Well, we have made it to the end of 2014, and Kevin Schoeninger has given us a final meditation on Spiritual Growth Monthly, which we can save and use again and again as we begin another year. I downloaded the audio file a few days ago, not only because it is worth repeating, but partly because the first time I listened I was not in a very accepting frame of mind. I might have called this article, “resisting the light,” because even after years of sometimes getting it right, a lot of the time I still get things wrong.
Do you ever do that? Resist the thing that you know is best for you, even when it is something you really do enjoy? I imagine we all do, at least some of the time. Every day we face choices about what to eat, what to say, what to do. We decide how to behave, how to use our time, and how to treat other people and ourselves. We may follow good or bad habits, or blame our circumstances for how we feel, but every moment still contains choices. Even while our rational brain knows that healthy habits, like meditation or exercise, will make us so much happier in the long run, sometimes all we can hear is the voice of our ego shouting, “Here I am…choose me!”
The title of Kevin’s meditation, “Welcoming the Light” hints at this idea of choice, as well. To welcome something is a choice. We can, if we choose, “experience the light, love, and feeling of connection available on an energetic level,” which will then allow us to feel the deep inner peace we know we desire and need. That inner peace can be our source of confidence and strength, so we’ll be “inspired to fully realize ‘who we are’ and ‘what we are here to do.’”
In contrast, our egos often tell us that we must be successful, productive, and attractive, to be of any value, and that life is a continuous battle to grasp what we want.
Yet, who is more beautiful than the person whose face shines with inner light? Who is more successful than the person treating each task with love? And how much more productive are we when we are purposeful, serene, and in touch with our place in a universal whole?
Kevin’s meditation guides us into what he calls “the Universal Field of Energy, Love, and Light that gives life to us All.” If we are having a day caught in that other universal feeling of an ego driven battle, it’s still okay. Meditation is not a “mess up once and you’re done,” kind of experience. The next day may be easier. The next day may be great.
St. Paul wrote about the struggle between two parts of our nature, and asked why he often did the opposite of what he really wanted. And the Eastern masters would not have had as much advice to give if humanity had already had its act together. The point is, we’re not perfect. We just have to keep doing the best we can.
Happy New Year! You can start resolutions on any day you want.
I have never been a fan of New Year’s resolutions, and I don’t plan to start now. Starting a good plan in January is fine, but if we only keep a good habit going for a while, and then slip up, we have a tendency to think the year is shot. I much prefer the advice of Dorie the fish in Disney’s Finding Nemo, who couldn’t remember anything from one moment to the next. ”Just keep swimming” works if you don’t know where you are going, or even if you do. If your last choice wasn’t a good one, just forget it and move on.
Instead of New Year’s Resolutions, we might choose to make daily ones. Or pick Tuesdays, or take stock each night. Any moment we remember how much we share with all humanity is a good one. And the more often we choose to remember that, the easier it becomes. So, if you want to start a new resolution to meditate every day, that’s a worthy choice. Just attach a rider that says you won’t beat yourself up when your ego gets in the way. They call it practice for a reason. Just keep choosing your long term happiness over the kick of ego satisfaction. Remember, your ego is never satisfied for long.
Listening to Kevin’s meditation today was lovely. Next month he continues his exploration of the book A Unified Theory of Happiness, by Andrea F. Polard, PsyD. Dr. Polard. If you listen to Kevin’s meditation a few times yourself, you may choose to make it part of your long term happiness plan.
For now, my best wishes for happy swimming in 2015.
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