Looking Inside the Heart in the Year Ahead
While prophets and pundits weigh in with various predictions for the coming election, no one I’ve heard has spoken of what goes on inside our hearts. We’ve all been shattered by the seemingly endless collapse of modern society and an acceptance of insanity as the new norm. I can be as optimistic as the next guy if I’m willing to overlook the immense suffering all over the planet – until I remember there’s really nothing going “out there. “ It is no more than my own suffering and again I am called upon to open my heart further to embrace the reality of hunger, poverty, social injustice and environmental degradation on every continent.
I am clear that no one will ever know my truth but me, and I am as unlikely to know yours as I am to predict the exact moment the first crocus pokes through the ground when Spring approaches in 2013. Fortunately, I do maintain a pretty solid faith that a new batch of dandelions will appear on my lawn at that time, and I feel equally confident that the long Winter ahead will finally give way to Spring with a blazing, hot Summer arriving not far behind. The cycles of Nature are endless, eternal, guaranteed. Though I find solace in the fact that many of my friends have come to sense those cycles in their bones and the rhythm of their own pulse, sadly as many have little contact with such matters without logging on to some website that instantly tells them the weather forecast or the next moon phase.
It wasn’t that long ago that nearly everyone in any community could point to the East in a split second and could tell you if the moon was new or full. Urban life has all but destroyed that awareness as entire generations witness the connection with the center of our solar system become ever more tenuous. Twinkling stars are a luxury reserved for those without bright city lights; drinkable water that isn’t in a bottle or the hoot of a snowy white owl are the stuff of days gone past for all but those in remote rural towns.
Should 2011 have anything to offer from the vast menu of possibilities, one of the best choices might be to make a commitment to reawaken the truth inside by making a concerted effort to reconnect in some way with the natural world. Eating clean, local food is a good starting point; indeed, it’s the first note in the grand symphony that affirms that everything is connected and we’re all in this together. I know of no teacher wiser than Nature, no lesson plan better suited to bring light to the dark corners of human consciousness than one that reveals the inescapable truth of our interdependency with all life on this planet.
I am thankful today for my teachers and friends, my parents and ancestors, my children and siblings. The gratitude I have for this collection of co-conspirators –others with whom I breathe — is surpassed only by my appreciation for the opposite side of the coin. The greatest growth continues to emerge from the shadows of consciousness, populated by demons and enemies that manifest as difficulty. I count my blessings for both parts of this whole thing called life.
May the days ahead allow the kindness inside every heart to bring inner peace and touch every sentient being with love and light.