persists, do it again, and again, until you are no longer burdened by it. Off course, you can do this any time of the year, but a new year, new moon or your birthday may be good times to do this.
Why hold on to bad experiences and constantly remind ourselves of something that causes grief or pain? Even the news on TV loves to repeat old news by bringing up events from 10 years ago, to remind us of something terrible. As if we would forget.
Holding on to anger can cause sickness with its negativity. That is a burden you do not want to carry with you. Forgiving and releasing the anger by writing it down and then burning it is a great way to let go and it will free you. Persist, even if you have to repeat it three or more times.
The Buddha said: ‘Get real, get free, live life.’
Letting go of burdens will free up space on your hard drive (your mind) and energy that you can use to focus on generating good habits in your life. Let’s not call them resolutions. This is the art of life and it is so undervalued! Do you realize how much energy we waste on worry and stress? Just pay close attention for a few days, observe your own mind, and you will notice how busy your mind is with nonproductive, negative talk.
In our busy lives, we are overstimulated, over productive, and even too educated, to the point that it is unhealthy. To prevent disease and increase health it is important to balance our busy mind with ‘non-activity’, or restorative ‘activity’. Practicing meditation to experience serenity and benefit from a quiet mind can bring wisdom and is very potent therapy.
4 tips on how to start with meditation:
5 tips to make meditation your healthy habit in your life:
'Letting go gives us freedom and freedom is the only condition for happiness'
~Thich Nhat Hanh~