Within the last week of each year for many years I have fulfilled a ritual to dedicate time in reflection and projection. It has proved to be one of the most beneficial exercises in the direction of my life. I cannot promote this exercise enough as reflection and self inquiry can provide so much richness. Sometimes there may the good fortune to cozy up in a loving environment and create them together with one's children or friends and favorite beverages.. take that opportunity if it arises, or do it alone. The exercise takes two large pieces of paper. One is marked 2016 and will be filled with the highlights and lowlights of the year and how they impacted your life and the world you live in. The 2017 page is an open canvas of projections formed from the lessons learned from the current year. 2016 has been a big year for so many. This year I'm going to approach this exercise differently and invite you to join me. When we create resolutions, we often set ourselves up with a built in expiry date to them, so this year let's work with the voice that needs a resolution.
We all have many voices within us and often we give power to the louder ones that are not the most compassionate and understanding, but ones of judgement and fear. On a planet so filled with wonder and beauty and mystery, how did we allow ourselves to get here. Status quo says to express publicly your happy happy and that suffering is not "normal". Guess what, everyone you have ever met suffers deeply for different reasons and in different ways. This is what I choose to sit with in hopeful stillness, truth and with no rose coloured glasses to hear the teachings at hand. We may either grapple with a realization and commit to change or embrace an observation and be grateful for it's presence. Either way the exercise of reflection and projection will be a gift to our lives. Let 's observe the inner voice of the current year in its joy, its fear and pain, and aim to observe without judgement. These internal reels may be influenced by loved ones, peers, societal pressure or the depth of your heart. It's doesn't matter.
Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh shared in a dharma discourse that we may look at our our conscious mind as our living room. Within it we aim to keep all pleasant things. The subconscious mind is the basement where we hope to keep locked up our fear, anger, shame etc. When these emotions end up in our living room, it is chaos as we have no tools there to deal with them. The way to find harmony, he said was to leave the door open. When an difficult emotion shows up in the living room, he says, "hello old friend."
I want to share a meditation I created this fall that helped me find an inner balance at a time when I was pushing myself well beyond my capacity. It tremendously stilled my active mind and brought meaning to reflection. Perhaps you'd like to take the 7 minutes and listen before you start to write. Click here https://soundcloud.com/mindfulnecessities/reflection-projection-meditation
Just be the open honest witness to all that is you and through the practice of being lovingly present, alter what holds you back from realizing your own true greatness. With the observation of what teachings lie within let's consider the days to yet unfold to be motivated by curiosity, kindness and trust.