The part of us that wants to become is fearless.
finding our way into the new year is like seeing the sunrise in unexpected ways…..like holding a lover anew…….like rekindling the heart flame……
On December 31 at midnight, the New Year is welcomed in Japanese Buddhist Temples with 108 bell chimes during the Joya no Kane ritual, which means “bell rings on new year eve’s night.” The rings represent 108 elements of bonō, defilements or passions and desires entrapping us in the cycle of suffering and awakening (Samsara). The 108 bell chimes also symbolize the purification from the 108 delusions and sufferings accumulated in the past year.
A couple of years ago, I came across a Western adaptation of this ritual of celebrating the New Year:
Ingredients: close to midnight, sit in silence for an hour. Then strike a bell 108 times — ideally outside — and with each measured ring remember someone in your life: near and far, dead and alive, friend and foe. Then write on a piece of paper “One thing I want to let go off” and burn it. Then bow and drink a glass of sparkling beverage. Cheers!”
I will find myself spending time with family and friends at the stroke of midnight, but I will try to keep this ritual in mind along with an invitation from the poet, Leonard Cohen that touches on an attitude toward the sacred: “Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”
In contemplative practices of any kind, questions provoke inquiry, reflection, and conscious awareness of what we are learning or what is being revealed to us about our own current inner and outer work. Your relationship to time reveals your capacity to trust that whatever is present each day, you can handle; otherwise it would not be there. The surprising or unexpected happenings of each day reveal your attachments and teach you about your ability or inability to remain flexible. In what ways are you manifesting the 5 simple qualities of childlike openness?
~Not worrying about your daily bread
~Not complaining when you fall sick
~Sharing whatever you have
~When you fight or quarrel, not holding a grudge and making up quickly
~Showing your vulnerability when frightened or threatened
For the month of January, track those experiences for which you are particularly grateful. How have they contributed to your happiness and well-being? Here at the start, let us set the intention to take note of each blessing, learning, mercy, and protection as we find it, to celebrate it well, and to enter frequently and joyfully into the life-changing state of being that is gratitude…….Angeles Arrien